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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Best-laid plans often don’t go as planned

I love it when a plan comes together, and sometimes it’s even enjoyable when the plan does not in fact go – well – as planned. In the words of the early chef Antonin Careme, “The recipe that I am going to sketch for you here is quick and simple: my life has not gone quite as planned.”
Profound words from a man who would pass at the relatively young age of 48; but he would part ways with mother earth as a man who would change the landscape of Western cooking forever. In his few years on this earth, Careme managed to cook for kings, queens and czars, all while being able to codify an antiquated and disorganized system of professional and guild cooking. And to think that he did it all without once falling on his own sword.
While my short tale is certainly not as dramatic or intriguing as Careme’s, it does go to show you that the best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, or so sayeth Careme’s Scottish contemporary [Robert] Burns.
As I walked around today in shorts and flip-flops, all the while relishing the sunshine, it gave me pause to consider life – specifically our little snowstorm on Friday. At school, we had a tough week in which we prepared foods for a special event that we in essence weren’t even catering, made pates, terrines, sausages, hors d’oeuvres, delicious pies, et al.
Moreover, we were charged as we usually are at this point of the semester with feeding a small group of people as part of our food prep class. Preempting the event, and fully assuming the best weather that March can bring, I bought a case of heirloom tomatoes for the luncheon, a colorful array of reds, yellows and purples.
Heirloom tomatoes hold such a special place in my heart, as they squawk, “Spring” in all of their glory, and have no shame in showing you their bruises, bumps and rough spots. You would be hard-pressed to find as many blemishes from a factory farm, but then again, you would also be hard-pressed to find the flavor.
Heirlooms and fresh tomatoes are ubiquitous come June, and are such an important part of summer cuisine. But getting back to the story at hand – the case of heirlooms in the beginning of March – they were splendid. As I removed the cardboard lid, the aromas filled the air around me and drifted listlessly to my nose. There is something about the smell of fresh, ripe tomatoes that sooths my soul.
And, by Friday, it was snowing. It felt strange to serve such a fresh and summer-themed fruit to our guests, but I had little choice, and I certainly was not about to use them for tomato sauce.
Accordingly, we served them, and they tasted as sensational as they smelled. The plan (while not the original) went off without a hitch, and in our business all we can hope to do is to deliver a good product and service and that is exactly what we did.
And as the original plan was to find some for my family, that was not to be. I had to settle for grape tomatoes at home, as a simple garnish to a beautiful sous vide pork. Plans … who needs them?
Sous Vide Pork Chops
Serves 2
10 oz. Fresh pork chops, 1-inch thick
1/4 cup Lemon-garlic dressing (recipe follows)
4 Baby carrots, cut diagonally
6 Assorted fingerlings, cut on a deep bias
Salt, as needed for water
Olive oil, as needed for saute
1 cup Good veal stock
1 cup Baby Arugula
6 Yellow grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp.
Salt & Pepper, as needed

1. Trim pork chops and place in a Ziploc bag, topping off with dressing
2. Fill a pot with water and set your sous vide cooker to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Place the pork in the water, ensuring that the temperature remains at 140. If it goes down, wait until it reaches 140 to start your countdown
4. Cook at 140 for one hour and remove bag from the water bath
5. While the pork is cooking, par cook root vegetables in salted water until they are firm but tender
6. Drain and allow to steam dry
7. When you are close to service, heat a heavy pan
8. Add oil to the pan and sear the pork until one side is nicely browned
9. Remove and set aside
10. Add more oil if needed, ensuring that you don’t add too much, and then add the root vegetables
11. Cook until they have some nice color and then deglaze the pan with the veal stock.
12. At service, simply place root vegetables in a bowl, top with pork and then top it all off with a small salad of greens tossed in the lemon-garlic dressing and some pepper-studded tomatoes
Lemon-Garlic Dressing
Makes about 1 pint
½ cup Lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, blanched
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Local honey
½ cup Grapeseed oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. This will only hold temporarily, so just make sure that you whisk before using, or shake if you have it in a bottle
2.This should be a part of your summer repertoire as it is light and refreshing on salads, heirloom tomatoes and what not