I don’t often post twice in one day but when I posted earlier I didn’t realize dinner would turn out so good. I’m trying to get back into the cooking dinner routine because eating out everyday is proving to be very expensive, plus I’d rather have shoes! LOL. Sticking to the meal plans isn’t always easy because life happens but it is much better when you have a plan to begin with. What I like the best about having meals planned for say the week, is that I don’t have to hear the dreaded question “so, what’s for dinner?” and THEN start to figure out what the heck we’re gonna do.
Tonight’s meal included pork and apples, a combination that has come to be a favorite of mine. They just go so well together and because you are eating fruit, it makes you feel like you are being healthy…never mind all the cream in the sauce!
Pork Chops with Apple Cream Sauce
4 pork chops, boneless
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups hard apple cider (regular cider for the European folks)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 medium red apple, unpeeled, chopped
Hot cooked brown and wild rice
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pork chops in hot oil about 3 minutes per side or until browned. Add the cider, lemon juice and rosemary. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the pork is done.
Remove the pork from the skillet; set aside and keep warm. Set the heat under the skillet to high and let the cider mixture reduce to about half. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Reduce the heat medium low and add the cornstarch and cream mixture to the cider. Cook and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return the pork chops to the skillet. Heat about 2 minutes.
Serve the pork with sauce spooned over the top. Top with apples and serve with the rice.
I know it doesn’t look like much but it was really good. The pork works great with the apples and the rice works well with the sauce. It’s a great combination and will definitely go into the to-be-made-again list.
I had dinner planned but in the middle of the afternoon, I remembered that I had some strawberries in the fridge that needed to be used and set out to find something to do with them. I searched for strawberry shortcake in a few of my books when it occurred to me look in Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. As usual, she does not disappoint. Not only was there a recipe for it in the book, but it was the best darned strawberry shortcake I have ever had. Even my husband, who always finds flaws in everything, said “Don’t change a thing in this recipe, it is perfect the way it is”. I couldn’t believe my ears but he said it!
For the biscuits
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
For the filling
Berries (about 1/2 cup per shortcake), hulled and sliced if using strawberries
a splash of Chambord
lightly sweetened softly whipped cream
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-sized pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces in between, and that’s just right.
Pour the cream over the dry ingredients and toss and gently turn the ingredients with a fork until you’ve got very soft dough. When the dough comes together (note: I found out I needed more cream), you’ll probably still have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl – just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead the dough until it’s evenly blended. Don’t overdo it; it’s better to have a few dry spots than an overworked dough. Even with all the flour mixed in, the dough will be soft and sticky.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between the mounds of dough. Pat each mound down until it is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add at least 5 more minutes to the oven time.)
If you have more dough, repeat, cooling the baking sheet first.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point, until the shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded. Pull the sheet from the oven and transfer the shortcakes to a cooling rack.
To make the filling, put the berries in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar to taste and a splash of Chambord. Mix with a spoon and let sit for about 10 minutes, until they are juicy.
The cakes are tender and really fragile, so go easy on them. Use a serrated knife and not much pressure to cut each cake in half horizontally. Put the bottom halves on plates, top with the berries – make sure to include some of the sweet juices – and spoon over some whipped cream. Put the tops on the shortcakes or lean them against the cream. If you decide to go for the open-faced shortcakes, you’ll get two textures, moist and tender.
The only change I made was adding the Chambord, which Dorie does not call for. I love Chambord and I love how it enhances the taste of berries. It is not necessary though and you can leave it out. I bet some balsamic vinegar or even just good vanilla extract would be just as good.
I only made half of the recipe and we still have 3 shortcakes hanging around. I think I have my midnight munchies secured!