By the time you read this, we should be well on our way. I am hoping the pastor kept his word and isn’t burning the Qur’an today otherwise I shall feel almost nervous about being in the States.
I have booked our hotel stop in Winchester, VA for tomorrow night and also for the Sunday night we come home. I thought I had better phone and make sure, they had us down for two rooms!!! I assured them we only needed one LOL.
I finished all my reading – I never read on vacation, even in the days when I was working and didn’t have so much time to read at home. I didn’t want any library books as I might not have had time to read them so I have been re-reading some of my Dick Francis books, think I have every one he ever wrote. In fact in some cases it was so long since I had read them, it was like having a new book. I have always enjoyed his stories and am sorry he is no longer with us to write any more. The one I just finished was Hot Money. A good story.
Once again we watched Dr. Oz last night. A fascinating programme. It has now been verfied that we all have cancer cells growing in us all the time, but they do not all develop into a problem. The researchers headed by Dr. Li have discovered these cancer cells can be starved by eating certain foods, the five best foods being: Bok choy, Tomatoes (cooked are better than raw), strawberries, Flounder and artichokes. http://tinyurl.com/28tm935 for the article about the show segment. Guess who will be eating lots of flounder on vacation? Strawberries aren't much good at this time of the year, but the other items are certainly readily available and it appears something like 3 servings a week is the recommended anti-angiogenic (killer of cancer cells). The article gives the recommended sizes and amounts. I don't know if I mentioned, artichokes are one of my favourite foods, they are expensive, but now I am able to justify their consumption LOL.
Here’s another pork chop dish. In many ways I think I prefer pork to beef although roast beef takes a lot of beating. Brining is a wonderful way of treating meat of any kind before cooking it. I frequently brine turkey before roasting.
Cider-Brined Berkshire Pork Loin Chop
Recipe from Boulevard:The Cookbook
Yield: Serves 4
Texture plays a really important role in any dish. In the relish, the jewel-like seeds of the pomegranate are visually appealing, but they’re really there to provide a crunchy sweetness that complements the pork. To get the amount of pomegranate seeds required for this recipe: Cut the pomegranate crosswise in half. Hold one of the halves over a bowl with the cut side facing the bowl. Bang the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon, which should release most of the seeds almost entirely intact.
For the Brined Pork Chops:
3 cups hot (150° F) water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 bunch thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 double-cut center loin Berkshire pork chops (10 to 12 ounces each)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Braised Bacon:
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cider Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup apple cider
5 thyme sprigs
6 black peppercorns
Reserved liquid from braising bacon
1/2 cup dark chicken stock
For the Pomegranate Relish:
2 tablespoons pistachio oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup finely diced (1/4-inch) celery
Reserved braised bacon
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Brussel Sprouts:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 pound brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
TO BRINE THE PORK CHOPS: Combine the water, salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl or glass measuring cup, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add the cider, peppercorns, mustard, thyme sprigs, and rosemary. Refrigerate the brine until cold, then put the chops in a large zippered bag and pour the brine over. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Place the bag in a bowl (just in case it leaks), or just place the brine in a bowl and add the pork chops. Let the chops brine in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
FOR THE BACON: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the bacon out in a small rimmed baking sheet or baking dish. Add the water and butter to the pan, place in the oven, and braise, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the bacon is slightly rendered and soft. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and strain any liquid in the pan through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Reserve the braising liquid for the sauce and the bacon for the relish. The bacon and the braising liquid can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
FOR THE CIDER SAUCE: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the cider and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the thyme sprigs, peppercorns, reserved bacon liquid, and chicken stock and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, skimming several times to remove impurities and ensure a clear sauce. When the liquid has reduced and thickened, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan or container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days and rewarm before serving.
FOR THE POMEGRANATE RELISH: Whisk the pistachio oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pomegranate molasses together in a small bowl until blended. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and celery. The relish can be made up to 1 hour ahead to this point, but the reserved bacon and pistachios should be added right before serving.
TO COOK THE PORK CHOPS: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove the pork chops from the brine, wipe off the herbs, and pat the chops dry with paper towels. Season the chops lightly with salt and pepper (they will pick up salt from the brine). Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the pork chops and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden. Turn the chops over and cook for another minute or so. (Don’t be too aggressive with the heat because brining quickens the browning process and the chops will burn if the heat is too high.) Put the pan into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the temperature on an instant-read thermometer reads 140°F to 150°F. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, during which time the internal temperature of the pork will rise 5°F. You want the final temperature to be no more than 155°F; there will be just a hint of pink in the pork.
FOR THE BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the shallots and Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the water and the butter and cook for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the Brussels sprouts are tender but haven’t lost their bright color, adding another 1/4 cup water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
TO SERVE: Meanwhile, to finish the relish, warm the bacon in a small skillet and stir into the pomegranate relish along with the pistachios. Place equal portions of the Brussels sprouts on each of 4 warm dinner plates and top with a pork chop. Spoon the sauce over the chops and around the plates. Finish with a generous plop of relish on top of the pork.
Have a great weekend, see you soon.