Friday, April 6, 2012

"Grilled" Pork Chops w/Green Beans and Rice

Such a Delicious Meal! by annbumbly
Pork Chops w/mushrooms, green beans & rice - YUM!
Such a delicious meal it was!
I was in Whole Foods and they had double thick bone-in pork chops on sale so I got two for our dinner. Took them home and told the hubs to fire up the charcoal grill. Shortly later, he came up to the kitchen to let me know that while we had LOADS of charcoal, we had no lighter fluid. Damn. I happened to be on the phone with cousin Julie and she reminded me that there IS another grilling method for meat that is just as tasty - sear in a hot iron skillet and then finish in a hot oven. I hadn't used that method in, well, forever, and had forgotten all about it. I will forget it NO MORE! What delicious pork chops we had!

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The T'nG:

pork chops
seasonings of your choice; I used Penzey's Arizona Dreaming mix and Southwest mix
salt & fresh-ground pepper to taste
olive oil
butter

1 box already sliced mushrooms
basmati rice
french-cut green beans (frozen this time)


Preheat oven to 425º. Start the rice, following package directions. Season the pork chops. Place iron skillet (any oven-proof skillet will do, but if you don't have an iron skillet, you really should treat yourself) on stove and turn heat to high. Add a swirl or two of olive oil to the skillet along with a pat or two of butter. When they just begin to smoke, add the pork chops and saute on each side till nicely browned. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes, depending how thick your chops are, or, better yet, use a meat thermometer and remove from oven when internal temp. is around 140º (pork should be 145º, but they will continue to "cook" after removed from the oven). Once you've put the chops in the oven, cook the beans, either boiling in a bit of water, or steaming. When the chops come out of the oven, remove from the skillet and lightly tent them with a piece of foil. Return skillet to stove and add the sliced mushrooms. Stir and add more butter/oil if needed. Saute the mushrooms until golden and they're beginning to crisp around the edges. To serve, place a chop on each plate along with a serving of rice and green beans. Spoon the mushrooms, along with their juices over everything, just the chops, just the rice - however you want to plate it! 

YUM!

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'till we feast again!
T'nGG

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bay Scallops w/Garlic, Scallions and Tomatoes

Tomato and Garlic Base by annbumbly
The tomato/scallion/garlic/wine vinegar base 
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The sautéed scallops that are added to the above

Many years ago, we were a snow skiing family that spent many winter weekends in Killington, VT shushing down the slopes. We always rented homes or condos and almost always with another family. I'll never forget one weekend we spent there in the late '80's...because of the dinner the other mom made for us on her night to cook. Yup, we went skiing and I remember the meal! 
Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller had just published their cookbook "The Seafood Cookbook, Classic to Contemporary" and Paula (the other mother) had just bought it at a book signing at Stew Leonard's. She came upon the following recipe and thought it sounded so good, she'd make it for all of us. She brought the ingredients with her as anyone who has skied in Vermont knows the grocery stores conveniently located close to the slopes all have exorbitant prices, and fresh scallops are non-existent. Paula baked potatoes for everyone to go with it, and we all ended up opening up our potatoes and ladling the scallops right into it. Delicious! I'm sure it would also be good over rice or noodles, but we always eat it over a potato. 
Must share that the wine vinegar I use is one I make out of a mixture of Reunite Bianco wine, white vinegar and fresh opal basil. Just use a red wine vinegar that isn't too heavy tasting. I've never made it with balsamic, but would think that could be quite tasty as well. On to the recipe!

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The T'nG:

1 quart bay scallops - about 1 1/2 pounds
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions/green onions, green tops too (I just use 1 bunch)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups peeled seeded and diced fresh tomatoes (Summertime) OR
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (any other time of year, or if you're lazy like me)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
finely chopped fresh parsley
1 potato per diner (optional)

An hour before you eat,  put 1 potato per person in a 425º oven to bake. Place scallops in a bowl, sprinkle with salt an pepper and set aside. Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet with the scallions, garlic, tomatoes vinegar and salt & pepper (to your taste). Bring to a sizzle and simmer for 2 or so minutes. Heat the remaining oil in another frying pan over high heat and cook the scallops, stirring, for 1 minute, or until they lose their raw look. Do not brown them and be sure not to overcook them. It's better to have them a bit undercooked as they will be warmed up when all is assembled. Scoop scallops out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce liquid in the scallop sauté pan until quite thick. If your potatoes aren't done yet, you can stop at this point until they are. Just before serving, combine the scallops, reduced liquid and tomato mixture all in the same skillet and gently heat through - you want it hot, but want to watch that you don't overcook the scallops. Split potatoes open and put a scoop of the scallop mixture on top of each. Sprinkle each with parsley. Serve. 

YUM!

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'till we feast again!
T'nGG