We've been home three days now. Things are starting to settle down. We're unpacked and laundry is done and the house is finally cleaned.
Meals have been easy -- pasta with a jarred sauce for Wednesday night (getting home at 1:30 a.m. and having nothing in the house and no nap means that dinner is done the easy way!)
Thursday we were gone and so dinner was the container of Costco chicken noodle soup that I brought home. We adore it and often buy it when I go to Costco. It makes for great lunches until it is gone.
Which is what we did today -- a grey day, this, and a bit cold I thought. Soup is always the perfect winter luncheon.
And even if it was just us, I like to do things nice.
|I always like to set a nice table -- even if it is just for us!|
A tablecloth and real napkins in my silver napkin rings. Spode for soup and an Asiatic Pheasant under plate. Big soup spoons and my new Picardie glasses.
|A blue and white table is always perfect!|
The Spode bowl full of apples and my two barley twist English candlesticks. Lit, almost always, for dinner.
With an easy soup lunch and luscious pork chops in the freezer, I was "itching" to get in the kitchen again.
A favorite pork loin recipe from Ina Garten (Pork Loin with Green Peppercorns) was changed up to do it with just two pork chops.
|I try to always keep a little jar of green peppercorns.|
I almost always keep a jar of green peppercorns in the pantry for we do love this recipe.
|It was great fun to be cooking again! Oh, and I served the chops with roasted carrots and parsnips. The perfect accompaniment!|
We love the mustardy winey sauce that goes so perfectly with pork.
Alas, no dessert for we're trying to be good and we had far too many really good desserts on the cruise -- and it is just us, after all -- and it's hard to make small desserts -- we'll save them once again for company occasions!
This is Ina's recipe for the pork loin and although her recipe calls for bone in, it works as well with a boneless as it does with a bone in. This is my "go to" recipe for pork loin for company.
Ina's Roast Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorn Sauce
1 pork loin, bone in, Frenched and tied (about 5 pounds, 10 bones)
2 T. olive oil
4 t. Dijon mustard, divided
4 t. whole-grain mustard, divided
1 t. ground fennel seed
salt and pepper
3 T. flour
1 cup white wine
3 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. green peppercorns in brine, drained
Preheat the oven to 400. Allow the pork to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 t. of each mustard, the fennel seed, 2 t. salt and 1/2 t. black pepper. Rub the mixture on top of the pork and roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until the internal temperature reaches 140. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and cover tightly with aluminum foil for 20 minutes.
For the sauce, remove all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the roasting pan. If there isn't 1/4 cup, add enough butter to the pan to make 1/4 c. total. Over medium heat, whisk the flour into the fat in the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, the remaining 2 t. of each mustard, the green peppercorns, 2 t. salt and 1/2 t. black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.
Remove the strings from the roast pork, slice between the bones and serve warm with the hot sauce.
NOTE: I made half of the rub and put half on top of each chop. I roasted them at 400 until done. It was by sight not by time! I then made half the sauce in the pan in which I had cooked the chops. I used Vermouth instead of wine, however. It made a great sauce for the chops and I will do that again -- this is not just a company dish!