Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pork Chop Dinner and Banana Bread

       We had these tasty chops for dinner the other day. Pork chops are surprisingly affordable and easy to make, not the mention tasty. The meat is pretty versatile in terms of flavor and I am excited to try different flavor combinations next time. I made mashed potatoes and baked broccoli to go along with the chops, but any baked or grilled vegetable would do. I also made this super easy and delicious banana bread, which is really more like a cake, but I try emphasize the bread part when I eat a slice for breakfast. I was originally trying to make the classic loaf shaped banana bread, but as a poor college student, I discovered our kitchen is not equipped with a loaf pan, so a cake pan it was. I threw in some chocolate chips and an oat crumble topping and I have a banana-crumb-cake delight.

Pork Chops
2 bone-in pork chops
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of flour
vegetable oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. of thyme
1/4 cup finely diced onion

1.) Put your pork chops in a container that is big enough to hold them all and cover them with water. Fill the container with water and lots of salt, so the water is tastes like sea water. Then add the pork chops. Allow them to sit in this brine for a few hours or over night.
2.) After a few hours or so, take the pork chops out and dry them really well. I put mine on a plate lined with paper towels and patted them with more paper towels on top until the chops were completely dry. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
3.) Then begin heating a fry pan with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan, plus a little more. I then coated each side of the chops with salt and pepper and flour. I put the flour on a plate and simply dredged each side of the chop right before putting it in the pan. 
4.) Sear the chops on either side in the fry pan until both sides are a dark golden brown. Place the seared chops on a baking sheet lines with aluminum foil and place them in the oven until they reach an internal temperature of 155 or 160. 
5.) Mean while finely dice the onion and add it to a medium-high heat fry pan with a Tbs. of vegetable oil. Heat the onion until it is transparent. Add the thyme and continue to heat for 2-3 minutes. Next add the vinegar, maple syrup, and sugar and continue to cook until the sauce thickens and the onions are well done. Add or subtract any amount of sugar or vinegar depending on your own taste preferences. 
6.) Once the pork chops are done, allow them to sit for about 10 minutes covered with foil so all of the juices can get back into the meat and make it extra juicy. Pour as much or as little of the sauce onto your chops and you want and enjoy!

1 head of broccoli
salt and pepper
olive oil

1.) Preheat oven to 375 and cut up the broccoli head into bite size pieces and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum. Pour olive oil and salt and pepper all over the broccoli bites until each bite is evenly and well coated. 
2.) Bake in oven until the broccoli begins to get brown and slightly crunchy at the tips. This is a super simple and easy recipe  for broccoli that L and I eat at least once a week.

Mashed Potatoes
2 or 3 Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
salt and pepper
3-4 Tbs butter
1 garlic clove finely dices

1.) Heat a pot on the stove filled with water until it begins to boil (a pot big enough to hold all of the potatoes). Peel the potatoes and chop them into quarters. Add a dash of salt to the boiling water and then add the potato chunks. Allow the potatoes to boil until they easily fall apart when poked with a fork (I honestly don't know the exact amount of time because I just eye ball it, 15 minutes maybe?). 
2.) Remove the cooked potatoes from the water and place in a bowel (or a food processor). Add the butter, garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper. Begin mashing or mixing all of the ingredients until they are the right consistency. I just put all of the ingredients in a food processor and just pulsed it until everything was well mixed and fluffy, but a hand mixer or even just a fork would work just fine. You could also add some milk, cream, buttermilk, or sour cream to the mashed potatoes, but I am lactose intolerant so I didn't add any.  

Banana Bread
I followed this recipe HERE, but with a twist.
I added a small bag of semisweet chocolate chips and an oat crumble topping.

I baked my banana bread in a cake pan well coated with non-stick cooking spray (size unknown, it's rectangular and probably 15 by 10? or 12 by 9?).

For the chocolate chips, I just coated them with a little flour in a bowl and then added them to the bread dough right before baking. Coating the chips in flour first helps them not all sink to the bottom of the bread when it is baking. 

For the oat crumble topping I took about 1/3 of a stick of butter and added 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 4 Tbs. of flour, and 1/3 cup of oats and mixed it all together until it was nice and crumbly and chunky. I then topped the bread dough with the crumble right before I put it in the oven.  

This is the second time I have made this recipe and L and my friends love it (and me too of course). It's super addicting and would be a great crumble cake with a cup of coffee or a fun brunch with friends. 

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