Adventures in Cooking

This has been a fun week of culinary efforts for me. Because of my wife’s work schedule and the fact that I now work from home, I have taken on certain domestic responsibilities. One of those is making dinner.

For the most part I have tried to keep things simple, sticking to simple recipes and things that I know how to do well. For some reason, however, this week I wanted to attempt a couple of recipes that until now had been my wife’s specialties in our kitchen.

The first, which I made a couple of days ago, was Pork Loin Braised in Milk. It’s fairly simple. Melt butter and olive oil in a wide, deep pan. When the butter starts to froth, brown the pork loin on all sides. Once it’s brown, add 2 ½ cups of milk and reduce the heat. Simmer it for about an hour, stirring often, and basting/turning the pork loin.

When the meat is cooked, remove it and put it on a cutting board to rest. Increase heat under the milk to break down the fat and meat solids. When it has reduced to a thick brown layer, add ½ cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until the gravy is smooth.

Slice the pork roast into medallions, smother with gravy, serve. Damn, this was tasty.

Tonight’s experiment is equally simple, and I hope it will be just as tasty: Roast Chicken with Peaches and Shallots.

A very simple recipe. Remove giblets from a whole chicken. Rinse the bird inside and out with cool water, pat dry. Rub with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper. Place in large casserole dish.

Cut ten shallots into halves and remove the paper skins. Rinse six peaches, then cut them into quarters or eighths. Place together in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and fresh thyme. (Powdered thyme is fine if fresh isn’t available.) Toss peaches and shallots until all are coated with oil-vinegar mixture.

Surround the chicken with the peaches and shallots, bake for 1 hour at 400° F., remove when chicken reaches internal temperature of 180° F. Serve with radicchio sauteed in olive oil and minced garlic.

Kara just walked in; she says dinner smells good and like it ought to. Fingers crossed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some radicchio to saute.

UPDATE: Tonight’s dinner was delicious, though it took closer to 90 minutes to cook. In addition to the sauteed radicchio, Kara prepared her signature side dish, quartered artichoke hearts sauteed in butter and mayonaisse. Tres delish.  🙂

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