Happy Taste Buds! - Learning To Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 301882

Learning To Cook

Happy Taste Buds! 
Apr. 30, 2013 5:47 pm 
Updated: May 2, 2013 3:48 pm
We feasted tonight. I try to make a good dinner most nights, except when Papa John sneaks into the house. Digression: I am going to build that wood fired oven in the back yard someday. Then we'll see if Papa sulks around my domicile! So I don't always make a decent meal. Who does?  Some nights I call out, "Get your own dinner night!" The kids like that because the youngest one likes to make her own meals. The eldest likes it too because she likes to be left alone!

Tonight was not one of those nights. I wanted to make Salad Taverna. It sounded really good, and I thought to pair it with thick cut pork chops. I also had some corn on the cob that needed to be used. It was already two days from the store. Swiss chard would add that bit of green that good nutrition seems to want.

Salad Taverna was a faceless recipe until tonight. I have to say that it doesn't present a lovely picture, but the flavor was really good! It was fine without my tweaks and is also good with them. But it has the kind of face only a very devoted mother could love. Could it be the way I put it together? Perhaps, but I did follow the directions. The recipe didn't indicate what shape of spinach pasta to use, and all I could find was linguine, so that is what I used. Apart from that, it was very straight forward.  My kids loved it. That is my ultimate test, because they are my clients.

The sweet corn was done very simply. I just shucked them, and put them in a 8 x 8 Pyrex dish and added a couple ounces of water and shook a teaspoon of sugar over the cobs. I covered the dish in plastic wrap and nuked it for seven minutes. I should have let it go just a touch more, but I am starting to like my corn a bit more on the fresh side. The corn was really good with a bit of butter and salt. Both girls got their braces off this Winter, and corn on the cob is back on the menu! My oldest was so happy to not get furry teeth from eating the corn!

The chops were the best I've ever made. The secret was in the brine. I recently purchased and read Michael Ruhlman's book, Ratio. The premise of the book is that with basic skills and a knowledge of a dozen or so ratios, you can be a formidable cook. I highly recommend it for those wanting to improve their cooking. In that book is a brine recipe. The basic brine ratio is 20 ounces of water and one ounce of salt. Add to that a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of cracked black pepper corns, 10 cloves of garlic, crushed, and a good sized bunch of thyme and sage. Allow your chops to brine for six hours. I pan fried them in just a touch of olive oil after patting them dry and allowing them to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. I browned both sides over a medium high heat and then turned the temp down for a bit. I forgot to record the times, but the inch thick chops were about a medium rare when we ate them. Anywho, I took the chops from the pan and rested them under foil. To the pan I added 1/4 cup of chopped onion, two cloves of garlic, sliced and then sweated them in the pan for two minutes on medium heat. Then I added 2 ounces of white wine and 2 or 3 ounces of chicken stock to deglaze the pan. As the liquid was reducing, I added to the pan a bunch of Swiss Chard that had been washed, rough chopped and dried. I let that cook down for about five minutes until it was done. I served that on top of the chops.

The girls wanted me to photograph the pork chops, but I decided that I only wanted to take a photo of the faceless salad. Maybe I'll formalize the pork chop recipe, and then photograph it.
Salad Taverna
Photo Detail
Apr. 30, 2013 5:57 pm
I just watched Anne Burrell brine pork chops yesterday, I have never done that but I am sure it helps with flavor and moisture.
Apr. 30, 2013 6:03 pm
I've brined before, but it was always hit and miss making up my own brine recipes. I think Ruhlman has something here!
May 1, 2013 6:31 am
oh my the chops sound so good.That salad looked pretty yummy as well. I can see why you had happy taste buds.
May 1, 2013 6:43 am
I'm making the other two tonight. They will have been in brine for nearly 20 hours by dinner time. I'll make broccoli rabe as the cooked green tonight. We'll see how the kiddos like that! It's really weird. I used to be able to eat a whole Iowa Chop myself. Now I have to cut them in half.
May 1, 2013 8:24 am
I am about to brine me some chicken leg quarters.
May 1, 2013 8:41 am
How long do you leave chicken in brine? I've heard anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. I think one recipe I saw was over night. How's a person supposed to figure that out?
May 1, 2013 10:39 am
This may offer some guidelines. http://www.enjoy-how-to-cook.com/brining-chicken.html
May 1, 2013 11:39 am
Thanks BigShotsMom!
May 1, 2013 11:42 am
Has anyone heard a peep from Mike Harvey lately? It's like he dropped off of the face of the Earth. Is he ok?
May 1, 2013 1:15 pm
I saw a post on FB yesterday I believe and he is doing good. I put it in around noon and I will start cooking around 5. I know it works for turkeys so what the heck.
May 1, 2013 2:03 pm
I've brined chicken before and it works really well. I used to buy IQF BSCB and they were brined before freezing. They were really good for what they were.
May 1, 2013 4:24 pm
Thanks Joey Joan. Haven't seen any comments or blog posts from him and was concerned.
May 1, 2013 4:41 pm
The corn was organic I hope, else most likely it was GMO. I'm just saying! :-)
May 1, 2013 7:29 pm
Not organic so there's a good chance that it could be GM corn.
May 2, 2013 3:59 am
Hi, Doc! Baking Nana turned me on to brining pork, and I never looked back. I didn't know that what I did to chicken was called "brining"! Back in the day when I fried chicken, I would soak the chicken in salt water at least 8 hours. The reason I did it was to eliminate the dark color of the cooked blood next to the bones in the legs and thighs. The bonus is that it gets the salt flavor all the way through the meat. The description of your chops is great. Can't wait to hear about the others!
May 2, 2013 5:20 am
Bibi would the skin crisp up for you?
May 2, 2013 3:48 pm
Thanks for asking, Doc! Joey pointed me your way. You have the answer now, though.
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Doc Simonson

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St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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