Stuffed Frenched Pork Chops

stuffed frenched pork chops.jpg

 

 

I got some ‘frenched‘ pork chops at Trader Joe’s the last time I was there.

It’s like a 120 mile trip, so I try to get there about once a month but if I’m anywhere ‘near’ (as in horseshoes or hand grenades), I make an effort!

Unfortunately, the brilliant colors the ingredients once held all turn rather brown once cooked but boy, was it pretty at first!

I took the inch-thick chops and sort of sliced them open like a pita.

I baked the sweet potatoes (also from TJs, they were TINY, which I loved as they cooked in like 25 minutes!) and allowed them to cool before de-jacketing them.

In a skillet, I put some EVOO (usually use coconut oil to cook with but felt I wanted the EVOO flavor, so I made sure to cook this over LOW heat) in the pan and tossed in pearl onions (left whole to pick out later, for my belly — I’ve been trying to get flavor without forcing my body to try to digest stuff it cannot). I put the chard (rainbow, also from TJs!) in and shredded cabbage and then sliced up two, small, peeled gala apples. I salted it some with sea salt and ground some black pepper, added about 3/4t ground cloves and an equal amount of ground cinnamon. I believe that’s all…

I was working with the idea of sweet potato and apple with pork, then offsetting the sweetness with chard and cabbage. I tasted it and it was a bit too bitter (than what I wanted; I love bitter!), so I added a tad more salt (probably 3/4t total, which is not a lot!) and some cherries!

It tastes just about perfect, although had I realized how freaking awesome the cherries were going to taste, I’d have put in more!

This made 4 servings for me — you may be keeping track with all that veg? It cooks down. Plus, the remainder of ‘stuffing’ is in another container; the photo only shows the bit that I stuffed before cooling the chops in the skillet after a quick rinse! I’m going to say it’s probably 6C of cooked veg, total.

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Oh, for Kraut’s Sake!

I grew up making sauerkraut (along with everything else). Regular readers can’t be disappointed: I grew up on a working ranch where we raised or hunted everything we ate. It has easily been since the mid-80s since I’ve made it! What I mostly recall is endless bowls of chopped cabbage and sneaking the plate off the crock, checking how the sauerkraut progressed.

I don’t remember anything helpful.

(Speaking of helpful, one of the great things about homemade sauerkraut is it’s FABULOUSLY healing due to probiotics for people with gut issues — it’s also FABULOUSLY healing for normals! Best of all, it’s delicious. You can also buy something like Flanagans. Remember, if it’s tinned, the probiotics are dead. Here’s what Flanagans parent company lists as health benefits of raw sauerkraut like theirs or your homemade kraut!)

Crock salvaged from barn

see 'Ma & Pa Kettle' section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Kilbride

First, I had to find a crock. Mum uses the 2 gallon crock as her utensil holder. I think the 1 gallon stores salt someplace. I believe the 5 gallon was broken — used as a planter and the 3 gallon’s gone missing (probably borrowed by the Hoods, real name, who are much like Pa Kettle when it comes to borrowing*). I had to settle for the 4 gallon, which was sitting in one of the barns. I washed it with a hose and dish soap outside first. Obviously.

Crock rewashed inside

Crock rewashed inside

Then, I took it inside for more washingses. I let it drain upside down whilst chopping over 4lb of cabbage. I’m not good with knives, so that meant 90 minutes of chopping (I passed the time by listening to old Star Talk podcasts).

As I’d forgotten, I asked mum what the ratio was for sauerkraut and salt. ‘1lb salt for 40lb cabbage.’

Crock with layers of salt and cabbage

Crock with layers of salt and cabbage

Right. I had 4lb cabbage, so I ciphered (always a shaky premise) that was 1/10 of 40, therefore I needed 1/10 of a lb of salt. I used Celtic Sea Salt because it’s what I have. Growing up, I’d have used kosher salt. As I’d drop another layer of cabbage shreds, I’d scatter a table spoon of salt, mix and sort of tamp down.

