Friday, February 11, 2011

Pork Chops and Root Veggie Mash

We didn't have pork chops in our house when I was growing up, so this is a food that is still new to me. I have found it easy to overcook and make tough. But then I was introduced to cooking it in the pressure cooker -- and, voila! Perfect pork chops every time. As an added bonus, I've created a recipe that produces one of your side dishes at the same time, and infuses it with the pork juices. It's an easy weekday dinner that is ready in a jiffy. I add steamed kale or a salad to round out the meal.
  • 4 1-inch thick pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and seaweed salt replacer (if you have it)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (or 1/3 cup more chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 2 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cut 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 large sweet potato (equivalent to 2 medium potatoes), peeled and cut 1/8-inch thick
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, chopped or sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  1. Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and season with salt, pepper and seaweed salt replacer. Brown both sides, then remove from pan.
  2. Add stock and wine to pressure cooker and scrape loose any browned pork bits.
  3. Add veggies and garlic, then top with browned pork chops.
  4. Close lid and bring cooker to full pressure according to your cooker's instructions.
  5. Cook at 15 psi for 10 minutes, then release pressure.
  6. Remove pork chops to plates to serve. Mash remaining ingredients together and taste to see if more seasoning is needed (I usually don't need to add anything).
Note that if your pork chops are not 1-inch thick you will need to adjust the cooking time. You can experiment with other vegetables in this dish -- parsnips give it a whole different flavour!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breakfast Birthday Party

A year ago if you had asked me about hosting a breakfast-themed party, I would have said "no way!". Breakfast can be a difficult meal for people with allergies, especially when making food for a crowd. But when Little Man was recently asked what food we should serve at his birthday, he replied "waffles and bacon". That sounds like the makings of a breakfast party to me!

Here's what we served for our party of nine people:

The cake was our first one that wasn't white (we don't use food colouring). The pink icing (I was going for purple) was coloured and flavoured by crushing raspberries and blueberries through a fine mesh sieve and adding the juice to the icing. The brown icing had molasses added to it. I made the cake in 2 8-inch round cake pans and cut them to form the car shape. The '3' was made of raisins.

*Blueberry sauce:
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  1. Combine all in small saucepan. Cook at medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until sauce thickens a little.
The party was a big success and all the food was a hit. Our 3-year-old was very pleased with his special party.  And when it was all over, he predictably asked "Can I have more cake please?".