15 December 2014

Roasted Scallions with Pork Chops

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The tree is trimmed, no small feat considering I hauled it into my place solo and hoisted it aloft.  From the front no one could tell that it is leaning slightly askew, but I did not have the heart to take it down and reposition the stand.  Instead, I decorated it with white lights, pretty baubles, and shoved it closer to the wall so no one will notice my slight miscalculation.  The fact that the tree is not perfect is more homey--right?  Yea, absolutely homey.

The Pacific Northwest temperatures remained temperate over the weekend, certainly not evoking a blistery, winter feeling.  Despite the temperate weather, I felt compelled to cook a classic warm dinner.  Instead of meat and potatoes, I took a cue from Matt Wilkinson, and decided upon meat and vegetables.  Scallions to be exact.  

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Ingredients:
  • 2 pork chops
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 quart (4 cups water) to brine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large scallions (cut in half, unpeeled
  • 3 Tbsp fine sugar
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup water

The Method:

Brine the pork chops in a salt water solution, I left mine in the refrigerator for two hours before cooking.  Here is a great tutorial for folks who have never done a brine before from thekitchn.  

Bring a skillet to medium heat and preheat the oven to 500°F.  Pull the pork chops from the brine and lightly salt and pepper before splashing a little olive oil in the skillet.  Place the pork chops on the griddle and allow it to sear on the surface before flipping over to  the other side.  Once both sides are a golden color, transfer to a roasting pan and place in the oven, turning the pan a quarter turn every 15 minutes.  After 45 minutes, pull down the temperature to 325°F and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  

While the skillet is still warm, keep all the juices from the pork sear and add in a dash of olive oil and the cut scallions and cook for three minutes, or until they turn a beautiful golden color.  Add in the fine sugar to caramelize, and then the butter with water and watch it become a bit of a science experiment as the water sizzles.  Bring the heat back down, and add water if it dissolves before cooking 15-20 minutes.  The outer layers of the scallions should come off easily and pulled off before serving. 

Take the pork out of the oven, and test to make sure the internal temperature is done.  Set the pork aside for 10-15 minutes to rest.  Drizzle skillet drippings over the pork, serve with the scallions, and a nice big ol' glass of wine.

Adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks: Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables

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14 October 2014

Deconstructed Caprese Salad Hors d'oeuvre

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I have a whole lineup of recipes in my queue to put together and share.  Some simple, like this Deconstructed Caprese Salad Hors d'oeuvre.  Others that require a bit more care and a delicate touch.  As I started sorting through photos this morning there was an underlying theme amongst them all--they were light, so very light and bright!

What I mean is, they were taken with a glorious summer sunshine that lasted into the wee hours of the evening.  There was lots of light, and it came into my home from a higher angle.  Now that fall is upon us, and the rain settled in this afternoon, I see these photos and I feel so much lightness.

The sun is peaking in at a lower angle and making the days look almost tired, like the sky is looking down on earth with sleepy eyes.  Most of me wants to snuggle in with a warm cup of tea and place a log in the fireplace, enjoy the quietness and dormancy of the fall.  A tiny small part of me will indulge in the activity of summer with a few glances at these bright recipes.

The practical side of me wants to share these little treats because as the holiday season approaches, there are so many opportunities to visit with others and enjoy their company.  It is something of a necessity to put together a dish to share for these festivities, and these little hors d'oeuvre are simple and easy.  

Most difficult part of this dish was selecting the little decorative bamboo picks with fun little red balls.  They are hardier then some, and with a small discard dish to the side, they are easy to wash and reuse. 

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Deconstructed Caprese Salad Hor d'oeuvre

Ingredients:
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Small fresh mozzarella balls
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half so they lay flat on the serving plate.  On a bamboo pick, slide on small mozzarella balls, bay leaf, and finally the cut cherry tomato.  Stand upright and before serving drizzle olive oil over top.  Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper.  

Delightfully simple!

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13 October 2014

Weekend Goal: Clean the Kitchen Cabinets | Giveaway!

Last month I experienced one of my greatest kitchen nightmares; my refrigerator stopped working.  We tried replacing the control panel, but it just will not circulate the cool air.

This major set back forced me to clean out my refrigerator and freezer and really tidy up the space.

And then I could not stop.  I had to keep cleaning.

Next came the counters.  And under the sink.

Finally, my nemesis -- the kitchen cabinets.  Here are my four tips for cleaning out the cabinets.

  1. Clear everything out.
  2. Check the expiration dates.
  3. Deep clean with a natural cleaner.  I used good old white vinegar and water and scrubbed down all of the cabinets, the shelves and all sides.  Let it dry out completely before filling back up.
  4. Finding good containers.  Instead of allowing air and bugs--like disgusting little wheat flies--to spoil dry goods, find airtight containers to store food. 

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I was fortunate enough to pair up with OXO to find a solution for my container needs.  A beautiful box showed up at my door and thankfully my kitty, Skye, was hope to inspect and sign for it for me. 

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The good folks at OXO sent me three Good Grips Cereal Dispensers, as well as their 10 Piece Good Grips POP Container set.  What I immediately loved is that the pop-open lids on the containers can be sealed and opened with one hand and instantly sealed to keep air out.  They also stack nicely on top of each other, which can be seen in my after cabinet photos.

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I also love that they pull apart easily to be put in the dish washer.  Let's be real, I do not have time to hand wash everything. 

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GIVEAWAY!  The good news is that for folks who are looking to do a little fall cleaning of their own, OXO is partnering with The Container Store who has the Pop Containers and many other fabulous organizing tools at stores nationwide. 

Beloved Green readers can enter to win a prize pack worth $500, including your choice of OXO Storage & Organization tools (up to $250), as well as a $250 elfa gift card.  Giveaway will run from Monday, October 13th (TODAY!) through Friday, October 31st. 

To sign-up for this POP-tober giveaway, head over to HERE and register!

So now we can get onto the embarrassing photos of my messy cabinets.  This is real life folks!

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