My poor, hungry family has been longing for real food lately. It seems our schedules take us in every possible direction, usually around dinnertime. Because I am working on becoming svelte, cooking has not been on top of my list. (Full disclosure: I love to cook when I feel like cooking! The rest of the time, dinner out or something quick and easy is always a very appealing option.) Now, my family would never wish illness on anyone. Especially out sweet German friend, Ursula. But Ursula has been fighting a lot of battles since a kidney transplant several months ago. She and her family can use your prayers – and to get them through, they’ve asked for a little help with meals. So I volunteered, and bravely, they accepted! My family were the mutual beneficiaries, and I think they’re now looking for more people I could make meal for. At least that guarantees them something!
So yesterday was the day. I decided to play Pioneer Woman and take photographs while I cooked. I used to have a lot of respect for Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Now I have MOUNTAINS of respect for her! It’s quite an art to cook, deal with the interruptions of life, remember where you were in a recipe, and take beautiful food “portraits,” all at the same time. Some jobs, like working my Spätzlemachine, take two hands. However does one hold a 5-lb camera AND make Spätzle at the same time? There was flour everywhere…even a little on my camera. Amazingly though, everything turned out pretty tasty! And I don’t think I left out a single ingredient.
Started off with a salad. I’m not too bad with salads, since I always try to keep wonderful things like feta-stuffed olives, reduced balsamic vinegar (more inspiration from Ree!) and stravecchio on hand. Those will make even the plainest bunch of green stuff taste wonderful!
The main course was a spice-rubbed, grilled pork tenderloin. I’ve made this many times before, and could almost eat its wonderful mixture of spices plain. Each time I make it, I know that the outer crust WILL burn due to the sugar content. One time recently, it was positively black. Imagine taking THAT to your mother-in-law as the Easter dinner offering…. But that quick sear of the sugar and spices holds in the wonderful juiciness! Here’s the process. Sorry, you don’t get play-by-play. I can’t keep up with Ree.
See? I told you it would turn black. But it was delicious!
Then, I got brave enough to try Spätzle. It’s probably about as smart as inviting an Italian to your house for lasagna. (Ursula, if you read this, did I do okay?) Normally, there are wonderful pan juices that make a gravy for the little noodles. But my juices were either in the pork or in the grill. The pork was pretty stingy, so the Spätzle were a little dry. But I always enjoy making this Swabian specialty, squeezing the batter through the little holes in the chef-powered machine. I don’t enjoy cleaning it quite as much, but have learned that a little non-stick spray goes a long way toward making this easier. You can see that I didn’t win points for neatness in this endeavor:
And finally, dessert! More berries! This time, a Triple Berry Crisp. Yum, YUM! (I don’t think this helped on the quest for svelte!) And sadly, I don’t have pictures of the finished dessert, as we had to fly out the door to make our delivery. First, the delicious berry-ness:
The sugar reminded me of snow drifts around the berries. At this point in Texas, it’s as close as we can get!
And here is the rest of the process. The iPad is a necessity for cooking, by the way. If not for recipes, then for music. Usually both. And you can check your facebook in between dishes. So tell your significant other that if he/she wants good meals, an iPad would be an appropriate gift.
Ready for the oven…sooooo delicious!
And so ends my longest blog post ever. Soon, it will be back to business as usual with people portraits! I have some I’ve been waiting to share! When (if?) the weather cools, it will be out of the air conditioning and into the wide world that is my studio. If you’re thinking of booking a session for fall, please call me soon. It fills up very quickly, and I want YOU to have your spot!