Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Life & Style

On Perfect Recipes and Imperfect Friendships

Many decades ago, we spent a New Jersey weekend with my husband’s friend, a radiologist. I call him my husband’s friend because, once my husband died, I exited that friendship because I basically detested him.

In any case, this man talked about his radiologic partner and noted that he couldn’t stand the partner’s wife. Always curious, I asked what his wife was like.

He responded with a description I am unable to repeat in a family newspaper.

“Did she work?” I asked.

“Nah,” he snorted. “She baked muffins or cookies. Something like that.”

I later realized that she was, indeed, Rose Levy Barenbaum, considered one of the finest pastry chefs in the world and author, at that time, of The Cake Bible, the first cookbook that garnered a million-dollar advance

Rose and I became friends and are, to this day, very close. Her books line my bookshelves. If you have used any of her books, you can’t miss with her careful recipes, which include not only what to do but what not to do. For a few of her cookbooks, she has asked me to test recipes.

I hope someday she will meet my new friend, Richard Swanson. Richard works at The Day and, if he decided to write cookbooks, all his recipes would be as perfect as Rose’s.

He writes every recipe and reworks with every ingredient multiple times. He has entered food contests and wins! By the time he gives me something to taste, he has probably done the same 3 or 4 or 20 times. You will love his wonderful winter entrée.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at leeawhite@aol.com.

Pork Cider Stew with Rutabaga, Potatoes, and Cabbage

From Richard Swanson, Waterford



1 ½ pounds pork loin

Olive oil or canola oil

1 ½ cups Vidalia (or sweet) onions

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups diced rutabaga

2 cups diced russet potatoes

1 small bag Dole shredded coleslaw mix with carrots

(about 4 cups)

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

4 cups apple cider (unfermented)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon caraway seed

½ teaspoon white pepper



Place 1 tablespoon oil into a Dutch oven and brown pork loin over medium heat (or on the sauté function if you are using your Instant Pot).*

Toss onion and garlic around pork and continue to cook covered until translucent, then pour chicken broth and braise the pork loin for 20 minutes, covered.

Remove pork loin and place aside. Pour water and apple cider and spices into the pot and add rutabaga, potatoes, and cole slaw mix. (Rich doesn’t add the dressing packet). Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes until rutabaga and potatoes are almost fork tender.

In the meantime, dice the pork loin add it to the pot to reheat the meat. To thicken the broth: at the end of the cooking, pull about a cup of the veggies mix out of the mix and blend them with a little bit of broth in a blender or immersion stick blender to make a thick paste. {I might mix this with a tablespoon of cornstarch and add it to the stew at high heat.)

Add the paste back into the pot and stir. Salt to taste and serve.

*Instant Pot option: You can use the pressure cooker function on the Instant Pot to completely tenderize the pork and cook the vegetables until tender, but be careful you don’t turn the potatoes and rutabaga into mush.

Lee White is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Lee at .

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