Anyone who works in a company of any size will tire at some point of hackneyed sports analogies when discussions around departmental or organizational performance occur. I certainly had more than my fill this past week during day-long 2014 strategic planning sessions, but perhaps surprisingly the most common sports cliche “practice makes perfect” didn’t come up.
This is a shame because of all the hot air made about around teamwork and communication, I would argue that trying to improve at your craft and learning from your mistakes is the most important element of success in any arena. I would include learning to be flexible in changing circumstances under that, too. So it is with blogging, where we can make no pretense either at mastery or of practicing very much. We have, though, been blogging a long while, more than 6 years, and have certainly learned plenty along the way from our mistakes.
We’ve seen these here interwebs change a good deal during that period. The food blogging space has gotten more crowded and if the overall quality of output (ourselves included) hasn’t risen during that period, then the quality of digital photography certainly has. We might try to console ourselves with the thought that kidneys are hard to beautify even in professional hands, but one need only glance at some of the horror shows we thought worthy of posting back in the early days to see how far we have come.
Food blogs are a visual medium. We may love excellent writing, and try our hardest to produce an approximation of that, but most visitors will search Google for the best looking dish, flock to that, and traffic numbers will rise or die based on looks alone. Acknowledging that is sometimes tough, but it’s all part of the process, and we freely admit to being by no means immune to the visual richness we now live among. So rich, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to believe that as recently as 2007, when we began this blog, there was still a relatively lively debate about the merits of digital photography versus the use of traditional film.
Our flip phones could just about take pictures at that time, but nobody in their right mind would have ever considered them good enough to use on a website to showcase food. Here we are six years later, populating an entire post exclusively with pictures taken on the iPhone. You should know that we sort of hate ourselves for doing this and can’t help despair at the thought that this is our shark-jumping moment and that henceforth everything we do will have been snapped on a phone, (although it is possible that we would post more often if that were the case). Nonetheless, it is reasonable, I think, to acknowledge that though SLR cameras remain matchless in picture quality and feature set, smartphones can still take some pretty attractive shots. We’ll just do you all a favor and avoid use of hashtags like #nofilter and #iphoneonly.
So it was that on a hot summer afternoon, as pork loin and peaches sizzled on our brand-new flat-top griddle, drink in hand and expansive of mood, rather than mess around with our SLR, a tripod and greasy fingers, we just pulled out our phones and tapped away on the screen. This was a great dish and perfect for any end of summer grilling you’ve got lined up. Cheers to you.
Adapted from Francis Mallmann’s outstandingly simple yet incredibly delicious book “Seven Fires”, he calls this recipe “Peached Pork.” I would certainly defer to him, but I think it would be best described as “buttered pork” since the lashings of dairy fat used in it are what, to me at least, makes it so special and enables the incredible caramelization of the pork.
2-lb. pork loin (not tenderloin), butterflied to 1/2-3/4 inch thick
2-4 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tablespoons each, minced rosemary and sage
4-6 peaches, halved and stones removed (we used the Saturn or doughnut peaches, but regular work perfectly fine)
1-2 sticks (4-8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Salt and black pepper
1. Using a pestle and mortar make a paste with salt, black pepper, minced garlic, rosemary, and sage, adding a small amount of oil or butter if you like to get it to stick together.
2. Season pork well with mixture and place in refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
3. Remove pork and allow to come to room temperature at least an hour ahead of cooking.
4. If you don’t have a flat-top griddle (aka chapa in Argentina or plancha in Spain), heat your largest saucepan to medium and place pork loin in middle, surround it tightly with the halved peaches and dot with knobs of butter. If it won’t all fit in one pan, use two and cut the pork into two portions, but bear in mind it may cook slightly faster in this case.
5. Cook pork for 4-5 minutes on one side, replenishing butter as you feel is necessary (both pork and peaches will absorb some and you don’t want the pan to dry out or for the butter to turn black). Turn pork and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until still slightly yielding to the touch.
6. Remove pork and peaches and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Good accompaniments include fried, boiled, or roasted potatoes, and green salads.