I remember seeing a TV show several years ago where a chef visits an unsuspecting household and prepares a dinner for the family. I think he had an hour to prepare the meal, and he could only use the food in their pantry and fridge. The family always seemed to have a really well stocked kitchen: shrimp in the freezer, some fresh herbs in the fridge, at least a couple of vegetables, beans, rice, etc. I was not that impressed with the chef's results. I thought that anyone would be able to come up with the idea of shrimp and asparagus risotto with a side of sauteed vegetables if you had the same resources he was working with.
At the time, I was single, living by myself and working lots of hours. I did cook at home, but I had a routine where I would spend Sundays planning, shopping and cooking my meals for the week. I usually tried to freeze half of what I made, so that I would always have a variety of meals to chose from. I was really organized (much more than I am now). I never had much food just hanging around in the house waiting to be prepared. I wanted to see what the chef could make with what I had in my cabinets and fridge: some frozen blueberries and broccoli, a little yogurt, dry beans, milk, coffee, Kosher salt and some spices.
These days I frequently feel like the chef in the challenge. I come home from work and try to figure out how to form a meal from the vegetables in our farm share, the meat in the fridge/freezer, and the staples in our cabinet. Sometimes these challenges produce some unusual results. One such meal was pork chop and mushroom salad. It might not be a combination I would plan ahead to make, but it was really good. I would consider making it again. The mushrooms had a rich, meaty flavor that helped the salad seem more substantial.
Pork Chop and Mushroom Salad
1 pork chop
1/2 lb of mushrooms, chopped (we used shitake mushrooms)
1 T butter
vinegar (we like raw apple cider vinegar)
salt and pepper
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, drizzle with oil and add the pork chop. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Let it rest for 5 minutes, and then slice. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook until tender. Toss the salad greens with oil and vinegar and top with pork chop and mushrooms.
Is your kitchen well stocked? Do you have any unusual creations that were the results of thinking on your feet?
This post is part of Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Top Ten Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesday Twister.