Mmm… Pork Chops

One of my fave comfort foods is a pork chop browned in a  skillet and then simmered in mushroom soup.  The soup makes the perfect gravy for mashed potatoes.  Good on wild rice, too.

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A Nice Couscous Side Dish

DSC_0997 (1600x1060)I had the pork chops cooking before I had settled on a side dish.  Mashed potatoes or rice would have usually been my choice but I spied some couscous in the back of the cabinet.  The basic package directions would have worked just fine but I did a search just to see what was out there and saw this one that called for cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  I still have one cherry tomato bush in the back garden that is pretty well grown up with grass and weeds but it yielded enough for the recipe.  I’ve let my basil go to seed but there are still plenty of young, tender leaves on it.  It worked just fine as a side, although it was a shame to waste all that good gravy!IMG_20150916_122343052 (1600x1200)Bonus critter shot!  Katie and Homer taking time for a little shut eye.  Homer stays out in the garage all night because he doesn’t get along with Toby.  Mrs J lets Toby out in the morning and Homer comes in.  He must spend all night awake because he sleeps pretty much all day long.  Tired kitteh.

Tidbits

DSC_0892 (1600x1060)I’ve mentioned the turkey we cooked the other day.  We really didn’t have any particular aim for the meat so I had a big ziplock bag full in the fridge waiting for me to do something.  Turkey salad sounded like a good way to move some of that along.  I have fun putting these salads together, chicken and turkey are pretty much interchangeable.  This one has a dressing of sour cream and mayo, in a 1:1 ratio.  I like to add cheese to mine and I usually have partial bags of shredded cheese laying about.  This one got a little cheddar and Monterey jack, and a substantial amount of Parmesan.  I can recommend Parmesan as being a particularly good addition after tasting this batch.  Also mixed in – pickle relish, chopped celery, a smallish Vidalia onion, a half cup or so of red bell pepper, a few minced cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of well chopped fresh parsley.PICT1237 (1600x1060)More wildlife!  Not all that random, Mrs J adds corn and sunflower seeds to that pile daily and the local deer know to stop by.IMG_20150901_113041165 (1600x1200)Mrs J discovered a coupon app from her favorite store, she exercises it weekly.  DSC_0889 (1600x1060)Pork chops cooked in mushroom soup for a fantastic gravy and one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  I nearly ruined the box mix rice, it was all set to go in the rice cooker when I grabbed the rice vinegar bottle instead of the olive oil and gave it a good dose.  I dumped it out through a sieve and added it back to the cooker with fresh water.  It came out fine!arrgh!...I can't look (3) (1600x1060)Here’s an oldie but goody of Toby. Caption contest!DSC_0846 (1600x1060)I’m getting better at shaping the buns.  I’ve standardized on 8 buns per recipe, they make fair sized buns, not too big or too small.DSC02803 (1600x1200)I had to ask Mrs J how this momma-to-be cat got so dirty but she assures me that it’s natural coloration.DSC02796 (1600x1200)Here’s a handsome boy!  Ringo has some pretty blue eyes, he’s five months old and is ready to go out the door.  Hurry, he won’t be waiting long!

Tidbits

DSC01045 (1600x1200)This pretty girl has been at the shelter for a while now.  She was a surrender – the owner became unable to care for her due to infirmity.  Mrs J hoped to promote her adoption prospects by placing her prominently in the shelter’s Facebook page but no luck so far despite going home with a prospect for a visit, and some inquiries.  DSC_9454 (1600x1060)The last batch of cayennes I picked went into my fermenting jar, the same rig that works so well for counter top sauerkraut.  It’s pretty easy to make your own hot sauces and you can tailor the recipe to your own tastes by using different peppers or liquids.  Not that I have any great expertise since this is my first batch.  I forget exactly which recipe I used but this one seems very close to it. The ratio of salt to peppers is the same, I used a white wine to cover them in the jar.  Cayennes aren’t the hottest peppers out there but they do have some heat.  I don’t remember now how long these spent in the jar but going on two months seems close.  I didn’t use any whey or starter to hurry the fermenting.DSC00977 - Copy (1600x1200)This is Jack, a bashful sort.  He has since been adopted.DSC_9433 (1600x1060)It’s been a long time since we’ve had pork chops for dinner.  These simmered in mushroom cream for a good hour.  The potatoes were mashed with garlic and sour cream, the broccoli were steamed and treated to a lemon butter sauce made with white wine and thickened a little with cornstarch to help it cling to the veggies.DSC00982 (1600x1200)This is Toby, a terrier mix.  Mrs J thinks he’s gone on to a new home.DSC_9442 (1600x1060)I’ll close this out with a stir fry, this one is chicken and various veggies in a brown sauce with a batch of fried rice.  “Brown sauce” is a generic term and there are tons of recipes out there.  I generally use a little of this and a little of that in mine – IIRC this one has soy sauce, black vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, sesame oil, Hoisin sauce, garlic chili paste, cornstarch, and a dash of Maggi branded seasoning sauce.  The chicken marinated for an hour in similarly seasoned marinade – heavier on the cornstarch.

