Another Leibster Nomination and Berkshire Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Asparagus

A big thank you this week to Kumu, who blogs over at A Tea Spoon of Love who nominated me for the Leibster Blog Award! I was actually nominated for the award earlier this month as well. I’m so honoured to have fellow bloggers recommend my blog! That said, I love the questions and how they give you a better idea of who I am. However, I don’t think I follow enough blogs (let alone ones that meet the criteria of the award) to nominate another 11 blogs/bloggers. I’ll give it my best shot though!

liebster-award

Here are the rules of the Leibster award as I understand them. The blog/blogger nominated for the award…

  • Answers 11 questions posed by the nominator. (In my case, Jon has given me 7)
  • Nominates 11 other blogs (with 200 or fewer followers)
  • Creates their own new set of questions for the nominees.

Responses

  1. Favorite vacation spot of all time?
    1. This is difficult to answer! I’ll give you my top three: New York City; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yes, these are all in the U.S. As a full-time student, I don’t get much time to travel for a vacation. I love all of these locations for visiting family and friends. NYC is very interesting for walking and sight-seeing. I love snorkeling at the coral reef beaches in West Palm. And the gorgeous mountains and hiking in Santa Fe. At some point, I hope to travel much more! On my list of places I’d like to see is Venice, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Paris, and many more!
  2. Favorite book and why?
    1. I assume this isn’t supposed to be the question that is overly difficult. Yet I find myself humming and hawing, changing my mind, second guessing my answer. Do I pick something I enjoyed reading? Something that I’ve ready that has been very useful afterwards? I decided to go with books I’ve enjoyed reading for the sake of reading. My favourite, momentarily, is probably Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I love both the book and the movie. This is one of the few adaptations I’ve seen that dares to change the ending of the story. I saw the movie first and read the book just last summer. I couldn’t out it down and, despite having seen the movie, loved every moment reading the book. Other notable candidates, in no particular order, include:
      Sabriel by Garth Nix
      – The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
      The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
      Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
      The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
      The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
      The Legends of Vancouver by Pauline Johnson
  3. Food tradition you love?
    1. Family dinner! I love when my large extended family gets together for a day of cooking, eating, and spending time together. I’m very fortunate that this tradition happens a few times per year!
  4. If you could go to dinner with any 5 famous people (dead or alive) – who?
    1. 10-year-old me is screaming THE SPICE GIRLS!!! I think I’ll go with that. 🙂
  5. Favorite cuisine?
    1. Not sure I could choose! Probably Guyanese food. Not only is it delicious, it has nostalgia. Growing up, my next-door neighbours (who were really more like my second family) would cook Guyanese food frequently and share it with my family. I remember loving most of it, except the really spicy wiri pepper hot sauce (that was so hot is once made me cry). When I visit them in New York, I eat them clean out of food, the spice doesn’t both me as much as an adult. I’ve even tried to replicate a few of the recipes at home.
  6. House is on fire – family made it out – what is the one thing you grab? (you can only grab one)
    1. I’m counting the cat as family that has got out safely. My camera bag. It has my camera, lens, and ALL of my photos in it. I tend to buy huge memory cards and keep them as back-ups.
  7. Favorite type of chocolate?
    1. Dark chocolate, hands down. My favourite is 80% cocoa with almonds.
  8. Favorite beverage?
    1. Moroccan Mint Tea with honey
  9. Movie you most relate to.
    1. I’m not sure I really relate to any movies. I can’t think of anything… but my all time favourite is Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  10. If you can trade places with a famous person for 24 hours, whom would you pick?
    1. I’m drawing a blank on this one. I’m quite happy not to be the center of attention, even if it just for a 24 hour period.
  11. A TV show you love to watch.
    1. We don’t have cable or Netflix. We mostly watch shows on DVD (ones that come highly recommended by friends) or are available on YouTube. We most recently watched and enjoyed Game of Thrones. I’ve also been sporadically watching episodes of The Dog Whisperer. I also like Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and probably many more that I cannot think of at the moment.

Nominees

In no particular order…

  1. Sophie’s Foodie Files
  2. MJ’s Kitchen
  3. Dominican Heat
  4. from the Bartolini kitchens
  5. Whip a Dish
  6. Love Bakes Good Cakes
  7. Doggie at the Dinner Table
  8. Lisa is Cooking

Questions for nominees:

  1. What 3 words would you choose to describe yourself?
  2. Do you have a blogging mentor who has made a huge difference along the way?
  3. Have you met any of your blogging friends in real life?
  4. What inspires you to continue writing your blog?
  5. What is your favourite family recipe?
  6. Which of your own blog posts are you most proud of?
  7. What is your favourite type of food?
  8. What is your favourite pastime?
  9. Where would you most like to go for your dream vacation and why?
  10. What is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If someone made a film about your life, who would you want to play you?

