Sunday, February 24, 2008
A Sign of Recovery
Here's a sign that I'm feeling a little better, at the end of five weeks of often debilitating pain. For the first couple of weeks, I was barely able to pour my cereal in the morning. This evening, I made pork tenderloin with morels and juniper berries, served on a bed of polenta. The wine in the photograph is a superb red Coteaux de Languedoc, Les Hauts de la Brune 2005, available at the Muni for $12. The pork tenderloin was adapted from the Stufatino di Maiale alla Boscaiola from Marcella Hazan's More Classic Italian Cooking (1982); I substituted fast-cooking pork tenderloin for the cubes of pork shoulder that Marcella recommends. Marcella Hazan is responsible for a huge number of fine meals that Clara and I have cooked since we were married in 1989, and More Classic Italian Cooking has, along with The Joy of Cooking, been the most indispensable cookbook in our large cookbook collection. The book itself was a gift to Clara from her brother and sister-in-law when she graduated from college in 1983. During our first year of marriage, while Clara worked late at the library on her dissertation, I taught myself to cook by meticulously following the recipes Marcella's cookbooks. Dishes from More Classic Italian Cooking—sfinciuni with broccoli and ricotta stuffing (Sfinciuni con la Conza di Broccoli e Ricotta), pork chops with sage and tomatoes, Modena style (Costolette di Maiale alla Modenese), roast chicken stuffed with lemon (Pollo al Limone), and chicken fricassee with red cabbage (Pollo in Umido col Cavolo Nero)—have been staples in our kitchen for almost twenty years. And I have to confess, with apologies to those like my sister who think eating veal is barbaric, that one of my favorite dishes of all time is Marcella's veal chops with anchovy sauce (Nodini di Vitello con Sughetto di Acciunhe). In our copy of the cookbook, there's a note indicating that we cooked those veal chops to celebrate two months of marriage on August 29, 1989.