Had lunch today with two of my girlfriends at Sweetwater in Williamsburg. It was just OK food (I had eggs benedict, and my friends got a salad and a lamb burger, respectively), but the atmosphere was really nice and the line was much shorter than the one at Egg (a restaurant I think is totally overrated). I also bought a completely amazing (and cheap!) vintage dress at Beacon’s Closet so, all in all, it was a nice final day off.
When I got home, I began preparing my “heralding in the fall” dinner: two pork chops, cooked according to Mark Bittman’s simple recipe; roasted sweet potato and delicata squash in a sage/brown butter sauce; and spinach with garlic and butter.
I was going to make baked apples, but I attempted to core them upside down (for reference, folks, you want to core them from the bottom– not from the stem side– if you want to actually get the core out).
I didn’t use a recipe for the squash/sweet potatoes. I just heated the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and started with one sweet potato, sliced into quarter inch rounds. I lined my roasting pan with tin foil and coated it in a little butter, laid my potatoes on half of this and brushed them with a bit of melted butter, and sprinkled on salt and pepper. I cooked them for about half an hour before I added the squash.
Squash is really tough to work with, especially the delicata, which was small and has an intensely thick rind. I lost about half of the squash in the peeling process (which was more like hacking at it with my serated knife– the only one in my rather fancy knife set which could even get through it). I lost some more in my clumsy attempt to seed the thing. Next time, I’ll try to get a bigger squash, so I can absorb the losses. I also cut this into quarter-inch thick chunks and added them to the same pan as the potatoes a half hour later, treating them the same way (butter, salt, pepper). I cooked all the vegetables for half an hour more, until tender and slightly browned. I served them in sage brown butter, which is an amazingly easy and delicious sauce: heat however much butter you want over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the foam subsides and the whole mixture is nut-brown (no more than 5 minutes). When the whole thing is very foamy, but not brown– after 3 minutes or so– add the chopped herbs (sage is my favorite) and let them heat up and infuse the sauce for a minute or two.
I get nervous making sure pork and chicken are fully cooked, but Mark Bittman’s recipe was easy to follow, and I’ll definitely try it again. I halved the whole recipe for two and cooked my chops, which were quite thick, a few minutes longer than he suggested. I found the pan juices stayed a bit thin, even after cooking, but they were very tasty.
My spinach was super lazy: frozen spinach, defrosted, with some butter and garlic.
I feel OK about going back to work tomorrow, especially since there won’t be students until Wednesday and my totally awesome husband has agreed to go in with me for the day to help me set up my classroom.
Off to bed soon! Gotta get back on an earlier, teacher schedule…