Island Pork Chops

The other night I took a shot at stacking elements in food presentation. The idea was to make a kind of Caribbean-y pork (or what I think of as Caribbean, anyway) dish. I’d grill some pineapple slices, make a rice cake, and some grilled pork with a salsa, and stack them up with some greens at the base. Like an island….

It worked, in the sense that I stacked everything and it all tasted great. It was also sort of failure, in the sense that it looked more like an odd rock formation than anything else. Plus, I made one salsa too many.

stacked pork

stacked pork again

Yeah, yeah, I should have cut the pork chop to match the rice cake and the pineapple slice better, and I could probably work on plating the greens and the red pepper coulis. And, as I mentioned, there’s one salsa too many: that’s a tomatillo salsa there at the sides. The tomatillo salsa was ok, but it certainly wasn’t needed. Oh well. (I also need to work on my photography… the colors all seem a little washed out. The greens in particular…. any advice on that?)

Back to the food; it’s all pretty simple. I made this to serve two, but all the recipes can be easily multiplied.

Swiss chard, sauteed with garlic.

1 bunch Swiss chard (I trimmed the stems)
2 tspns garlic sliced thin
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp veg. oil

Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add the chard and saute for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add vinegar and toss before serving.

roasted red pepper coulis

2 medium sized red bell peppers, cleaned
1 clove garlic
1 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch kosher salt

Roast the peppers under the broiler until the skin wrinkles and chars on all sides. Transfer the peppers to an ice bath. Peel the peppers and chop coarsely. Add peppers and remaining ingredients to blender. Process until smooth.

banana rice cake

2 cups cooked rice
1 banana, chopped
1/4 cup fat free yogurt
1 large egg
salt & pepper to taste

Mush up (that’s a technical cooking term) all the ingredients in a zip-lock bag. Heat 2 tblsps veg oil on med-high heat in a small skillet. Put two round metal cookie cutters in the hot oil. Cut a hole in a corner of the zip-lock baggie and pipe the rice mixture into the cookie cutters. Cook in the oil for 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn over the cookie-cutter encased cakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The idea is to brown the bottom of the cake and then brown the other side. A crust will form on the bottom of the cake that will hold the cake together and keep it from spilling out of the cutter when you flip it. (I really liked this rice cake.)

pineapple ginger salsa

1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup grated ginger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tangerines, zested
2 tspns cilantro, chopped
1 small drop Dave’s Insanity sauce.
salt & pepper to taste

Heat 1 tspn oil in a sauce pan. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add pineapple, ginger, and tangerine zest. Cooke for 4-5 minutes. Add juice from the two tangerines, the cilantro, and the drop of Insanity Sauce (just a drop!). Cook until the liquid has reduced. Salt and pepper to taste. (Never add salt before reducing a liquid, it will end up too salty.)

grilled pinepple slice

Slice the pineapple and grill it.

pork chops

2 pork chops
salt & pepper

I got this cool little oil spritzer for my birthday and I use it when I’m prepping meat for the grill. I spritz both sides of the meat and then sprinkle each side kosher salt and ground pepper. I added a little cumin to these chops, but that’s it.



Here piggy, piggy

I ran across this article today. It drives me insane!

I have a simple question, can anyone justify to me why the Federal government should be building baseball parks or a “mule and packer” museum? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that State or local governments should be doing this kind of stuff either, but it seems so far outside Federal jurisdiction as to be absurd on its face. I know, I know… “What Commerce Clause?”

How are these kinds of things not front-page news? Why aren’t political candidates plagued by questions demanding that they account for their swinish behavior? Do the American people just not care?

The Democrats retook control of Congress partially on a platform of reform, so there must have been some public outrage — but where is that outrage now? The earmark and ethics reform movement underfoot in Congress is…. Well, frankly, it’s b~llsh~t.

But I don’t want to pick on the new Democratic Congress — the pork parade was no better under Republicans than it is under the Dems. No worse either, but certainly no better.

As a strong proponent of across-the-board spending cuts, earmarks and pork projects irritate me more than a lot of people, but thankfully, not more than everyone else. Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit fame) started two years ago to try and put some pressure on the worst offenders, and it’s had some success (remember the Bridge to Nowhere?). Of course, Citizens Against Government Waste has been doing this kind of thing for a while, and deserve many kudos as well.

So I’m putting up a simple, unscientific poll. We’ll let it run for a while and see what the results are. (Aside from the obvious result: “No one reads this blog.”)

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