Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One of those dinners that works out

Tonight was one of those dinners that was so simple to make, yet so good we were practically licking the plates. I peeled and sliced enough potatoes to cover the bottom of my wide roasting pan in a single layer (drizzle the bottom lightly with olive oil first). Seasoned these with salt and pepper, onion powder, and a shake of paprika. Put in a few curls of butter (I used a veggie peeler). Then I seasoned thick pork chops with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powders, paprika, and some marjoram (although I think I might have preferred sage, rosemary, or thyme). Browned them in a skilled and arranged over the potatoes. A splash of wine to deglaze the pan and 1/2 cup of water, reduced a bit and drizzled over the potatoes and chops. Shove into a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes and check. I cooked for an additional 5 but I think I could have gone up to another 15 altogether to brown the potatoes even more, but I was afraid to dry out the pork. Take out of the oven and cover with foil (I placed two sheet pans side by side over the top instead) and let rest for 5-10 minutes. The potatoes were crispy on the edges and savory and lovely, and the chops were good and tender, if a bit fatty. These were from the grocery store. I prefer chops from Costco overall for their tenderness and quality and from now on will take care to get them there. But all in all it was a lip-smacking meal that fit the bill on a cold and rainy day. I paired mine with a slaw I threw together. 1/2 a small golden delicious apple (leave the peel on and slice into thin planks, then again into thin sticks), 4 or 5 frozen cranberries sliced paper thin, a small wedge of savoy cabbage cut thinly, 1/4 of a red pepper sliced into paper thin strips, and two baby carrots also cut into thin shreds. The idea was to get pieces roughly the size of shreds, but getting a better texture by NOT grating them. I have a mandoline slicer that will julienne, but I wanted shreds even finer than that. I splashed on just a touch of champagne vinegar (although next time I would use rice vinegar for the sweetness instead), and a touch of salt and pepper. I like my slaws pretty peppery usually, but this time I use a very slight hand because of the apple. Stir well, and chill. Now, I didn't think I would like this because I didn't think I would like the sweet apple in there. But it really wasn't sweet and added such a juicy crispiness. The cranberries added a nice rosey colour and the texture was nice in there - raw ones would not have been as nice. For a sweeter finish I think one might be able to get away with stirring in a tiny spoon of leftover cranberry sauce instead, but I liked the paper thin slices. This all made a scant cup, more than enough for just little old me. Increase as necessary to get as much as you need. It is not a mistake that there is no oil in there. I am not ready to fathom the idea of oil with raw apple. And I don't think the taste or texture suffered for it. Other than make dinner, I did a whole bunch of nothing today. My hip and knee and ankle were aching like you would not believe, and all the muscles down that side were cramping and twinging and in general making me miserable. We are talking pacing and desparately rubbing the affected areas miserable. I can only assume it is a mixture of the cold, rain, and PMS. Dh said that last night I was throwing heat while I was sleeping. It was like sleeping next to a space heater, he said. This is not normal from me at ALL. While I may often think I am about to spontaneously combust, when you touch me my skin always feels cool. Even Ruby decided it was too hot to lay along my back under the covers and retreated back to the pillow, panting and tsking and acting put out LOL. The cats however welcomed the new source of heat and did their best to suck up every BTU without outright smothering me. Although, not smothering me to death might have just been a happy accident. Oh well. At least dinner was a success!

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