Thursday, March 8, 2012

Swedish Pork

What from your family of origin do you want to bring with you into this marriage? 
    What from your family of origin do you not want to bring with you into this marriage?

These questions have haunted resided with me over the past few weeks. Maybe something magical will happen in four months from today when I leave Ericson behind and become a Kanakis but I find myself watching and waiting to see how these two become one. Can we decide which parts we bring to a marriage and which we don't? The more I learn about this step in my life, the more I realize how much hard work it will be. Of course, there will be easy days when we bike to the south end of the lake and have a picnic and feel like we're trapped in a romantic comedy film where the couple just seems to so naturally love each other that you can't help shrieking at the screen "of COURSE you love each other!! Stop worrying and fussing and messing it up!" Even now, I want to just sit in that kind of warm, happy projection, and not worry so much about him crossing my t's and me dotting his i's.

This period of engagement is a funny one. The New York Times just days before Valentines Day ran a piece entitled "I love you! Now the difficult stuff" which details the hard questions that couples must ask each other before they get married. Create a "relationship vision statement" and that will help you stay the course in this muddy field. The is telling me that I have approximately 122 days until my wedding with 123 to do's left and 5 items overdue. My body is telling me that I need to work out at least four times a week, or my Sunday afternoons will inevitably begin with a big weeping session, followed by a good three hour nap. My sister is telling me that it's ok if you don't figure it all out before you get married, really.

While I continue to reside with those questions above, there is one thing I'm sure of. I like my pork and potatoes and will continue to cook with dill and winter vegetables well into the oncoming spring, knowing that real produce isn't about to show up on my doorstep for a good two months. This is the first recipe I've attempted from "Cooking the Scandinavian Way" by Elna Alderbert. Published in 1961 it opens

The Scandinavians take the pleasures of eating very seriously. There is nothing they enjoy more than the gathering together of friends and family for a festive meal...The food is always excellent and abundant without being heavy-- so you really can enjoy it without worrying too much about your waistline!"

For today, I know that my family of origin can get behind that opener, and that I will bring with me into my new family.

Stuffed Pork Rolls: Swedish

6 butterflied pork chops, bones removed, pounded thinly
1 apple, peeled, sliced
dried prunes, about a handful
1/4 t ground ginger
1 T butter
1 pint water
1 cube bullion, or 1 t Better than Bullion
1 T flour
2 T heavy cream
salt and pepper

Lay out butterflied chops on a cutting board, season with salt and pepper and ginger. Place a slice or two of apple and a prune or two in the middle of the chop. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Brown butter in a large cast iron baker, sear meat on all sides. Pour in water with boullion. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes on low. Remove pork from remaining broth, remove toothpicks, set aside and cover. Mix flour with a little cold water and add to boiling stock, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. When the sauce is smooth and thick, add cream and simmer for a minute or so. Pour sauce over meat and serve with pommes anna potatoes and vinegared cucumber.

Vinegared cucumbers
slice 1/2 a cucumber on a mandoline 1/16 inch thick. Place in a small bowl and sprinkle in 2 t grapeseed or other neutral oil, 1/4 c white wine vinegar, a few pinches of salt and a shake or two of dried dill. Allow to rest in the fridge while the pork is cooking.

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