Saturday, October 27, 2012

I can’t resist fall flavors.

When I read David Tanis’ article, A Taste of Fall in a Bottle of Hard Cider, I knew I would be making the accompanying recipe, (more or less,) Pork Chops with Apples and Cider.

“But now, with piles of new-crop apples at the greenmarket and a stand selling local handmade cider, too, dinner seems practically predestined. I’ll pan-fry boneless pork chops and serve them with butter-browned apples and a Normandy-style sauce made with cider and cream. And to drink, a chilled bottle of sparkling New York hard cider.”

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Since we’re on the West Coast, I am using Sutton Cellars delicious Gravenstein Sonoma Apple Cider for this dish!

Rub the chops with the spice mix and allow to stand at room temperature.

Saute apples until tender.

Flour chops and brown on both sides.

Remove chopes and drain excess oil from pan. Add cider to deglaze pan. Reduce until syrupy. Add Chicken Stock and thicken slightly using corn, potato, or arrowroot starch. Check seasoning and strain out any undesirable solids. Return sauce to pan and add (IMHO not optional) Calvados. Cook off excess alcohol then add apples, chops, and fresh sage (I left out the cream in the original) and place in a hot oven until desired degree of doneness is achieved. I served the chops with some roasted winter squash and a braise of dino kale and abalone mushrooms.

You’re not going to make me get up, are you?

Bonus Monty picture!


The Bruery Mischief

Mischief is a Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale. This wickedly good golden ale is fiendishly dry-hopped with American hops to add a layer of complexity and mystery to its fruity, dry Belgian-style character. Citrus and resin diabolically combine with ripe melon, pear and slight peppery spice in a precariously effervescent mixture. Enjoy it, but you’ll want to keep an eye out.

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 35

Of the hopped Belgian-style ales we’ve tried lately, Mischief stood out for its subtle use of hops and not too sweet character. While not as dry as the Thiriez Extra, this is a pleasant American take on the Belgian style. I’d definitely buy this one again.

Chopped squash.

Israeli Couscous!

Asparagus for roasting.

“Will any of that Pancetta fall on the floor perchance?” Monty asks.

Sauteing the veggies for the Couscous dish.

This dinner was a little schizo: Jerk seasoned roast pork tenderloin. Israeli Couscous with pancetta and kabocha squash. Roast asparagus with tarragon and lemon.

Seems unlikely, but somehow it worked. The Joseph Swann Zinfandel even worked as a pairing. Strange.

Bachelor Pizza and Belgian Pale Ale

Michele was out of town, so time for some boy, dog, cat fun!

Beach Walk in the morning and a Bachelor Pizza and Belgian Pale Ale (Or B.P.A.B.P.A.) Night!

Crazy Day at Fort Funston!

Surf all the way up to the trail down to the beach, hardly room for a small dog to run, and only then between larger waves. We all agreed it was the highest we had ever seen the surf.

So a tramp through the woods and field were necessary.

Cats beware!

Still a beautiful day.

Decided to make some pizza and drink this lovely Belgian Pale Ale from Ommegang. A hybrid of Belgian Ale Yeast and American style hopping.

Toppings were corn, mushrooms, bacon herbs, and feta cheese with some last of the season small tomatoes.

Monty would like some pizza, too, please!

Turned out pretty well, but I was reminded that simple crusts made of just flour, water, and yeast, turn out much better with an overnight sponge or starter. More character. As a friend put it, “otherwise they just end up tasting like they’ve been baked on a pretzel.”

When I mentioned some of the dishes I usually make when Michele is away, one of the chefs at work asked, “Are you making Jambalaya because your wife doesn’t like it?” Hm, no, Michele loves Jambalaya.

I tried to think of something that all the bachelor dinners I’ve made for myself have had in common, and all I could think of was pork. Sausage, Bacon, Loin, Chops, you name it, a bachelor dinner must contain pork.