I feel beaten down… long hours at work and poor quality of sleep are taking their toll. This post is late and I make no apologies. I feel bad about it, it has weighed on me since the cooking that I needed to get it transcribed as quickly as possible given my workload, each day weighing heavier and heavier until now, an oppressive force on my back, I will type until the monkey is dismounted.
This meal was intuitive. The thought process was fluid and natural.
This was primarily because the main course was dictate by the leavings in Eddie’s freezer which I inherited upon his departure. It made the choice easy. He left me with a large selection of food, amongst which were a number of pork chops. I don’t have much experience with pork chops, it is not an item that is normally in my rotation given my wife’s aversion to all meats excepting fish and fowl. But, I decided, there will be no waste in this process, cook and see what the result is. I decided on a traditional approach, pork chops with an apple sauce, a veggie dish and a starch, in this case potatoes. However, I’ve never been one to leave well enough alone so I had to spice it up a bit. A bit of thought and here is what I came up with: Beer braised pork chops with a habanero apple sauce, roasted curried cauliflower and gorgonzola potato skins. Tasty just reading it, I’m sure you will agree…
The Apple Sauce: As you probably have gathered if you follow my blog in the least, I enjoy dishes that involve a bit of preparation followed by unattended cooking to reduce down or fully cook the ingredient. I like the manual labor of slicing and dicing and setting everything up but I also like the leisure involved in slow cooking with the occasional stir and letting flavors develop. Apple Sauce is like that. I peeled and cored three Braeburn apples and then cubed them into 1 inch pieces.
Drop these into a saucepan that you have a lid for followed by the zest of one lemon, one habanero sliced into extremely thin threads, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine well. After the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add a dash or two of cinnamon and let simmer until it reaches a nice consistency. You know, like the consistency of apple sauce… that’s what I would call nice considering that yes, this is an applesauce.
The Pork Chops: Another simple dish without too many moving parts, quite to my taste… take two pork chops and ensure that they are dried well. Salt and pepper both sides, pressing the spices into the meat with the palm of your hand. Sear both sides in a hot pan with a bit of oil. Once both sides are nicely seared, pour 1/2 a bottle of good beer overtop (I used sam adams noble pils because first, it was what I had and second, it’s a damned good beer). Reduce heat and let cook away until the beer has reduced to almost nothing, about 25 minutes. Serve with a nice dollop of applesauce on top.
The potatoes: This was a dish that was born from pure inspiration, there’s nothing to it really, its just a modified baked potato but the gorgonzola makes it quite attractive with a flavor bite that will make you beg for more. Bake a potato at 400 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes until the skin starts to wrinkle and the potato is pliant to the touch.
Remove the potato from the oven and let slightly cool. Slice the top and bottom third of the potato away and discard the center (well, my discard, I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and ate it. How you get rid of trimmings in your kitchen is your business). Give the two potato skins a generous twist of salt and pepper and pile on some crumbled gorgonzola. Run this under your broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts and gets just a hint of brown. add on some chopped green onions and serve immediately. Make extra, you will want them.
The Roasted Curried Caulifower: This is the only dish that
I used a recipe for this week and it is remarkably similar to the curried cauliflower that I normally make on the stove top when I make Indian food for the family. However, I think I enjoyed the flavor and texture of this method even more so I will probably add it to my standard rotation. It turns out quite nice. I followed this recipe fairly faithfully but added cayenne pepper to the sauce along with the other ground spices because I do like it a little spicier. I’m going to skip the retyping of the recipe, please follow the link to epicurious for the run down. It is definitely worth the time to click through…
This meal is best served with a lager or pils in my opinion and luckily, I had another Sam Adams Noble Pils on hand and it certainly worked. Two more things that I learned this week is that a meal like this definitely sets you up for enjoying a bit of butter pecan ice cream while sitting on the couch and that leftover gorgonzola and proscuitto makes one hell of a sandwich.
Next week, which is sooner that later due to the delay in posting this, I intend on making chorizo and cheese rellenos, spinach and anasazi beans and a cilantro and green cabbage slaw. Check it out, it should be tasty.