Sunday, October 9, 2011


HEAD'S UP:  Don't know why these last two posts didn't show up.  I know I posted them, but in any event, if they seem dated, they are by a few weeks. 

One of my oldest friends (more than thirty five years now) also lives in Portland.  Jean-Francois and I have been through quite a lot together and one of the reasons I love the city so much is that I got to reconnect on a regular basis with my old friend.  Summer means travel and he and his partner, Jay, just got back from a long and extended stay in France, Italy and Belgium.  Jean-Francois retired as head of Portland's French-American school a few years ago, but he keeps busy as a consultant to a number of schools from Italy to Houston and Virginia Beach.  I snagged him for a free night at home and we had dinner on Saturday night--I did the cooking.  Dinner included a pork loin braised in milk--a recipe I've been doing from Marcella Hazan's THE CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKBOOK for some thirty years now.  It's always a a hit.  You gently braise a lean loin of pork in whole milk for a few years until its tender. Meanwhile, the milk has reduced to these glorious nut-brown curds in the pan.  You skim off the fat, add a tablespoon or so of hot water, reducing the curds and creating a sauce. You then pour it over the sliced meat and serve.  It's an amazing dish.  I forgot to take to prepare my roasted potatoes, and instead, ran for the freezer and Trader Joe's excellent Tater Tots.  I added a big mixed salad, and sauteed zucchini with scallions, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and showered it with a chiffonade of basil leaves.  For dessert we had a gallette of pears with orange zest and vanilla.  

My hydrangeas have turned colors.  The big, showy round ones are green with a blush of pink and the spear-shaped flowers have taken on a reddish color (they were pure white in July).  I wanted to capture their fall beauty and created this nice arrangement for the table.  

John Baker brought a selection of cut flowers with gorgeous jewel colors and felt like fall from Zupans, his local high end grocer, which has a fine florist on the premises.  The result was to spectacular arrangements that feel like fall. 

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