Friday, February 8, 2008

Meat Share and Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

Our exciting food-related news of late is that we've now received two month's pickups from our new meat CSA offered (through our Waltham Fields farm share) by Chesnut Farms in Hardwick, Massachusetts. Prices are very reasonable for what you get- a fabulous variety of naturally raised, humanely handled, hormone and chemical-free meats.

If you get to the monthly pickup early enough, you can buy huge beef bones for soup and for your puppers, and for $3/dozen, you can get delicious fresh eggs- the family's young son buys the chicken feed, cares for the chickens, collects the eggs, and any profits made are his to keep. We're thrilled to support local farmers trough this great source of meat and eggs!

Lately, I've had a hard time finding the energy for perusing through and trying out new recipes (much less blogging about cooking). A normal weekday around here is starting to look like this:

Morning: Desperately try to roll out of bed. One of us walks the dog while the other tries to do 18 things at once- get lunches out, take out the trash, start the dishwasher, find mobile phones (and curse because neither are properly charged), rinse snowmelt chemicals and road salt off the dog's paws- to get us both ready for work. L drops me off close to my office, because we are usually almost late and his office, which is next door to mine, is tiny bit more flexible about these things.

Day: Hit the ground running. Work a full, exhausting day.

Evening: Relaxing walk with L and the dog. If possible, get a few chores in- laundry, dishes, vacuuming, grocery shopping, farm share pickup, taxes (which are done!), unload dishwasher, shovel snow in driveway- before either of us are too tired to do any more, which seems to be earlier and earlier these days. A few nights ago, I roasted 5 butternut squash and 3 large acorn squash from the farm. After running everything through the food mill, we ended up with 22 cups (!) of squash for the freezer. Phew.

Dinner: Must be fast and tasty.

Next order of business: fall asleep in 2 minutes maximum.

In the interest of trying out some of the farm share meat in honour of Fat Tuesday, we broiled two tasty, salt-and-pepper-seasoned strip steaks and served them with sautéed wild mushrooms and potato gratin- a simple and good meal, but for some reason, not exactly the flavours I've been craving lately.

Wednesday night, however, we discovered an amazing recipe for Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce- briefly cooked chops drizzled with a velvety, tart mustard sauce flecked with soft, flavourful shallots and spicy cracked pepper. Very quick and extremely lip-smackingly delicious, this recipe is definitely going into my weeknight make-often rotation.

Initially, I wanted to brine the chops but was worried about the chops being overly salty if we started them before we left for work, so I tossed them in a bowl of brine when we got home from work and cooked them two hours later. I don't know if the short brine really helped, but either way, the farm pork chops were incredibly juicy and flavourful. For a satisfyingly crunchy heat, I coated the chops in a healthy dose of fresh, roughly-cracked peppercorns a la steak au poivre. I made the pan sauce with equal parts Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard (a staple in this house) and dijon mustard, and I substituted sour cream for cream; while the sauce was a bit tart and overpowering right out of the pan, it was a perfect complement to the savoury chops.

I recom
mend doubling the sauce recipe- you will be licking your plate clean! I am even tempted to try the sauce on other meats! Clearly, I think everyone should give this recipe a try.