Two nights ago a friend called and said he had a gift for us, and could he stop by. Of course I said yes. Who turns down gifts? A few minutes later he was at our front door, with a huge paper bag full of chanterelle mushrooms that someone had given him. He wanted to know if we wanted them, since he wasn't sure what to do with them.
A glass of wine later, we had the menu planned, and sent Greg to the market to get pork chops while John and I did a little prep work. Here's what we came up with.
John cooked the polenta, using Marcella Hazan's recipe from her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. This is a great cookbook, by the way. Someday I'd like to cook my way through it, in the style of Julie & Julia. I never seem to get past the first few pasta sauce recipes, though, since they are so perfect.
I sadly neglected to get a photo of the fresh chanterelles, but here's what they look like.
I cooked the pork chops and mushrooms. After cleaning the mushrooms, I sliced them thickly, then sauteed them in a bit of butter and olive oil until they were just starting to get soft, then added a little white wine and simmered briefly. Meanwhile, the pork chops were cooking, first sauteed, then a little shallot added, then white wine. They braised with the lid on for about 5-6 minutes a side, just until done. Don't overcook pork chops, by the way. We actually prefer them just a tiny bit pink in the middle. If you cook them all the way through, they get tough and chewy.
The pork chops went into the warming oven, the braising liquid went into the waiting mushrooms, which were then cooked down a little until syrupy.
A little chopped Italian parsley went in at the end.
The whole mess went on plates, with some lightly steamed green beans on the side. We also had a salad with fresh heirloom tomato slices, topped with fresh mozzarella and slivered basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
And here's Lewey, pretty sure we might drop something.
Not bad for last minute made-up cooking!
That was the first finished thing. The other thing that's finished is this.
Yes, it does look like sort of a wonky blocking job. It's a baby blanket, for pete's sake. I just mashed it out and pinned it down. More details will follow in a later post.