Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Vacation is OVER!

Hello Friends!

As you might have guessed, since my last post was in June ... I took the summer off from Blogging...from cooking...from rating restaurants... from a lot!  Reminds me of the good old days, when I could be less responsible and would quit my jobs for the summer!  I did that for about three or four years straight - right around my birthday at the end of June, put in my notice and then bum around for the summer ... on the boat...at the lake...in the back yard in the pool or on my hammock ... and not look for a job until after Labor Day.  Oh I Wish!

Of course I can't do that any more...(but of course when we win the Mega or PowerBall - I will!) but with getting a third week of vacation and some lovely summer Fridays...I didn't work a full week all summer - so that's just about the peaches for me!

Dave and I spent many a Sunday or (but mostly and!) Monday at Overlook Beach - having a ball in the water and sitting in the sun... people watching and of course commenting on all the idiots ..I mean people... who don't have an ounce of Beach Etiquette and feel the need to sit right on top of you with three of their screaming kids when there is a whole empty beach to sit on.

A calm day at Overlook Beach - a few hours before the crowds!
Dave and I spent a gorgeous week upstate with my Mom, my sister and some of my nieces and nephews... There is nothing like relaxing at Keuka Lake!
 A Day shot...
A grainy night shot

Sam and Lilah with their little cousin Dottie

Waiting at Bully Hill for lunch...
The Bully Hill View
Rachel, Julia and Andrew at Lunch
On our last night of our stay at the Cozy Cottage - my sister Kris got Chinese lanterns for us to light...let fill up with the heat...make a wish and let it go - we all got one to set free and made our wishes... How Beautiful!
Lighting and filling Dave and my lantern
Our wish...set free

Ah...No... I will not be telling you our wish... I want this one to come true!! 

But as it does when I have to leave the Emily-verse and get back into real life...Vacations come to an end... as slowly does Summer, as Labor Day has come and gone and while the heat and humidity are still around - they will slowly ebb into the cool, crisp days of Autumn ... and as my mind goes - to cooking soups and stews and Sunday sauce... Going out east to the farmers markets and pumpkin picking...and eventually cutting down a tree (Oh My!).

So - for the first time in just about forever - I decided to cook a new dish for Dave for dinner.  We'd just had a large red meat meal the night before ... and fish for lunch - so we decided on pork.  I searched the net for a fun, different, interesting meal to make for us - and decided to share it here with you!  Your Welcome. :)

I found a recipe on the food network - so of course I couldn't just follow it, I had to add my own touch and flavors to it... so here goes:

Pork Chops Stuffed with Spinach, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 container of sliced crimini mushrooms, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
  • 1 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white whine
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Whole Ground mustard
Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Carefully move the knife around to create the pouch then use your finger to widen it (ew..my least favorite part!).
Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach, mushroom and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing.  Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork.
Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the chop - mine took about six minutes).
Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. If you overstuffed your pork chops like I did mine - you'll have lovely bits of flavor and chunks from the stuffing, which just adds a great dimension to the broth.
Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Nestle the Pork Chops back into the broth and simmer for about 2 minutes, spooning some sauce over the pork before serving.
We served over pasta - but any rice or potato would work too - you want something to sop up that fabulous sauce!
It felt good to cook again - and I'm scouring the net, my cook books and even Pinterest for some fabulous recipes to share with you.  I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things on this blog ... I hope you are too!
Until Next Time...

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