Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Week 8: Apple-celery stuffed pork chops

The Recipe
(Serves 2 who aren't too hungry)
1 thick pork chop, bone-in (the one we got was about 1lb including bone)
1 small, crisp apple, deseeded and chopped finely
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 celery stalk, chopped finely
30g bread crumbs
2tbsp chicken stock (or just plain water if it's too much hassle making up that little stock!)
rosemary, salt and pepper
butter and oil for cooking
1tsp maple syrup
1tsp mustard
A pinch each of salt, pepper and rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Warm oil and butter (about 1tsp of each) in a pan. Add apple, onion, garlic, celery, breadcrumbs, chicken stock, rosemary salt and pepper and cook until the onion's soft and the bread crumbs are slightly brown. Put aside and leave to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, cut a deep "pocket" in the pork chop and stuff as much of the filling into it as you can get. Discard the rest (or serve it on the side - whichever).

Mix together maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper and rosemary. Rub each side of the pork chop with the marinade. Heat a bit more oil in the pan, reduce to medium heat and cook the pork chop for 4-5 minutes on each side to get a nice, crisp coat. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of pork chop.

Cut in half, tossing a coin (or playing rock, scissor, paper, lizard, spock!) to see who gets the bone.

Serve with potato fries and some greens.

The Verdict
Really, really good! Definitely something I could see myself making again, as the meat was nice and moist, the flavours worked really well together, and it wasn't even that complicated to make! I've adapted the measurements somewhat, as the first try had waaaay too high a ratio of bread crumbs. I think this works better. You could even leave out the stuffing completely, and just use the marinade for ordinary "thin" pork chops. It's a nice variation to the usual honey-mustard marinade.

Week 7: Sweet Potato Fries

The Recipe
~500g sweet potatos
50g corn starch
3/4dl COLD water
~1/2 l oil for frying
Salt, pepper and spices (e.g. paprica, chili, cayenne pepper, cumin etc.) to taste.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin fries. Mix the corn starch and water in a bowl and whisk until the corn starch has completely dissolved. Dump the fries in a few at a time and put them on a rack to drip.

Meanwhile heat the oil over high heat in a thick-bottomed pot. You want it REALLY hot or the fries will boil rather than fry. Once it's hot enough, put in a handful or so of fries - you don't want to overcrowd them. I found I could do about 15 at a time. Don't be tempted to turn down the heat - I did, and it meant an entire batch was boiled rather than fried. Still tasty, but not really what I wanted.

Cook each batch of fries for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Move to paper towels to let excess oil drain. Move to a plate and season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you fancy.

You could put them in the oven at low heat (about 100C) to keep warm while you cook the rest, or just do what we did, and eat them while you cook the next batch!

The Verdict
A LOT of work, but so, so good!!! Don't know when or if I'll ever make this again, but it was good!!! YUM!

Oh, as for boiling some? In the photo below you can clearly see the difference between those that were boiled (top) and the ones that were properly fried (bottom).

Monday, February 11, 2019

Week 6: Squash Nachos

The Recipe
(Serves 2 with very little left over)
2 squash, cut into ½ cm slices
salt and pepper
1 can corn (~300g)
1 cup shredded cheese
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
300g chicken (optional)
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt
Juice from 1 lime
hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Season the squash with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook the squash slices for 2-3 minutes on each side or until tender but still crispy (I had to do this in 2 batches in order not to crowd the pan). Move to an oven proof dish and top with cheese.

In the same pan, cook corn, green onion and bell pepper for a few minutes before transferring to the oven proof dish. Add a bit more oil if necessary and cook chicken until just done. Transfer this to the oven proof dish as well.

Bake for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile mix sour cream / yogurt with the lime juice and hot sauce. Once the squash nachos are out of the oven, add avocado, tomatoes and the dressing.

The Verdict
REALLY good! I think I grilled the squash for a tad too long, as they weren't really crispy any longer, so I'll try to get that better next time. But other than that, I really loved it, and there weren't nearly as many leftovers as I had neither expected nor hoped!

I left the hot sauce out of the dressing and just served that on the side instead, as DH isn't a fan of things being too hot.