Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The garden is coming to a close

The heat and the drought have played a number on the harvest.  But we still have Okra.  Lots and lots of okra.  So tonight it was the major player in dinner.  We had Okra stewed with Tomatoes, Smothered pork chops and buttered rice.  A little trip to South Carolina.

I love those little Philly Cream Cheese Minis.  I like to keep them on hand to stir into sauces.  And I used Penzey's Cajun seasoning on the chops.  For chicken base the Sam's club Tone's chicken base is my choice.  I haven't found a good beef base but the chicken is great.  If the recipe only calls for a little chicken stock, rather than open a can or carton I will mix up the chicken base in hot water.

                            Okra and Tomatoes

  2             slices  bacon -- diced small pieces
  1              small  onion -- peeled, chopped
  1              clove  garlic -- minced
  1                can  diced tomatoes - (15 oz ea)
  1 1/2           cups  tomatoes -- diced
  2          teaspoons  chicken base
  2               cups  cut (1") fresh okra -- Top removed, cut lengthwise into 1" pieces
                        Freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
  1              pinch  cayenne

Cook bacon until crisp and remove.  Saute onion and garlic in bacon fat until tender.  Add tomatoes, chicken base, and pepper.  Stir well and let simmer for about 20 to 40 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.
Meanwhile wash okra and cut into pieces.  Add the okra and simmer until okra is done, about 20 more minutes.
This recipe yields 4 servings.

                           Smothered Pork Chops

  4                     center-cut pork chops, bone-in or boneless
                        Salt and freshly ground black pepper -- or Cajun seasoning
                        Ground cayenne pepper
  2        tablespoons  olive oil
     1/4           cup  all-purpose flour -- spread on a plate
  2             medium  green bell peppers -- stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
  1                     yellow onion -- trimmed, cut lengthwise
  2             cloves  garlic -- minced
  1                cup  chicken broth
  2        tablespoons  cream cheese
  1         tablespoon  Wondra® Quick-mixing flour

Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne or Cajun seasoning blend. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dust the seasoned chops in flour, shake off the excess. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook  about another minute. Pour in the broth and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Add chops to pan and move the vegetables to the top of the pork chops .  Cover the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chops are tender.
Stir cream cheese into the liquid in the pan.  When dissolved sprinkle the Wondra over the liquid and whisk in.  Bring to a boil to thicken

We still have okra, chard, some small tomatoes (really small) and there are still 2 basil plants.  I have already frozen basil but will probably freeze more.  We tried one of the jars of Okra Pickles and they were pretty good.

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