VICKY BROWN, March 1, 2013
One thing I love about the Pacific Northwest weather is the ability to enjoy comforting, warm food all year long.
Another thing I love? Awesome local ingredients!
For the sake of disclosure I am a cheesemaker, I am NOT a chef. I have no formal training in anything cooking related. I grew up with army-style cuisine in our home and didn’t even learn about other options until I started cooking for my own daughter. Around that same time my penchant for devouring cookbooks (no not literally) came to light.
What developed was a passion for excellent, preferably seasonal and local food.
Our family is quite busy, so when we prepare meals it needs to be quick, easy, nourishing and delicious.
This meal took a total of 30 minutes from start to serving – about 5-10 minutes of that was actually working, the rest was sampling the lovely bottle of Syrah from Useless Bay Wines that complemented the meal.
- We started with 2 pork chops (from a local farmer, pigs raised on our whey – how cool is that?).
- We added a handful of purple potatoes and carrots from Georgie at Willowood Farm on Ebey’s Prairie.
- We also enjoyed some greens (lettuce) for our salad and rosemary from Anna at Five Acre Farm.
- Of course, some Pheta from Little Brown Farm.
- There were a few spices added, some garlic (also from Georgie), salt, maple syrup, salad dressing, and some olive oil.
The first thing we did was set the pork chops, thawed in the refrigerator overnight, into a shallow pan with room temperature water and maple syrup.
We put our Cook on Clay pots in the oven and started to preheat with our temp set for 400F. If you don’t own Cook on Clay, check out their Kickstarter campaign. He’s your chance to get some of the best cookware ever and support a growing, local business!
Next, we made a quick and easy salad. The greens in winter are so tasty, so you don’t need to dress them up. We added some homemade buttermilk dressing and mixed the beautiful washed and chilled lettuce with some cut carrots, and called it done.
Finally, we washed and cut up the potatoes. We cut them so they are all about the same size which helps to ensure they get done at the same time. I pick purple because they are pretty; they also taste delicious and hold together well for a dish like this. You want about the equivalent of 1 medium potato per person. A “medium potato” is literally a handful; for small, you can fit two in your fist; for large, the potato protrudes out of your fist. We tend to cook more because the leftovers are wonderful and reheat well.
Cube about 1/2 ounce per serving of Pheta cheese for your potatoes (any extra could be thrown in your salad). Mix the potatoes with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, then mix in the cheese. If you’re using Cook on Clay you can really skimp on the olive oil, there is no need to overdo it and end up with fried potatoes. We used about 1-2 tablespoons for this entire pot.
Put the mixture in your heated pot and put it in the oven. (We are using a round Cook on Clay pot here, but a casserole pot works great too.)
After the potatoes have been in the oven for 5 minutes take your pork from the brine and place it on the heated pot (we used the flat
one for this but a casserole would be excellent for this as well). Put the pork in the oven.
In about 5 minutes you’ll want to flip your pork. After 5 more minutes you can flip it again and check to see if it is done. If your meat cuts are thin, you may want to shorten those times, if you have a thicker cut cook it for longer. The clay cooks fast and hot, searing in all the juices so your food doesn’t get dry. It will also continue cooking in the pot so use caution to not overcook your meat after removing it from the oven.
Thank you for joining me for dinner. Happy eating!