Kevin went to St. Louis for a business trip on Sunday night, promising to return on Monday. I had assumed he would be home too late for dinner, so I had a wonderful solo meal planned. I was going to make pork chops with baked sweet potato fries and sauteed apples and cabbage. There is NOTHING in this meal that Kevin actually likes or can eat.
Then I found out he would be home for dinner after all. I had to think quickly. I had some white potatoes in the fridge left over from the latke-making. I picked up a couple of fish fillets and decided that for once I wasn't going to force Kevin to eat his vegetables and not replace the cabbage. I breaded the fish fillets in a mixture of cornmeal and paprika and baked them. I mashed those potatoes in a whole new way. I made the pork chops for myself as planned.
So about those pork chops...
This time of year always puts me in the mood for pork chops because they go so well with apples. I am salivating at pork recipes everywhere I go. (Darius, you will never hear me say I'm tired of pork posts.) I had been planning for over a week now exactly what kind of pork chops I wanted. Kalofagas had a delicious looking honey-mustard marinade that I've been dying to try. It was meant to be a grill recipe, but I will forever complain that I can't grill. Peter suggested I sear in the pan and finish in the oven and asked that report how it turned out. I am doing so now.
I didn't marinate the chops quite as long as I wanted to. They got roughly 90 minutes in the bag. They got a good browning for a few minutes on each side in a cast iron pan and went into the oven for about 10 minutes more. They were wonderfully flavorful and tender. They had a tasty combination of spicy and sweet with a real kick from the peppercorns. This marinade is definitely a keeper.
My mashed potatoes were a change of pace from how I usually make mashed potatoes. A few months ago I watched Kylie Kwong's show where she and her mother had a mashed potato competition. (Her niece was the judge and Kylie won.) Kwong steamed the potatoes rather than boiling them, saying they absorbed less water that way. I was intrigued and made a mental note to try it at some point. Kylie used a food mill to mash her potatoes, which I thought made them look too liquidy, so I'm all about hte masher. She also used French butter. I stick to Kate's.
So last night was my potato steaming night.
I always love garlic in my mashed potatoes, and I usually roast it, but last night I did something completley different. Instead of mooshing roasted garlic cloves into my potatoes, I warmed the milk with sliced garlic and a handful of rosemary leaves and let the flavors infuse. Then I strained the milk and added it to my potatoes.
The garlic flavor was stronger than I expected it to be, but it was a very consistent flavor. I didn't have a bland bite and a garlicky bite. Every bite tasted like garlic and rosemary. I may do this again. I probably won't do it at Thanksgiving though because I need the burner space on the stove.
Since it was my recipe, I'll share this one. I only had three potatoes in my fridge, so amounts will have to be readjusted for more.
Mashed Potato Variation #59082
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup milk
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespon fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 stick butter
Salt and pepper
Cook potatoes in a steamer until they are fork tender.
Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan with garlic and rosemary.
When potatoes are ready mash enthusiastically with a masher until they are lump-free. Strain the milk and slowly add to the potatoes, mashing until they are fluffy. Add butter and mash in. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I will not tell anyone how much salt to use in her mashed taters. I like lots of salt in my potatoes, but not everyone does).