Wednesday, January 3, 2007

It’s good to date a chef

So D called this afternoon while I was at work saying that he was going to come over and hang out with me tonite because he had some work to do near my house tomorrow morning. All day long, I was periodically checking my regular cooking websites to come up with something snazzy but simple and healthy to cook with him tonite. But no luck. I don’t know why, I just wasn’t inspired by any of the recipes I saw. Not a disaster, as we could make a great meal out of just stuff I had in my cabinets and fridge anyway, so I didn’t despair.

After work, we met in the park for a run (about 2 miles) and on the way home, we stopped at D’s butcher shop. We both just stood there, I think still reeling from the food over the holidays, and looked at the meat case. I still wasn’t inspired so I asked him to pick. Pork chops. And he said he’d cook while I took a long indulgent shower. Sweet.

So this is the menu we came up with. It’s good to date a chef. ‘Cause even when you’ve run out of ideas, your chef will always have one.

Cheese and Triscuits
Green Leaf, Feta, and Pickled Beet salad
Herbs de Provence Braised Pork Chops with Fennel, Zucchini, and Cranberry Chutney
1 Lindt chocolate truffle & Earl Grey Tea with milk

Herbs de Provence Braised Pork Chops with Fennel and Cranberry Chutney
2- 1 in. thick cut port chops
½ Spanish onion
1 medium bulb of fennel
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 zucchini
½ grated carrot

Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and herbs de provence. Sear in a hot cast iron pan with 11/2 Tblsp olive oil. Brown on both sides, remove, and set aside. Saute the sliced onion and fennel with the chopped garlic. Add onion before garlic browns, then add fennel after. Cut zucchini into one-inch cubes and add to the onion mixture. Hit with a splash of white wine. Add the grated carrot. (D likes to use the carrots to make the mixture a little sweeter) Place pork chops back on the mixture, cover and cook for 7 minutes. (Note: You should actually cook them medium to medium-rare because when it’s cooked through all the way, it’s dry and tougher.) Arrange on a plate with 1 heaping Tbsp of cranberry chutney and enjoy!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

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