leave your inhibitions at the door
Well, you can’t win ‘em all.
I try really hard to make sure that anything I cook is visually appealing, even when I’m not posting pictures of it. However when I started blogging a couple years ago, I didn’t have much experience taking pictures of food. So anything did presentation-wise was really and exercise in futility as my (lack of) camera skills undermined all my efforts. For example, one of my first recipes I posted was for braised veal cheeks over creamy polenta. I was experimenting with braising liquids by using wine in one pot and Belgian beer in the other.
See what I mean? In person it was actually really stunning looking. I even put that little swoosh of sauce on purpose. AND let’s not forget the bread in the background. But the picture itself really doesn’t do the food any justice.
So I made it a personal mission of mine to lose the title of “the world’s worst Asian photographer.” I experimented with lighting and different angles. I even bought a kick-ass camera. And I think started getting better. Take a look at this spicy avocado cream soup I did last year –
It’s a beaut, eh? And that picture was taken with an iPhone.
But recently, I made something that even Ansel Adams or Herb Ritts couldn’t help.
I found the recipe in The Gastrokid Cookbook, a terrific one I picked up for a couple bucks when Borders closed. It has great recipes in it that are meant to foster the next generation of foodies, while keeping their parents happy as well. So, although it’s kid-centric, there are some very adult-friendly dishes such as salmon saltimbocca, Moroccan chicken, and The Spotted Pig’s Gnudi.
Because everything I’ve tried from the cookbook was a success, I had no problem taking a flyer on this odd-sounding dish – pork with caramelized milk sauce. It was really rich and completely delicious, but damn it was FUGLY. In the description for it, they said “a dish needn’t be pretty to be pretty darned delicious.” They even said the sauce would be slightly lumpy. But I think I flat-out made it worse. As you’ll see later, it’s not just slightly lumpy, it’s like grainy lumpy. The official term for this is that “the sauce has broken.”
There are ways to fix this, but I was too lazy and the kids were starving. So I kept it fugly and, thankfully, the kids didn’t care. I’m definitely going to make this again as it was that tasty and I really recommend you try it, too. It’s really easy and only takes a few ingredients. Unless you’re trying to keep Kosher, then you better avoid it. But I’m sure you knew that…
Pork with Caramelized Milk Sauce
– 1 pork tenderloin
– salt and freshly ground pepper
– 1 Tablespoon butter
– 3 cups milk
1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat
2. Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper
3. Melt the butter and brown the pork all over.
4. Once browned, add a coup of milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
5. After 15 minutes of simmering, add another cup of milk.
6. After another 15 minutes, add the third cup of milk.
7. After 45 minutes total cooking time, the pork will be tender and the milk will have reduced to caramelized clumps. Remove the pork and collect the milk in a serving bowl. Let the meat stand for 10 minutes, then carve and serve with the milk.
So here’s what it ended up looking like –
See, I wasn’t kidding.
Have you ever made anything that looked like an abomination but was delicious? Do you bother to try to fix it? Or do you make like Barry White and just dim the lights super-low?