Monday, February 16, 2009

Winter to the left of me, Spring to the right, here I am . . .

I'm stuck between Winter and Spring. My body wants Spring, but the weather is not cooperating. It's only February, after all, so my reasonable side, the part that studied environmental science, would be seriously concerned if tulips were popping up now. But I still dream! A good snowstorm would cure me of my longing for a bit, but looking out at the sunny weather, I imagine it's 50 degrees. Ah, okay, pull yourself together, Renée. Below is an old family favorite that should bring on snow, or at least make good use of the lovely pork chops from the CSA. Country Journal was a Vermont publication which I don't think exists anymore. My father used to write articles for them on woodburning, so my parents have many old magazines. This recipe was a particular favorite and has remained in the menu rotation for over 20 years.

Cider Pork Chops (from Country Journal Oct. 1987 Ken Haedrich)

4 pork chops - 1 inch thick
dust w/ flour
heat 2 TBSP oil in large skillet or enamel pot
add chops
brown 3 to 4 min. each side
add 1 c. cider, 1/4 c. apple jack and 4 to 8 large prunes
once liquid boils, reduce to simmer, loosely cover pan
simmer 25 to 30 min. until fork tender
remove chops and prunes and keep warm in low oven
strain juice into 2-cup sized measuring cup and add enough cream or 1/2 + 1/2 to make 1 1/4 cups. If not appley enough, add more cider/applejack
melt 1 1/2 TBSP butter over low heat, add 1 TBSP flour, stir and cook gently for 2 min. (brown slightly)
wisk in liquid and 1/4 teas. thyme (or more), stir often over low heat 5 min. season w/ salt and pepper
pour over plated chops

And, a dessert. Keja and I noticed that the freezer is frosting up, which is not uncommon. So, we made a pact to try to use everything up in the next few months so we can defrost it in the Spring. I tend to let things linger in the freezer until they are unrecognizable, so it feels good to have a plan! Last night I pulled frozen rhubarb and strawberries out. I dumped them into a bowl together, tossed with some sugar, and put them into a deep pie plate. I made a regular crumble/yum yum topping (equalish parts flour, brown sugar, butter, oats all mashed together), covered the fruit, and popped it into a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. The kids refused to eat it, which meant more for the adults.