Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pork Chops and Potato Experiments

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).


Maria said...

Garlic and rosemary in mashed potatoes, sounds like a winner to me!

CECIL said...

I LOVE garlicky mashed potatoes! And I am that way too - when husband is out of town, I'd still fix me solo meal (instead of just ordering pizza) and something he usually doesn't like much, i.e. homemade mac and cheese, with more cheese than the mac. HAHAHA.

Darius T. Williams said...

LOL - too funny. I'm never tired of pork either - but you know, sometimes people like variations and I've done like two pork posts in a week's time span. LOL - but between you and I, they should make a pork candy...something nice that I can carry around in my pocket.

noble pig said...

As a potato ho, I can appreciate the experiments. LOL!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love how on your profile you say you're a picky eater but lover of food. I'm the same way!! Since I'm allergic to chocolate and seafood, I'm definately not good foodie material.

Adam said...

Steamed potatoes? Well that is something I HAVE to turn the family onto. They were once thrilled to boil them in chicken broth, so this will totally confuse them :)

You had a dream when you were naked too? Huh that's a popular one :)

Dee said...

Mash and chops sound like an idea. I've been obsessed with smashed potatoes recently, so maybe it's time to bring out the masher.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Maria- Garlic and rosemary are my fave tater flavoring.

Cecil - Funny you mentioned mac and cheese. The next time hubby takes a long business trip, that's exactly what I'm going to make.

Darius - I'm all for pork candy! I guess the closest thing you can get to that is pork rinds in a bag.

Cathy- I get a kick out of everyone who uses the term "potato ho". I'm actually not overly fond of potatoes, which is why I'm always looking for new variations on mashed ones.

B. Duck - And I love how your blog says you frequently take dance breaks!!! You have my condolences for the chocolate thing.

Adam - I have never actually tried using chicken broth to boil my potatoes in (although I've used reduced chicken broth as a flavoring). I think that would be better than steaming.

Dee - Potato mashers are great stress relievers.

Lo said...

Don't you love fooling around in the kitchen?

I'm afraid I'm a hopeless rosemary addict... so those potatoes sound completely fantastic.

Nikki said...

Rachel, you're the bomb. Yes, you are, discovering new-to-you stuff in the kitchen! Garlicky mash is the best. MMmm mmm mmm. I'm not really a pork fan, but the rest of the world is, so I cook it a lot (for others). I have a cooking class tomorrow, so I'll be posting the pork recipe I'm doing sometime this weekend.

Oh, and pork candy? I've been seeing chocolate covered bacon all over the place. I want to attempt to make some. Maybe this weekend at the bakery...the boss IS going out of town...

cook eat FRET said...

candied bacon is a rage
and chocolate covered bacon too

pork chops are taking over the blogosphere...

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Lo - I love rosemary too. It's such a distinctive herb.

Nikki - You're too sweet. I look forward to seeing your recipe.

CEF - I do have a recipe for sugar-coated bacon, so I know it's out there. I know the dessert truck in NYC serve a bacon creme anglaise with their bread pudding. I guess I really just have to either a. make it myself or b. go out and pursue it. I'm just afraid for my waistline and arteries.

You'll never hear me complain about all of the pork on the internet!

Sue said...

I love that you infused your milk. Great idea. Sometimes I just throw the whole cloves into the water with the potatoes and then press them, but I like your idea more. At Thanksgiving you can heat the milk in the microwave. Use a BIG bowl or pitcher though.

You didn't say how you liked the steaming comparing to the boiling. Ina drains her potatoes and then puts a dish towel over them to steam for about 10 minutes. But that's kind of inexact.

Emiline said...

Ahhh, thinking about Thanksgiving already?
I think I started reading your blog last Thanksgiving. Right? I remember you holding a picture of a turkey.