Tag Archives: pork

Pineapple Porkchops + Being in the Moment

31 Dec

My thoughts are all over the place. I planned on talking about Christmas and the New Year and all sorts of big, exciting things. But I spent last night waking up screaming from a series of nightmares, and it’s got me all jumbled. The BF is also a little jumbled after being jolted awake by my screams. Way to send 2012 out with a bang, right?

I went back to yoga yesterday after a long three-month hiatus. After a billion chatarangas and a few too long utkatasanas (a.k.a. chair pose, a.k.a. my misery), I was zoning out in child’s pose when our instructor started talking about being in the moment. She had a New Year’s theme, talking about how we make resolutions and spend too much time indulging today with the plan to work out tomorrow. And while an occasional indulgence is no problem — of that I’m a firm believer — it’s still important to be in the moment and be intentional. Stop making plans and just do it, you know?

I thought that was a great lesson, but what really had me thinking this morning was her comment to ‘be in the moment and stop planning.’ Bear with me as I pull all this wandering back together.  I remember having a few nightmares when I was a kid, but they really started in earnest about halfway through college. I realized that any stress I try to ignore during waking hours pop up as nightmares in my sleep. (Denial has long been my strongest defense mechanism.) So after a nightmare, I talk it out, trying to cope with whatever stress triggered it, rationalizing the nightmare away. This works great… when the nightmare is triggered by some specific stress.

I spent today’s early morning hours trying to figure out what triggered last night’s bad dreams, and I couldn’t come up with anything. I want to find something so I can deal with it and banish it, but I can’t. And it had me realizing that sometimes, plans don’t work. My standard coping plan isn’t cutting it. So instead I just let it be. I had a couple nightmares, I can’t explain it, it is what it is. I just laid in bed for a few minutes, letting the fear subside and my heart stop pounding while the BF held me, and then I told him about the dreams. Then I got up and made myself a cup of tea and started along my day. There’s nothing else to figure out. No matter how I plan or rationalize, I had some nightmares, and I will have more. Instead of worrying about it, I’ll accept that, and just be.

Now, I don’t know if I can ever stop planning. Most of my control issues manifest in planning everything and needing to know what’s going to happen next. But even if I can’t stop planning, I can at least try to be in the moment and be intentional.

So right now I’m in this moment — a cup of tea, the fire going in the living room, and this here blog. Then I’ll spend the day focusing on my moments as a cook up a bunch of freezer meals to last the next few weeks.

Yes, I just planned to be in the moment. So sue me.

And since I feel like I should share something aside from my personal issues, I’ll go ahead and throw in this recipe for Pineapple Porkchops. The BF made it for dinner the other day. I was quite impressed — it was pretty tasty.

Pineapple Porkchops

One-Skillet Pineapple Porkchops, adapted from Eating Well

3 Tablespoons apricot jam (or pineapple jam or orange marmalade)
1/2 cup+ pineapple-orange juice, divided*
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 fresh (or canned) pineapple rings, cut 1/4″thick
2 teaspoons butter
4 boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine jam, 3 tablespoons orange juice, ginger, and curry powder in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Measure 1/3 cup pineapple-orange juice into a measuring cup and set juice aside.

Heat butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Immediately turn them and sprinkle the other side as well. Cook the pork until browned, turning occasionally, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the reserved juice to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until pork is cooked through, 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to plates or platter and keep warm.

To the hot pan, add the pineapple slices, reserved sauce, and a little more thyme. Cook until hot and bubbling, stirring constantly, about 1-2 minutes. Spoon the sauce onto the chops and pineapple. Serve with rice.

* Use any combination of orange juice, pineapple juice, or similar juice to reach the necessary amount. If you use canned pineapple, you can use the juice from the can and top it off with orange juice. We used pineapple-strawberry-orange juice, because that’s what we had in the fridge.

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Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce

7 Mar

I have no idea why I’m posting so much pork on this blog. I really don’t eat much pork at all, and actually, I’ve been trying to cut down my overall meat consumption lately. Maybe that’s why these end up looking good enough to take pictures of. My favorite part of this dish is the mushroom sauce, so feel free to search for things other than pork to smother. This recipe originally came from Rachael Ray, who just loves to smother fat with fat, so it’s pretty easy, but no claims here about being healthy.

I preheated a large skillet with some extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. I added a dash of salt and pepper to each side of the pork chop and then added it to the pan. I cooked it for about 6-7 minutes, then flipped it to the other side and cooked it for another 6-7 minutes. I removed the pork chop to a temporary plate and tented some foil over it to keep the heat in. Back to the skillet: I turned the skillet down to medium-low and added 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 pound sliced white mushrooms, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. I let that saute for 3 or 4 minutes and then added a dash of salt and pepper. I also added about 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and then cooked for about a minute longer. Then I whisked in 1/3 cup dry white wine, 1 cup chicken broth, and 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard. I let it simmer until most of the liquid was absorbed and it had a thick, creamy texture. I served it with a side of baked sweet potato and steamed green beans. As Rachael says, “Yum-o!”

How Sue Sees It:
– Seriously, this mushroom sauce is amazing. And it gives me something to do with all the leftover mushrooms I end up having after I buy some for salad.
– Be flexible. Don’t have mustard? Leave it out. I doubt you’ll notice.

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast Dinner

3 Jan

I don’t often post dinner meals, frankly because I bake way more often than I actually cook dinner. Sad, I know. However, here’s a phenomenal one-dish meal that is super easy. Plus, this is technically baking, too. My brother makes this for us at family meals, and I stole the recipe from him to re-create a smaller version at home. But if you feel the need to impress a dinner party, feel free to use a huge cut of pork tenderloin, slice it up fancy, and wow the pants off your guests.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, and 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. Mix it all together, and add olive oil until it makes a paste-like consistency. Rub the mixture all over your pork roast and then place it in a shallow pan. (For just the BF and me, I use about a 1/2 pound cut of a pork tenderloin. Though I’m sure he would appreciate it if I made more than that.)

Pork in the Pan

Fill the rest of the pan with sliced carrots and diced potatoes. Crack open a bottle of white wine, and pour it right into the pan until it covers the bottom. (I prefer to cut my vegetables smaller and pour enough wine to cover them so they’re more tender.)

Cover with foil and bake at 350 F. My 1/2 pound cut usually bakes for 30-35 minutes. If you use a different size cut, check the packaging – it will often tell you how long to cook per pound. At any rate, the internal temperature of your meat should come to 160 F, and when you cut into it, there should be no pink at all, only white meat (like chicken).

Pork Dinner

How Sue Sees It:
– I’m lazy enough when I serve this at home for the two of us that I just cut it in half and plop it right on our plates. But if you make a larger roast for a dinner party, this looks amazing sliced up and served on a platter. Very impressive!
– If you don’t have any wine (or if you’re not old enough to buy any), water works just fine. I just prefer wine because even if it’s cheap wine, it adds a little more flavor. Plus a glass is nice while I’m waiting for the oven timer to ding.
– Real chefs would probably tell you to not ever substitute dried herbs for a dish like this that features them so prominently. But I won’t lie — I’ve done it. If you substitute dried for fresh herbs, cut back to one-third or one-half the amount. Also, at least make sure that your dried herbs are still good — check the expiration date, and only save dried herbs for about 6 months after you’ve opened them (even if the expiration date hasn’t come yet). They start losing their flavor after that.