I bought something new this summer that I normally don’t buy, because of budget restraints I don’t buy high end spices. Some of the blogs have been talking about smoked paprika and how its unique flavor sets off a salad dressing or meat. So I used it on fried pork chops and it turned out great. There is really no recipe for the pork chops, I just fried them in a non stick skillet on medium heat and seasoned them to taste using also the smoked paprika.
One of the sides I like to make with pork chops is boiled potatoes. Only these potatoes, after they are cooked, are added to the skillet that I fried the chops in. I put the potatoes on to boil just before I fry the chops. While I am frying the chops the potatoes cook. It doesn’t take long to fry pork chops. You don’t want to over fry them or they will be tough. As soon as the chops are done lift them to a plate and the potatoes should be done. I usually cut the potatoes up in medium pieces so they only take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. When the potatoes are fork tender, lift the potatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon. Then put them in the hot skillet that you just fried the chops in. Stir them around and let them pick up all the essence that was left in the pan by the meat. Sprinkle a little parsley on them and give them an extra shot of smoked paprika. This only takes a couple of minutes and they are ready to serve with the pork chops.
Brussels Sprouts are now showing up in the grocery during their peak season. This is the best time of the year to buy them in the produce department or green grocer. They are easy to clean. Just cut the bottoms off and remove any yellow leaves and rinse in cold water. I try to pick them with solid little heads. Most of the time they are already prepackaged, but I still push down on them in the pack to see if they are solid. Here is an excellent way to fix them so that even picky eaters might try them.
Brussels Sprouts and Water Chestnuts
- 2 cups cleaned brussels sprouts
- 1 cup frozen sliced carrots
- 1 small can (5.5 oz) water chestnuts
- 1/2 cup sliced onion
- salt to taste
- 2 slices of bacon chopped
- 2 teaspoons wine vinegar or apple vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
Place brussels sprouts, carrots and water chestnuts and salt in medium sauce pan with tight-fitting lid. Add just enough water to go half way up the vegetables to steam them. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer then cover with the lid. Let cook for 20 minutes. Fry chopped bacon in a skillet with onions until bacon is cooked and onions wilted. When vegetables are steamed add 1/2 cup of liquid from the vegetables to the skillet. Then drain the rest of the liquid from vegetables. Mix sugar, vinegar and basil to the skillet with bacon onion mixture and bring to boil. Pour over vegetables and serve.
I like to keep fresh parsley and cilantro on hand when I find it inexpensive in small bunches. It keeps for couple of weeks in a glass jar before it turns yellow stored in the refrigerator. By that time I freeze the rest to use in soup. I keep most of my salad vegetables in jars to store in the refrigerator. The large pickle jars are great for this. I wash the large glass pickle jars with lids when they are empty and save them to store salad vegetables in. Parsley and cilantro also freezes well in a small baggie. When I freeze it I cut the long stems off. To use I just open the baggie and cut some frozen herbs off of the lump with a knife and reseal to return the baggie to the freezer. Don’t for get to label the bag so you know what herb it is. I freeze fresh dill also when I find it. Just double bag the dill because it is strong-smelling.
Sometimes I find a good deal on brussels sprouts in the fall. To figure that out I look at the weight of the package and price then compare it to the weight and price of a frozen bag of brussels. To freeze, just blanch (boil), in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and quick chill in ice water. When cold (about 5 minutes), drain and bag up to freeze. The vegetables will keep several months in the back of the freezer. You can do the same with cauliflower and broccoli so there is no waste with a large head when you are only cooking for one or two servings. Freeze what is left over and eat later in a few weeks.