Several years ago we donated a few hundred cook books to the local library book drive. That left us with only a hundred or so downstairs – since there’s no room upstairs to keep them. A hundred flippin’ cook books. It’s rather ludicrous on one hand – but on the other hand, these are the books I keep going to for inspiration. They’re mostly the classics – Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Lidia, of course, Vegetarian Epicure, Greens, Moosewood, Chez Panisse, Marcella Hazan, Joy of Cooking, and a pretty beat up copy of Better Homes and Gardens. Along with those hundred books are a few dozen copies of La Cucina Italiana magazine, Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit, and a couple of old Gourmet magazines – and a file folder of recipes I’ve cut out of magazines and have never done anything with.
I’m not really obsessive. Really.
Okay… maybe a little. The odd thing about it all, though, is I really don’t follow recipes very well. I read them, get ideas, and then make something – often completely different from what I originally read.
And the hard part is translating what I did to paper – or – electronic media. Whatever.
Like tonight’s dinner…
Someplace, somewhere, I saw a recipe using Robiola Cheese – a cow, sheep, and goat milk cheese from Italy. It sounded really good – and I promptly forgot about it. Today, I was at the grocers, and saw a half-round of Robiola cheese. It was one of those OMG! moments! I picked it up without even looking at the price or really knowing what I was going to do with it. I’m usually a reasonably-savvy shopper, but sometimes… Fortunately, I didn’t have to take out a second mortgage for it – it was pretty reasonable.
UNfortunately, I got home and started searching for that robiola recipe – and couldn’t find it. It doesn’t help that I really don’t remember what the recipe was, but I’m semi-reasonably sure I’d recognize it if I saw it, again. Maybe. Or maybe not.
What I did find was a recipe for Pork Loin with Robiola – Lombatine di maiale con robiola – on the La Cucina Italiana site.
Here’s the translated recipe:
Pork Loin with Robiola
- 4 pork loin 450 gr
- robiola 100 gr
- yogurt 50 gr
- butter 50g
- 1 orange
- 1 egg
- stewed onions
- bread crumbs
- mild mustard
- mixed pepper
- chopped parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
Melt the butter with whole orange rind and a good grinding of pepper mixed. When it is melted, add a pinch of chopped parsley, turn off and let cool. Mix the soft cheese with the yogurt and the cold use butter, formed a Salametto and wrap in baking paper. Put it in the freezer for 30 ‘. Brush the mustard loins on both sides, then roll them in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Cook them in a pan with hot oil. Add salt and serve with a Salametto washer robiola and stewed onions.
First, you’ll notice that mine looks a bit different. The recipe was actually for a robiola compound-butter that was placed atop the cooked pork chop. I was using a pork tenderloin and wanted a more pronounced sauce – not a cold butter.
I did spread a bit of dijon mustard on the pork scallops before flouring, dipping, and bread crumbs, but the sauce was wing-it. I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small pan, added half the cheese – maybe 3 ounces – and let it melt. I stirred in the grated rind of 1 lemon, a handful of chopped parsley, and a handful of chopped chives – and a hefty pinch of pepper.
A fun primi needs a fun secondi so I did a search for patate and found a really interesting potato torta – Torta di Patate. I had the ingredients for the potato cake itself, and had a bag of spinach that needed using. To work I went.
- milk 250 g
- potatoes 200 gr
- Dry homemade bread 150 gr
- beans 120 gr
- 3 eggs –
- a tomato –
- butter –
- flour –
- basil –
- extra virgin olive oil –
- salt –
- pepper –
To prepare the cake of peeled potatoes and cook the potatoes in boiling water for 15-20 ‘, then drain and sieve. Private bread crust and ammollatelo in milk. Mix the potatoes with the slightly squeezed bread, eggs, a big dollop of chopped basil, salt and pepper; pour the mixture into a mold (ø 22 cm) greased and floured. Bake at 160 ° C for 25 ‘. Slit tomato, sbollentatelo for half a minute and remove skin; remove the seeds and cut it into cubes. Trim the green beans and boil them in boiling water for 6-8 ‘. Drain, cut into bobbins and toss in a pan for 3-4 ‘in a thin layer of oil. Remove from the heat and add the diced tomato. Remove from the oven and cover the cake with green beans and diced tomato.
I made the potato cake pretty much as written, except I used three small individual molds. Presentation is everything, right?!?
I sauteed shallots in a pat of butter, added the spinach, a splash of white wine, and some S&P. Done.
The main thing you need to remember when doing a Google-translated recipe, is that Google does not translate recipes very well. Another thing is European recipes do not give the step-by-step detailed instructions the modern American cook has gotten used to. They start off on the premise that you know where the kitchen is.
And ya need to know Metric. I have a little electronic scale that can be set to just about anything from grams to ounces, pounds to kilograms – and it was under $10. You can Google temperature conversions…
In the meantime… I think it may be time to revisit some of those books downstairs… There’s a feast awaitin’ us, I just know it!