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!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pickle Breath

I love a good pickle. Garlicky, salty, dilly pickles. Claussen has the best crunchy pickles ever, in the refrigerated section. I could eat a jar at a sitting, which I try not to do because they are relatively expensive. So far I haven't found a bought pickle yet that compares. Most are too tart for my liking. I just had one with my lunch (light mortadella, sliced very thin on fresh sourdough bread). And it was very very good, but now I have pickle breath LOL. I must be PMS'ing, because I have had the most intense cravings lately. My body (or perhaps my pshyche) is seeking warm, doughy, goodness in the form of sandwiches on good bread, and flatbreads dipped in hummous, and pizza. It is craving fat and sweet in the form of donuts. Not donut shop donuts, but rather the bakery style donuts that are fried a little darker and maybe are a little tougher and not perfectly shaped, but have that marvelous chocolate glaze or cinnamon sugar. It is craving fat and salt in the form of cheeses and cured meats and pickles and olives. And before ANYONE suggests it, no there is not a little Dances anywhere causing these cravings. Although DD is not above subliminal messages if it increases her chances of getting a donut ;). Do you have more than one set of bedding for your bed? I thought everybody had more than one. I have three for my bed alone, and feel like it is not enough. When one is in the wash, there is one on the bed and one in the linen closet. And let me tell you, it is nice to have the extra in case of late-night hurl fests, sudden hairball emergencies, and so forth. Right now we are on my FAVOURITE set. Not so much for the looks, but the comfortor is so soft and billowy and comfy that it is hard to get out of bed. It is the favourite of the cats and Ruby as well. You practically have to peel them off it LOL. Jasmine likes to bunch up a corner to use as a pillow, then stretch out while snuggling in so she is cradled by the puff. Xena paws around a bit to fluff it up, and rolls up into a ball and settles into it like a nest. Ruby spent the night last night UNDER the covers, snuggly nestled along the small of my back or the crook of my knees depending on how I was laying (I am like a circus act when I sleep. All over the place). It is so funny, I bought one of those new flameless candle/air fresheners. I put it in the bedroom, and had to laugh because now when the cats and the dog go in there, they sniff deeply and sigh - tee hee. Especially Ruby. I guess if I were a pug, I would want to stay in a room that smelled like cookies too. I have a floral one too, but I found it too strong for the bedroom. It is in the livingroom right now. I think I might get more of those flameless candles - votives and things, not necessarily air fresheners. I miss having candles lit. My cats - especially Xena - are not candle smart, so I cannot trust them with an open flame even SUPERVISED. She is up and has her nose in the flame or dipping a paw in the hot wax before I can even perceive she is there. Sneaky bugger. These flameless, heatless candles might be a way around that. I have so much to do. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, planning for christmas baking and holiday shopping, I want to make a big batch of perogies and some soup to freeze. Christmas cards to print, fold, sign. Whew. I better get moving!