Thursday, January 29, 2009

CEIMB: Sage Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw


This week's CEIMB recipe for Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw was chosen by my friend Jennifer of Jen B's Cooking Carveout, another one of my work buddies. Yup, we are pretty much just working our way around the 31st floor of the Wachovia (Wells Fargo?) Tower here at CEIMB. We promise we'll stop before we get to 32 -- you'll thank us, really (just kidding, 32! We love ya!).

So I was cooking up the pork chops one night earlier this week when I heard the garage -- David was home! Woo hoo!! It's the most exciting part of the day for all of us! Once again, I failed miserably with meeting the standards set forth in the famous 50s housewife guide for ensuring a pleasant homecoming for husbands: the clutter not cleared; I was not wearing makeup and there was no ribbon in my hair; I was neither gay nor interesting; the children's hair was not combed; I immediately started sharing my problems and complaints; noise was maximized rather than minimized; and I completely forgot to give David a cold drink and suggest that he lean back in a comfortable chair while I remove his shoes. But by gosh, I planned ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time!

David greeted us happily, even though he could not have possibly felt that he had reached a haven of rest and order. Then he peeled the kids off of himself, walked straight over to the vent fan over the stove, said "PHEW!," and turned the fan onto "high." Oh yeah, nothing says "mmmmm MMMMMMM, whatcha got cookin' for dinner, honey?" quite like making a beeline to the fan to ventilate the smell of dinner out of the kitchen, pronto, upon entering the house. I have a cold and can't really smell anything, but David said that the smell of cabbage and vinegar cooking was no joke. But we remained optimistic that we'd enjoy dinner.



The pork chops themselves had all kinds of potential, but I ruined them by (1) not browning them enough, and (2) overcooking them. Is there anything less appetizing than meat that is not well browned? It just looks so gray and pitiful. David did not think that the pork chops were overcooked, but David was wrong. They were most definitely overcooked. I didn't actually break out the meat thermometer or challenge him to a duel or anything to settle things, but there is NO doubt that those suckers hung out on the stove for a good five minutes too long (BTW, I used boneless, not bone-in, pork chops, and completely lost track of the cooking time when I was called on to break up a fight over who was touching whom. I am sure that the cooking times stated in the recipe are accurate if you actually adhere to the recipe). Other than that, the garlic/sage/salt/pepper rub provided the pork chops with a nice flavor.

But moving on to the elephant in the room: the slaw. The recipe says to make the slaw by coring and slicing a green cabbage, and shredding up three carrots. But if you look closely and read the fine print, it says that you can use a 16 ounce bag of cabbage/carrot "slaw mix" instead. Ding ding ding! "Slaw mix" went onto my grocery list. The slaw gets combined with shredded apples, apple cider vinegar, and salt -- then you turn on the stove, cover the pan, and commence the process of making your entire neighborhood smell like cooked cabbage. After 5 minutes, you add some chicken broth and return the pork chops to the pan to finish cooking (or overcooking, as the case may be).

I really couldn't get past the essential slawness of this dish. I didn't hate it, the flavors weren't bad, but what can I say -- I found myself avoiding the slaw in favor of my Near East couscous. David seemed to like this a little bit more than I did, but at one point, he provided me with some useful feedback that immediately earned a spot in the "damning with faint praise" Hall of Fame: "You know, if I were forced to eat warm, vaguely German-style slaw every day, this would definitely be the slaw I'd want. But I'm glad that I'm not forced to eat warm, vaguely German-style slaw every day." I couldn't have said it any better myself, honey.

So, I think at the end of the day your opinion about this recipe will depend on whether you are a slaw person or not. We are not slaw people and therefore did not care for the slaw part this recipe (loved the pork chop rub, though!). But I bet all you slaw people out there will LOVE this!

Thanks for picking this, Jen! You know how much I love it when I can kill both a blogging group assignment and a weeknight dinner obligation with one stone. I'm glad that we gave this one a try. Fun choice, my friend!

30 comments:

Peggy said...

Oh I hate that you did not love this since I went on and on about it at work being the most delicious thing ever. We even loved the leftovers the second night. But we ARE slaw people so maybe that does make a difference. Your post gave me a little laugh this morning over the 50's housewife. Can you even imagine being like that? But I've always heard if you treat your man like a king for two weeks a change will come over him and he will start treating you like a queen back. Maybe giving him a drink as he enters the door and propping his legs up while you vacuum under them is just the ego boost men need. LOL Your chops look great Cathy.

Pamela said...

Mine were pale and ugly and a bit over cooked, too. Marc tried to be polite, but when I told him he could tell me the truth, he looked me dead in the eye and said, "I don't like 'em!" Okay...moving on.

Maria said...

Sorry it wasn't your favorite. I am not really a slaw person but some people love the stuff!!

Jen said...

Cathy...I totally agree with you on the slaw. It was okay for cabbage, but I am not really a german slaw type person either! I am glad you liked the pork chops though! Can't wait to make your pick next week!

Jessica said...

Ha ha ha. There's nothing like a backhanded compliment to really make you feel good about yourself, right?

