Friday, July 6, 2012

More Simple Summer Cooking


Tonight I revisited those Scotch Mountain smoked pork chops. They're dangerously good. I say dangerous because they are very salty and rich; and as pleasurable as that may be, 'all things in moderation' as they say. I figure if I tuck into once of these succulent chops once every three weeks I should be fine. I cooked them a bit differently on this occasion. Previously, I kissed them with additional smoke via my outdoor grill. This time, they met my Creuset grill pan on the stove top. I should make a confession, it was so hot out, I opted to cook in my air conditioned kitchen. My gas stove heats up the house quite quickly, causing the air conditioning to work over time. Admittedly, a self-indulgent and environmentally scandalous thing to do with one's HVAC facilities - I can't help but feel a bit of shame. So, tomorrow, I'll be back outside under the Manitoba Maple creating all sorts of barbecue smoke and giving my poor A/C a break. 

Be that as it may, the chops actually did better in the grill pan than on the BBQ. In fact, as the summer wears on, and I build my repertoire of grilled recipes, I keep returning to the same epiphany I had when I first started using a more expensive and reliable grill: BBQ's are not always the best way to cook meat, especially beef and pork. In fact, they are often the worst way to cook meat. The French have it correct when they sear a steak in a cast iron pan. I think ribs are much better roasted in the oven in their own juices. Pork chops on the grill: not as a good as pork chop in a pan. However, I find chicken and fish do quite well on the grill, as do vegetables. I find more and more that I am bringing cast iron pans and cookie sheets and such outside to put in the BBQ. Things just seem to stay juicier when they're not dripping goodness between the grates. Well, that's just me. I figure I'll get a lot of flack from all the BBQ fanatics out there that I'm doing something wrong. 

In any event, along with the chops went some simple fresh corn, which I'm loathe to report is still not available from Ontario farms, so this stuff was from somewhere down south. I was kicking around the idea of making a succotash which is a kind of mix of sauteed beans and corn and can include potatoes and other vegetables. Instead, I opted for a straight-out potato hash. This involved peeling and cubing up a few russet potatoes (red skinned would have retained their shape better, but I didn't have any), and then par boiling them, drying them out a bit and then frying them up in a bit of oil with some sliced spring onions. Because I used the fluffy russet variety, the hash kind of broke down to something more reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but hell, they tasted sublime regardless. A little bit of canned corn beef in there and I would have had a childhood memory moment.

So there you have it, another simple summer supper that probably enlarged my carbon footprint by eighteen square miles. 

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