Monday, September 17, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: September 14, 2012

I usually don't cook of Friday nights, but I had pork belly in the fridge that I hadn't cooked up during the week and didn't want to freeze it or let it go to waste.  Since it takes so long to make, I had scheduled it for Friday so that we didn't have to worry about eating late and then going to bed right away.  It turned out surprisingly well considering I was playing it by ear.  The preparation didn't take much time at all, but the entire cook time was about three hours.

First I seared the pork belly slabs on both sides.
Second, I threw in carrots, celery, shallots, and whole garlic cloves, chicken
stock and water.
As a last minute idea, I threw in some halved Roma tomatoes for the stewing.
After bringing it to a boil, I covered the pot and let it simmer on low heat for
about three hours while I did my nails. 
For the orzo, I pulled about a cup and a half of the braising liquid from the
dutch oven and added another cup and a half of water.  I added as many of
the vegetables as I could to the cooking liquid. They were extremely soft and
broke up well when the orzo was cooking, making it even tastier.

Because I was doing my nails, I quickly and
carefully chopped off the tops of two heads of
garlic for roasting.  We mashed the garlic and tossed
our string beans in them.

This is what the pork looked like after about three hours and the liquid had
nearly evaporated.  Not very pretty, but it was packed with flavor and completely
fell off the bone and separated from the fat, which is good. 


It was a pretty eventful weekend.  On Saturday we went to my 10-year high school reunion, which turned out less painful as I thought it would be.  I was always known as "Gary's girlfriend", but with the help of name tags, people seemed to remember me well enough.  I can't completely say the same for myself.  Even with name tags there were people who I completely didn't remember, but there were other who I was genuinely pleased to see.  Plus, Nick, Abby and I made a quick getaway before we go too sucked into the drunkenness.  They were starting up a game of badminton and we didn't want to have to stay for any other games. Later in the evening we had a nice Chinese dinner with Nick's parents.

On Sunday we had our macaron tasting for the wedding.  They were divine.  I actually like Sugarie better than Bouchon.  The macarons were quite a bit smaller, but they were much more tender.  The macaroons at Bouchon, while very good, are a little cakier.  We did take pictures, but that would spoil all the fun for the reveal at the wedding.  We also have to do some number crunching to make sure they're within our budget before we make any major decisions.  Right now it is looking good though. 

The bakers share a space with four other
bakers/catering companies so they came to
us instead of us driving all the way to them.
I figured the least I could was to put out some
cheese help cut through the sweetness.  Plus,
Rob and Linda were coming to help us taste
test and I know that Rob is a cheese lover like

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