August 20, 2009
Sometimes things just come together!
On Sunday night Brock came home from a boys day out with some pork products that were processed from a 2008 Ventura County Fair Pig. About a pound of thick cut bacon & 2 pork chops in a poorly sealed vacuum bag awaited us for dinner this week. He cooked the bacon a few nights ago and unfortunately it was so over brined/salted & processed that it was almost impossible to cook. The pork chops were a different story though....
The same day I went to work for a few hours after a long crazy weekend and decided to hit the Ojai Farmers market on my way home. After stopping at Roland & Sandy Messori's booth for new lavender plants (http://www.rivendellaromatics.com/) and to catch up with two of the saner people at this market, I wandered in to the market that reeks of patchouli & BO. Truly I do love Ojai, but if you want to get a GOOD sense of the town, hit the Farmers Market on Sunday. The Ojai Boys play blue grass and barefoot hippies dance in the aisle. Organic is the only way to go up there in regard to vegetables and the fish and seafood are all local and priced appropriately. I love a good local product as much as anyone, but one duck for $36??? Seriously? I'll go to my Uncle Johns farm and kill it myself for 1/3 the price. Some of us are on a budget and those of you who know me know this is no BS. :) There is some really cool stuff there though; including local bakeries, local farmers, apothecaries, basket makers & more....I love going there to people watch almost as much as I love going to buy my goodies. I left the market with 6 lavender plants from Rivendell, 3 gorgeous leeks, an artichoke and cheese curds and spent about $20.
Leeks are one of those items you hardly ever purchase until you need them and only when you need them and you are forced to go to Von's do you realize how expensive they are. They sell for about $3 a pound and the crummy thing is you only use half of the darn things so really you are paying $6 a pound! Ugh...I hate wasting $$$ on anything. So when I found them at the market at $2 for 3 beautiful leeks (about 2# of veg), I jumped at it and thought that I would figure out what to make later. :)
If you haven't visited http://www.epicurious.com/, I recommend you do so immediately. Not only can you find specific recipes on there (i.e. chicken cordon bleu), but you can also type in the search option.... "Pork Leeks Apples" and see what comes up based upon what you have in your kitchen. Internet gods and cooking goddesses willing, you will come up with several recipe options that also come with commentary from other subscribers telling you if the recipe was awesome or if it sucked, as well as tips and tricks they found to make the recipe better than when it started. So not light or even on my diet, but delicious so I don't care!
Tonight my food love is as follows.....
Cider Brined Pork Chops with Sauteed Leeks & Caramelized Apples
Bleu Cheese Dressing Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Makes 4 servings
4 cups apple cider
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 10-ounce bone-in center-cut pork rib chops
4 oz butter
5 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
4 oz Butter
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved, each half cut into 8 wedges
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup Brandy
Bring cider, salt & sugar to a boil in large saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Cool completely. Place pork in ziplock bag & pour brine over. Seal & refrigerate overnight.
Melt 4oz butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks; sauté until tender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Melt another (OMG) 4 oz Butter large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sauté 10 minutes. Add sugar and sauté until apples are golden, about 6 minutes longer. Add stock, then brandy and remaining 1/4 cup cider. Simmer until liquid thickens slightly and apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Prepare barbecue (medium heat) or preheat broiler. Drain pork. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Brush pork with oil. Grill or broil to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium.
Meanwhile, rewarm leeks. Bring apples to simmer. Spoon leeks onto plates. Top with pork, then apples.
Mashed Potatoes....Boil Potatoes, season with Litehouse LITE Bleu Cheese dressing, S&P
Green beans, keep it simple...steam, salt & a little butter if your arteries can handle it!
Take a bite of the pork with the leeks & apples....mmmmm....next bite, drop a chunk of the bleu cheese mashed potatoes on to and see what it does in your mouth. Brock even suggested bleu cheese crumbles on top of the pork chops & apples next time and for once I agree with him!!!
Sometimes things were meant to be and tonight's dinner was obviously one of them!