baked pasta; lemon pork chop; micro mustard; baby greens

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