Bobby regularly got up to look at what I was doing, without getting too close. This 4 gallon crock is about half my height! It was hard to wrangle empty but as I filled it, I barely managed to place it in its resting spot.

topped with cabbage leaves

topped with cabbage leaves

plated sauerkraut crock

plated sauerkraut crock

I topped it was we did when I was a kid (with cabbage leaves and a plate — more on that later). And finally, a tea towel because bugs will get interested.

Crock topped with tea towel

Crock topped with tea towel

A few hours later, I went to go check it. Here’s the ‘later.’ All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could hardly get that mfing plate back off it again!

O.M.G. My plates as an adult are a different style and size than those used as a kid. I finally got it off and NO I don’t have other plates to use. I have dessert plates, which are way too small, but I only have one set of ‘china’ (a ‘cafe’ style set of 12 pieces or so that cost about $20, about 20 years ago).

Out came the google. It seems a lot of folks use a water-filled baggie, of course, they’re using MASON jars en lieu de crock. I had a big-arsed baggie, so I’m trying that. It has totally effed with my program and now I’m verklempt about the whole fakakta mess.

At any rate, it’s very close to how I grew up making it with most of the memories gone and too large of a plate. Oh, and of course the amount of cabbage is 1/10 what I’d have gone as a kid!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, in addition to all the pickled items we made (we pickled almost anything, much like frying…think pig’s feet, eggs, okra, etc.), we also made ‘Salty Brine Pickles.‘ I realize saying ‘salty brine’ is redundant. You’re getting a Family Heirloom Stupid Name. Those were also raw/fermented/full of probiotics.

 

* I didn’t test it for Rick-rolling but it began with the full length film ‘Ma and Pa Kettle,’ which was made in the 40s but was day-to-day life similar to my life, if I were Ma…only my kids were the adults and whoever was there.

Cholesterol, a Love Story

Carla asked if my cholesterol improved after being diagnosed Celiac. As usual, I can’t tell a short story and it’s not even well-told.

My Cholesterol’s Character Arc

Short answer: No.
Medium answer: I fixed it before Celiac diagnosis.
Long answer: Since a KID, doctors said:  You inherited this and you’re screwed. I had high cholesterol and triglycerides.
I flung myself into a vegetarian lifestyle, eating meat once a month, around my period when I’d crave tacos or chili. I wouldn’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving so I could have dressing! I adhered to the prescription of low fat, whole grains, vegetarian as best model for lowering cholesterol and cardio health. BEFORE that, I was ‘quasi-vegetarian.’ I’d skip meat so I could have vodka — that was about calories cos I was young and dumb 🙂
My cholesterol grew worse over those 20 years. Doctors repeated their BS about whole grains, low fat… I’d show them my food journals (tracked most of the time since 1985). They’d shrug. With everybody in my family on cholesterol lowering or BP meds, I’d have to get on them SOME day. Then, that day came.
With nowhere else to go, I tried something crazy, based on what I’d seen lifters doing:
eat animal protein — lots of it —  healthy fats and remove processed foods (which excised a LOT of grains!).
In less than six months of eating ~1g animal protein per lb of body weight, increasing fat intake (avocados and EVOO) but mostly binning the low fat Wheat Thins and 17 grain breads…
I had blood panels for which people would kill. My doctor was GIDDY.
Let me digress: I was 98% on program  during this period because I knew what was waiting at the GPs: meds. It’s a strong incentive!
She said most people aren’t willing to do what I’d done for health. I proved that I would. I’m going to be honest: those first three weeks of meat-eating after non-meat eating was ROUGH. My body didn’t know what the hell to do with it!
My GPs next move was to tweak my autoimmune. My first food challenge was wheat.
After the Celiac diagnosis, my gut healed and I packed on a layer of blubber that I still haven’t shifted. I was deeply worried (just KNEW that I’d ruined my ‘fixed cholesterol’). To my RELIEF, my blood panels are still great!
Then, mum had her latest big hospitalization where they found she had to get quadruple bypass and that sent me into another tizzy about heart health. I had a full work up. Turns out, mine’s fantabulous. My genes are still my genes. I’m fighting them (sometimes I hit the frozen custard, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Doritos — and vodka).