Monday, September 6, 2010

The Foodie Found her Groove Again

It seems that even the better cooks

can struggle from time to time

with a dish.

For me,

that dish recently has been

pork chops.

No matter what I would do,

they would come out tough and dry.

I would even use the digital thermometer

to make sure I would pull the pork

off the heat at 140 degrees,

allowing for medium doneness after resting.

Sigh, even that wasn't working for me lately.

I lost my mojo.

After returning home from our recent trip*,

I was determined to get this dish right again.

*My husband and I traveled to Philadelphia

last week and I will have several posts on that.

However, as I took almost 2,300 pictures,

it will take some time for me to get those posts together

and uploaded.

And perseverance pays off.

Here we have a grilled maple-mustard pork chop

served along with potato gratin,

sugar snap peas

and a sliced tomato drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

I decided a brine was the way to go here.

I have about one quart of water

1/4 cup coarse sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon mustard chili onion mix

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 cup sugar cane vinegar

The ingredients were added to the water

and the mixture went into the microwave

on high power for 5 minutes.

Take out, being careful to not inhale the steam**,

and stir to make sure the salt and sugar

are dissolved.

Add ice cubes to cool down the mixture.

**Really, you never want to inhale the steam from hot vinegar.

After the brine has cooled sufficiently,

pour over the pork chops.

Seal and place in the refrigerator.

Important note:

do not let the meat sit in the brine

for much longer than one hour.

The meat will become mealy if left

in the brine too long.

I then took the meat out of the brine

and put it on a rack over a plate

before placing it back in the refrigerator.

I don't worry about rinsing off the meat

after removing it from the brine,

but you can if you so desire.

About an hour before cooking,

take the meat out of the fridge

so the meat can come to room temperature.

Once the potato gratin was nearly finished

cooking on the grill,

I put the pork chops on the grill.

This time I let my intuition guide me

rather than the digital thermometer.

I turned the pork chops

when the meat no longer stuck to the grate

and then let it cook on the second side

for just a few minutes more.

Then when I "knew" it was done,

I removed the meat from the grill

and covered it with foil.

After resting,

the pork was at the desired temperature.

These pork chops were moist, tender

and flavorful.

I made a quick sauce of Dijon mustard,

yellow mustard, maple syrup and cracked back pepper

to go over the top.

Now I've got my mojo back.

1 comment:

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Those chops look delicious. Glad you got your mojo back.