Thursday, January 24, 2013

Meat Nina and a Pork Chop Recipe

Hello all! I'm Nina, the newest addition to the Leaping Waters Farm staff and I'm very pleased to meat you (pun intended). I've been helping with the family and the farm since June but just started full time a few weeks ago. My duties are vast - from office assistant, delivery girl, and chauffeur of the children to meat tetrus expert a.k.a Fedex shipment packer, receipt collector/sorter/filer, email stenographer and everything in between. Now I'm giving this whole blogging thing a shot, too. I meant for my blogging moniker to be "master of none" couldn't figure out how to make a name that wasn't my real one. Oh well :)

So, obviously this is my first blog post and when I was preparing this dinner I had every intention of making notes and taking pictures as I went along, but, I got excited and lost focus of what my original goal was. I was also using my cellphone to take pictures so they're pretty low quality images. That being said, there aren't a ton of pictures for this post and the recipes I used are more of just a guideline (and to be honest, unless I'm baking, I don't really measure anything). For all of my posts I will be focused on using Leaping Waters Farm meats and as often as possible local produce and dairy products and telling you where all those products came from. I'm a huge fan of Good Food Good People's wide varieties of CSAs as you get a ton of vegetables you probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise, but only advise this for families of at least 4 so as to not be wasteful or just shopping at your local farmer's market.

And now, onto the Apple Fennel Pork Chops inspired by this recipe:
seriously sexy pork
These beautiful Pork Chops are Leaping Waters Farm and will be in the meat CSA bags from time to time. I salt & peppered the bottom of a baking dish, tossed about 1/3 cup of freshly chopped fennel (from the GFGP Winter CSA - this fennel bulb was from Swarey Farm) evenly on the bottom and set the two pork chops in on top. 
don't drink the fennel-crispin-pork marinade juice, no matter how tastey it looks
Then I salt & peppered the tops, added another 1/3 cup or so of the freshly chopped fennel on top of the pork chops. I sprinkled about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I always use Bragg Organic, I probably picked it up at Kroger) and then filled up the baking dish with Crispin Dry Cider pouring over the chops to get them wet until the marinade went half-way up the side of the chops. I let them sit for half on hour and then flipped them over and let the other side sit in the cider juice for another half and hour. At this point you should drink what's left in the open can of Crispin while you wait and/or open another and enjoy. I find that this is a very important step in the cooking process.
While the chops were marinating I washed up and chopped *some* potaotes (GFGP-Fertile Crescent Farm), the fennel bulb, red onion (Kroger), garlic (elephant GFGP-Seven Springs), apples (different varieties GFGP-King Bros.) fresh sage (also Kroger) and some more fennel fronds. I tossed some butter (Homestead Creamery) in a warm pan and started cooking up the potatoes with about a cup of Crispin. All of the rest of the ingredients went into the pan in the order they are listed as I cut them up. The pan, which you'll see in the picture below, looks like a soup pot or dutch oven, but is much more shallow. You should use whatever style of pot or pan suits the amount of food you're cooking. I should note that this "one-pot" method is one of my favorite things to do either for a side or the whole dinner. It makes clean up and leftover storage crazy simple.
objects in pan are shallower than they appear
After the hour of marinading, while the side dish was cooking, the Mr. put the pork chops on the grill for me. I don't recall how long he cooked them, but google says you should grill 6 minutes a side.
the big guy on the left was a little too rare and went back on the grill after this picture was taken
If you've timed your side dish right it should be ready right when your chops come off the grill. I added my apples to early and basically cooked them down to mush, but it was still very good. Here's the finished product with the Mr.'s beverage of choice, New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale.
looks great. let's eat.
I'd never cooked fennel bulb before and assumed I wouldn't like since I'm not usually a fan of things that taste like licorice. I was wrong though. It paired well with the apple and was much more savory than the sweet I had expected. It had the texture of cooked cabbage which I also liked. It really brought the pork to center stage, where it belongs. The char on the chops was a-maz-ing and I felt the marinade was spot on but the Mr. said it was a little too fennel heavy.
The leftovers got cooked up with a couple fried eggs (GFGP-Weathertop Farm) the next morning. If you take this route be sure not to over cook and dry out the pork chops you worked so hard on the night before. The potato side dish on the other hand tasted better a little cripsy.

So that's my first attempt at blogging. I hope it was entertaining a somewhat informative. I'll do my best to take more pictures and measurements next time.

Enjoy! - Nina, The Master of None 

*some* - I rarely measure ingredeints when I'm doing my "one-pot side or dinner" method since I'm only cooking for 2 and more often than not am trying to use up ingredients in the kitchen or pantry. Anytime you try a recipe I've posted on the blog, just use what feels right for you and your family's taste and level of hunger.


  1. oh thanks for the recipe! Those pork chops look delicious!
    I have never tried fennel before though, and we don't really like licorice, so I may not use too much at first. The potatoes and apple dish looks so yummy too!

  2. I'm sure you could use some other fresh herbs instead, sage or rosemary maybe? I really like the apple flavor with the pork chops.

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