Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How I spent Friday evening

Braised pork shoulder with quince

... and Saturday evening and part of Monday.

I was intrigued by the recipe because of that one ingredient -- quince. As far as I knew, quince was simply a "Food that starts with the letter Q."

What will I remember the most? That when one is working with quince, one must have a very sharp knife. Did I mention that the knife needs to be sharp? Reading through the recipe, there was a note that quinces are hard. I have never tried to cut through anything that is harder, denser than a quince. Quartering a ripe apple is easier. (This comes to mind because once peeled and quartered, quince does remind one of an apple.) It was more akin to the feeling of slicing through a large potato. But more difficult.

Why bother? For me, it's the challenge of working with an unfamiliar ingredient. While I had heard the word "quince" before, I had no other frame of reference. And so I was deeply interested.

Everything went swimmingly until Saturday evening. (Friday night I applied the dry rub and popped the sucker into the fridge.) Perhaps it had something to do with my late start. (I had originally planned to do the Saturday step in the morning. Unfortunately I did not prepare the two earlier dishes on Friday as was the plan and they ended up being prepared Saturday morning.) Shortly after 11 p.m. the dish was ready to leave the oven. But my brain was a bit addled at this point -- might have something to do with the fact that Boris felt I needed to be awake at 5:30 a.m. every morning this weekend -- causing me to try to lift the lid off the pot without the aid of a potholder. (I do this all the time with things on the stovetop since the handles are usually cool.) So now I have second degree burns on my thumb and forefinger. I poured a cocktail and used the fingers to the hold the cocktail glass. Felt just as good as holding them under a running faucet of cold water. The good thing is that initially I thought that three digits were involved. I ignored the receptionist at work on Monday when she said that I should pop the blisters. Not trying to get any infections here.

But Monday evening I pulled the stuff out of the fridge and got it all layered in the casserole dish. And that quince may be a bitch to cut up, but it's mighty good tasting once cooked. Oh, and this was also in my mom's care package. Actually the trip to mom's was more of a food exchange since my bag was just as full when I left as when I had arrived. And I took some to work yesterday as well.

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