eating and running

Still on track to cook tasty dinners regularly! It feels good. Unfortunately it’s cutting into my fiber time. Balance! We will find the balance.
Tuesday’s stir fry!
I took the second half of the pork tenderloin (used the first half on monday with the risotto) and marinated it in a mixture of (all measurements approx) 2tbl course dijon, 2 tbl black bean sauce, 1 tbl rice vinegar, 1 tbl fresh grated ginger, 1 tbl sesame oil, 1 tbl soy sauce, 1 tsp chili oil. I just threw all the ingredients in a ziploc freezer bag, tossed in the pork and shook it up. It marinated for about 6 hours.
I roasted it in the oven at 325 for about 30is minutes. I put it on a cookie rack in a baking pan so it wouldn’t get soggy on the bottom. Everyone hates a soggy bottom.
Then it was the last of the CSA cauliflower and broccoli along with peas and carrots and the 2nd half of the butternut squash from the night before all chopped and ready to stir fry.
The sauce for the stir fry was (approx) 1 cup orange juice, 1 tbl soy sauce, 1 tbl fresh ginger, 1/2 tbl sesame oil, dash of chili oil. I think there was something else in there but I forget. I just start grabbing things and whisking them in. I set that to the side and started cooking the veggies. When they were done I poured in the sauce, brought it to temp and thickened it with a cornstarch slurry.
All of this was served on bean thread noodles.
Last night!
Anna and I got together for our weekly get out of the house and do something day. We decided to go out in search of a chinese buffet that wasn’t fartbox. Unfortunately, the one we found was pretty crappy. I mean I know, chinese buffets are pretty crappy, actually most buffets are crappy, they have to be in order to make their profit margins work, but still…
Anyways, there we were! In the suburbs no less! and as i was loading up on suspect proteins in multicolored goo I got to listen in on the conversation at the table next to the buffet. So we’re in the suburbs at a chinese buffet located kind of by one of those nondescript angular office ‘complexes’ populated with people who shot for the corner office downtown but landed in a cube farm by the freeway interchange. All cheap imitations of what they imagine business men look like based on whatever popular weekly drama is currently depicting business men.
They were upset. Like really really upset. How could Obama have won? How could that happen? Now what? Hell in a handbasket I tell ya! These people just don’t know what they’re in for electing a guy ‘like that’ into office.
They were polite enough. They never mentioned race and if you pinned them down on it I’m sure you could learn that each of them has lots of black friends…well, not friends – people they know….well they don’t KNOW them but they talk to them sometimes…well, they don’t really talk to them so much…well, they don’t talk to them at all unless shouting at the tv counts.
After lunch we got coffee, celebratory ice cream (OBAMARAMA!) and beer (YEAH) and headed home.
Then I taught Anna the basics of pasta dough! We made up a batch of my pumpkin pasta dough which Anna shaped into cencioni (I looked up pasta shapes to find the one it matched!).
My pumpkin pasta goes like this…
put about 2 cups of bread flour or 1 3/4 cup all purpose and 1/4 semolina flour into the bottom of a big wide mixing bowl, make a well, drop in about 3/4 can of pumpkin (straight up pumpkin! not pie filling). You can do the thing with flour on the counter and not use the bowl but I find the bowl captures any mess and cuts down on swearing immensely! To the pumpkin ad 1 tbl pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp cardamom (or 1 tbl garam masala), 1/2 tbl salt
With a fork slowly stir and incorporate the flour into the pumpkin. Continue adding flour until you can’t really stir it and then start working it by hand. You want to knead it and continue to add flour until it stops being sticky. There’s no good ratio for that, last night we added a LOT more flour than we expected and still it was sticky, it was just that humid in the house. You shape the cencioni by hand and your best bet is to get Anna started on that right away (after the dough rests). Remember to toss the newly made pasta with cornmeal to keep it from sticking together.
Crush some croutons until you have about a cup’s worth (I like salt and pepper croutons), set aside. THINLY slice 1/4 green cabbage, Medium dice a couple anjou pears. In a large frying pan (or wok, this is really easy in a wok) melt 6 tbl butter over med high. Once it foams add about 1 big handful of pecans to it (I added 2 but I have freakishly small hands), toss those around in the butter. This is where you want to watch the butter…you want the butter to start to brown but you don’twant it to burn and those moments can be very close. Once it starts to brown toss in the crushed croutons (or bread crumbs) and 1/2 tbl rubbed sage. Mix it up, kill the heat, add the pears and mix it up again. Put this to the side.
Start up a big pot of water to boil. Help Anna finish shaping the pasta in order to avoid being killed as she will realize that hand shaping pasta is kind of tedious (less tedious than the constant rolling and folding and rolling and folding when you use the Atlas). Once all the pasta is shaped and the water is boiling hard, throw the pasta into the water along with the cabbage. Put the crouton mixture back on the heat.
The cabbage will cook fairly quickly, with a big slotted spoon start scooping that out of the water and tossing it into the crouton mixture. Within a couple minutes the pasta will float to the top. Floating pasta is fully cooked pasta so start scooping those out with the big slotted spoon and toss them with the cabbage etc. The smaller ones finish first so mostly you just scoop them as they rise instead of draining the pot. Also, there’s probably a fair amount of cornmeal at the bottom of the pan and you don’t want to dump that down your drain (dump it in the toilet, trust me!).
Toss all the pasta and cabbage and crouton mix together, divide and serve!
I was also going to write an angry little screed about the various gay marriage bans that passed on election night, but it is after 9am and I have things to do! So I’ll get to that later but let me be really judgmental for a minute. If you voted to pass a law or amendment that would in any way limit the rights of homosexuals to marry, adopt children or otherwise enjoy the same freedoms you enjoy then you are, in my mind, a selfish coward. That you would choose to limit the freedoms of a group of people is low and shameful. You yourself do not deserve the freedoms that you would take from others.

6 thoughts on “eating and running

  1. Heh. I’m amused by your pasta dough recipe, when one is to “get Anna started” and “help Anna finish shaping”. Can I borrow Anna as my sous chef when I try the recipe? I promise Pittsburgh’s nice this time of year! :)

  2. Will you make this recipe and tell me how it turns out? I’m too lazy. ;)
    1 cup butter (or margarine)
    1 cup evaporated milk
    2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup white syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Melt butter in large kettle. Add rest of ingredients except vanilla. Boil to soft ball stage on candy thermometer (236 to 238 degrees). Take off the heat and add the vanilla. Pour into a buttered cake pan. Cool and cut into small squares. We wrap them in waxed and colored cellophane paper for gifts.

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