A few of my biggest cooking fears include serving a “fresh-off-the-cow” steak, raw chicken or an undercooked burger.
I’m obviously no meat cook. My average weekday meal consists of an assortment of seasonal fruits and veggies, a variety of cheeses (thanks to Trader Joe’s) and eggs served in any form. On the weekends, my meals are usually determined by what I’m making for the blog the upcoming week and what restaurant my friends want to try next. So in prep for this recipe, I had to to my fair share of actual research on the web. No calling my brother Michael for his advice on this one.
But, what better way to overcome these fears by facing them head-on … then write about my cooking blunders for the whole internet world to read?
The cherry glaze was the easy part. I pitted my cherries using the paperclip method (a pretty simple, yet incredibly messy process… I imagine if I was watching Dexter rather than the World Cup finals, my cherry-stained hands would have made for quite the sight).
I had plans to cook the pork chops on our new charcoal grill, but was recently informed that charcoal grills are not allowed in Los Angeles apartments because, I’m assuming, air pollution and fire risk. Ever the improviser, I decided to quickly sear the pork chops on the stove then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. Though I still ended up with an apartment full of smoke (guess baking didn’t do anything to prevent the air pollution. Oops!), the pork chops baked perfectly and were a hit. I completed the dish with herbed corn.
1-2 Jalapenos, depending on how spicy you like the glaze
1 Cup of Cherries
1 of Water
½ Cup of Sugar
3 Tbsp. of White Wine Vinegar
½ Cup of Water, on reserve
Rinse and thoroughly pat dry jalapenos and cherries. Pit cherries and add them to a medium-sized saucepan.* Dice the jalapenos and add them to the cherry pot. Add 1 cup of water, the sugar and white wine vinegar to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble, lower the heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to thicken. Allow mixture to cook for approximately 40-50 minutes then remove from heat. If the mixture should start to look like jelly or candied cherries, add the ½ cup of water to bring it back to a glaze consistency.
*Note: After removing the stem, I scored the top of the cherry and used the paperclip method to remove the pit. Though a messy process, I found that scoring the cherry made it easier to remove the pit.
Pork Chops (cooking tips from the kitchn)
2 Medium Pork Chops
3 Cups of Cold Water
3 Tbsp. of Salt
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp of Dried Rosemary or Other Herbs , optional
To create the brine, boil half of the water, salt, garlic and herbs until the salt dissolved completely. Remove from heat and pour into a deep dish (at least 4 inches). Add the rest of the cold water to bring the liquid back down to room temperature.* Submerge pork chops in brine for at least 30 minutes. This prevent meat from drying out while cooking.
After 30 or more minutes, remove the pork chops from the brine. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a large pan on high on the stove. Make sure that the pan is extremely hot and lightly greased before searing one side of the pork chops for 3 minutes. When it comes time to flip the meat, flip the chops onto a greased pan. Drizzle the spicy-cherry glaze over the meat, and place in the oven to cook for 6-10 minutes or until the inside of the chops reaches at least 140 degrees. Remove from the oven and serve.
Makes two servings.
*Note: It’s important to make sure that your brine is at room temperature before you add the pork chops. Otherwise you may prematurely cook your meat.
2 Ears of Corn
Fresh Herbs (I used Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano)
Thoroughly clean, rinse and dry corn. Using foil, wrap corn with butter and fresh herbs. Cook on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Carefully unwrap and serve.
Makes two servings.