Tuesday, March 30
I am blessed to have a sister who would fetch Mom from the convalescent home, shepherd her through myriad appointments, errands and visits and then pack the car to make an Okie proud and carry her south, where we can help - maybe speed - her recovery. It has been just over a month since a low-blood-pressure episode put her in the hospital and then the convalscent home.
It was a fretful month for us siblings. But we saw our Mom roll with the flow of close quarters, wheelchairs and walkers, a cardiac diet, physical therapy, fluorescent lighting, interrupted sleep and the general surrealism of institutional care.
With that month behind us, I look forward to Easter and her April birthday, stamina-building walks in the neighborhood and adventures around the city, visits with friends and family, cooking and stories. It should be a good visit.
Saturday, March 6
On the cooking front, I've been testing the new kitchen and showing off the results with dinner parties and gatherings. The most memorable (maybe the most nerve-wracking) was a Sunday supper for my dear friends from Long Beach. They have hosted countless yummy meals that usually center around a big piece of meat and they seem to do it effortlessly! I wanted to make a special meal for them.
Just before the Superbowl, the New York Times published a recipe for porchetta at home, reminding me of Adam Roberts' post about porchetta and a visit Janet, Cullen and I made to the Ferry Building farmers market in San Francisco where we tried the porchetta rotisserie truck. A big juicy flavorful roast would be just the ticket to test my new oven's roasting probe and delight my friends.
So, I visited Jon of Huntington Meats in the old Farmers Market to get a pork shoulder. He set me up right. He butterflied the roast so that when I seasoned and rolled it there were lots of layers for yummy goodness. Here are the before-roasting pictures. I forgot to make after-roasting pictures until I made the plate of leftovers you see at the top.
citrus salad with mint and feta, steamed asparagus and ciabattini rolls with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
For dessert, we had lemon curd mousse dusted with shaved dark chocolate from Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today. That mousse had a wonderful flavor but something was oddly granular about the texture. I need to keep working on that one. The curd part was just fine so there was something about the cream and curd combination.
[Thanks to Tom for the Christmas gift of wine. With dinner, we drank Chateau LaGrange Saint-Julien 1996, which is way too good a wine for my undiscriminating palate but my gests enjoyed it!]
For anyone wondering about the Bosch electric oven, it is great. The probe worked like a charm. The room-temperature roast went into a cold oven with the probe inserted deep inside from one end. I set the oven for convection roasting at 250 degrees and set the probe for an internal temperature of 155 degrees. The recipe said the roast would take about five hours. Even starting from a cold oven, the convection oven finished the job about 30 minute early. I double checked the internal temp with an instant-read thermometer and it was spot on. The roast rested while we toured the remodel (with lots of oohs and ahs), then carved up juicy and tender.
You know that leftover plate up top? The next evening, I ate a puddle of polenta topped with garlic-sautéed greens and a slice of porchetta. When your leftovers are this delightful, you know you are living well.