Ten days into this, and I am already turning on my poor little camera. It’s been a loyal friend for a couple years. Reliable, always there for me, even sometimes surprising me with its skills, but last night, no matter what I did, it let me down. Sorry buddy, you can’t win them all. Luckily for my little friend, I have no plans to procure a new camera, as a digital SLR is a bit out of my price range right now, so despite its poor performance, my go-to camera it will remain.
I cooked up the brined porkchops, and I made the prettiest dessert ever, not that it will come across in the blog (see above re: camera) Good old Meredith came over since making two pork chops and a fruit tart for yourself is totally lame.
First to the brined porkchops. They were about an inch and a half thick, which made me nervous about cooking them entirely on the top of the stove because that can take some time and I didn’t want the outsides to burn. I needn’t have worried, as I actually over cooked them a little bit. Blast. I liked the brine, though the most noticeable result was a delicious apple cidery flavor after they were cooked. I don’t know that it made them any moister. I pan seared them and let them get caramelized on both sides, then threw some butter, thyme and sage into the pan and continued to turn and baste them every couple minutes. They tasted great, but I like my pork just a bit pink in the middle still, and they were past that. I am going to try the brine again and adjust the proportions and see if that helps the moistness. Or maybe I just won’t overcook them next time. That will probably help too.
To go with the porkchops I made haricot vert sauteed with a little bit of bacon and some shallots. Because nothing goes with pork like more pork. Just reading that makes me want to go running. But they were delicous also. And it looked pretty…
This actually wasn’t as rich as it sounds. I totally didn’t feel disgusting afterwards as you might expect. Pork is a pretty lean meat, and I had poured off most of the fat rendered from the bacon, so it was not at all greasy. It wasn’t a super summery meal, but I plugged in the air conditioning in the kitchen so it felt like a normal day.
Now dessert, and this is where the camera gets a bad rap. Along with the vegetables that have been accumulating in the fridge, I still had the peaches and blueberries from last week that I was saving for just this dessert and I hadn’t gotten around to it. I made a pate sablee first. Pate sablee is a sweet tart crust that is sort of like shortbread. The texture of it when it is cooked is crumbly and sandy (in a good way.) Sable means sand en francais (6 years, thankyouverymuch.) You just press the dough right into the pan, which makes it very easy.
I filled the partially baked and cooled crust with peaches and blueberries. It looked like a sunflower and ended up totally gorgeous, which was such a happy accident. This is where the camera totally failed to capture it though. Be prepared…
I had to use the flash (sacrilege!!) to get it to look like anything at all, so it is too bright and weird. Post baking it looked like this…
I mean, don’t get me wrong, you get the idea, but it looked so pretty in person, and these pics just don’t do it justice. You can’t even tell they are blueberries in the second one.
I made ice cream to go with it. I need homemade ice cream in my freezer like I need a hole in the head, but I made it for two reasons. I have only used my ice cream maker one other time this summer, and homemade ice cream is delicious. I just did vanilla, but I did a custard base. Here is the cream and vanilla bean steeping away.
And then these for the custard. How gorgeous are these? The color of fresh egg yolks is unreal.
Then you just have to cook the custard and cool it in an ice bath.
Then into the ice cream maker it goes.
And voila! Dessert.
The ice cream was a little melty, because it does well to be in the freezer for a couple hours after it comes out of the machine and before you serve it, but we didn’t have a couple hours last night. The scoop I had for breakfast this morning was a much firmer consistency.
During the course of this dessert making, I discovered not only that I need a new camera, but also, that I have a problem…
I have FOURTEEN miniature (2.5 inch, 3 inch? I am not sure) tart pans. Fourteen. Never have I ever made fourteen miniature tarts. I am not sure I have ever made TWO miniature tarts. And if you are paying attention, you will notice that they are two different kinds of miniature tart pans, though they serve exactly the same function, which leads me to believe I bought them at two different times. I have no idea what the rationale for either purchase was. (Also note, I have nine of one kind and five of the other. Who buys an odd number of miniature tart pans?) So now I am going to have to come up with a reason to make fourteen miniature tarts. After I eat nothing but salad for three weeks.