Red Chard and Pork Loin with Couscous

Red Chard, Pork Chops, Tomatoes, Chop 1 TBSP of yellow onions and clear the leaves off two stems of red chard. Slice the stems lengthwise and then chop into small pieces.

Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil and add the onions. Grate about 1/4 tsp of fresh nutmeg on the onions and let them cook until tender. Add the stems and let them cook until tender. Cut a boneless piece of pork loin chop into small pieces and add. Add salt and pepper. Sauté until done.

Meanwhile heat water until boiling. Add 2/3s cup water to 1/3 cup of couscous and let steep until all the water is absorbed.

Chop the red chard leaves, add to the sauté pan. Cut 4 grape tomatoes into quarters and add to the pan. Cut 5 dried cherries in half. Toss in about 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar.

Serve with a bed of couscous and put the red chard and pork on top. It is a delicious blend of hearty chard, sweet cherry and tomatoes and aromatic nutmeg with a dash of sour vinegar.

Ed & Zelda’s Pork Chop Express

Kale and Pork Chops

I play a war game called GoodGame Empire and have made some great friends there. Two of the best of the best of GGE are Ed and Zelda from the Dragon Rampant alliance. I recently changed alliances, leaving them behind when I moved. I will miss them a lot, they are good people and we will just have to IM each oner and stay in touch. Anyway, Ed loves nothing so much as a pork chop and talks about them the way poets talk about clouds. If there ever is an Ode to the Pork Chop, it’s author must be Ed. Zelda loves kale, something we bonded over . So my last night in the alliance I cooked up a meal in their honor.

I fried the pork chop in a bit of olive oil, turning it once. My mom always said repeated flipping of your chops or steaks will dry them out and so my main focus in cooking a chop is getting a good sear, flipping it over to sear the other side and then turning the heat down a bit to let it cook through enough.  I like them medium rare which reminds me to suggest you read The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules — Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food from Scientific American.

The kale was easy. I took two slices of bacon and cut into small pieces and friend them with 1/2 of a small yellow onion. I cleaned three pieces of kale, cutting them off the stem and chopping them up. I added 2 TBSP of the Wild Plum Sauce I made (the recipe just before this one) when the kale was nearly done, covered for about a minute and served with the chop. I added a bit of Wild Plum Sauce on top of the pork chop, too. Delish.

The wild plum sauce is sour enough – like a vinaigrette that it complemented the kale beautifully. As to the pork chop, I could never do it the justice in words that Ed can.

 

Figs & Caramelized Onions with Pork Loin Chop

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This was a revelation. Certainly pork loves fruit, but I think it’s soul mate might be figs. This was a super simple recipe. I made some rice separately to serve with the pork and sauce. To make the rest, I heated a skillet to medium, adding some olive oil and put the loin chop on to fry. Meanwhile I cut up 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced up 6 green figs and cut a lemon in half.

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Even the mise en place looks delicious.

 

After the loin chop was cooked on one side, I flipped it over and added the onions in the other half of the skillet. I let them cook until caramelized. Then I added the figs and 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg. Nutmeg is a delicious spice with fish, pork and beef. You need to use enough so it adds a bit of heat. I also added some salt and pepper. I let the figs and onions cook until the pork was done. I removed the pork and let it rest while I squeezed the lemon juice into the sauce and let it simmer a bit.

This was delicious, sweet, tangy and a bit spicy thanks to the nutmeg. This makes enough sauce for two servings. This was delicious with the rice, and could be made with just olive oil, no meat drippings for a vegan alternative.

 

 

Dragon’s Breath Sweet & Sour Pork

S&S Pork

 

This is significantly tastier than dragon’s breath, but it will add a touch of fire to your day. I was hankering for some sweet and sour pork, but I also had some parboiled rutabaga left over from salad fixings and some pitted cherries left from a chutney I had made and it occurred to me that they could work in a sweet and sour pork. They would add compatible flavors, at least. However, there was nothing at least about this dish. It was by far the most delicious sweet and sour pork I have ever made.

So, to start it off. I chopped half an onion and minced an inch of ginger and 1 serrano chile. I sautéed them in olive oil on a medium low heat with some salt and pepper. Meanwhile I chopped up 1/2 a red pepper. I had cleaned and cut up the pineapple yesterday, so it was in a container in the fridge. I parboiled rutabagas for salad 2 days ago and they were also in the fridge in a container. I added a pork loin chop (about 6 ounces) and let it cook with the onions, ginger and chile and added some salt and pepper. When it was browned on one side, I added the red pepper. I let cook for about 5 minutes and added 1/4 cup cherries and 1/4 cup of pineapple chunks and 1/4 cup of rutabaga and season with salt and pepper. I let them cook until warm. Then I added 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of white vinegar and stirred. Added salt and pepper to taste.

Please note that when you add salt and pepper at ever step of cooking, you are adding much less at one time. Seasoning step by step means you will avoid over or under seasoning.

I served over plain rice. This had all that sweet and sour pungency of the traditional dish, but the rutabaga and cherries added an earthiness and umami that made it simply out of this world. Frankly, it would taste delicious without the pork for a vegetarian entree.

 

Pork Chop & Rice with Sweet & Sour Cherry Sauce

Pork Chop and Sweet & sour Cherry Sauce

 

My best friend brought over about a quart of fresh sour cherries she picked yesterday. I decided I might try them as an option for sweet and sour pork chops since I had some fresh pineapple that could be used to sweeten their sourness.

First I cooked some rice. I always make 2 cups of rice when I cook it because it stores well and I can use it in many dishes. To make rice, I put two cups of long grain white rice in my wire strainer and run it under cold water, rinsing away the starch. I then put it in a pot that has a tight-fitting lid with 3 cups of cold water and 1 tsp of salt. I turn up the heat to medium high and let it come to a rolling boil. Then I turn the heat off and leave it until I am ready to serve. I do not lift the lid. I do not stir. I do nothing at all. It will be perfectly done if I leave it alone, steaming in the pot. Now I like slightly dryer rice than many Americans, so you can try up to 4 cups of cold water. 4 cups gives you the usual soft (and to me, mushy) American style of cooked rice.

To make the sauce, I cut about 1 inch off a ginger root, peeled and minced. I then minced 3 garlic cloves. I heated t tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and added about 10 cardamom seeds that I removed from 2 pods. I then added the ginger and garlic and let them sauté while i chopped up half a small purple onion and added that. I let that sauté away while I pitted cherries, cutting them in half and removing pits. When I had one cup of pitted cherries, I added that to the sauté pan with the onions, garlic and ginger. I then added a dash or Sriracha and 1 serrano pepper, minced. I let the cherries cook until tender. Then I added 1/4 cup of chopped fresh pineapple and the juice from chopping it up. Taste-testing, it was still a bit too sour, so i added about 1 TBSP of buckwheat honey. Now it was perfect. I had enough for two chops, but I only cooked one, putting the rest in a container for another day.

I heated a pan with a bit of oil and fried the pork chop. After it was done on one side, I turned it over and poured half the cherry sauce on top of the chop and let it continue to fry. When it was done, I put it on a plate with some rice and made sure to spoon rest of the sauce from the pork chop pan onto the rice.

Pork loves fruit and sour cherries were no exception. The sauce was hot, tart, sour and sweet. That buckwheat honey gives it s deep earthiness that regular honey does not. Balancing sour does not always require a lot of sweet. Spicy can balance sour, too, and in this case, spice was a great balance. The addition of cardamom added a rich, headiness that made the whole thing so fulfilling to all the senses.