As if this post wasn’t long enough… I’d also like to share some recipes today!

Bryan asked me if there is a testimonials section for the blog… I asked him to leave a comment. Instead, he asked me to inform you in this post that: “This food-girl makes the best noms.” Thanks Bryan!

Berkshire Pork Chops with Smoked Paprika and Espelette Pepper

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in Berkshire Pork Chops (about 3/4 pound each)  – approximate cost $10.50
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon espellette pepper  – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Heat grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add pork chops (you should hear them sizzle when added to the frying pan).
  3. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes.
  4. Turn.
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, died sage, and espellette pepper.
  6. Cook for an additional 4 1/2 minutes.
  7. Test for desired doneness and cook more if necessary.
  8. Remove from frying pan and let stand for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Pour half of the glaze over each of the pork chops.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil  – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Turn the oven to broil.
  2. Place the asparagus in a large roasting pan.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and garlic.
  5. Broil until the asparagus turns bright green.
  6. Flip the asparagus.
  7. Broil until the other side is bright green and the tips begin to brown.
  8. Remove from oven.
  9. Serve with pork chops and enjoy!

Note: These dishes take about the same amount of time to cook. I started the asparagus first then cooked the pork chops.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $7.98 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

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Fluster Buster

Improv Challenge: Peaches and Herbs (Pork Chops with a Peach and Sage Glaze)

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are peaches and herbs.

Due to the heat wave, I’m keeping today’s post shorter than usual. It’s hot in my apartment. So hot, that I’d rather be outside! Loki is spending most of her time in the bathtub or in front of the fan to keep cool. I’ve gotten to know my neighbours better this week because many of us are sitting in the shady backyard.

I made the dish for the Improv Challenge, lucky for me, just before the heat wave hit. The dish came about by chance. There were some pork chops at the butcher shop that I just *had* to try. It’s from pasture raised Tamworth x English Black pork. Let me say, this pork was worth the hefty price tag… but definitely something we will have only as a treat. I really like to cook pork chops with sage. And peaches go well with pork.

The result? Bryan loved this dish just the way it was. I thought the peach flavour hadn’t infused the glaze enough. Next time I make the glaze, I will blend it before serving over the chops then add a few extra peach pieces for presentation.

I served this with a tomato, avocado and cucumber salad.

Pork Chops with a Peach and Sage Glaze

Ingredients

Pork Chops

  • 2 bone-in Tamworth x English Black pork chops (1 3/4 pounds) – approximate cost $22.00
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.20

Glaze

  • 1 cup frozen peaches – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, torn into small pieces – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (+ enough cold water to make a paste) – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Prepare the glaze.
    1. Combine peaches, water, and sea salt in a sauce pot.
    2. Cook over medium heat until peaches are unfrozen and heated through.
    3. Add corn starch and cook until thickened.
    4. Remove from heat.
    5. Stir in sage pieces.
    6. Cover and set aside.
  2. Prepare the pork chops.
    1. Heat grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
    2. Add pork chops (you should hear them sizzle when added to the frying pan).
    3. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes.
    4. Turn.
    5. Cook for an additional 4 1/2 minutes.
    6. Test for desired doneness and cook more if necessary.
    7. Remove fry frying pan and let stand for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pour half of the glaze over each of the pork chops.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 very large servings (approximate cost: $11.90 per serving).


My previous Improv Challenge contributions include:

Please check out the other Improv Challenge recipes!

Day 20: Protein

Pork Patty with Cornmeal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 cup cornmeal – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 large eggs – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons paprika – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the ground pork, cornmeal, eggs, sea salt, and paprika.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Grill, fry, or bake until cooked through.
  4. Serve as a burger or topped with asparagus.

Makes about 4 servings  (approximate cost: $1.41 per serving).

Burgers, burgers, and more burgers!

We’ve been eating a lot of burgers recently. Pork burgers with tomatoes and goat feta cheese. Chicken burgers with rosemary and Romano and Asiago cheeses. And pork burgers with a cinnamon apple topping. I may have gone a bit overboard with the burger making.

Why have we been eating so many burgers you ask? Well, it’s because Bryan’s mother bought us a burger press for Christmas and I was excited to try it out! Before this amazing gift found its way into our home, all of our burgers were shaped by hand. Admittedly, I’m not very good at making burger patties that are even in thickness. Usually they would be thick and rounded in the middle and thin on the edges. Sort of like this:

Not anymore! The burger press makes them perfect every time.

