Sunday, September 26, 2010

Summer encore

Day 169

Day 259

Ugh. Summer weather decided to come back onstage for one last song. Or three. Friday was the worst, and last, of it though (until next time, of course), so good riddance (for now).

After two preschool days in a row at our place, it was back to the drop-off schedule. Whoo! Buh-bye, buddy, have a nice time. And he did. He was also on really good behavior when it was time to go home, for which I was very grateful. After I dropped him off in the morning, Eleri and I came back home. We hung out, I fed her some solid food slurry, and then she went down for a nap and I got some work done on Soren's Christmas stocking. Yeah you remember the stocking I started making for him, oh, about 10 months ago? Well, after I didn't manage to finish it in time for Christmas, I set it aside, and then I had a baby, and I didn't get around to picking it up again until a couple of weeks ago. But I figure, between preschool a couple of times a week and Soren's weekly swimming lesson, as long as Eleri's morning nap doesn't fall seriously astray from its usual time, I should be able to manage a few hours a week of stocking project progress. We shall see! I'm fairly optimistic I'll be able to complete it before this Christmas. Probably won't get one made for El this year, but hers can be next year's project.

So, yeah, picked the lad up from preschool, and it was just brutally hot. So what did I decide would be great to do? Burn the friggin kitchen down.

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration.

When we were out a'grocering on Thursday, I'd picked up a pork tenderloin from Trader Joe's. My intention was to cook it in the crock pot on Friday, so I hunted down a promising-looking recipe online, made a few slight modifications, and got down to business.

Step one - Cut slits in pork and stuff with garlic. (I cut about 5 cloves into halves or thirds, lengthwise, and shoved each piece into a different slit in the meat.)

Step two - Sear tenderloin on the stove.

*Pause. Digress.*

Pan searing is kind of a tricky skill. I have had a difficult time waiting for the pan to get hot enough to properly sear the outside without having to leave the meat in the pan so long that the inside starts to cook. I've been getting better at it, though. And this time, I waited, and waited, and waited. Soren was restrained in his high chair, eating some yogurt, and Eleri was chilling in the bouncer, so there was no danger of any small fries coming into contact with the super hot stove in any way. The pan was scorching. So in the pan went the pork, and it got a beautiful sear, and I transfered the meat to the crock pot, patting myself on the back. And then I decided I should take advantage of the crispy meaty residue in the pan (Boy does that ever sound appetizing. You're welcome, my vegetarian friends.) by deglazing the pan with a bit of butter and wine and making a nice little sauce.

I've deglazed pans plenty of times. Usually I use white wine, and the pan is more than just a few degrees cooler than the surface of the sun. This time, however, I used red wine (the recipe called for some, anyway), and the pan was rather a bit hotter than I normally get it. So I splashed a wee bit of wine in, and it burned off almost instantly. I tossed in a sliver of butter, which bubbled and popped, and before this had a chance to evaporate as well, I poured in some more wine.

The resulting cloud of smoke was enormous. It was a very white smoke, so at first I thought it was just vigorous steam, but it rapidly filled the entire kitchen. I tried for a few more moments to salvage my whole deglazing effort, but there was no hope. (Seriously, after all that, it didn't even deglaze the pan. Just burned more. Huh?) Once I'd gotten both extraction fans in the kitchen turned on, plus an additional giant standing fan blowing out the kitchen door, I was able to continue my dinner prep.

*Digression over.*

Step 3: Smear crushed garlic on the meat, coating both sides. Add 1 cup broth, 3/4 cup red wine, 1 packet onion soup mix, 3 TB soy sauce, some black pepper, some thyme.

Step 4: Set crock pot to Low Heat and cook for 4 hours.

The end result was some very tender pork, but it was really, really quite salty. Probably the broth + onion soup mix + soy sauce combination was a bit of overkill. I think the next time I make this (and I will definitely make it again), I'll substitute actual onion and perhaps some other spices for the onion soup mix, and maybe leave out the soy sauce. Even so, it was pretty tasty!

After Tom got home, he cooked up some Brussels sprouts to go with the pork, and I went to the gym. I tried to combat the whole "my lungs feel like they aren't filling up all the way" thing by breaking up my 20 minutes of cardio into 5 minute chunks, with ab exercises in between. Five minutes on the treadmill, abs, five on the rowing machine, abs, five on the treadmill, abs, five on the rowing machine. I hadn't used the rower in quite some time, and it was tough. Good workout though. I'm really not thrilled with the whole breathing situation, but hopefully if I modify my workout for a couple of weeks it'll get better.

I came back from the gym to find that Eleri had fallen asleep in her bouncer. Tom said she was starting to get restless, but he was just finishing up with the sprouts, and before he was done, she'd just laid her head down and passed right out. Pretty damned cute.

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