Thursday, January 08, 2015

Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney, or The Dinner That Was Too Terrible To Eat, January 7, 2015

Occasionally, I make a dinner that is inedible. Last night was one of those occasions. I was already leery of the meal because of my food rules, as my friend Sue has dubbed them. First, as i have mentioned here before, I don't like sweet and meat together. I can think of zero exceptions. But, I am cooking through this dang thing, like it or not (mostly, I do like it). Besides, Jeannene usually does like sweet and meat & doesn't ever get to have it. Second, I don't like cooked carrots. Well, I do if they are roasted in a pot roast or cooked in a stew. Otherwise, forget it. So, I knew going in that I would likely only want the pork without the chutney and the roasted rosemary potatoes I was going to make. 

However, I ran out of time for the potatoes and ended up just boiling them. Except I over boiled them and they dissolved into mashed as soon as I tipped a little Smart Balance spread into them & tried to stir it in. So be it. They were fine, anyway. If you want to make roasted rosemary potatoes, though, you cube them (peels still on is my preference & you can use whatever potatoes you like, including a mix---throw some sweet potato in there, if you like!), toss them with a little olive oil, several cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of rosemary, a little salt, and a healthy grinding of pepper. Roast them about half an hour in a preheated 425 degree oven. 

The pork's badness was most likely my fault, although Jeannene blames the particular blend of spices.  I decided to be smart (cheap?) and just use the pork chops in the freezer (we got a big pack of them on sale and Jeannene divided them into packets of 2, 3, or 4) instead of buying a couple pork tenderloins. I figured I could just rub the spices on one side of the chop that I would have rubbed on the outside of the pork loin. This, in retrospect, was a bad idea. I should have just seasoned them the way I usually do chops. Further, the chops themselves weren't terribly nice in the first place. Perhaps that's why the sale? I think the spice blend would be nice on pork tenderloin, probably, but is a bit overwhelming for the chops. It's garlic, 3 parts ginger, 3 parts mustard seed, 3 parts red pepper flakes, 1 part allspice, 1 part fennel, 1 part thyme, all whizzed in the blender.

The apple chutney was delicious, but I would prefer it on crackers or over a block of cream cheese or on an English muffin, perhaps. Here's my rendering:

Gingered Apple Chutney
1 apple, peeled & chopped (I used a Honeycrisp)
1 bulb fennel, chopped
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ch. pecans
1/3 c. golden raisins
1 tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 tbsp. salt
1/3 c. cider vinegar

Mix everything together and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15 minutes. Remove cover and cook another 15-20 minutes. 

I thought the carrots au gratin were revolting. In fact, my stomach turned at the smell of the dish as I pulled it from the oven. However, Jeannene really liked it (in fact, it turned out to be her entire dinner---me, I had a bowl of Cheerios), so you might, too. If you like cooked carrots, give it a whirl:

Carrots au Gratin
3 c. carrot slices (5-7 carrots)
1 can cream of celery soup (I used the Healthy Request sort)
1 c. shredded cheddar (I used 2% fat cheese)
1/4 c. roasted garlic breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted (I am sure olive oil would work just as well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover carrots with water and cook until just tender. Drain and mix with soup and cheese. Place in greased (I used cooking spray) casserole. Mix crumbs & butter. Sprinkle on carrot mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes. Serves 6-8.


Diana said...

Too funny Daria! I'm sorry your meal was a dud, but am glad to know that even you, the queen of food, has an off cooking day! My cooking is the opposite - once in a long while I have a GOOD cooking day! Miss you!

Daria de la Luna said...

I post these things to encourage and to make y'all laugh! I could pretend my dinners are always perfect, but it ain't so! Miss you, as well!