I didn’t get photos of all the burgers, but I will be making many more and remaking some I’ve already made.

Here’s the recipe for our favourite burger so far.

Pork Burgers with Tomatoes and Goat Feta Cheese

Ingredients

For the burger

  • 1 pound of ground pork – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • ¾ cup of bread crumbs – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pieces, soaked – approximate cost $0.50
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05

For the topping

  • 100 grams of goat feta cheese, crumbled – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Slice the grape tomatoes into halves and sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the burger ingredients: ground pork, egg, bread crumbs, minced garlic, sun-dried tomato pieces, and black pepper.
  3. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the burger ingredients (I’ve tried, a spoon just doesn’t cut it for this task).
  4. Divide the burger mixture into four portions and roll into balls.
  5. Using a burger press (or a flat surface if you don’t own one), form each portion into a burger patty.
  6. Cook the burger patties (I used a counter-top grill, but a barbecue, frying pan, or baking are also great options).
  7. Combine the salted tomato halves and crumbled goat feta cheese.
  8. Sprinkle a generous amount of the tomato mixture over each of the burger patties and serve.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.80 per serving).

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Oktoberfest Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

I made three variations of this dish over the Thanksgiving weekend. One to make sure it worked and twice more to take to dinner with family and friends. Each time the recipe was changed ever so slightly. B has said that I can make this time and to add it to his list of favourite recipes (which consists of Chicken Tacos, Shepherd’s Pie, Fried Rice, and now stuffed squash).

The following was our favourite variation of the recipe. You can easily omit the meat to make this dish vegetarian-friendly.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Oktoberfest Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

Stuffed squash

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash (or a similar squash with a thick skin) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 3 Oktoberfest sausage links (or any other type of sausage) – approximate cost $1.25
  • 15 brussel sprouts, sliced into quarters – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 cloves of garlic – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 egg  – approximate cost $0.20
  • ½ cup of bread crumbs  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese  – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon pepper  – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthwise and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pulp is soft (Note: If you are pressed for time, microwave the squash halves for about 12 minutes).
  3. Dice Oktoberfest sausage and cook in a frying pan over medium-high heat
  4. When sausage is cooked through, add garlic and brussel sprouts to the pan and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  5. Carefully scoop the pulp from the squash, being careful not to tear the skin, and place in a separate bowl.
  6. Add Oktoberfest sausage, brussel sprouts, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary to the squash.
  7. Use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  8. Scoop the squash mixture back into the squash skins and sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings as a meal (approximate cost: $2.98 per serving) or 4 servings as a side dish (approximate cost: $1.49 per serving)

Stuffed squash 2

Garlic-y Peppers with Mushrooms and Pork Patties

On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with friends. It was a lovely meal similar to the one in this title. The menu consisted of peppers, mushrooms (a vegetable I tend to avoid), celery and garlic sautéed in olive oil, ground chicken patties topped with Asiago and parmesan cheeses, and jasmine rice. Aside from some quesadillas a friend served me last summer, this was one of the few times I ate (and enjoyed) mushrooms. The meal was so delightful that I tried it myself at home the next week. Unfortunately, my local grocery store didn’t have ground chicken in stock, so I modified the original to use ground pork.

Garlicky Peppers and Mushrooms

The vegetables, in my opinion, are what make this meal. When the vegetables are sautéed (but still a bit crispy), they are delicious! The first time I made this dish, I overcooked the peppers. Since then, I’ve learned to prepare this part of the meal last to ensure the vegetables are still a bit crisp when served.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 stalks of celery, rinsed and chopped – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 peppers (green, yellow, or red), julienned – approximate cost $2.00
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • Olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sautéedthe garlic for about a minute.
  3. Add the celery and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and peppers (one green pepper and one red pepper) and cook for 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and add a dash of salt.

Peppers with mushrooms

Pork Patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground pork – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons Romano cheese – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the pork, egg, some breadcrumbs and the rosemary into a large bowl and mix with your hands until well blended (start with a small amount of breadcrumbs and add more to the mixture as needed).
  3. Form the mixture into patties and set on a plate.
  4. Pan fry the patties until the outsides are browned.
  5. Move to a baking dish.
  6. Top with your choice of cheeses (hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago work well). Try using more than one type of cheese if you’re feeling adventurous.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes (or until cooked through).

Pork patties with rice

Jasmine Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups water

Method

  1. Cook rice according to directions on package.

Serve pork patties and vegetables on a bed of jasmine rice.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.86 per serving).

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