Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Before you put that grill away....

WAIT, WAIT! Before you roll the grill into the shed for the winter, before the last ear of corn disappears, and while there are still a few herbs growing in your garden, I have a delightful menu for you: jalapeno beer-brined pork chops, oven roasted new potatoes with garlic and rosemary, corn on the cob...and if that weren't enough, homemade chocolate peanut butter cake for dessert! Doesn't that sound fab? I won't bother to share detailed recipes for the potatoes (washed, chunked, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic and herbs, and roasted at 400 degrees until tender) or the corn (shucked, boiled for ten minutes, buttered and seasoned), but I will tell you about the pork chops and the cake.

Some months ago, I bought a whole bunch of really cheap pork chops, and I guess you get what you pay for, because they always come out tough and dry, even if you don't overcook them. So I really needed a way to tenderize them, and I remembered something my friend, Chris, told me about a beer brine. I couldn't find the specific recipe that he gave me, but I found the following, which was very flavorful and gave the pork chops a nice kick. I didn't have any fresh ginger on hand, so I threw in some sliced onions instead. Yummy! (Sorry, no pictures.)

Jalapeño-Beer Brined Pork Chops
Cooks' Recipes)
Makes 4 servings

2 1/2 cups water
1 (12-ounce) can beer (I used a dark beer and the flavor was very pronounced--next time, I might use a lager, as I am not a beer drinker)
1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeños
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher (coarse) salt
6 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 center or rib-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick

Combine water, beer, jalapeños, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic in medium bowl. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add pork chops; cover. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning pork chops occasionally.

Heat grill to medium-high or preheat broiler. Remove pork chops from brine and rinse with cold water; discard brine. Pat pork chops dry. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Grill pork chops for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink, turning two to three times during grilling.

I wish I could give proper credit for this tasty, homey dessert. It comes from my cousin Mandi's blog, and she got it out of one of her wife's grandmother's cookbooks, but I don't know which one. I can tell you that it is quite delicious, though the cake was a bit thick for my tastes. I might scale down the batter a bit next time to make a better cake-to-frosting ratio, but it's a recipe well worth revisiting! (Photo credit also goes to Mandi...pictured is the cake that she made. I forgot to take any of mine!)

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Mandi Munches)

Peanut Butter Cake:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer crunchy!)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk

Combine butter and peanut butter in large mixing bowl and cream well. Add sugar and beat well. Add vanilla and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

Sift together flour and baking powder, gradually adding to creamed mixture, alternately with milk, beating well.

Spoon into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 45-50 min at 350 or until cake tests done.

Chocolate Frosting:
6 oz. semisweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine chocolate and milk in medium saucepan, place over low heat, stirring until melted. Stir in sugar. Beat until smooth.

No comments: