Last Saturday and Sunday, I collected bunches of farm-fresh produce on the Know Your Farms Tour. I was inspired by the tours, samples and info as well as the veggies themselves to try something a little different this week in the kitchen.
First of all, those strawberries from Barbee Farms were perfectly ripe and amazingly delicious. I think ate half the bucket before I even made it home and tossing them in a smoothie felt like a waste. I wanted to showcase that flavor. I also picked up some swiss chard (which I have a shaky history with), lettuce and radishes from Coldwater Creek, and a chocolate mint plant from Windcrest Organics.
Inspired by strawberry salads at both farms, there are no pictures of this because I was too busy consuming it. Hull and chop a handful of strawberries and toss with half an avocado (chunked or sliced), one tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (I like the Trader Joe’s brand with herbs mixed in) and 4oz. of sliced smoked salmon. A very light drizzle of balsamic vinegar takes it to the next level.
Oven-fried Porkchops with Mango-Strawberry-Boursalmic
I only eat pork a couple times a month if that, so it has to be good when I do. You could very easily adapt this to chicken or turkey breast or cutlets.
For the chops:
4 regular-cut bone-in porkchops. Mine were fairly thick.
3/4 c. – 1 c. self rising flour
1 c. breadcrumbs
olive or other cooking oil
salt, pepper, spices to taste.
milk + an egg or 2.
Wash your chops and marinate in milk for 30 minutes to a few hours. You can also brine, but I find milk tenderizes the meat and reduces that “porky” taste that pops up sometimes.
Preheat the oven to 400. Dump your flour, breadcrumbs and spices into a gallon-sized bag. Pour off all but 1 c. of milk and remove the chops from the soak. Mix in the egg. One by one, dip the chops into the egg-milk mix, then seal into the breadcrumb bag and shake to coat. Lay them flat in a well-greased dish.
Drizzle or spray tops lightly with oil and bake uncovered until golden brown. My thick chops took about 50 minutes. Once they look good on top, flip over and bake for another 10 minutes until the bottoms are golden also.
1 large ripe mango
a handful of ripe strawberries
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Bourbon and/or Grand Marnier
2 cloves garlic
balsamic vinegar to taste
This is easy. Dice your mango and strawberries. I tossed in a little bit of the chocolate mint I picked up at Windcrest Organics as well. Add your sugar, honey and liquor and let sit in the fridge while the chops marinate. It’ll make it’s own saucy syrup. You could stop here –I use this mix on pancakes and biscuits all the time. Also on hams.
While the chops are in the oven, put your fruit syrup into a saucepan over medium-low heat and reduce to thicken, adding balsamic vinegar to taste. Cut garlic cloves in 4 pieces and add just to get a drop of the flavor. You want the sweet and tangy to balance. Watch to make sure it doesn’t burn; it’ll take 15-20 minutes all told. Remove and reserve your garlic chunks.
Creamy Polenta and Swiss Chard
I use this recipe for polenta and grits. I actually used 15-minute Quick Grits because I found myself out of cornmeal. I also used chicken broth as my liquid instead of water.
For the greens:
1 large shallot or medium onion
1 handful chopped mushrooms
1 bunch swiss chard
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
garlic chunks from the berry stuff – dice them a bit tinier
This is basically the way I make any kind of greens, 80% of the time. I didn’t know that one can eat chard stalks and all; in the past I only used the leaves. Separate the leaves from the stalks and chop the stalks up. Saute them in butter with the shallot, garlic and mushrooms until softened. Chop the leaves and add to the pan, with 1 tbsp. liquid if necessary. Cover and cook until greens are wilted.
Voila. Eat that up.