milk braised pork loin (+ savoring winter)

Posted: January 29th, 2015

milk braised pork loin

You know what’s really great about the cold weather this year?  It’s like it’s not bothering me at all.  I mean, sure I’m cold.  But compared to last year it’s a million times better.  Because last year not only was it cold (especially with the polar vortex and all), but I was ridiculously constantly sick and hated food and felt like death.  So this year it’s like, ehh, whatever, it’s just cold.

And since last year I completely missed out on braising season, seeing as how my diet mostly consisted of chocolate milkshakes and gatorade, I am fully taking advantage of it this year and enjoying every pot roast and pork loin that I can.  And this is a delicious one.  I know the milk sounds a little weird, but when it cooks down it turns into these delicious sweet but savory little bits that you can spread out over your pork.  And just oh my word.  It is so good.

milk braised pork loin

I think another thing that contributes to my not minding this cold season is that time is flying too quickly.  How is it already the end of January?  Didn’t we just celebrate the New Year?  I’ve had to change Evelyn’s clothes to the next size up recently (mostly because she is so tall), and while we’re stocked up on plenty of winter clothes right now, I also find myself wondering if how much more we’ll need if she’s still in the same size once the weather starts to warm up a little bit.  And then I catch myself–it’s January!  How is it that March and April feel so close!  Winter usually drags on and on!  But the truth is that we’re just over a month away from March, and then my brain starts to hurt.

Anyway, all that to say–time is flying by and I’m feeling a little sentimental about it right now.

So I’m trying to enjoy winter for what it is–sweaters and long underwear and fires in the fireplace and hot chocolate and slow cooked meat.  I’m trying not to let the cloudy days and the early sunsets get me down.  I’m trying to remember that this time will last only for this time.  And when February comes around I will never get back the winter days of Evelyn being 5.5 months old, and I will never get back the days of her only nursing (I can’t believe we’ll be starting real food soon!).

I’m so excited about the things to come–I love spring and summer so much, we have some fun things planned, and Evelyn just becomes more and more fun as each day passes–but right now is only right now, and I’m trying to slow down the passage of time and notice that.

milk braised pork loin

milk braised pork loin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

I realize that everything about this recipe sounds odd---from the pictures to the fact that all it takes is pork and milk basically. But I promise it is delicious. In fact, it is one of my favorite pork dishes I have ever made. Also, doing this on the stove is important. I tried it in the crock pot once, and it just doesn't work the same.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (1.5 to 2 lb.) pork loin
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or cast iron skillet (in which the meat will fit snuggly) heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Season with pork loin on both sides with salt and pepper. When the butter is melted and sizzling, add the pork and brown on all sides.
  2. Add the milk and a small pinch of nutmeg and bring to a boil. (Lift up the pork loin to ensure that some milk gets underneath it.) Reduce the heat to simmer, and cover the pot halfway.
  3. Cook for 2 hours, coming to check on it--stirring the milk and basting the pork with it--every so often (otherwise it had the potential to burn!). After 1 hour of cooking, flip to the pork to the other side and continue cooking. When it's done, the pork should be cooked through and the milk will have turned to little hazelnut colored brown bits (if it dries out too much before the pork is done, you can add more milk). Serve the pork sliced, with the brown bits/sauce spooned over the top.

Notes

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peanut date snack bars

Posted: January 26th, 2015

peanut date snack bars

I know I mentioned that at the beginning of each year I always get a renewed inspiration for cooking dinner and meal planning and trying to make that work in the most efficient way possible.  But this year, I feel like I have a renewed interest in food in general and how our food culture (is that the proper term?) is going to change in our house this year. Read more »

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thoughts on mothering, working, blogging, cooking, and living life

Posted: January 23rd, 2015

bottles

I started worrying years ago about how my life was going to change once I was a mother.  I am such a routine person, and when we lived in Houston and got our cat I remember having my mornings so thrown off because now I had this hyper little kitten who I was having to chase around the apartment.  And then we got a dog and I remember being so frustrated for about two months that I had to spend my mornings refereeing between the cat and puppy until they both got tired and fell asleep.

So I’ve always wondered in the past years as I’ve moved through my days how everything would change when we had a baby.  What would my work situation be like and how would I balance it with being a mother?  Would the baby nap and give me some writing time?  What about bed time?  And morning computer time?  And watching the news?  And cleaning the house?  And cooking dinner?  And reading books?

It’s not that I expected everything to remain the same–far from it.  It’s just that I knew things would change and I wanted to be able to predict what that was going to be like.

And here is what I’m learning:  I have no idea.

Because even now, even though I’m here, I have no idea what my life will look like from day to day.  And it’s a good lesson for me to learn because I am such a routine and schedule person.  But I’m learning to go with the flow more, to expect every day to be different.

The only schedule Evelyn is on is an eating schedule, which she has come up with herself, and which is making my life so much easier than it was back in the fall.  But other than that, nothing is set in stone.

Some days she naps well and I can get some things done.  Some days she hardly naps at all and I feel like I might pull my hair out (we are desperate for a nap schedule over here! and for naps that consistently last longer than 30 minutes!).

Some days we go to the office and I get as much work done as I can while trying to entertain her.  Some days at work she is great and I get a lot done.  Some days she fussy and while I may be there for 6 hours, I can really only bill 3 of them.  Some days we just stay at home.

Some days I get some cleaning done.  Some weeks laundry sits for days before being folded.  Some days I can work out.  Some weeks it doesn’t happen at all.

There are so many things to do in life:  mothering and working and writing and cooking and blogging and cleaning and grocery shopping and working out and spending time with Gerrit and watching shows that make me laugh and reading books that make me think and spending time with my family and sometimes just sitting still.

When it’s all reduced down, the only REAL requirement on this list that must be done every day is mothering.  And because of that, I know I can’t do it all every day.

But I think I’m learning that if I can do at least some of it every day, if I can do my best to just do something, then I can go to bed happy.  Because if I spent some time writing but left the floors dirty, that’s fine some days.  Or if I went to work during a busy week but didn’t have time to read, that’s ok, too.  Tomorrow I can maybe mop and then read before bed.  And in the end it will (hopefully) all balance out.

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brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Posted: January 20th, 2015

brown butter chocolate chip cookies

I wasn’t going to admit to it, but in the back of my mind I think one of my New Year’s Resolutions was Find The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.  I never said this out loud, even to myself, because this has been a goal for years and the perfect recipe has always eluded me.  One time, several years ago, I made the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies, but wrote absolutely nothing down about what I had done and was never able to replicate it. Read more »

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basic baked chicken thighs {updated}

Posted: January 16th, 2015

basic baked chicken thighs

Real life: this was the best picture I could get the other night because I got home from work late (hence dinner was running late), Evelyn was crying (I think we have a teething baby), and I just didn’t feel like I could get my act together.

I mean, it’s not bad.  I just had different visions of it.  Oh well.  It is still better than the first pictures I ever took of chicken thighs, which is the whole point of this exercise.  (Goodness, I feel embarrassed just giving you the link to that.) Read more »

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