Yesterday, we had a bunch of veggies to eat up, a clean apartment and no plans for the evening, so we decided to invite a couple of friends over for dinner. We have done almost no entertaining this summer. I blame it on the fact that it has been so hot. We have felt like eating simple meals that required limited cooking and lazing about in minimal clothing. Finally it is cooling off a bit, so we can start being more hospitable again.
We quickly decided on our menu. We prepared thin slices of raw beets and cucumbers with a smear of goat cheese for starters, plus our friends brought two types of feta, olives, hummus and pita. We almost didn't need dinner.
I made a corn and tomato salad with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, one clove of garlic finely minced, and a pinch of salt and pepper. The last few time I cut corn off a cob, I made a huge mess. I recently picked up a tip from the blog How to Cook Like Your Grandmother that made a big difference. He suggested placing the corn cob in the middle of a bundt pan or an inverted bowl inside a bigger bowl. I don't have a bundt pan, so I used the latter method. It worked like a charm. I don't know why I never thought of it myself.
The other side was green beans with lots of garlic and some sesame seeds, but the real star was the pork chops with mustard sauce and onions. I made the corn and tomato salad and my husband made everything else. Everything was fabulous. All of the vegetables came for our CSA share, and the pork chops came from the Winkler Family Farm (we bought them at Whole Foods). We also served some lacto-fermented sauerkraut from Hawthorne Valley Farm. Here is a photo of the spread:
Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce and Onions
2 pork chops
1 onion with its greens*, sliced
Set the pork chops on the counter and let them reach room temperature. Dust both sides with Old Bay. Heat a cast iron skillet. Coat the bottom with oil. When it begins to smoke add the pork chops. Cook about 5 minutes per side (more if they are really thick). Remove from the heat. Let rest and then slice. In a separate pan, cook the onions stirring frequently. Cook until caramelized.
Our onions from our CSA share come with the greens still attached. If you don't have onion with greens, you may use an additional onion, or some scallions.
6 oz beer (we used Brooklyn Brown)
1 T mustard
2 T butter
After the pork chops have been removed from the skillet, drain off the excess fat. Scrape the bottom of the pan, and add the beer to help deglaze it. Turn on the burner to medium heat. Add the mustard and butter. Whisk continually, and let cook down and thicken.
The heat was too hot for our sauce, and it "broke". The butter separated from the other flavorings. Don't worry if that happens - it's still delicious. We served our on the side (we use our creamer as a gravy boat).
This post is part of Two for Tuesdays at A Moderate Life blog.