This meal should have been especially easy: For the first course there was an entire, quite sturdy, previously-prepared baked pasta. That meant that the entrée could be smaller and lighter than usual. Also, the roasted pork chop process was so familiar to me I could almost have done it blindfolded, that is, if I hadn’t absentmindedly turned off the oven as I removed the baked pasta.
I only noticed my mistake halfway through the [should have been] 13 or 14-minute roasting time for the chops, but with no real harm done, I recovered and brought them safely to the table, with, in this case, the indispensable assistance in of an instant-read thermometer (my own timing having been totally corrupted by the blunder).
The greens, meanwhile, waited patiently while I fumbled around the range and the oven.
The oven incident, described above, delayed the main course only slightly beyond what I had expected.
- [this is a description of how it should have been] two thick 11-ounce blade pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, rinsed, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly in a heavy oval enameled cast-iron pan, half of a large organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over the top (after which the lemon was left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 400º oven for about 13 minutes altogether (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over them once again and, after a bit of crushed dried habanada pepper had been sprinkled on top of the pork, placed again on the bottom of the pan), removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, the few juices that remained, with the addition of a bit of vermouth and briefly heated, poured over the top, the plate garnished with micro red mustard from Two guys from Woodbridge
- some of the contents of a bag of mixed baby greens from Lani’s Farm, wilted inside an antique medium-size high-sided copper pot in a little olive oil in which two halved garlic cloves from from John D. Madura Farms had been heated until softened, seasoned with salt and pepper [because of the delay in cooking the pork, they had reduced their volume somewhat, but they were still delicious]
- the wine was a Portuguese (Beira) white, Quinta do Cardo White ‘Companhia das Quintas’ 2016, from Astor Wines
Look, no tomatoes!
They’ve been a part of virtually every meal this month, and the last, but it didn’t occur to me to include them last night. I was thinking we’d have a cheese course later, and I wanted to keep the entrée down to 2 elements; I knew there would be some color even without tomatoes; and I thought that the lettuce I would be including, plus a micro green, would add a sufficient element of freshness themselves.
And yet there was tomato, although only as a very subtle addition to the self sauce created by the pork.
I love both this special vegetable, and the pork, as well as the recipes I used for each, but the entire entrée was even more successful than I had expected. In the case of the chops, the simple addition of even the small amount of rendered heirloom tomato juices I had, remaining from an earlier meal, may have made all the difference.
The beets were an extraordinary new sweet variety we’ve enjoyed before, using the same recipe, and even though I ended up roasting them longer than I wanted to, they were still delicious. Horseradish is a blessed thing.
- two 8-ounce bone-in loin pork chops from Flying Pig Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with salt and pepper and seared quickly in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan before the 2 halves of a small Whole Foods Market organic lemon was squeezed over the top (then left in the pan between them, cut sides down), the chops placed in a 425º oven for less than 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon halves squeezed over them once again and replaced), removed from the oven and arranged on plates, some of the pan juices, that had been mixed with tomato juices inside a heavy glass sauce boat, spooned over the top, the sauce boat placed on the table to be available during the meal, the pork garnished with micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- a number (but less than a pound) of not-very-large ‘Badger Flame’ beets from Norwich Meadows Farm [more here] trimmed, washed and scrubbed, cut into wedges, tossed in a bowl with roughly 2 tablespoons of olive oil; 3 halved cloves of Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm (I should have kept them unpeeled), a generous amount of oregano buds from Norwich Meadows Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground pepper to taste, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20 minutes or so inside a 400º oven, after which the foil was taken off, the beets turned on another side and roasted for 25 minutes longer, or until they were tender, when they were removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates on top of the well-washed outer leaves of a head of purple romaine lettuce from from Echo Creek Farm of Salem, NY, in the Saturday Chelsea Farmers Market (on the north sidewalk of 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues), a little olive oil and drops of a good Spanish Rioja vinegar drizzled on the beet segments and the lettuce, but with the greens also sprinkled with salt and pepper, the beet salad finished with some horseradish root from Gorzynski Ornery Farm freshly grated on top [note that the recipe mostly follows one on page 36 inside the hard copy of the excellent book of simple kitchen formulae, ‘Italian Easy’; Recipes from the London River Cafe‘]
There was a cheese course, which I did not photograph
- ‘Pawlet’ cow cheese and ‘Manchester’ goat cheese, both from Consider Bardwell Farm, and Riverine Ranch buffalo milk brie
- a mix of several kinds of raisins (colors and sizes) from Trader joe’s Market
- thin toasts of a sturdy She Wolf Bakery sourdough ‘miche’
The pork chop was as superb as it looks, as was the vegetable, which was half root and half green, and both roasted and fresh.
