Sunday, May 20, 2007

Two more recipes that I require you try :)

We were knocked off our chairs by this one. Far exceeded our expectations. Simple, cheap, fantastically delicious.

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
(we skipped the brine, but I probably would do it next time)

2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 pound ice
4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces dried apple slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, julienned
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside

Place the apples in the slow cooker.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

The second, more luxurious, recipe is from one of the best food books ever written... "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" by Jeffrey Steingarten. It was given to him by Pierre Herme, one of the greats of French pastry. We just made it tonight and WOW. It totally blows away the other hot chocolate recipe I've posted a few times. Its not one we'll do often... its rich and more work, but it was like drinking chocolate mousse. Chocolaty without being cloying. It didn't dull your taste buds, it was smooth as silk. Loveliness... and I'm not even a huge chocolate fan.

Chocolate Chaud

(adapted from Pierre Herme)

2 1/4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup bottled still water

1/4 cup (generous) superfine granulated sugar

1 bar (3.5 oz.) dark bittersweet chocolate, finely sliced with a serrated bread knife

1/4 cup cocoa powder

In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the milk, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate and the cocoa and bring to a boil again, whisking until the chocolate and cocoa are dissolved and the mixture has thickened. Reduce the heat to very low.

Blend for 5 minutes with an immersion mixer or whirl the hot chocolate in a standard blender for half a minute, until thick and foamy. Yield: Four 6-ounce cups of hot chocolate.

Note: I use a dark chocolate containing close to 70 percent cocoa, though Lindt bittersweet also works just fine. The Mayans and the Aztecs considered the froth the best part. Today, five minutes with an immersion mixer or a blender accomplishes what a half hour of beating did long ago.

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