Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hipster Cupcake Friday!

I will be posting some fun food adventures again soon, but until then...

Vanilla Cupcake with Lemon Curd filling!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hipster Cupcake Friday!

Mud Pie cupcake, complete with a worm!

Swedish Saturday, ja!

    Colorado is a very exciting place. You can hike 14,000 ft. mountains, ski, snowboard, go see dinosaur fossils, find sand dunes, alligator farms, and on July 30th we had a delightful new addition to the things to do in Colorado: we got our very first Ikea store.

    If you're from the east coast or Europe, shut up. I know you've had them for a long time already, you're not excited about them because *sigh* they're just everywhere out here and you don't see what the big deal is... I get it. But don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter. Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter. DON'T BRING AROUND A CLOUD TO RAIN ON MY PARADE. (+5 bonus points if you know the musical i'm quoting; an extra +5 if you can name the character!)

blue shirt. yellow undershirt. boom.
and yes i have a bright green wall.

    To celebrate Swedish Saturday, Julia and I had some very exciting things planned. We both wore the blue of the Swedish flag, we were making a pilgrimage to IKEA, vowed to eat lingonberries, and then went to an ABBA cover band concert. Also we enjoyed SPELLING THINGS WITH CAPITAL LETTERS. Please stop trying to hide that you're jealous of how awesome my life is.
Eating at the cafeteria of the Ikea was a fun experience by itself, even though there were at least six million people there with us and it took  us about 35 minutes to get through the lines, but we decided that it was like a Swedish Taco Bell. (Tåco Bëll?) Swedish Meatballs and Lingonberries, raspberry cheesecake (that we pretended was lingonberry), Lingonberry juice, lay's potato chips, COULD WE GET ANY MORE SWEDISH?! (except for Pickled Herring which was quite a hot item for the swedes when I worked in a Swedish Christian Retirement Home through high school... no joke)

    When I got home, I realized I needed more lingonberries in my life and was trying to think of a recipe I could make that would highlight lingonberries as the star without making them too overpowering. There is a recipe that I made for the first time about 6 months ago with one of my dear friends Kelley that I adapted to successfully include them!

Swedish Pork Chops!
Seared Pork Chops with Apple, Fig, Lingonberries, and Goat Cheese

Time from prep to table: about 35 minutes
Serves: 2-4

2 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 granny smith apples (the firmer apple will hold up better to cooking), peeled and sliced medium thin
6 oz. dried fig (look by the raisins at the grocery store), halved
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 to 1 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp. lingonberry sauce
2 oz. goat cheese
4 oz. butter

1. Pour olive oil enough to make a small layer in the bottom of the pan. If you don't need a full 1/4 cup, don't use it. No one likes oily pork chops. Heat the oil over medium high heat while you're coating the pork chops in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Put the chops in the oil (stand back!) and cook them about 5 minutes on each side until they're beautifully golden brown. Once they're done, pull them out of the pan and keep them somewhere warm to let them rest until you're done with the rest of the meal.

2. Drain most of the oil from the bottom of the pan, leaving only enough to coat the bottom. Add the apples and fig and let them cook up and absorb a little of the flavor from the pork and soften. After about 5 minutes, add the chicken stock. Depending on how many you're serving or how many apples you use, you may want to only use 3/4 cup or if you love apple and you sliced up 3 or 4, you should probably use the full cup. Also add the cinnamon and nutmeg now and stir it all together and let it cook.

3. What makes everything better? BUTTER. Take half a stick of butter and just let it melt in to your sauce to give it a gorgeous rich flavor. In fact, this makes the sauce so much better that it gets its own step.

4. Time to plate! Plating entrées is my weakness as I can never make it look great, but I think I did ok with this one. I like to put the cinnamon-nutmeg apples down first, then place the meat on top of it. Add a modest spoonful (about 1 1/2 tbsp. per chop) to the top and crumble goat cheese over the top.

These pork chops are so easy to make and well worth the time to put in to them that it'll have you saying Mamma Mia! These are tasty! You'll feel like Edna Turnblad when she sees a Christmas ham.

Oh, and if you're having a hard time finding Lingonberry sauce, try Whole Foods and look around the jellies. Again, totally worth it.

p.s. I found this picture and I didn't know quite how to incorporate it in, so it's just a treat at the end. Here's ABBA brimming with Swedish pride. Happy cooking!

Monday, August 1, 2011

An open letter to Nutmeg

Dear Nutmeg,

    How can you possibly make everything that you come in contact with somehow better? I think I love you.