Baked Apple Pork Chops

This is another of those recipes I didn't make for years because I believed  butter was bad for you. I still don't make it often, but right now I have a large bag of small apples.

I'm thinking apple butter, apple fritters and these pork chops. 

Baked Apple Pork Chops

4-6 pork chops
1 egg, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 apple, pared and sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
sprinkle each of cinnamon, sugar
leaf thyme, celery flakes and chives

Dip each pork chop into beaten egg, then into bread crumbs. In a skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in melted butter. Place chops in a baking dish large enough to hold them. sprinkle with chopped onion, parsley, celery flakes and chives. Place sliced apple on pork chops. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of the baking dish
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce has got to be one of the easiest-to-make parts of Thanksgiving dinner. It takes just minutes and practically cooks itself. True, it isn't shaped like a can with the pattern of the can along the sides, but I've been eating homemade for as long as I can remember, so I don't know why anyone would choose that anyway.

When I was a kid, my grandmother had a pomegranate tree. My sister and I would  peel them like an orange, so it was messy and took ages (and probably ruined our clothes). Looking back I realize that taking the time and care to fill a bowl with bright red pomegranate seeds was quite a lesson in patience for small children.

A few years ago though, I learned the trick of how to peel a pomegranate. Since it was so fast and easy, that year we had more pomegranates than ever. They started showing up in packed lunches, fall fruit salads and drinks. When the time came to make cranberry sauce, I decided to put some in with the cranberries and liked it so much that I've done it ever since.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 bag cranberries
1/2 cup  pomegranate arils (or seeds)

Put sugar and water in a pan over medium heat. Once sugar is dissolved, add cranberries and pomegranate arils. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes. The cranberries will make a popping sound as they cook.

Pumpkin Roll

This used to be a staple of my November baking. I think it's time I brought it back.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs at high speed for about 3 minutes. Stir in sugar gradually. Add pumpkin and lemon juice. Stir together the flour and spices Fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spread in a greased and floured 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sprinkle top with more powdered sugar. Roll cake and towel together. Cool.

Meanwhile, make filling: combine all 4 filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth. 

Unroll the cooled cake, spread with filling and re-roll. Keep refrigerated.

Homemade tortillas

This past weekend I finally got a chance to play with my newest kitchen gadget - a tortilla press.

I know you don't need a tortilla press to make tortillas. I made them before without one, but I was hoping to start making them more often - not to mention more *ahem* uniform, and progress to making corn tortillas and tortilla chips. As usual, I was motivated by a desire to create a healthier alternative to what was available in the shops.

I am fully aware there are those who will object to the use of  the terms 'healthy' and 'tortilla' used in the same sentence,  but a) I doubt they spend much time on this blog,  and b) I am not seeking perfection - just improvement. Since my tortillas come without additives and vegetable oils (yep. They're packin' lard. Heck. I may even try coconut oil if I run out of lard) I think they're an improvement.

We'll have to wait and see yet on the tortilla chips, but the flour tortillas turned out well. They are a bit smaller than what we're used to, but they pass The Kid taste test. The real test, of course, will be when he uses them to make his patented quesadillas that he won't let anyone make for him because they have to be done a certain way. How this varies from how anyone else does them, we have yet to determine.

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lard
1/2 cup warm water

Blend the flour, baking powder, and salt together.  With a pastry blender, fork or by hand, cut in the lard  until the ingredients cling together when you squeeze a bit in your hands. If it is crumbly, there isn't enough lard or it's not mixed in well enough. If it makes a hard clump, there is too much lard for the amount of flour.

Add the water all at once and quickly mix until the dough forms a mass. Knead by hand a few times, or until you have a soft dough that is no longer sticky.  Cover and let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, form 1 inch diameter balls. Shape into tortillas either in a press, or by rolling on a floured surface.

Cook on a griddle or cast iron pan for 30 seconds to two minutes per side, or until they are done. I have an electric griddle that I set on 450 degrees, but even at that temperature it didn't cook very fast.