In order, somewhat, the pork loin is cooked, chicken stock is cooling on the counter, the flourless chocolate cake is also cooling on the counter and the beans are soaking. It's too late now to worry whether I should have chosen pork butt instead of loin or to worry about whether it will overcook with the beans.
Between games tomorrow I need to drain the beans, rinse the salad greens, chop the mire poix, cut the sausage and decide whether I want more of the hog jowl bacon chopped. I'll cut the apples and soak them in some lemon juice and water in the refrigerator. I might even cut the bacon, but it might be nicer to have it hot.
Dinner will start with a salad, packaged greens that are supposed to be a fifty/fifty mix of baby spinach and spring mix, granny smith and ambrosia apples, bacon and toasted pecans. The dressing is a sort of buttermilk vinaigrette that I'm stealing from Ms. Joy which is recommended in her book with a similar salad to mine. After the salad we'll be moving on to a cassoulet followed by the previously mentioned flourless chocolate cake.
This is only the second attempt I've made at a cassoulet. I'm cobbling a variation together using Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Joy of Cooking and a little bean cookery advice from Alton Brown. I don't have goose or duck confit. I don't have any mutton. I do have pork loin, smoked sausage and hog jowl bacon.
While I'm sure I can produce an end product that is tasty, I have no fear that I'll actually approach a real cassoulet, a classic of French peasant cooking, a large casserole that not only uses available ingredients but is argued about seriously should you choose to vary your recipe from that of basically anyone within earshot.
I haven't even cooked beans that often (almost never) and have that whole concern to be concerned about. I'm a little worried about the cake as well. I couldn't mix the chocolate mixture with the egg whites any more without flat beating the shit out of them, and now I'm a little afraid that I can kind of see some unmixed beaten whites spotting the surface of the cake. We can't know till tomorrow when we dig into it, but I can't help but worry. A rich slice of chocolate cake can almost hope to fix a nearly mediocre meal. I'm confident with my salad, and I mostly expect good things out of my cassoulet, but the cake has me nervous.
I'm sure I'll remember to post about the great fun we had, drinking wine with friends and enjoying a nice meal. It'll be awesome, the food will be better than I expected, and all sorts of niceness. And because I've been posting so regularly, you can rest assured that you'll have the info soon after the affair.
And if you're lucky, I'll take pictures and tease you with glimpses of my culinary achievements. Just you wait.