Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 22, 2006 at 6:52am

Oops, I did it again – threw caution to the wind…and drank caffeinated coffee yesterday at Susie’s. That’s why I’m posting before 7:00 a.m., definitely not my usual. I figure I’ve been up since around 2:30 a.m., perhaps I dozed a bit in there before I finallly just got up around 5:00. Oh lord, will I regret it today. Damn me! I got some good desk work done, however, and before I got up I did lots of planning for the big party on April 8. At least I was productive.

In my tired punchiness, I realized that Stacey now has two Mini Coopers – a car, and a son. Hilarious! At least to me, this morning. I’ll probably delete that thought at some future date because it’s so dorky. (Sorry Stace…although I know she’ll forgive me tired punchiness, some of our best dork-out moments have been fueled by tired punchiness…)

Happy Birthday Mary Pappas!

Well, I achieved a lovely nap this afternoon since Nathan is in Florida. After a long, hot, late-afternoon shower, I feel refreshed and ready-to-cook. I’ve poured myself a glass of St. Innocent Pinot Gris and am about to saute pork chops (I actually prefer the thinner, bone-in cut) and create a pan sauce (using some of the 50 lbs. of caramelized onions I have in my fridge, ha), to serve with polenta (yay! Polenta! Haven’t visited this particular friend for awhile…) and quickly braised baby bok choy (darling little cabbages I bought on a whim at Byerly’s yesterday, they were too cute to resist; I’m thinking of keeping them simple with a bit of olive oil and a shower of fresh herbs). I realize it’s a little weird to have chops two nights in a row – lamb last night, pork tonight. Guess I was feeling choppy at the store yesterday? I shopped completely creatively, sans list, which I do like to do occasionally. I end up with things like baby bok choy.

And like this marvelously delicious cheese I also picked up, called Abondance, a “mellow raw cow’s milk” cheese. Prrrrr, it is lovely. Kinda sexy. Earthy, a little buttery, a little nutty. Very French. Firm, but soft (semi-hard, I guess, ha), with a few air holes. Not bitter like gruyere. Damn.

Oh. My. Ohmyohmyohmy. The polenta, with the wild mushroom/caramelized onion pan sauce. Man, screw the pork chops and bok choy (which I did thoroughly enjoy, quite a bit), give me polenta with a meat-y pan sauce and I am done. DONE! Lordy it’s good stuff, ahhhhh. I am so full, I’m not moderate in my polenta consumption. (I’ll post recipes below, in comments, so you too can founder yourself – my dad’s line – on po..len..tahhhhh…) And yes, I am aware of how similar this photo, and dinner, are to last night’s creation. Like I said, I guess I was in a choppy mood. As well as a dark leafy greens and soft, warm, slightly-decadent side mood. I’ll bust out tomorrow with something totally different (or not, because as usual, I do have quite a bit of leftover food). Perhaps Friday night. Stay tuned! Always something new – or shockingly similar – at the moderate epicurean…

OK, my polenta-filled stomach and I are bed-bound. Good night Nathan Cutestuff Tinskers in Florida! Good night Super Duper Peanut Cooper in St. Paul!

(And, a nice little article about spring veggies – you can’t eat too many delicious, nutritious veggies…)

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  1. By Stephanie on March 22, 2006 at 9:05PM

    Pork Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Polenta
    Stephanie Levy
    Serves 2-3

    Pork chops:
    4 Tbsp. olive oil
    4 bone-in, thin-cut pork loin chops, sprinkled on both sides with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary
    1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
    1 oz. package dried woodland mushrooms (or similar), reconstituted per package directions, coarsely chopped
    2 Tbsp. flour
    1 14-oz. can chicken broth
    Salt and pepper to taste

    3 c. water
    1 tsp. salt
    1 c. polenta (Bob’s Red Mill, or other brand; pay attention to cooking directions on whatever brand you buy, it can vary by grind)
    2 Tbsp. butter
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two pork chops (or as many as will fit, without crowding) and brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side; remove to a plate. After all the pork chops are browned, turn heat down to medium and add onion, and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stir and sauté for 2 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened. Turn heat to low. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add pork chops (and any juice that has collected on the plate) to the pan, spoon sauce over to coat, and hold at low heat.

    Meanwhile, prepare polenta (ratio of water to polenta above is given for Bob’s Red Mill brand; cook per package directions). Bring water and salt to a boil, stir in polenta, turn heat to low, and simmer until very thick and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter and salt and a grind of pepper to taste.

    Serve pork chops and polenta with pan sauce.

  2. By Stephanie on March 22, 2006 at 10:16AM

    You don't have to get me decaf - I do, in theory at least, have the ability to not drink the cup of caffeinated coffee! It's not like I don't know what happens to me - one of these times I'll learn...

    It was still a blast to drink it and chat yesterday! Totally worth it!

  3. By Suz on March 22, 2006 at 7:29AM

    OMG, that is hilarious about Stacey's Mini Coopers! And that's IT, I'm getting decaf around here for you. So sorry!!!!