Sunday, January 2, 2011

A simple composed meal

Sometimes I can't help myself, I have to get cute with my food. While I usually try to stay within a general theme for a meal I rarely put much thought into carrying flavors from one dish to another or make sauces to tie all the elements together. Sometimes it happens naturally, sometimes, like today I have a plan.
We decided to have a late dinner tonight so we could eat like civilized adults after the kids went to bed, which gave me the opportunity to focus on the meal. I would be lying if I said that a good sprinkling of kid free silence was a key ingredient.

 The menu

Grilled Pork Chops, Caramelized brussel sprouts, and a cucumber ribbon salad.

While the kids were eating their oh so tasty dinner, I made the dressing for the salad.  Really the whole idea for the salad came from the the fact that I had half a cucumber sitting on the cutting board  left over from the kids. I figured I would hit it with the peeler and figure out what to do with it from there.

I looked up a few recipes while I planned and I found one that had most of the flavors I was after.
However I wanted something creamy to make it a bit more reminiscent of tzatziki sauce but with a different overall flavor. So I added a scoop of Greek yogurt, some honey and a touch of buttermilk to loosen it up. I added some mixed field greens and baby spinach to a bowl, mounded the cucumbers on top and added the dressing. A few kalamata olives later and it really came together.

I went back to the well with the caramelized brussel sprouts, I omitted the feta this time for no real reason.
The pomegranate molasses was going to be the thread for the whole meal. It's origins are from the Middle East and it is used in a lot of Mediterranean dishes so those are the flavors I was focusing on.

We got some great pork chops from Sweet Grass Farms which I coated with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and cumin. While they rested and came up to room temp I cut and prepped the sprouts. heated up my grill pan for the chops and a big frying pan for the sprouts.

Once both pans were nice and hot I got to work, getting all the sprouts down on the cut side to develop their lovely brown color and dropping the chops onto a hot pan.

I cooked the chops for about 6-8 minutes per side to an internal temp of 150-155. With good quality pork I don't mind a bit of pink inside. Really it won't hurt you and your delicious tender pork will make you a  happier person. Let the pork rest for a few minutes before serving.

I drizzled the pomegranate molasses over the chops and the sprouts on the plate and enjoyed, added a mound of the salad and voila, a complete meal.

The juice from the pork, the molasses, and the dressing all blended very well on the plate and each bite of the different dishes carried the flavors of the others.

All in all it turned into a nice quiet tasty meal.

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