Easy Peasy

  
The New York Times has a great cooking site that I get in my email inbox a few times a week. This week they had a fast and easy recipe for braised pork chops with tomatoes, rosemary, and anchovies. “Blech, anchovies…” I can just hear you say.

BUT, you can’t even taste them! 

  
Start out by searing the bone in thick cut chops.

  
Remove the seared chops to a platter and then sauté the garlic and onions and rosemary till the onions are golden. It’s unusual in that the recipe calls for red onions versus yellow. I think because they are a little sweeter.

  
Add all the chopped tomatoes and anchovies and cook everything down for about five minutes. The anchovies add some depth and  Umami to the dish. Nestle the chops back into pan and spoon the tomatoes and sauce over the chops and put in a 350 degree oven till you get an internal temp of 145 degrees.

  
Remove to a platter and let rest for about five minutes. Cook serve and enjoy in about 30 minutes. While the chops are cooking you can throw a salad together and maybe some polenta, as suggested in recipe. This would also be good with roasted potatoes or reheated risotto.

Yet Another Obsession

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The Hubs and I don’t usually exchange Christmas gifts, preferring to spend our pennies on “pudding” instead. But Santa did leave a couple of cookbooks for my review.
I looked through the Madeleine cookbook and of course now have a new obsession with small pieces of French baked goods, called Madeleines.

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The cookies, made famous by Marcel Proust, in “Remembrance of Things Past” are a light genoise batter and can be flavored in different ways, sweet or savory. And they are always baked in scallop shell pans, so I decided to break in my new pans with gruyere rosemary Madeleines to accompany dinner of an antipasto salad.

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Easy enough batter of melted butter, eggs whisked together and then whisked with flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Finally fold in the rosemary and shredded gruyere. Bake in greased scallop pan for 12 minutes at 375. I shut the oven off and let them brown a little as the oven cooled.

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I’ll keep you updated on progress of new versions. Here’s the finished product!

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The Twelve Posts of Christmas Pt. 9 – Pasta alla Norcina

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On The first full day of ” yoga pants vacation”, last Saturday, the Hubs and I were doing our best imitation of Slug 1 and Slug 2. We were channel surfing and came across America’s Test Kitchen on WGBH. We didn’t see the beginning but got sucked in nonetheless and watched Christopher Kimball and his intrepid chefs make Pasta alla Norcina. I think the beginning of the episode featured fresh made sausage, but we are NOT going there…once they assured us we could use fresh ground pork from your grocer’s meat case, I was on the case.

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The recipe starts out by having you brine the ground pork. WHOA…yes, you read that right.and here’s the strange part of the brine, it has baking soda in it! Ok, I’ll bite.

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And instead of browning crumbled sausage, you make a pork patty, brown the outside and THEN chop it up. It gets cooked in the cream, with some pasta water to thin it out.

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The recipe continues by browning mushrooms in the pork leavings, adding white wine and garlic and rosemary, putting the sausage back in and adding a truly obscene amount of cream ( hey, it’s the holidays…). The pork finishes cooking in the cream with some pasta water added as needed. Tossed with the orichiette pasta, some parsley and a little lemon juice.

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The reason for the brining is to keep the ground pork from drying out while cooking and the secret ingredient is definitely the nutmeg. This dish really showcases the cuisines of the north of Italy, closer to Austria and Switzerland than the sunny Mediterranean.