I like to think of myself as independent and self-sufficient, but there are sometimes reminders that I can’t do it all myself. Recently, when I tried, unsuccessfully, to haul huge bags of mulch around the garden, I knew that help and the promise of good food, was in order. Enter my good friend, Rodney. And Tuscan Pork Chops. And a lot of fun.
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1-2 heads garlic cloves, peeled and sliced*
1 large fennel bulb, diced
a handful of fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, or thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil or enough to almost reach the tops of the tomatoes
Place everything in a small saucepan with deep sides.
Cook on a very low flame for roughly an hour, uncovered, until the tomatoes get squooshy and start to darken.
*Don’t let anyone tell you this is too much garlic. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
4 pork loin chops
Salt and pepper, to season
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Preheat oven broiler (or grill) on medium-high heat. Season chops just before cooking.
Heat oil in a pan or skillet over medium high heat until hot. Sear chops on both sides until golden and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes each side).
1 head cauliflower, stemmed and rinsed, cut in large chunks
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup half and half
Salt & pepper to taste
Steam the cauliflower until soft. In a high speed blender, blend the cooked cauliflower with the next three ingredients until very smooth.
To serve, mound the mashed cauliflower in the plate, top with a pork chop, and using a slotted spoon, cover with the confit of vegetables. A little grated Parmesan is great on the top, if you have some on hand.
If you’re looking for something great to drink with this, try River Road Pinot Noir - Stephanie’s Russian River Valley. It’s a bit more fruit forward than your standard Pinot for pork pairing, but it was delicious, and certainly kept the laughs and conversation going.
If anyone wants to trade food for carpentry, I’m ready to negotiate.
Thanks to David, Bill, Rodney and all the helpers who nudge me over those heavy humps that I always think I can do myself.