Umm, I purchased baby cabbages at the farmers' market last fall because they looked so cute and then I made some sort of braised cabbage with them. There's a reason that recipe never ended up on my blog. That dinner (I served it with brown meat and potatoes for a totally dismal meal) sticks out in my mind as one of the worst things I've made so far. And the smell of the cabbage cooking! Boy howdy! All that said, your dinner looks tasty to me (in the picture) and if I buy baby cabbages again next fall I'll probably try it.

Gabe's Girl said...

Girl, this post had me rolling! I could not stop laughing. I think I would like the slaw. I am tempted to try this. My hubby is not a fan of pork chops, so I try to make them when he is not around. How do you shred apples? I feel almost dumb asking that, but hey, I gotta know.
Great post!

Joanne said...

Luckily I'm a slaw gal. My husband equally lucky - he likes pork. Together.. we should "lick the platter clean"..Ok. LAME!
I have the same prob. w/ meat not browning. I think it's because I don't let the pan get hot enough or I over crowd. Good post!

leanne said...

This wasn't my favorite either. It's hard to get past the smell. But, I'm glad I made it. I just don't think that it will be choice for me in the near future again.

Cathy said...

Gabe's Girl -- I just shredded my apple using a box grater (the side that shreds it more coarsely). It was quick and easy!

Melissa said...

Well, it sure sounds good! And I totally fail as a housewife each and every day. I don't even own ribbon for my hair, and my one year old hasn't had his hair combed in weeks. My poor husband!

Sara said...

It seems like there is never a dull moment in your house :)
I didn't love the slaw either, just not a fan of vinegar and cabbage.

Elra said...

I always like to combine meat and fruit together. Your pork dish sounds delicious.
Cheers,
ELra

Mary Ann said...

I am definitely not a slaw person, but I love cabbage in other ways. I didn't attempt this one because I don't love pork chops either. My hubby loves him some slaw though. Maybe it is a Southerner thing??
Hmm.
Can't wait for the dip you chose!

Heather said...

i'm a fan of the slaw mix, too. sometimes i mix it with granny smith apples and put it on top of turkey burgers. it's really good. i hate it when i forget to brown the pork chops enough. they look so sad when they're all grey, huh?

The Blonde Duck said...

My Dad did the vent thing to my Mom EVERY DAY when I was growing up. Don't you hate it when husbands trash your meals? I get greatly offended and sulk and snarl the rest of the night.

Karyl said...

I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and it's great! As a fellow wife/mom/cook/lawyer (the actual order depends on the day), I've enjoyed your posts. I'm also quite certain that you never sleep for which I am sorry for you, but glad that the rest of us get to enjoy your talent.

n.o.e said...

Unfortunately that dinner would not get off the ground at our house. I'm not a cooked slaw kind of gal, and my husband is typically a pork refusenik (except for Benton's lardons - he shares my obsession). Glad you liked the seasoning at least!
Nancy

Jen said...

Oh, and thank you so much for cooking with me this week! On to better recipes in the future!

Jen said...

Oh, and thank you so much for cooking with me this week! On to better recipes in the future!

Barbara Bakes said...

We're not slaw people at our house either. I do love a crispy pork chop though!

Audrey said...

We like your husband a lot, really we do, but you could always start singing "I can bring home the bacon (pork chops), fry them up in a pan, and never let him forget he's my man." (Am I dating myself here? Oh, well.) I have a feeling I would like the rub better than the slaw, but you're always so good about trying things out!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I'm not a big slaw person either and my huisband doesn't like me cooking cabbage indoors. I can imagine how you felt, getting hyped up about trying something new and it's not to your liking. The combination of tasted sound kind of interesting.

Prudy said...

Who cares about the food? It's posts like these that I love! Especially the description of husband coming in from work. It's our 5:30 too. Only without the cabbage but also without ribbons and make up and peace.

Laura said...

Hey Cathy - Not sure if you remember me, but I used to be a TWD blogger who would religiously check you blog for laugh-out-loud posts.....:-)

I am finally back and blogging again - hopefully I'll not be taking another long holiday from it anytime soon. I really need to sign up for the Ellie group, as long as there's not too much pressure. I've decided that this year I will not overburden myself with too many commitments - Ha! I'm going to try at least. Wish me luck.

Cathy said...

Laura!! Do I remember you? Are you kidding me -- we like the same Duran Duran guy! I stalk your blog at least weekly to see if you've posted anything new. In fact, I think I'll go stalk it now . . .

Girl Japan said...

Hi Caty!

I like pork in general and am I SLAW loving kinda gal so this look fabulous.

I'm an accidental housewife...and I'm going to see if I'm treated like a queen soon.. hehe "wink"

Natashya said...

This recipe seemed to get mixed reviews. Your stories crack me up though!

MacDuff said...

"...but David was wrong." NICE. I will have to keep that one in a back pocket for the next time Jon gets a bit argumentative.

It's weird - I didn't make this, but I have looked at everyone's, and they're all pretty gray. You'd think Ellie would know better - you can't have a food stylist come over to your house and primp everything when we're all so busy rubbing our husbands' feet...

Proud Italian Cook said...

Cathy, I love how your hubby went right to the fan, my hubby has done that on many occasions too! The heck with the pale pork chops, just keep on writing!!!

Pam said...

I don't think I would have been a good 50's house wife. Your posts are always hilarious - you're an excellent writer.

I am sorry you didn't like the chops - I am not a fan of overcooked meat either.

 
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