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Recipe: Baked Pork Chops and Rice Medley

Published on February 16, 2013 in Recipes

Cooking for one

Okay so the other day I was sitting with my feet up while watching The Food Network, enjoying episode after episode of, at times, incredible culinary marvels. Every one of them (and even all the commercials) had the wonderful ability of making my stomach rumble. Consumed by my own cravings I found myself hungry for – of all things – pork chops. So I did what anybody who’s hungry for something would do…. I started cooking. Now this would have been nice for two but in this case I was left to my own devices and to eat alone.

Oven Baked Pork Chops with Rice Medley

 

This is an easy recipe because it involves only the most basic mirepoix and the oven will do most of the work. It should be noted here that I actually made enough for two. I did this with every intention of saving half for lunch at the office. That didn’t work out very well because I wolfed it down in one sitting. Yeah… it was that good. So without any additional rhetoric, here’s Karl’s recipe for Oven Baked Pork Chops with Long Grain and Brown Rice.

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • A large cutting board
  • A medium skillet
  • A 9×13 casserole dish
  • Sharp knife
  • Tin foil

Ingredients:

  • 4 – tablespoons butter
  • 1 – cup of a nice medley of long grain and brown rice (uncooked)
  • 4 to 6 – pork chops, bone in or boneless sirloin chops (I like bone-in)
  • Salt to taste
  • 10-ounces of beef broth
  • 3/4 – cup water
  • 6 – onion slices, separated into rings (white or red, your choice)
  • 4 – 5 Bell Pepper rings (Get different colors)
  • Garlic (as much as you like) chopped
  • Thyme to taste
  • 1/4 – teaspoon pepper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the rice and sauté until it is light brown, about 5 minutes.

Spread the rice in a 9X13 casserole dish. Season the pork chops with the salt, pepper and thyme (to taste), then arrange them on top of the rice. Pour the broth and water over the chops.

Spread the onion, peppers and garlic over the chops and sprinkle with more pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until pork chops are tender.

Remove the pork chops to a plate and keep warm, then cover the dish and return the rice to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. If the rice is dry, add a bit more water before returning to oven.

 

Plate it up!

Now like I said, the recipe here is for two. If you’re anything like me though, you may want to adjust for appetite. I’m just sayin…

Enjoy…

 
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Flowering Tea Pot

Published on January 19, 2013 in A Bit of Fun

Ever have one of those mornings? You know, the sun is shining, the sky is a crisp blue, you’re on your patio because it just feels good, and you and the lady with whom you woke, are enjoying some tea. Maybe with a muffin or biscotti? Want to add just a little bit more to that? Perhaps to inspire yet more ooh’s and ah’s from her? You never know… it could lead to even more (ahem) fun…

My closest friend gave me a Flowering Tea Pot  for Christmas. And I have to say, I was somewhat awed by how it works.

The tea is contained in what looks like a typical bulb one would plant n the garden. Drop it in hot water and watch as that bulb slowly opens and reveals a flower while at the same time, releases the tea. The visual and the fragrance hit you at almost the same time and you’re drawn in. Like watching a time-lapse of a flower growing right before your eyes.

Honestly, this is a very cool idea that’s sure to lighten a sleepy heart and draw from her a child-like smile. It’s unique, it’s colorful, the fragrance rocks, it tastes great while warming the heart, and it’s fun. What more could you want? Seriously…

There are a variety of teas available, so even if you have a finicky tea taste, you’re sure to find what you’ll like. For me… I love the Green Tea with Jasmine.

Good Morning…

 
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Review: El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant

Published on January 5, 2013 in Reviews

Normally I would never suggest trying a new restaurant on a first-date.

What brought us to El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant was the very positive recommendation from a friend. Of course having grown up on Peruvian cuisine, I find it really difficult to pass up on such a recommendation. So throwing caution to the wind, I made reservations for two.

“It’ll be an adventure!” say I with child-like enthusiasm.

It’s a small place with a fairly humble curb-appeal nestled right between Meza Mediterranean, and Kabuki Japanese restaurants. Sort of an ethnic row of gastro-indulgence. There were far too many tables for the space but it was clear why… the place was packed to capacity. Nevertheless, the rather bland curb-appeal left me questioning my choice.

“It’ll be an adventure!” say I to myself (less enthusiasm).

Since my date has never enjoyed Peruvian cooking, I took the liberty of ordering the appetizers. Which gave me a brief moment to show off my Spanish (chicks dig that shit!).

Ceveche de Pescado There are bazillions of recipes available for this wonderfully light starter. But the basics are light fish, a citrus juice blended with all sorts of cool spices, garlic, onion, and cilantro (a staple in Peruvian cooking). Here it was garnished with Peruvian sweet corn and even corn nuts (which my date really liked). My only complaint was they used way too much lime. But, on my date’s suggestion I added a bit of the Aji Verde sauce thus cutting through a lot of that acidic citrus flavor and really brought out the flavor of the Pacific Cod. Nice but not as good as mine (I boasted).

Papas al la Huancaina A boiled and sliced potato topped with a sauce of Aji Amarillo, a feta cheese sauce, olives, and garnished with a boiled egg (no one ever eats the egg). Typically this starter is served cold but in this case it was warm and likely the best I’ve had. Yeah… it was that good.

Antiuccho If you’re one who gets all queasy about certain organs of the cow, you may want to skip past this. You’ve been warned… Traditional Anticucho is made with beef heart marinated in Huacatay sauce for a day or two. Then skewered, grilled and served with a crispy potato and more of that Peruvian corn.

“I don’t know if I like the idea of eating heart,” she declares.

My response; “A true test of authentic Peruvian cooking is in how the Anticucho tastes.” If done well, the one consuming it will never know it’s made with heart. Here… it was nothing short of delicious. Though I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest it’s better than mom’s, it was really good. I most definitely and quite highly recommend it. I’m just sayin…

So far so good. The appetizers pass with my arbitrary muster with a score of 8 (out of a possible 10). It would have been a ten if it weren’t for the heavy use of citrus in the Ceveche. But now it’s on to the rest of the meal.

So… here’s where I sort of got lost in the food. For me, Lomo Saltado is a staple of Peruvian cuisine and if you can’t make that well, you may as well hang it up and close your doors. I’m happy to report that while it isn’t as good as mine, it was REALLY good. Want to see how that’s made? Check out my recipe for Lomo Saltado here. Yes, that was a shameless plug.

For desert… Alfajores. This is a sort of short-bread cookie with caramelized condensed milk, topped with powdered sugar. It’s something my grandmother made for us when we were little and every time I have one, I’m filled with memories of home. On this particular evening it was a wonderfully decadent and rich desert that made both my date and me do what I call the “happy-food-dance.” Which is really just a bunch of squirming around in your chair while expressing child-like exuberance about the food. It’s a thing.

My overall impression I will be adding this place to my list of favorite eateries. It’s a good date-spot since it’s quiet enough to chat (in spite of it being packed), offers excellent service with a knowledgeable staff, and provides authentic and rather tasty Peruvian food. And you know it was good if your date wants to take some of it home. Yup, El Rocoto is a must visit place for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area.

Oh… and my date went very well too, with promises from us both for a second. Of course now I have to decide where to go and what to do for that. You never know…

Buen apetito..

 
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