Monthly Archives: April 2012

Apple Ginger Pork Chops

It was early on a Sunday afternoon and I was hungry, with no patience to wait for an evening meal.  And, with the weather not cooperating for Steve for anything sailing, I decided to do an abbreviated version of a Sunday Dinner – less complicated, but to be served by mid-afternoon.

I had two pork chops on hand that needed using soon,  a gorgeous hunk of fresh ginger, and a Granny Smith apple; a quick Google search using these ingredients as keywords brought me to the following recipe:

Apple Ginger Pork Chops, by The Food Network’s Guy Fieri

I ended up making some adjustments, but other changing the amounts of some ingredients, I stuck to the recipe, but using the following proportions:

2 pork chops, 1 1/4-1 1/2 inch thick, center cut, bone in
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons minced ginger
3 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup white wine (cooking wine is fine)
1 cup sliced (1/4-inch) yellow onions (one medium onion)
2 cups cored and sliced (1/4-inch) Granny Smith  (one largish apple)
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons butter

First, I mixed together the apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and marinated the chops for 60 minutes, flipping at 30 minutes.

The original recipe called for a 30 minute marinade in a Ziploc-type bag, but I used a corning ware casserole pan into which the two chops just fit.  On advice in a recipe review, I lengthened the marinade time, but I suspect it would benefit from an even longer marinade time if you are not in a hurry.  However, I agree with the reviewer’s warning to not marinade for too many hours since the acid in the vinegar and lemon juice can cause the meat to become mushy.

Once you are ready to cook the chops, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and, in a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to almost smoking, then add pork chops, shaking off excess marinade. Brown on both sides.

browned chops

Next, place the chops on a sheet pan and put in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. (Check at 15 minutes)

In the same saute pan deglaze with the wine…

deglazed pan

… then add onions, apples and raisins and cook until apples are soft and onions are translucent.

add produce to pan

Just after adding to the pan.

part way done

After 5-7 minutes uncovered.

The original recipe did not specify whether or not to cover the pan.  I was not confident that the onions and apples would cook down enough without burning since there was not much liquid in the pan, so I covered the pan after 5-7 minutes and lowered the temperature from medium high to medium low. Next time, I will probably just cover from the beginning and then, if there is excess liquid, cook it off at the end.

reduced

After another 6-8 or so minutes, covered - and after the butter was added.

The last step: Add butter and salt and pepper, to taste, and keep warm while waiting for chops to be done.

Once the chops are to temperature, remove from oven and put the chops onto to the apple mixture and pour any juices into the mix, as well. Hold covered, on low warm, until ready to serve.

To accompany, I opted for potatoes, since I had some on hand, although rice would also work well.  As to veggies, I had a bell pepper that needed using and I wanted to keep things simple, so I tossed together 6 or so small red potatoes, quartered, a green bell pepper in large chunks/slices, and a small onion, quartered, with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a small amount of a ginger/citrus shake I had in the cupboard thanks to a gift from my niece and baker/cook extraordinaire Meggie Dennis, finishing with a liberal amount of olive oil.  I have a counter-top toaster oven with a convection option, so I convect-roasted the potato mix, covered with foil, for around 35 minutes at 375 and finished off for about 5 minutes at 425 uncovered.  But if you have just one oven, preheat to 350 to start roasting the potato mix, covered, for 35 or so minutes before also putting the the pork chops in for their 20 minutes, and then raise the temperature to 425 to finish them off, uncovered, after the chops are done, as needed.

finshed meal

Dinner!

And, there you have it.  It got a “keeper” vote from both Steve and me. And, I especially like the technique of marinating, browning, baking, and creating a pan topping or sauce since it lends itself to unlimited variations in flavors. Roasted veggies of any sort also lend themselves to all sorts of menus and flavors. A keeper indeed.

Homemade Egg Rolls – Baked not Fried, and it works!

Disclaimer – forgive any typos, etc.  Posted after a long day!  🙂

When food shopping a few weeks ago, I picked up some egg roll wraps, just for fun.  A few weeks later, I realized that I needed to use them soon, as their freshness date (as a refrigerated product) was fast approaching.  I just happened to have a half a head of cabbage that needed to be used up, too, and I always carrots in the fridge and cooked chicken in the freezer.  No worries that the recipe from which I decided to start (the one on  the Nasoya wrap package) called for lean ground pork.  While starting with raw meat versus cooked adds yet another level of complexity to any dish, I had also found egg roll recipes that called for cooked chicken, so I decided to create my own recipe based on a few that I found online.

Here are the links to the two recipes from which I was working:

Nasoya Egg Roll Recipe
Baked Egg Rolls

Here is what I used:

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil for sauteing (I used peanut but canola is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup small-diced daikon radish
  • 1/8 cup chopped chives
  • 2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon + water to add to cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon additional water
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • 12 egg roll wraps

Okay – let me start by saying that you should feel free to look at other recipes for seasoning ideas!  I was playing around and what I used tasted yummy, but not all the same ingredients are necessary for excellent results.

For example, one recipe called for oyster sauce and I didn’t have any, but I had hoisin sauce.  After reading various opinions as to what was a suitable substitute for what, I figured I would add a bit of anchovy paste to add some depth without being overly “fishy.”  (Anchovy paste has a way more subtle effect than you would think.) And, I had no bean sprouts but I figured that the daikon radish I had on hand would add an extra texture, albeit not quite that of the sprouts but in step with an oriental dish. And, both recipes called for green onions, another ingredient I lacked.  But, I have some chives growing in a pot, so I tossed some of them in.

You may also notice that of the two recipes I cite as sources, one calls for minced ginger and one for minced garlic.  Well, hey, why not both?  Fun fact: Pearl, my cat of 18 years, whom I adopted when I was in my mid 20s, loved anything, including broccoli, if it was sauteed in garlic and ginger.  That cat had good taste. 🙂

Anywhoooo…the process was quick and easy.  First, I chopped the veggies.

chopped veggies

Then I sauteed the garlic and ginger:

garlic and ginger sauteeing

Then I added the veggies and cooked for just a few minutes until a bit soft but still with some crunch.

veggies cooking

Next, I added the chopped chicken and heated until warmed through, then added the sauce and cornstarch mix – everything from the hoisin sauce on in the ingredient list that I had mix together until smooth before adding.

Once the sauce was added to the chicken and heated through, I moved the mixture from the pan to a bowl so it could cool off enough to handle.  Then I started assembling the egg rolls.  I used 1/4 cup of filling for each wrap.

filling on wrap Just so you know, I had no idea that for the first 5-6 egg rolls, I didn’t realize how thin the wraps were and used two per roll.  Those that had a double wrap were fine, but not additionally good enough for me to recommend using double wraps all the time unless you try it and find you prefer a thicker egg roll wrap. 🙂

Then I folded up from the bottom and then from the side.

folded

Next, I used just a bit of water when finishing and securing the fold, put them on a very lightly greased cookie tray, brushed just a bit of olive oil on the tops, and put them in my convection/toaster oven at 425 for 12 minutes.

Both recipes noted above said between 10-15 minutes at 400 or 425 degrees in a regular oven, so I would pick your temperature and keep and eye on them.

final product

I thought these tasted great as is, but I did make a dipping sauce from soy sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar, some sugar and a bit or minced garlic and onion.

So, the verdict is – homemade egg rolls are easy to make and, while there are plenty of recipes with instructions for frying, I think baking works just as well and even better for crispness, especially when reheating (10 minutes at 350 works) and, obviously makes for a lower fat content.

Next time I will make a bunch and freeze to bake at a later date.  Quick easy, and healthy – works for me!