When we first saw the February issue of Bon Appétit, we both assumed we’d end up making a pasta dish. Our shared love of pasta is well documented, and this month’s cover story just looked so dang good. After some narrowing down, tho, we settled on a possible three dishes: the ricotta gnudi for its potential in both the realms of deliciousness and epic kitchen fails, the rosti with fried potatoes because it seemed like a total tasty gimmie, and the pineapple pork chops. We decided to go with the pork chops, since neither of us cooks with pork very often (excepting other Bon experiments, of course) and we’d both never cooked chops—well, never bone–in for Laura, and any kind for Jessica. Turns out, we couldn’t have picked a better recipe to advance our pork savvy.
I am not a morning person. Never have been. I love the fantasy I have of it–getting up earlier than I have to so I can take my time, eat a leisurely involved breakfast, and sip coffee from a latte bowl while I stare out of a window at some lovely view, thinking calming thoughts about the day ahead. In reality, I push the moment I get out of bed as far back as I can and still make it to work (just) on time, and my breakfast is the opposite of leisurely and involved. All too frequently, I grab something on the run, and I almost always eat it at my desk. Instant oatmeal, semi gross protein drinks I have an inexplicable fondness for, a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and honey if I’ve allowed myself a few extra precious minutes. All of these do the trick, but none of them makes me feel exactly great about my domestic prowess. What does, tho, is a homemade muffin.
I tried so very hard to like kale. In return, it mocked me. I sautéed it with some fat and finished it with lemon (a bitter choking hazard), added it to a stir-fry (inedible), and massaged it before adding it to a tart (terrible and humiliating—I actually massaged a vegetable). This game started last summer when my CSA delivered me dusty bunches of Maryland kale week after week after week…after week. It didn’t take long for me to develop a whole-hearted, occasionally vitriolic hatred of kale.
My aversion to kale was uncharacteristic; I am by no means a picky vegetable eater. For example, I adore beets. I’ll have them in everything: salads, soups, cocktails, and cakes. Cabbage? Sure: slaw or sauerkraut, I’m game. The list goes on: broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, squashes of every variety. Kale, though, was not for me. It was always tough and bitter and tasted dirty and raw, no matter how long I cleaned or cooked it. My inability to make kale taste good was infuriating. By July, I was about as bitter as the green itself. No one really likes kale, I’d say, rolling my eyes. It’s a fad. Our human teeth are too evolved to break down that kind of roughage. Who needs it? Take a vitamin instead—tastes better. I can’t tell you how happy I was when my CSA ended and I no longer had a crisper drawer full of that bully of a vegetable.
Two Saturdays back I got an especially fun text from my beau, who was making me dinner at his place: “Do you want mousse for dessert or ice cream/popcorn?” I knew that ice cream/popcorn referred to things ready and waiting in the apartment (not, sadly, the salted caramel sundae with popcorn from ABC Kitchen that makes me swoon, tho I should really try to recreate that at home one of these days), but the mousse was a mystery. When I asked for more info he said that he was making Mexican food for dinner and thought a spicy chocolate mousse (inspired by this bare bones recipe) would go well…but in that case could I maybe pick up heavy cream and spicy chocolate? Alrighty. I decided to take the project over, and see what I could come up with.
In many respects, my fiancé Ed is a serious man. He’s a conscientious doctor, he pays his bills on time, and he sends prompt thank you notes. He’s the definition of “responsible adult.” That said, he also really loves rainbow sprinkles. His dimple is never deeper than when he’s presented with a small bowl of vanilla ice cream with a special order of “double sprinkles.”
For January’s Bon Appétit recipe test, we were drawn in by two offerings in the “Fast, Easy, Fresh” section of the magazine. It came down to the Thai Chicken Curry and the Flounder Poached in Fennel-Tomato Sauce. Laura was very tempted to start tackling her fish cooking resolution with the flounder, but was a little scared. Jessica sensed her hesitation and encouraged the curry choice. The result was a flavorful, veggie-packed dinner we were both happy to eat again as leftovers.