You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to…let’s call the whole thing off!
As potatoes are a classic, wonderful starchy side dish, and sometimes main dish, we learned roughly eight different ways to easily prepare potatoes….and then we ate them all. By the end of class, we all had the tell-tale fried film on our teeth and our stomachs were rumbling, in a bad way. And then, the minute I walk in the door to our apartment, ready to relax for the weekend, the first thing I see is….A POTATO!! I just couldn’t get away from them! I felt like they were everywhere – on the carpet, in the bathroom, on Steve’s face, crawling on my arms. I just could not escape the tuber.
Those French and their language, my goodness gracious. We made pommes dauphinois, pommes dauphin and pommes darphin. Please tell me how I’m supposed to learn the different between the three. We also made fantastic French fries, which are confusingly not called French fries in France, they are Pommes Pont-Neuf, or Pommes Frites, depending on the size. Regardless, they were delicious, and chef made some fantastic home-made ketchup for dipping. Apparently the key to a great deep fried potato is to blanch them in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes (again, depending on size); this ensures the middle is nice and cooked before you fry the outside. We also filled pastry bags with mashed potatoes and an egg binding mixture and piped them out into fun shapes and then baked in the oven…like buttah! This is not something I would do for an ordinary dinner, but I could see these being fun appetizers at a party! Tawk amongst yahselves.
RANDOM RECIPE OF THE DAY
I pulled this dinner out of thin air the other day after getting an idea from Bon Appétit magazine. If you’ve never heard of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), you should definitely try it! It’s a grain-like seed, and is a very easy and quick substitute for rice. It’s also packed full of protein, and makes a yummy side dish that can be mixed with almost anything.
THYME-CRUSTED PORK CHOPS WITH MUSHROOM AND SHALLOT QUINOA
Serves 2, but very easy to double for a family
You will need:
-2 center-cut bone-in pork chops
-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves pulled off of stems
-1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
-1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
-5 mid-sized button mushrooms, washed, peeled and quartered
-1 shallot, sliced or diced
-1 cup quinoa
-4 leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped
-1 bay leaf
-2 cups water
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
-1/2 cup red wine (whatever you have hanging around will do – if using white wine vinegar make sure you use white wine)
-2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 325˚F.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until moist and soft, but without creating color. If the pan gets too dry, add more butter. Once the shallots and mushrooms are ready, add the red wine vinegar and the red wine to the pan, along with the bay leaf, and stir. Bring this to a boil and cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until reduced by 90% (the pan will be almost dry).
Meanwhile, heat a stainless steel oven-safe sauté pan (VERY important that it’s oven-safe!). Mix the thyme, black pepper and salt with a tablespoon of olive oil to make a rough paste, and rub both sides of each pork chop with the mixture. Once the pan is screaming hot, add 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil, it will burn at such a high heat) and sear each side of the chops for about 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, and put the whole thing in the oven. The pork chops will be done when the internal temperature registers 145˚F, or about 12 minutes.
Once the mushrooms and shallot mixture has reduced, remove the bay leaf and add the quinoa, water and sage and stir well. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Once all the water has cooked out (about 15 minutes), remove from heat and stir.
Serve the pork chops on a bed of quinoa with your favorite green vegetable or salad. Yum!