Weekly Winner: Playing with Your Food – Easter Pig-bunny

Easter PiggyThis is my husband’s creation.  Not the meal, mind you — I made that.  It was the design and plating of it that was all him.  And proud of it he was.  After all, you do eat with your eyes first, right?  I mean if the food doesn’t appeal to you on the plate, you’re probably not going to enjoy eating it.  So I say go ahead, play with your food! (It also may help to explain why I’ve never felt the need to have children … I already have one!)

Now, back to the dish.  This was our laid-back Easter Dinner.  We didn’t do much for Easter and we generally don’t have the traditional ham.  We were busy with errands and household projects so I definitely was looking for something easy … but festive.  It was a major food holiday, after all.

What attracted me to this recipe for Sautéed Pork Chops with Blueberry Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potatoes in Cuisine at Home Magazine was the picture.  The magazine picture, not my husband’s.  It was different, colorful and included some of my favorite things — pork, blueberries and … oh yeah, pork!  The recipe is simple, comes together very quickly and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients.  For the record (and my integrity – ha!) I’ve included a picture of my plate after the recipe.  You be the judge. And yes, he did add more sauce after snapping the picture.

Sautéed Pork Chops with Blueberry Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Pork Chops & Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, ½-inch thick, halved crosswise, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions:

Sauté pork chops in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, 2 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Deglaze pan with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in blueberries, broth, vinegar, and brown sugar; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until blueberries begin to burst and sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes.

Off heat, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve chops with sauce and garnish with parsley and lemons.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Boil sweet potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender, 10-12 minutes; drain. Return sweet potatoes to the pot, and cook 1-2 minutes over medium heat to dry them out, stirring constantly. Mash sweet potatoes with butter and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Easter Dinner

The Salad Stands Alone

I made this salad for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it made me very happy.  My husband and I each took our first bite and sat back and said “Wow!  This is better than it should be!”  This was definitely a case of the final product being surprisingly better than the sum of its parts.  Now, understand… my husband is totally not a “salad” guy…. and the fact that we had a lovely grilled steak with this and he even noticed the salad speaks volumes.

The original recipe comes from Eating Well magazine and is designed to have the sliced steak served on top.  As I said, we did do that the first time, but this salad is definitely tasty enough to stand on its own.  As a matter of fact, I made the salad, sans steak, last weekend for Easter dinner with friends.

Spinach Blueberry Salad  – serves 4

1 cup fresh blueberries, divided

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used a raspberry vinegar)

1 Tbsp minced shallot

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp walnut oil or canola oil (I used walnut)

8 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Pulse 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup walnuts, vinegar, shallot, sugar and salt in a food processor to form a chunky paste.  With motor running, add oil until incorporated.  Transfer the dressing to a large bowl.

Add spinach to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Divide the spinach among the 4 plates.  Top the spinach with feta and remaining walnuts and blueberries.  Enjoy!