The root, which lay on a few leaves of a purple lettuce, amounted to segments of a single beet, but it was a very special, new orange-yellow mild and sweet varietal, the ‘Badger Flame’, created by Irwin Goldman, a horticulture professor at the University of University of Wisconsin-Madison (hence the ‘Badger’ in the name). It’s broadcast and production was undertaken by Row 7 Seed Company, itself the creation of New York’s Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the seedsman Matthew Goldfarb, and the plant breeder Michael Mazourek. I found it on Friday, at Zaid and Haifa Kurdieh‘s Norwich Meadows Farm stall in the Union Square Greenmarket.
The beet is described as being as delicious raw as it is cooked. Having tasted a slice before roasting one of the two that I had brought home with me, I can attest to that. On Tuesday I will be serving the second one as a part of what will probably be a room-temperature meal, mostly of salads.
- two thick, bone-in loin pork chops (approximately 12 ounces each) from Flying Pig Farms, dried thoroughly, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-rough-ground black pepper, seared on both sides inside a dry heavy enameled cast-iron pan, half of an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over each and left sliced side down in the pan between them while they roasted in a 400º oven for about 12 or 13 minutes altogether, but flipped halfway through and the lemon squeezed over their surfaces once again, arranged on 2 plates, the pan juices, to which had been added a couple tablespoons of sweet tomato juices from Saturday’s meal, first heated and partially-reduced, ladled over the top from a sauce boat, which was brought to the table for further service, the chops garnished with micro red amaranth from Windfall Farm
- one ‘Badger Flame’ beet from Norwich Meadows Farm, trimmed, washed and scrubbed, cut into 16 or so wedges, placed on a small unglazed Pampered Chef oven pan, tossed with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, one halved clove of an immature head of Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, all of the leaves shredded from several branches of thyme from Stokes Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground pepper to taste, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20 minutes or so inside the same 400º oven, after which the foil was taken off, the beets turned on another side and roasted for 25 or 30 minutes longer, or until they were tender, when they were removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates on top of the well-washed outer leaves of a small head of purple romaine lettuce from from Echo Creek Farm of Salem, NY, in the Saturday Chelsea Farmers Market (on the north sidewalk of 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues), a little olive oil and drops of a good Spanish Rioja vinegar drizzled on the beet segments and lettuce, but with the greens also sprinkled with salt and pepper, the beet salad finished with some horseradish root from Gorzynski Ornery Farm freshly grated on top [I added more horseradish after snapping the picture, and note that the recipe mostly follows one on page 36 inside the hard copy of the excellent book of simple kitchen formulae, ‘Italian Easy’; Recipes from the London River Cafe‘]
- the wine was a California (Lodi) white, F. Stephen Millier Angels Reserve White Blend Lodi 2016, from Naked Wines
- the music was the album, ‘Ludi Musici – The Spirit Of Dance 1450-1650‘
I’m not a fan of sweets, but when the attribute shows up, unbidden, in your savory dinner, especially in every part of it, I can take the salute.
Otherwise this meal wasn’t much different than many others I’ve prepared using an extremely easy recipe for pork chops I’ve been working with for years [copied in this 2014 food blog post]. One thing that was new this time was a good closeup image of a very juicy chop, helping, better than the pictures of these dinners I’ve published before, to explain why I’m so fond of the recipe (the word, ‘succulent’ always comes to mind, one that’s not associated with most pork chops served, anywhere).
In fact, 2 images.
- two thick, bone-in loin pork chops (approximately 10 ounces each) from Flying Pig Farms, dried thoroughly, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan, half of an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over them and left in the pan them while they roasted in a 400º oven for about 12 or 13 minutes total (flipped halfway through and the lemon squeezed over their surfaces once again), removed from the oven, sprinkled with chopped Salvia Mandarino (Eng. ‘mandarin sage’, or ‘pineapple sage’) from Stokes Farm, and the pan juices spooned over the top (there were enough to be transferred to a sauce boat which was brought to the table, along with a ladle)
- six halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-grrund black pepper, gently heated, face down first, then turned, inside a small copper skillet, arranged close to the chops and sprinkled with chopped thyme leaves from Stokes Farm