Wednesday, February 16, 2011

feeling a bit lackluster

I was reading Kelle Hampton's post today and couldn't help but feel like I was in the same boat.  Lately, I've felt uninspired, unproductive and anti-photographic.  I have been baking and cooking up a storm, which I love, but at times, honestly is exhausting.  I've done absolutely no sewing and hardly any photographing.

I.  am.  tired. 

To top it off,  weather's messing with my head, giving me serious headaches. 

Sewing...when it comes to making things, I am not so much about originals but, duplication.  I am inspired by the things that other people make - their tutorials, especially.  Then, I reproduce and alter according to my own liking and judgment.

Photograhy.  Plainly put, I really haven't picked up my camera much at all.  A few clicks here and there, but nothing to brag about.

Sent this to L the other day, did a portrait of her husband (minus the big ears, red nose, and unkempt hair)...

L:  "OMG, you need to join a garden club, or something!!!"

Ah, cooking.  In light of C's request - STOP - he wanted to make it but, it would've taken too long to prepare after he'd gotten in from work and I felt he was anxious to try it.  So, last night, I made the recipe below from America's Test Kitchen per his craving.  I promise, you can make it on the weekend next time.  It was simple, just takes a while in the oven.

*a couple of quick notes - first, absolutely do NOT use chops that are less than 1 inch thick and secondly, a fat separator makes quick work of defatting the sauce(Their words not mine.  defatting.  hee hee.  sounds funny, huh?)  Also, I used apple juice since apple cider season is over.
photo from America's Test Kitchen

Cider-Braised Pork Chops
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
salt & pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup apple butter
1 cup apple cider
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 300 degrees.  Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in dutch oven (I used a braiser) over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown chops in two batches, about 4 minutes per side, transfer to plate.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat from pot and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, flour and 2 tbsp. apple butter.  Cook until onions are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in cider and thyme, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, bring to a boil.  Add browned chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover and transfer to over.  Braise until chops are completely tender, about 1.5 hours.  Transfer chops to serving platter.  Strain juice, then use a shallow spoon (or fat separator) to skim off fat.  Whisk in vinegar, parsley, and remaining apple butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve, passing sauce at table (I chose to douse the chops with it.  Come on, do it!  Passing sauce is for weenies!)

Mmm, homemade mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, some salt, pepper, and fresh parsley made a great accomplice.  Yum, quite lovely to look at too. 

Kudos to C for selecting this!