Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sage Porkchops, Yams Baked with Cranberries and Walnuts, and Cranberry-Apple Cobbler



I made this meal on the fly, literally: my plane landed last Monday at 11:30 am, I got home by 1 pm after waiting for baggage and taking the door-to-door shuttle, quickly typed up an assignment, jumped on the bus and had class from 2:20 to 5:30, then I went grocery shopping on the way home, and whipped up this meal in a couple of hours. Almost all was ready by the time The Dude came by at 8:30 pm.

It is not hard to make pork or lamb chops. The simpler, the better, and they cook up quick, making them a good weekday meal (e.g., not soups, stews, roasts). The meat should be cooked right before serving, and not completely cooked through--pink is okay, even for pork. The sides are what take a while to make, although I am not entirely sure that The Dude likes my side dishes. He never seems to finish them, and while that may ostensibly be due to a somewhat reasonable desire to limit carbs, he polishes off my desserts. This makes me wonder if I am not correct in my intuition that I am a better baker than I am a cook. In any case, for those of you that like my side dishes, the recipes:


Pan Roasted Pork Chops With Sage and Garlic


Ingredients:

Two pork chops
10-12 sage leaves
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper

In a large, heavy skillet, heat up 1/4 cup of olive oil until hot. Drop in about 10 sage leaves and fry until crispy, just a few minutes. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs or chopsticks and drain on paper towels. Do the same with the garlic slices.

The oil is now infused with sage and garlic. Fry the pork chops, already seasoned with salt and pepper, in the oil until well browned on both sides. The middle should be pink and not tough.

Add the sage leaves and garlic back to the pan, and the juice of one lemon, swirl everything together to form a sauce, and spoon over the plated pork chops.
Serve with these side dishes, which you've already prepared and kept warm:


Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash

This is not hard. Slice up 2-3 squash, sautee in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender and browned, and grind copious amounts of sea salt and pepper over it. Grate the zest of a lemon on top. Lemon zest makes everything better.

This works really well with blue lake green beans, which are at least tasty. Also, asparagus.
Squash and other such vegetable marrows are watery, bland things, and I serve them because they are good for you and usually on sale.


Yams Baked With Cranberries and Walnuts

This would have been better with pecans, which I didn't have on hand:

Ingredients:
One and a half to two large yams, diced
1 cup of fresh cranberries
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons of butter, diced

Toss the yams, nuts, cranberries and brown sugar together, and put in a large baking dish. Pour the orange juice over the yams, letting it sink to the bottom. Add the diced butter on top.

Bake at 350 F in the center rack of the oven for about an hour (to an hour and a half), tossing the yams in the juice every half hour to prevent drying out and burning on top. The yams will absorb most of the orange juice, which combined with the brown sugar and butter will make a sweet, tangy sauce.




Cranberry Apple Cobbler

I must credit Daniel Goldberg, blog buddy and master of MedHumanities Blog, for this recipe. I must also wish him felcitations and acclamations for the recent birth of his daughter, Maya-chan, born on November 29 at 7 lbs. and 8 oz. According to Daniel, "she is already translating Latin into French, and has rejected 5 of the most eligible bachelors in the nursery."

No doubt, she is already a foodie as well!

The Dude and The Roomie ate this up, and The Best Friend (who happened to be in town for a day) cried delightfully that it was "sweet, nutty, tangy goodness!"

(I used two 9x6 dishes for the following, tartlet pans would be prettier):

Ingredients:

2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 cup fresh cranberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup chopped nuts (being from Texas, I always use pecans wherever possible, but walnuts would work fine, too)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup pastry flour (all-purpose flour will also work)

1/2 cup butter melted

2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease four tartlet pans and set aside. In a large bowl, mix cranberries, apple slices, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and nuts.

Spoon mixture evenly into pans; set side.

2. For topping, in a medium bowl, combine eggs, flour, melted butter, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, orange peel, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

Stir with a fork until smooth, and spread topping over fruit mixture.

3. Bake about 30 mins or until topping is golden and fruit is tender. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve warm.

These can be made up to 24 hrs ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes or until warm.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Thanks for the blog love . . .