Well, regardless of what night it is, it has been way too long since I did a dinner post.  I’ve been very exited to get back to doing some dinner posts with recipes.

Valley End Farm

Valley End Farm

My work has brought in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm who provides us with fresh fruit and veggies every week for pittance! So in my first box from Valley End Farms, I received all sorts of inspiration for a good “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner.”   So it’s only Tuesday but what the hell, why not just get after it?

Tonight I had a huge hankerin’ for a nice juicy pork chop.  In my CSA box I got some pears and spinach, and for whatever reason I was thinking that those would be two great parts of a really good pork chop dinner.

I didn’t have any pork thawed, so I popped over to the local market (Oliver’s in Cotati) and picked up a couple of center cut, bone-in chops, some organic dried cranberries and bananas.  Never fear, the bananas were just for the wife’s breakfast!

I had started up some wild rice cooking before I left for the store, since it takes so damn long to cook the stuff.

Wild Rice:

1 Cup of rice
2 Cups of water
dash of salt
In a small saucepan, combine rice, water and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 50 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork.

Wild Rice

Gas Grilled, Smoky Pork Chops:

Season pork chops with your favorite seasonings.  I used my “Rib Rub” which includes: Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Ancho Chile Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Kosher Salt, Garlic Powder, and Brown Sugar.  Fire up the grill to high heat and once hot, place the chops directly over the fire and sear the chops on both sides (about 3-5 min/side).

Chops on da Grill

Chops on da Grill

Once your chops have nice sear marks move to the other side of the grill or to the top rack and reduce the heat to medium/medium-low.  I prepared some smoking wood chips (apple wood) by soaking in a bowl of water and once the chops were moved to indirect heat I placed my smoker box onto the grill directly above the flames.  Close the lid and come back in about 20 minutes, you should get some good smoke going.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen….

Pear and Cranberry Compote:

2 Fresh Pears, diced
3 oz Organic Dried Cranberries
2-3 oz water
1-2 oz Apple Cider Vinegar

Pear and Cranberry Compote

Pear and Cranberry Compote

In a medium saucepan place diced pears, cranberries, water and apple cider vinegar over medium heat until mixture just starts to boil.  Reduce heat and continue to cook uncovered until pears become mushy.  Mash and mix, cover and remove from heat.

Last but not least the spinach.  I love fresh greens and since the wife doesn’t care for them I was super stoked to get some spinach (and kale…yet to cook) in my CSA box.

Sauteed Spinach:

5-6 bunches of fresh spinach
1-2 oz EVOO (Dry Creek Olive Oil Co.)
Dash Sea Salt
Dash Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Wash your spinach thoroughly and remove stems pile spinach in 12″ sautee pan and drizzle with oil, crack sea salt and black pepper.

Turn on heat to medium and stir occasionally as spinach begins to wilt.  Continue cooking until all spinach is wilted but is still bright green.  Try not to overcook it it would be a shame to cook the vitamins and flavor out of your fresh yummy green leafy goodness!

Plate all of these together and it makes for a great little meal.

Of course with pork my first inkling on wine pairing went to Pinot Noir.  So I started the ritual of perusing through the half dozen or so spaces we store our wine in, looking frantically for a Pinot that wasn’t Sonoma-Cutrer.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it (obviously), I just get more of that than any others… for obvious reasons.  Anyhow, I found one that I hadn’t previously had.  It was a bottle my co-worker brought over for a BBQ we had back in August.  His wife works for an importer of New Zealand wines so he brought over this Marlborough Pinot Noir.  A 2007 Big Barrel, Bird “Old School Vineyard,” Aotearoa, New Zealand.  Check back for that review!

2007 Bird, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand

2007 Bird, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand

It has been a really long time since I’ve taken the time to cook a nice dinner and talk about it, hell, it’s been 2 weeks since my last post so I apologize to you for that.  I will try and keep the dinners flowing, they are fun and usually pretty tasty…  But tonight sure qualifies as a “Not Bad for Thursday Night” even if it is only Tuesday!

Not Bad For A ...

Not Bad For A ...

Until next time cheers,
Brian

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