04 August 2008

Old-School Pork Chops with Apples and Sage

Baked Pork Chops with Apples and Sage (with title)
Sorry about the alarming subtitle. It really has nothing to do with pork chops. I was just thinking about friends (again): about what importance I put in friendships ten years ago to what it means to me today. Fitting that I write it today because just a few hours ago, I watched a movie with my ooooldest friend Anton (15 years and counting), whereas the movies I watched in the theater over the last 7 years were mostly by myself. The line is Charlie Brown's lamentation to his peers, from a book of the same name.
Gifts from Ann
However, the main reason I wanted to write about friends is because of the many new friends I've made since I started writing this blog. Like Ann of Redacted Recipes. She first stumbled on my blog when I wrote about the Banoffee Pie (since her sweet babboo Jack is English) and we've rarely missed each other's posts since. She wouldn't consider herself sweet ("extra bitter" is what she'd prefer, heh), but she's sweet to me, and that's all that counts in my little world. A few weeks ago she sent me a gorgeous care package of her homemade orange-rhubarb marmalade, maple syrup, Gourmet salts, and a moo card of her Palmiers. I've been eating big spoonfuls of the coralline marmalade daily (with toast of course!); it's quite addictive and insanely good-- I love the unique fragrance.
Gifts from Allen
The other friend I was thinking of is fellow reality television fiend Allen of Eating Out Loud. He linked to my blog shortly after my post on baked eggs in cream cheese biscuits and I visited his to thank him. It didn't take long before I realized how fun it is to talk to him. He sent me a congratulatory gift (for passing the USMLE Step 1) of The Sweet Spot (YAY!) and a DVD I've been searching for my dad of Friends (what a coincidence, eh?), starring Anicee Alvina and Sean Bury. It's one of my dad's favorite movies.

If you've been on the food blogaverse long enough, you'd have known that Lucy's boasting is quite empty. It's possible to be popular without having any friends, but having friends to celebrate or commiserate with makes my journey sweeter and more effortless. I like talking about my life. I like hearing about yours. Even though I don't initiate e-mail often, I do think about my blog friends and what they're going through.

When I was young I had a lot of criteria to consider someone my friend. I still do, but I don't hold it against my friends any longer if they can't be there for me. Like the book said, a friend embraces you for who you are, not what they wish you could be. In my unfairness to my friends in the past (Anton included, haha), I'd overlooked that I wasn't really that great of a friend to them, either. What can I say, I'm human too. These days, I try not to be so hard on them-- and hard on myself. I just try. (By the way: a friend I can sock on the arm? That's Graeme, especially post-tattoo. But you guys can sock me on the arm if you like.)

In the same shelf where "I Need All The Friends I Can Get" was, I found "Happiness Is A Sad Song." Passing this page, I immediately thought of Jen and it made me happy to think that her cancer treatments were coming to an end. I thought about Bri and how glad I was that the donations for her treatment exceeded expectations. Starting this blog about 1 year or almost 200 posts ago, did I think I'd ever feel such emotions for other food bloggers? Hell no. I'm glad that's changed. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's kept me company (be it in physical form or on the Internet). I really appreciate it.

(Passing this page I realized how it's so NOT like Jen, and SO like me. Ha ha ha.) I also wanted to give a huge hug to yet another blogger friend: Kittymama of Okasenko Chronicles, who gave me a Sharing The Love, uh, citation a few weeks back. I was deeply honored, and her extremely generous description of me certainly helped, heh. Her blog is a relatively recent discovery of mine, and each trip to one of her posts is sure to find me amused, or my heart warmed.

Old-School Pork Chops with Apples and Sage from Cook With Jamie
Jamie Oliver recommends 1-inch deep cuts on the fatty side to prevent the pork chops curling as they cook. I'm doing that from now on. I like the dactylic appearance, and of course the fact that it's flat and browns evenly. I discovered that a really good tool to use is a pair of poultry shears. Someone gifted us with a Henckels and it is dangerously sharp. I love it.

  • 4 9-oz pork chops

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • olive oil

  • 2 good eating apples (e.g. McIntosh or Cox), cored and each cut into 8 wedges

  • a knob of butter

  • a handful of fresh sage leaves

  • optional: 100g (3-1/2 oz) good strong cheese like Stilton or taleggio

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Make 1-inch deep cuts along the fatty side of the pork chops, extending into the meat, so they have a fringe-like edge. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Place a heavy skillet over high heat and add a some olive oil. Fry the pork chops for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. When the chops are nearly done, lift them out of the pan and place them into a roasting pan. To the skillet, add a knob of butter and the apple wedges and fry until lightly golden. Place 4 apple wedges on each chop, top with the sage (and cheese if using), then drizzle olive oil on top. Bake for 4-6 minutes or until everything is golden and melted.

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