In 1947 a book was published called The Bell of the Four Evangelists by Violet Needham. My cousin got it (not how old she was) and in 1952 she passed it on to me. All of Violet Needham's books were intended for children but they always appealed to me both as a child and as an adult. A few weeks ago, at bowling, one of my fellow bowlers started talking about the book and saying how much she had enjoyed it. I told her I had the book and she was so excited. A week later I took the book with me and she was having trouble concentrating on bowling because she had the book. Last week she returned it with a delightful note. Now on Monday I will be taking The Woods of Windri for her. I have four or five of these books but there is one I really wish I had, The Horn of Merlyns. I wished so hard, I just went and ordered it from Amazon.ca. I didn't know when I wrote this, but this friend is now reading my blog.
Another children's book I still have is The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Gouge. Somehow I lost my original copy so I bought it again a few years ago. I think that one was my all time favourite.
They tell me it is November, but we have had the air conditioner on for the last two days. The sun has been pouring in our windows and turning our living room into an oven. Doesn't happen in the summer I am glad to say otherwise it would be unbearable. Funnily enough this morning (Wednesday) it became really foggy at about 7:30 a.m. but then it dissipated by 9:30 - it wasn't foggy at 7 a.m. though. Weird. We are supposed to get some rain for the weekend and then back to warm temps again next week.
Whilst sitting here at my desktop, Matt has the TV on and they are talking about yet another student who has died because of playing football. Seems to me they should all take up soccer. If I were a parent I would be worried sick about my kids on the football field. OK percentage wise it probably isn't that high, but as they told me when I poo pooed sharks being in the Mediterranean, "it only takes one".
I love the recipes from the New York Times and this one looked good. I have brined turkey but never thought of doing the same to pork chops. Good idea as I only buy small pork chops, the big ones have too much meat on them. They do tend to end up dry unless I braise them in the oven. I've never heard of horseradish with pork chops. No reason why not I suppose.
For the pork chops and brine
- 1 cup apple cider
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 dried chiles de árbol
- 5 juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 4 pork chops on the bone, approximately 1 ½ inches thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup pork or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon horseradish, ideally freshly grated
For the apple fritters
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch rounds
- 1 whole egg
- ½ cup very cold seltzer water
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup neutral oil, like canola
- In a large bowl, mix the apple cider with 4 cups of water, the sugar and the salt. Toast the bay leaves, chilies, juniper berries, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small pan set over medium heat until you can smell them, then add to the brine, and stir to combine. Add the pork chops, cover and place in the refrigerator to brine overnight or for up to 48 hours.
- To pan-roast the pork chops, preheat oven to 375. Remove chops from brine, and pat dry with paper towel. Season the meat aggressively with freshly ground black pepper and a little salt. Set a large sauté pan that will fit in the oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it is shimmering, place the chops in the pan. Cook until well seared on one side, approximately 4 minutes, then turn the chops over, and place pan in the oven to finish, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. (The internal temperature of the pork, measured at the center of the chop, should be between 140 and 145 for medium rare.) Remove the meat from the pan, and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so while you make the sauce.
- Return the pan to the stovetop, over medium heat, and add the butter, stirring and scraping to incorporate meat drippings, then add the shallots and the thyme. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, then add the brandy. Allow the mixture to reduce by half, then add the cream and the stock and reduce again, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat, and whisk in the mustard and the horseradish.
- For the apple fritters, heat the apple cider and the cinnamon stick with a couple of inches of water in a large pot set over high heat. Add the apple rounds, and blanch for 1 minute, then remove to a towel to dry. Whisk together the egg and the seltzer until frothy, then gently mix in the flours. Put the oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, dip the apple rings into the batter, and fry in the oil until golden brown.
- Serve the pork chops with a few apple fritters and a heavy drizzle of sauce across the top. The usual accompaniment is potato-and-horseradish pierogies sautéed in brown butter, though roasted new potatoes with a topping of butter and freshly grated horseradish will answer almost as well.
Have a great day