Pork with Roasted Tomato Salsa

Basically, this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

Differences, based on what I had handy:

2 butterflied boneless pork pieces (loin? chop? I forget) and spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon. One Roma and 3 Campari tomatoes (which are smaller than Romas). Added 1/2 cup of corn to the salsa.

Differences, because I was too lazy to go look at the recipe*:

My salsa was tomatoes, corn, 2 green onions (white parts and small bit of green) basil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. I cooked the tomatoes in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic then took the tomatoes out and added the corn (which was cooked on the cob then cut off earlier in the week) to get a little garlic infusion.


We ate this with whole wheat rolls and some fingerling potatoes (not pictured/ leftovers). It was quite tasty, even if I missed half the ingredients in the salsa.

*This, if anything, would justify having an iPad. Why? Because my laptop is a 17 inch wide-screen monster. With an iPad, I could just slip it behind a plastic cookbook cover (for protection) and conserve counter space but actually follow the recipe.

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Jambalaya

Monday happened to land Chris and I in Livonia for an appointment. This was a good turn of events as I had to exchange a mis-sewn chair cover purchased at IKEA back in October. This also became an opportunity to visit Whole Foods. We used the GPS to find the closest one (to IKEA) which turned out to be the more southern Ann Arbor location, between A2 and Ypsilanti. I have, somehow, never been inside this particular Whole Foods- maybe its a relocation?- although I have been to the Panera right next store. Anyhow, its huge and now I’m going to be sad next time I go to a smaller location. I’m not a fan of the one in West Bloomfield/Farmington- I feel like I’m missing a whole section every time. The deli area is either a really good thing or a really bad thing- depends on how much money I am looking to spend and how hungry I am. A-hem.

Because the appointment went over the lunch hour we decided to eat before shopping. After walking through the entire store, we realized that if you just turn right immediately upon entering, you can go along the wall and come in to the deli area. In this area, you can buy whatever you like and go eat it in a small cafe area. I made a salad and Chris opted for the hot buffet.

Duly nourished, we started shopping. Our mission was to get things we couldn’t get in Lansing and focus on healthy stuff. We still came home with a block of cheese and 2 bottles of wine (reminds me, we might need to start drinking this stuff soon- our rack is full again). We also picked up some Key West Pinks, the only shrimp Chris will eat, a number of bags from the produce section and 2 packages of gourmet sausages: pork andouille and a chicken chorizo from Sausages by Amylu.

Right away, with a planned focus on eating more rice in my future, I knew I’d take the andouille sausage to make some jambalaya. Not that I have the slightest idea what goes in to an authentic jambalaya except rice.

Internet to the rescue! Except, there are thousands of recipes for jambalaya using various proteins, mostly. Ideally, I would have made a shrimp and sausage combo but someone was supposed to work on deveining the shrimp earlier and did not. I ended up scanning about 10 recipes and then just winged it.

Jambalaya

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup long grain rice
1 can diced tomatoes (any flavor will do, I happened to only have “with basil, garlic and oregano”)
1 1/2 cups water/vegetable/chicken broth
8-10 oz andouille sausage, sliced
1/3 cup corn (frozen/defrosted or can)- optional
1 bay leaf
1 /2 Tbsp dried thyme
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Parsley or Cilantro to garnish

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan (like the everyday pan from Calphalon).

Once oil is warmed and shimmering, saute onion and garlic until onions are lightly golden. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and thyme to onions. Cook just enough to release aromatics in herbs.

Add bell pepper and cook for another minute or two.

Add rice and stir to coat, allowing the rice to absorb some of the oil. You can let this cook for 1-2 minutes until you smell the nutty fragrant of toasted rice.

Add tomatoes and water or broth along with bay leaf and bay seasoning. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed most of liquid.

Add sausages and corn, allow to cook until sausages are just cooked through.  Serve garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.


Notes:

1. Corn, as noted in ingredient list, is optional. I only used it because we had some leftover that needed to be used within 24 hours.

2. The sausages I used were pre-cooked so they just needed to be heated up at the end. If raw sausages are used, I’d suggest cooking them in the pan first then using the drippings to cook the onions, etc.

3. Adjust cayenne pepper to your taste and also the heat in the sausages.

4. If I’d added shrimp to this, I would have used more Old Bay Seasoning. Usually when we boil shrimp, we use Bay Seasoning and pickling spice. Chris is in charge of this process so the exact ratios aren’t known to me. But, the Old Bay is required, I’m told.

Top Ten Ever List Item

According to Chris, I “hit this one out of the park.” And its “on the top ten ever list.” And I “can make this again later this week.”

What did I make?

Just some pork n’ potatoes.

I used this potato recipe from Simply Recipes but with a few modifications:

Ingredients

* 3 Slices of thick style bacon
* 1/2 pound new purple potatoes sliced in half and then in small wedges
* 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
* 4 medium sized shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
* Olive oil
* Kosher Salt
* Freshly cracked pepper
* 1 pinch red pepper flakes
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
* 1 tablespoon chopped capers
* 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

1 In a small sauté pan heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat. Add the sliced onions in one even layer, after five minutes add 1/2 tablespoon of butter, stir and add a pinch of kosher salt. While rendering your bacon and cooking your mushrooms in the next steps, make sure to stir the onions every few minutes and remove once they are evenly browned. This should take around 30 minutes, remove from heat when finished and reserve.

2 While the onions are slowly cooking slice the bacon in small batonettes (1/8-inch crosswise strips) on your cutting board. Heat up a larger sauté pan on medium and when your pan is hot add the sliced bacon. Slowly sauté the bacon until slightly crispy and remove from the pan on to a paper towel-lined plate, reserve for later.

3 Julienne the shiitake mushrooms and then add them to the pan which now has the rendered bacon fat. Add a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper to the Shitake mushrooms, don’t shake the pan but let the mushrooms brown evenly on one side. Once browned, flip the mushrooms delicately and remove from pan onto a smaller plate, reserve.

My changes:

Used red skin potatoes instead of purple.

Used regular bacon instead of thick-cut (honestly, I think that thick-cut would have been better but at minimum, get decent center-cut bacon. More meat and less fat).

Used a 4 oz package of shiitake mushrooms which may or may not be equivalent to the original.

Used 1 tsp dried tarragon instead of fresh. Added the tarragon to the potatoes after the first flip during browning. Left out the capers as we don’t have any. For fresh green color, I tossed a little roughly chopped parsley (curly) on just before serving.


Pan-fried Pork with White Wine-Tarragon sauce:

Ingredients

2 medium-thick boneless pork chops or similar
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs seasoned with Italian seasonings
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend with parmesan)
1/4 cup Chardonnay
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 scant tablespoon Creole mustard (or other grainy-type)
up to 2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
olive oil

Directions

1. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in a shallow dish or plate. In second dish/plate, break the egg and whisk lightly to combine yolk and white. Season pork with salt & pepper, both sides.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. When heated, dredge pork in egg then in bread crumb mixture. You can pat the bread crumbs on for better stick, if necessary.

3. Saute pork 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to plate, cover and keep warm.

4. Bring heat up to medium-high and add wine to pan, deglazing for any bits on the bottom. Add vegetable broth, tarragon and mustard. Bring to a boil.

5. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to just above low, add cold butter. Start with 1 tablespoon. Melt in to sauce then add second tablespoon if thicker sauce is desired.