Posts tagged ‘pork chops’

Pork, Pasta, Veg

Menu: butterfly pork chops * roasted beet salad * trecce dell’oro pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes * sauteed spinach * peaches with vanilla yogurt
Wine: Peter Lehmann 2005 Barossa shiraz

With a crisper drawer full of kale from the farmers market, I’d found a recipe in The New Best Recipe for Kale with Lentils. To go with, I was thinking of some kind of Indian chicken… a yogurt or tandoori kind of recipe… and then our dog got heatstroke and the hours slipped by and it was too late to marinate anything. Time for a quick Plan B.

I’d roasted chioggia beets from local market vendor Tecolote Farm yesterday, for a salad I do based on one in Mollie Katzen’s Still Life with Menu… roasted beets, an herb, a nut, a cheese, always with fresh-ground salt, pepper, and garlic (I have a grinder for dried garlic), a kind of vinegar, and a kind of oil. The combinations can be a lot of fun. I picked up butterfly center loin pork chops at H-E-B, and had a bag of trecce dell’oro (golden braids) pasta, so thought I would do something vaguely Italian.

Pork chops:
2 butterfly center-cut pork loin chops
olive oil
fresh-ground salt (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground pepper (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground Italian herb blend (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground red pepper flakes (just a bit)
2 dozen cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle slight amount olive oil in bottom of cooking pan. Place pork chops in; grind seasonings over. Turn over; repeat. Scatter cherry tomatoes around and on top. Bake 40-45 minutes or until pork reaches internal temperature of 160-165.

Roasted beet salad
4 beets, greens and tail removed
leafy herbs (choose one like mint or basil; tonight I used basil)
nuts (choose from walnuts, pine nuts, pepitas, hazelnuts; tonight, walnuts)
crumble-able cheese (choose from feta, blue, even tiny mozzarella pearls; tonight, feta)
specialty vinegar (choosed from balsamic, champagne, cane syrup, white wine, etc.; tonight, balsamic)
oil (choose from olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, etc.; tonight, olive)
fresh-ground salt
fresh-ground pepper
garlic (fresh-ground, very finely diced)

Preheat oven to 400. Wrap each beet individually in foil; bake 45 min to 1 hr. Let cool; peels will rub right off. Cut into quarters; slice each quarter in thin slices. Toss in bowl with salt, vinegar, oil, and garlic. Add nuts, cheese, and herbs to taste. Will change anyone’s mind ever about beets.

Trecce dell’oro pasta: Bring water to boil; boil 12 minutes. Toss with butter or olive oil and fresh basil cut in chiffonade. (An amazing technique that works on leafy ingredients from basil to collard greens; stack leaves, roll tight like a cigar; slice thinly across roll to create lovely thin ribbons.)

Sauteed spinach: In large saute pan or wok, heat a drizzle of olive or other oil on high. Add fresh spinach (for 2, somewhere between 6 and 8 oz); quickly stir. Grind fresh salt and/or garlic over. Continue to stir as if stir-frying. Entire cooking process takes 2 minutes at most. No other ingredients needed, though various vinegars can be quite good. I’ve used everything from mirin and soy sauce with rice vinegar, to lemon juice, to balsamic, to nothing else.

To plate: Pork chop, spinach, pasta, each in a separate pile; roasted cherry tomatoes atop pasta. Great eaten individually or mixed. (I am a one-thing-at-a-time girl; M likes some of everything.)

After dinner, take the recovering dog for a short, slow walk down the block and back. Come back; peel and chop peaches, drizzle with vanilla yogurt. Enjoy, but not as much as if they were Chilton County peaches (a whole nother post).

Chef’s sustenance:
Vodka-tonic with lime (note to self: pick up gin)

Chef’s soundtrack:
Flaco Jimenez, “Sorry Boy”
Professor Longhair, “Big Chief”
Bill Murray, “More Than This”
Moby, “Novio”
Journey, “Send Her My Love”
Sia, “Breathe Me”
The Pogues, “Love You ‘Til The End”
Marty Robbins, “That’s All Right”
The Holmes Brothers, “And I Love Her”
Suzanne Vega, “Ironbound/Fancy Poultry”
Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”
Johnny Cash, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”
Paul Simon, “She Moves On”

How did it turn out?
The pork was a little tough, but the flavors were good. I don’t know whether I overcooked it (I was careful about the internal temp) or if it’s just the meat. Anything with a farmers market ingredient was terrific… fresh, fresh, fresh. The beet salad, the cherry tomatoes… the definition of the flavors.

Would I make it again?
This is a recipe I vary up frequently. Cherry tomatoes either are roasted or sauteed to mix with pasta. Pork chops take all kinds of seasonings.

Note: Tecolote Farm is a great example of a local farmer struggling to make it work. There was an article in the Austin American-Statesman a couple of weeks ago about how overuse of water in their area (to water playing fields) could cost them everything. I feel absolutely obliged to buy something from them every week now. And their plight makes me think twice about the length of my showers.


June 9, 2008 at 2:02 am Leave a comment

Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

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