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May-19-2009

daily nom #17

Posted by aleta under daily noms

Entitled “Abstract Streetlight.”

Abstract streetlight.

I just checked to make sure, and my posting schedule does not promise anything impressive on Sunday nights (*phew!*). It has been awfully busy in Casa Meadowlark in the last few days, and not much time to photograph all the very pretty foods created within . . . I cannot think of anything more rude than whipping out a camera at your own dinner party and taking pictures of everything. Even with extremely understanding and close friends present, it’s a big nono.

So even though all kinds of lovely foods abounded, all I really shot of Saturday night’s festivities was a bean dip I made on the fly. I had made Recipe Girl’s Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing as a side, and for an appetizer-like veggie platter had in mind Creamy White Bean Dip from Bon App├ętit (via Epicurious), but if you look you’ll notice that they share the majority of the same ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, cumin, mint . . . all nice and thematic and essentially hummus, but these two dishes would have been a little too matchy-matchy.

Not to be put out, and still needing a fresh Spring-like veggie dip, I improvised.

Cannellini red pepper dip.

And it went over well.

 

 

Red and White Veggie Dip
comfortably serves 6 as an appetizer

1 can of cannellini beans
1/2 to 1 whole roasted red pepper (I had some jarred ones on hand, but you can roast your own if so inclined)
2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp salt
Sesame seeds to garnish (optional, naturally)

Using a food processor, blend. Garnish with sesame seeds. In addition or as an alternative, consider garnishing with finely diced fresh red pepper (as in not roasted) in addition or as an alternative to the sesame seeds. Serve as follows.

Partial serving suggestion.

Then suddenly remember that you have some baby carrots in the fridge that might still be good. Oh, and you bought those grape tomatoes too because remember how they were on sale?

Official serving suggestion.

 

 

nutrition summary (1 serving of 6): 115 calories, 5g fat, 4g fiber; 2 Weight Watchers Points

Last night we had paper_wings and her husband over for a proper dinner party. It went to so well! They make for truly great company. In advance, I mentioned that I was going to make pork chops to Dano and he expressed concern over the fact that every pork chop he’d ever had managed to be too dry while somehow also being too oily. Usually I agree, but I knew there must be a way, and I discovered it!

I had an idea to make, rather than an apple sauce topping, a peach topping that would take advantage of the peach season in Massachusetts (ongoing). Unable to find the perfect recipe, I set out to create my own.

edited - pork chops

We begin with a brine. Lacking brown sugar, I improvised some out of sugar and molasses.

edited - pork chops

After adding some liquids in there, simmering and letting cool, submerge the chop.

edited - pork chops

Let that chop soak for a good hour, rinse, pat dry. Now heat up some oil and butter on high (yes, high) until very hot, then sear each side of the chop for 1 minute each.

edited - pork chops

Now flip again (to the original side) and cover. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for five to seven minutes.

edited - pork chops

Then remove. Your porkchop will be tender, juicy, fully cooked and absolutely delicious. Now my first recipe involved creating a chutney, so my final result looked like this.

edited - pork chops

But the chutney, despite having onions and garlic in there, tasted an awful lot like apple sauce. And honestly, if I wanted that old standby, I’d just have done that. So my goal was to create something that tasted gross by itself and yet better complemented the chops.

This time your sauce doesn’t start while the chop is brining, but rather, after you’ve removed it from heat and loosely covered with foil to let it rest. It begins with the pan we were just using.

edited - pork chops

Sautee onions and garlic for a few minutes, then toss in the peaches with some allspice along with a dash or two of this and that (see recipe). You’ll notice this time I tried white peaches, but while they are probably more refreshing fresh, they’re not sweet enough for these purposes. So if you want to take my advice, use yellow peaches.

edited - pork chops
edited - pork chops

Now top your chop with this revised sauce. Drizzle with a small amount of maple syrup, then sprinkle finely diced red peppers for a little bit of a colourful pop!

edited - pork chops

It seemed to go over well. =)

Peachy-Keen Porkchops!

Brine

1/3 c kosher salt

1/3 c brown sugar (or 1/3 c white sugar + 1 tbsp molasses)

3 slices of peeled ginger (use a carrot peeler)

1/2 tsp whole cloves (about 14)

1/2 tsp whole pepper

2 c apple juice

2 c water

1 lb thickly sliced pork chops (this seems to work out to about two 1-1.5″ chops)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp oil (with a high burning point, i.e. no olive oil)

Combine salt, sugar, ginger, cloves, pepper, apple juice and water in a small pot; cook over medium heat until boiling and sugar & salt has dissolved. Cool completely. You can opt to leave out 1 cup of the water then add it as ice later on to speed up the cooling of it, which I also do in the freezer because I’m impatient and have no regard for the quality of my frozen foods.

Soak the chops for 1 hour, making sure they are submerged. Weight if necessary (as pictured above). Rinse & pat dry.

Heat up a tablespoon each of butter and oil in a large pan over high. Get it nice and hot. Toss in your chop (carefully, it will definitely splatter), sear 1 minute, turn, sear 1 minute, turn, cover, turn the stove to medium-low and let sit for 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to let the meat rest.

Peachy-Keen

1 yellow onion, sliced into rings

2 cloves garlic, pressed

2 peaches, sliced

1/2 tsp ground allspice

splash white wine vinegar

splash lemon juice

light drizzle of real maple syrup (maybe 1 tbsp total)

1/4 red pepper, finely diced

Using the same pan as the chops, turn heat to medium-high and cook the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes. Toss in the peaches, allspice, white wine vinegar and lemon juice and cook an additional five minutes or so. Top the chop with the peach mixture, drizzle lightly with maple syrup and sprinkle with the red pepper. The pepper is, I suppose, optional, but it look so pretty!