Bakerella

I know I can’t be alone when I say that being in the kitchen in the summer is a drag. It’s hot outside, I don’t need it to be hot inside, too. And since it’s Utah, where central air is not especially common inside homes – they favor swamp coolers here – it is frequently already hot inside anyway so the last thing I want to do is make it hotter. I prefer to flavor my food with kosher salt, not beads of sweat.

Gross.

Anyway, like most people we move to a great deal of low-maintenance cooking in this wretched heat, like grilling or things that cook quickly, and especially things that can be served cold, like this fantastic pasta salad from the June/July 2010 issue of Cooking Light. It is everything you could want in a summer dish – bright, sunny notes from the fresh dill, the tang of lemon, the smooth, silky bite of cold orzo and the crunch of crisp red bell pepper and cucumber. And the best part? I listed nearly all of the ingredients right there. The full recipe is, as usual, behind the cut.

I know, too, that it’s been a long time since I’ve updated. I won’t apologize for it, since I was using that time well, or promise that I will update more frequently, because you can see that’s worked out so well in the past, so instead I will encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed so that you’ll get the updates whenever I do get around to posting them.

Let me start by trying to describe my unholy, unhealthy obsession with custards. I love custards. I love them with a passion equal only to pork, and we have already discussed my love of the pig. Whenever I pick up a dessert menu, the first thing I look for is a custard. I have no idea what it is about them – there are certainly desserts that taste as good and in some ways better – but the combination of the taste and the texture just really work for me. Zabaglione, crème brulee, flan, you just can’t go wrong.

I could get into the history of it – custard has been around since the Middle Ages (which, by the way, happens to be the coolest period of time in history) and possibly longer – but the truth of it is, panna cotta isn’t really a custard. At least, not technically. It has more in common with Jell-O in terms of chemical structure, and there’s not a drop of egg involved. But, when made right, it has a texture and flavor to rival any crème anglaise.

Since I post so many pork recipes I felt perhaps it was time to show what you can do with the leftovers. This may not be tricky for you, but it frequently is for me. No doubt you can do Asian stir-fry, or pot pie, but if your pork has a distinct flavor it can be difficult to find the right dish for it.

This was the situation at our house two days after I made the pork roulade. The day before that I had made a huge pot of chicken and shrimp etouffee, and a soup for lunch, so the fridge was full and I was loathe to throw something else in there. It almost worked, too, except that I had leftovers of this. It is inconvenient to cook for 4 when only two actually eat any reasonable portion.

Anyway, I needed something quick, easy and used pork, and a Google search led me to the always reliable Chowhound, and this post in particular. I grabbed an eggplant from the store and went with it, and now I share it with you.