Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cooking Class 101: Perfect Pork Chops

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been cooking, you can always teach yourself new tricks.  And this old dog just discovered a great way to achieve the perfect pork chop.  It came via a Bon Appetit magazine article.  The basic technique here is to ‘turn, turn, turn’. It does sound counter-intuitive but flipping the chops with great frequency while they are cooking yields a crust and an evenly cooked interior in far less time that you’d imagine—8 to 10 minutes. Because both sides of the chop are in almost constant contact with the pan, the meat cooks in the shortened timeframe. True, this technique does require your attention.  You need to stand over the stove and flip, flip, flip.  And we’re not talking wimpy pork chops here.  You are advised to find the thickest, fattiest chops you can. In fact the recipe for two chops says that it’s for four servings.  Bon Appetit suggests slicing these super chops, as if they were a Porterhouse steak, into ¼ inch slices.  Somehow I overlooked that part and Andrew and I feasted on our chops all alone. I must say the pork was also enhanced in the simplest way with the addition of sage leaves, garlic and butter, which was poured over the finished chop and added another flavor dimension to the dish. My only regret is not having a larger cast iron skillet.  The chops would have been more evenly browned if I had.  Below the fold, the recipe:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Peruvian Steak and Potato Stir-Fry Or Lomo Saltado

At the Mercado Central in Santiago,
you can dine on all the fresh seafood
 from the market...
even if you're not entirely sure what it is.

         I’ve had the good fortune to travel to South America several times.  But I have only touched down in Peru. On my way back from Santiago de Chile, our plane made a stop there.  I must confess that Chilean food left me a little cold.  The Chileans will basically eat anything that comes out of the sea. While that befits a country that is a sliver of land an average of 110 miles wide with a 2653 mile Pacific coastline, it leads to eating all manner of sea creatures. Many of these look strangely like barnacles.  In fact, I think it would be possible to eat an entire seafood dinner at the famous Marcado Central without being able to identify a single thing on your plate.  The only meal I relished in Santiago was at a Brazillian steak house.  By the time we got there, I was dying for some bife.  I should have gone next door…to Argentina. Now there’s a country that is a fantastic place to eat – especially if you’re mad for meat.  I am a complete carnivore but after my last trip, I had an appointment with my cardiologist who asked what in god’s name I’d been eating.  Apparently I’d had at least one beef empanada too many.  But when I saw this recipe for a dish with Peruvian roots, it had some important things to recommend it.