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

DSC_8586 (1600x1060)Mrs J made her first banana cream pie.  She did good.  She bought some Jell-O brand pudding mix but decided to go from scratch using this recipe she found online.  We have a can of cream of tartar that is at least 30 years old.  It’s got the little oval tin lid that presses into the top.  All such items these days have a plastic top of some sort but this one is old school.DSC_8595 (1600x1060)I imagine we will still have the same can for longer yet.  I don’t think it goes bad if kept properly, at least this can is still good.DSC_8591 (1600x1060)Time for a kitteh!DSC00181 (1600x1060)Both the kitteh and the staffer have a “what’s that thing” look.DSC_8584 (1600x1060)Hamburgers are par for the course come grilling season and I’m not too old burn my share.  You can’t get that grilled taste unless you grill them.  We finished off the deviled eggs with the burgers this evening.  These are half mayo, half sour cream blended into the yolks and they are garnished with bacon bits, chopped chives, and paprika.DSC00190 (1600x1060)This little girl was found abandoned in a field.  She was staying close to a bag of kibble that was torn open and left with her.  So the owner was not a total bastard.DSC_8577 (1600x1060)I seasoned a rack of baby backs and wrapped them in foil and set them cooking in a 300 oven, figuring I would mow the yard while they braised in their own liquids, and finish them on the grill.  It was a good plan but they fell apart while I was trying to transfer them so I ended up just setting them on the warming rack with the top off the foil package and basting with sauce while the corn and squash grilled.

The squash got a marinade of lemon juice, chopped fresh thyme, garlic, white vinegar, and olive oil.  That worked great!  I’ve been experimenting with different seasonings for the sweet corn.  Old Bay works pretty well, but the Creole seasoning I used on these was perfect.DSC00137 (1600x1060)Moar kittehs!  This little boy was rescued from a kill shelter.  St Francis had a little extra room and took several off of death row.  The other kittehs in this post were in that same batch.DSC_8550 (1600x1060)I didn’t know where to put this pan of baked beans so I’ll just leave it here.

Easing Back Into Grilling

DSC_8574 (1600x1060)Pulled the gas grill out and cleaned it up, knocked the dust off with the garden hose.  Fired it to heat the grills and gave them a good brushing.  I was going to do just hot dogs and some sweet corn but the pork chops won out.  We’ll give it a good workout tomorrow.

Braised Pork Chops

DSC_8527 (1600x1060)We decided to do pork chops today and were set to do the cream of mushroom soup thing with them but couldn’t quite picture the gravy on the couscous we had picked out for a side.  We opted to dump in two cans of tomato bits with green chilies after the chops browned in olive oil, added a chopped Vidalia onion, covered it, and set it asimmer. We had some frozen, ripe Anaheim peppers and thawed those enough to split and remove the seeds and membranes and tossed them in with the chops.  When they had cooked down a little they were pureed in a blender with a little oil and garlic.  The puree was pressed through a sieve and the liquid added back to the pan.  Mrs J noticed some brown mushrooms that were nearing their use by date so in they went, too.DSC_8528 (1600x1060)One of Mrs J coworkers gifted her a couple of squash and they didn’t go to waste.  They marinated in oil and balsamic vinegar and were grilled right before the meal was plated.  Delicious!