I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fennel Pollen Rubbed Pork Chops

When I first began to create my own recipes I was so overwhelmed. I really didn't know what I was doing 90% of the time, hadn't had enough practice in the kitchen and I felt the need to really mix, match and add seasonings and flavors to whatever I was cooking. It took a while to learn that usually the best meals are those that are the most straight-forward, simple, and feature ingredients that are of high quality (which doesn't mean the most expensive--just those that are grown/raised/prepared with care). These lovely pork chops are just the thing.

I purchased the pork chops at the greenmarket from Flying Pigs Farm, which I've mentioned before. Seriously, their pork chops are one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. Melt-in-your-mouth tender, full of porky flavor, there is no need for fuss with these babies. They are just sprinkled with fennel pollen, salt and pepper and seared. That's it. They were served alongside Diner's Potatoes, recipe found on The Wednesday Chef blog (isn't her blog just lovely?).

The fennel pollen came from my new favorite store on the planet: Bklyn Larder. I could spend my monthly salary here without blinking and not feel bad about it. Along with the fennel pollen this trip I also bought some of their fruity extra virgin olive oil (which they dole out in refillable bottles that you can bring back with you when you are ready for more), some crusty bread and rabbit rillettes (I'm melting in my chair just remembering how good these were). They sell cheeses, imported and house cured meats, homemade gelato and pickles, and a few different dry goods. It's the kind of place I'd love to open myself one day...

Fennel Pollen Rubbed Pork Chops
2 servings
2 thick cut pork chops (mine were around 1.4 lbs. for both, bone-in)
2 t. fennel pollen
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
olive oil

Remove the pork chops from the fridge about an hour before cooking to bring to around room temperature.
Heat a large, thick skillet over medium-high heat. Grease lightly with olive oil.
Sprinkle the pork chops all over with fennel pollen, salt and pepper. Once the pan is almost smoking, sear the pork chops, about 3 minutes on each side, until they are cooked between medium rare and medium. Remove from the pan and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Broccoli Rabe Pizza

I love this time of year. Those beautiful, sunny, warm days that seem to wash away the gloom of the winter. And the promise of lovely fruits and vegetables that will soon be making an appearance at the markets. Joe and I love to spend nice days just walking--exploring different parts of the city. Last week we had one of those gorgeous days where we spent hours and hours wandering around the park and our neighborhood. Afterwards we were hungry, but craving something healthy and not too heavy.
Broccoli rabe pizzas with lemon-y ricotta and mushrooms were the answer. Refreshing, delicious, and oh, so simple, they are a perfect transition to the warmer weather as we are still waiting for spring veggies.

Broccoli Rabe Pizza
3 servings
8 oz. ricotta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1-1 1/2 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 large bundle broccoli rabe, tough stems trimmed, roughly chopped
3 TB butter
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 lb. of mushrooms, sliced
3-7" flatbread pitas
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe and saute until almost tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on each of the flatbreads. Top each with 1/3 of the broccoli rabe, 1/3 of the mushrooms and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Place the flatbread pizzas onto the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is gooey and the crust is crispy and browned, about 5-8 minutes.