|soon to be salpicon|
The other night I made the pork chops with green salsa rice. You sear chops in a skillet, put some uncooked rice atop each chop, pour salsa over everything, and roast for an hour, tightly covered. These were a smash hit, even though the rice never fully cooked. That's a big "even though," but these were so popular I'm letting it go. And it is always possible I made some mistake. You can just cook the rice on the stovetop while baking the chops.
The recipe calls for thick pork chops which Fain says should weight about 1/2 pound each. I appreciated the clarity. Recipes often fail to specify and you're left wondering whether to buy the pork chops from Safeway, each one the size and weight of a slice of bad supermarket sandwich bread, or the chops from Whole Foods, each the size of a small Easter ham. It's like they're totally different foods! Shouldn't they have different names?
The next night, I made the jalapeno mustard roast chicken. You marinate a spatchcocked chicken in yellow mustard, spices and salt, which simultaneously flavors and brines the bird. Delicious and super-easy. Sure was ugly, though.
I have also cooked a brisket (5 hours in the oven, tightly wrapped in foil) to make Fain's salpicon, but I can't comment on that dish yet as we're going to eat it tonight.
On another subject, a few weeks ago I read a sentence in a book that described how noisy old clocks affected our perception of time. I decided I wanted to know a bit more about noisy old clocks, maybe buy one. Whoa. Match to pile of dry leaves. Now I think about old clocks all the time, stalk them on the internet and in charity shops, have crushes on some clock styles and grudges against others. I found an Ingraham clock in a shop and was thinking of buying it, then I walked down the street and saw an antique French grandfather clock that took my breath away and made me forget the Ingraham clock. But I can't afford a grandfather clock. I also want a banjo clock, which I can afford if I strike, so to speak, at the right moment on eBay. I lost a bidding war on for a stunning Sessions banjo clock and another for a New Haven banjo clock that I'm relieved I didn't get, but now I'm in the running for a miniature banjo clock, an adorable starter banjo. Don't you dare outbid me.
I won't bore you about clocks again, don't worry. But the clock fixation is not entirely unrelated to why I started this blog, which was to address the cookbook fixation, which I haven't done. I've described the fixation and had a lot of fun wallowing around in it, but the roots remain obscure.
Why clocks? Why cookbooks? Besides beginning and ending in hard consonants, what do they have in common? Why not birds? Why not opera, Victorian teacups, rowing, or mid-century gravel art? Why do we love what we love? Why am I like this and you're like that and why in the world does anyone collect barbed wire?
Maybe I'll figure it all out in 2013. I'll let you know.