Saturday, March 04, 2006

I'm Nutty For Pork Chops

Necessity, once again, is the mother of invention.

When I bought some nice butterfly-cut pork chops the last time I was at the Grocery Palace (ah, the Grocery Palace....), I had intended to cook them shake-n-bake style with breadcrumbs or cornflakes or something. So, tonight, I decided to have the pork chops for dinner and defrosted them, then started to look around for something to coat them with. Alas, no breadcrumbs, no cereal, what IS a hungry lad to do?

I then remembered that I had a bag of pecans that I had bought at the bulk food store last week and decided that that sounded like a tasty alternative. So, I put a couple of handfuls of the pecans in the food processor, pulse pulse pulse, and I had a nice pile of crushed pecans. I put the pecans into a Ziploc baggie, added a little brown sugar, some fresh ground pepper and some garlic powder and shook the bag to combine the ingredients. I then made an egg-wash for the chops from one egg and a little milk. I coated each chop in the egg mixture, then put it in the baggie, sealed it, then shake shake shake, I coated the chops in the pecan mixture. Then into the oven at 375°F (about 190°C) for 40 minutes.

After the chops went in the oven, since I was in full-on cooking mode anyway, I thought that I would attempt a recipe I'd been meaning to try for a while - Celery Root Puree. I'd never had it before, but I'd been assured that it tastes similar to mashed potatoes, so how bad could it be? I got the idea for this from my friend Rob, but he got the recipe from here. It turned out beautifully and I'm going to be making it again for sure. I had briefly toyed with the idea of just mashing the mixture instead of blending it in the food processor. I'm really glad that I didn't, as the texture was lovely and smooth, and it was suprisingly light-tasting. Of course, since I was just cooking for me, I halved the recipe because, as much as I like it, I really didn't want three pounds of it to deal with afterwards.

Since I had gone to the trouble of making the yummy chops and the very creamy puree, a salad seemed like a good idea, too. So, I threw one together with some romaine lettuce, some baby spinach and whatever fell under my hands when I reached into the fridge - mushrooms, tomato, shallots, orange pepper and some freshly grated parmesan that I picked up this morning from Chris's Cheesemongers at the St. Lawrence Market here in Toronto.

I do love shopping at the Market, but Saturday morning is not the ideal time to go. Well, unless you like huge crowds of people.

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