Monday, June 25, 2018

Strawberry Banana Muffins #MuffinMonday


This whole wheat treat combines the sweetness of fresh local strawberries and ripe bananas with the tang of sour cream while using less sugar than you'd expect.

image of a plate of whole wheat strawberry banana muffins with a mug of tea


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You know how seeing one of those cooking videos ignites a craving? That's what happened here. I kept seeing a video for strawberry banana bread in my feed, or strawberry banana smoothies at the store, and the next thing you know I've got a hankering to make Strawberry Banana Muffins.


pic of a plate of strawberry banana muffins garnished with strawberries and bananas


Conveniently I had fresh local strawberries from the farmer's market and ripe bananas on hand, plus the the endurance to make muffins. You see, while we're mostly unpacked in our new home, very little is set up exactly how it's going to stay. That means every time I cook something it involves finding the right ingredients, locating the proper tools, and doing a lot of  'hmmmm . . . this would work better over there, which means I should move that to this other place, and stick that other thing in a pile by the stairs to figure out where its new home will be . . .'.  It's the standard dance of the military family in a new place--finding the best way to arrange our stuff to quickly make a house into Home.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar #MuffinMonday


Tender light muffins sweetened with wild violet syrup and sprinkled with wild violet sugar. Edible flowers baked into a Spring floral treat.


image of a plate of wild violet muffins topped with wild violet sugar



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About the only thing worth foraging in my yard these days are violets.

The garlic has woken up from it's deep winter slumber though it's nowhere near harvesting. The chives and raspberry canes are just beginning to stir. Some red leaf lettuce and celery from the compost miraculously survived the winter and is peeping up from a raised bed--though I suspect bunnies might nibble it off.

photo of a wild violet bloom
My spouse took this bug's view of a violet in our front yard yesterday.
I'm pretty much over playing with the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve, and I'm sick of eating down the put up vegetables in the freezer and pantry before we move. I want to forage with something fresh.

Wild violets it is.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Weeknight Instant Pot Pork Chops with a Dijon Pan Sauce

Tender pork chops in a creamy Dijon sauce are ready in minutes using the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Four simple ingredients for the sauce, six minutes cook time under pressure, and an easy weeknight dinner is done!


image of a plate of Instant Pot Pork Chops with a Dijon pan sauce, served along with Instant Pot Spring Risotto



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This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Board. They asked me to create a post for an easy weeknight dinner so I'm bringing you these tender pork chops in a Dijon pan sauce. I used the Instant Pot pressure cooker to make them in minutes--this recipe is definitely a weeknight keeper!


Tender pork chops in a creamy Dijon sauce are ready in minutes using the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Four simple ingredients for the sauce, six minutes cook time under pressure, and an easy weeknight dinner is done!


This recipe comes from the cookbook Weeknight Cooking with your Instant Pot by Kristy Bernardo. I've enjoyed her Wicked Noodle website for a while now, so when she asked her fellow food bloggers if we wanted to check out her new Instant Pot cookbook my hand shot right up in the air. [Then I put it down and started typing out my info for the publisher.] Finding an easy weeknight recipe, using a common cut of pork in an interesting and accessible variation, was total synergy and I knew I'd combine this cookbook with this sponsored post to make a terrific meal.


One of my favorite aspects of the Instant Pot, as you can see from my video below, is that I can walk into the kitchen, start the machine heating on the Sauté function, then gather my ingredients while it's getting hot. Like I showed in my Spring Risotto recipe video, you don't need to have your onion chopped before you plug in the Instant Pot. Just get it going and then you can get going!

image of ingredients used to make Weeknight Instant Pot Pork Chops with a Dijon Pan Sauce


I may not have a relationship with my local butcher, but I do have a relationship with my local hog farmer. To determine the best type of chop for this recipe I headed down to the farmer's market to ask Jean Mattis of KJB Farms her opinion. She suggested an inch thick center cut chop which would hold up well to pressure cooking. Jean is right--the chops turned out moist, tender, and fully cooked!

pic of a plate of Instant Pot pork chops with Spring Risotto and a Dijon pan sauce


The first time I made this recipe I substituted whiskey instead of white wine in the sauce. [I'm trying to use up booze before we move, and I'm not much of a whiskey drinker.] The sauce was terrific--anything with a stick of butter will taste good--but I figured I'd try it again with the white wine Kristy calls for and that also resulted in a yummy sauce. We used the rest of the sauce on roasted potatoes, and I think it would also be good with rotisserie chicken. If you don't have white wine or whiskey, try sherry or use additional chicken broth. For a similar technique and different flavor, maybe beer with stoneground mustard instead of the Dijon?



Note: my pork chops, in addition to being thick, were very large. This was great for feeding my hungry teenagers, but did mean that the browning took longer as I could only fit 1 chop at a time in my 6 qt pot. I was OK with that--I don't need a larger machine--but know that if you've got smaller chops or an 8 qt pot, you can brown the chops twice as fast by doing 2 at a time. Based on my raw footage, it took me about 17 minutes from turning on the Instant Pot to closing the lid to start pressure cooking.



a plate of Instant Pot Dijon Pork chop with Instant Pot Spring Risotto



For other pork chop recipes, may I tempt you with How to Grill the Perfect Pork Chop (recipe from the Runyan family of Oakview Farm Meats) or Smothered Pork Chops by Chef Matt of Colonel De's Spices?

image of a plate of perfectly grilled pork chops from an Ohio hog farming familyphoto of a tray of smothered pork chops



For more meaty recipes using the Instant Pot, how about Pickled Pork Sliders or Green Tomato Garlic Chili?

photo of a bowl of Instant Pot or Slow Cooker  Green Tomato Garlic Chili
image of a plate of Instant Pot Pickled Pork Sliders
























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