Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lemon-and-herb Stuffed Pork Chops

It's been a while since I last posted. One excuse is that lately there have been more compelling things to do than cook. On the plus side, it's given me a chance to make some old favorites as well as to indulge my passion for sandwiches. I consider a bacon, avocado, and chicken salad sandwich a 3 course meal. Another reason I've been absent from the blogosphere is technology has failed me. When the lens on my digital camera broke, I bought a new one, albeit one I have not fully learned to use. Nevertheless, I knew enough to upload my simple photos. Now my PC is in the final throes of dying on me. I know that I will have to buy a new one or become proficient in uploading photos to my laptop. Given that I just bought a new sewing machine (a Cadillac of a machine), I'm trying to put off this unexpected purchase.

In any event, I'm not ready to give up The Food of Love quite yet, so despite being unable to upload the photo of this dish, tonight was a good time to see what a healthy make-over on stuffed pork chops would taste like.

Serves 2 - 4
from Best Darn Food Ever

1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 tbs panko bread crumbs
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 (1/4 lb) boneless pork loin chops, trimmed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the stuffing, mix together all the ingredients except the pork chops.

Make a pocket in each chop by inserting a small, sharp knife into side of chop and cutting back and forth until pocket is formed. Fill each pocket with about 2 tbs of filling.

Spray large, nonstick ovenproof skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Cover skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until pork is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Uncover and roast 4 minutes more.
(N.I. 174 cal, 6 g fat, 5g carb, 1 g fiber, 23 g prot; 4 PP)
While these will never replace a cornbread-stuffed or sausage-stuffed chop (yes, nothing succeeds like pork-stuffed pork), they were very flavorful and made a satisfying dinner with spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil and a potato side dish. I think I might add very thinly sliced apples or sweet potatoes next time I make these.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Going Crazy under the Sea

This piece, which measures 41" X 31," was conceived about a year and a half ago. Last July I sketched out the design and began piecing the blocks by machine. The fabrics are a combination of silks, velvets, brocades, tulle, and man-made "fancy" fabrics. There is extensive hand beading, including 9 beaded motifs that I designed and that took between 3 and 6 hours each to complete. All seams are hand embroidered using a wide variety of threads. The silk sea anemone in block 10 was also my own design. When I began the piece, I knew perhaps a dozen embroidery stitches. By the time it was finished in April (2012), I had learned several dozen more.

I learned how to finish a crazy quilt thanks to Allie Aller's book and blog. The quilt has a false back which is hand basted through several layers, a task that requires you to look after each stitch to make sure the stitch doesn't show on the front. I then put a fancy back on it and, using a number of tutorials from the web, I attached a facing instead of a binding. (Having used a ribbon binding on my first piece, Going Crazy in the Garden, and receiving not-so-good reviews from a quilt show judge, I determined to learn how to face the quilt.)I intend to use facings on all future wall hangings.

Going Crazy under the Sea is hanging in my sewing room at present because I intend to place it in a show in September. After that, however, it is headed to Longboat Key, Florida where I have a special place reserved for it. This was truly a labor of love with a steep learning curve. I'm currently ruminating on the next piece in my "Going Crazy" series.
 Here are some close up's of individual blocks.