Pork Chops and White Beans

Pork Chops and White Beans

With the chill of fall around much of the country, I thought it was the perfect time to share a warming, homey bowl of beany goodness!

Late last year I attended a cooking demo given by my buddy Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, to give an early introduction to his new Pork Chop cookbook.

Pork Chop Cookbook

Pork Chop Cookbook

As I flipped through the book before the demo began there were several recipes that looked good right off, but one really stood out to me as the one I wanted to make first: Pork Chops and White Beans.

I’d actually been craving a big mess of creamy white beans for quite a while – it’s one of those things that really takes me back to my youth in Alabama. Now I am of a Certain Age (read that: I’m an old fart), and when I was in grade school the lunch cooks actually cooked the food, and actually a lot of it was really good! By far my favorite lunch at Gilbert School was the white beans and ham hocks, a real Southern staple.

So not long after getting Ray’s book, Bonnie and I made the recipe with white beans, and it turned out even better than expected! Bonnie about swooned over the finished product, and I think if given the chance she might just leave me for that other guy with a goatee…

Let’s not wait any longer – Let’s Cook!

 

Pork Chops and White Beans

Ingredients

1 Lb  Dry White (Great Northern) Beans

1/2 Cup  Vegetable Oil, plus more as needed (Peanut, Canola, Olive all will work…)

6 Bone-In Pork Chops, about 3/4″ thick (most any cut should work, we used Sirloin… they were on sale…)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Cup  All-Purpose Flour

1  Red Onion, finely diced

3  Celery Stalk, finely diced

1  Green Bell Pepper, also (you guessed it) finely diced

1 Lb  Andouille Sausage, diced (we had smoked sausage on hand and used that – I’m thinking any good cooked, smoked, cured sausage should work – kielbasa, chorizo, etc.)

Well dice my sausage!

Well dice my sausage!

1 Tbl  Tomato Paste

2 Tsp  Dried Thyme

1 Quart  Vegetable Broth (I’m sure it wouldn’t suck if you had to use chicken broth, or a combo…)

Procedure

The dried beans need to be soaked overnite: sort through he beans to check for any small stones or other alien objects (and yes, discard same if you find…), put into a large bowl and add cold/room temp water to cover by at least a couple of inches.

Beans under water...

Beans under water…

Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature overnite. When getting ready to cook drain the beans.

Awaiting the knife...

Awaiting the knife…

Prep your veggies (dice the onion, celery and bell pepper; smash away at the garlic) and set aside.

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Salt and pepper your meat on both sides.

Yeah, we coulda used a bigger plate...

Yeah, we coulda used a bigger plate…

Put the flour on a plate and coat the chops well all over – shake off the excess and set aside for now.

Nice piece of meat ready to go...

Nice piece of meat ready to go…

You’re going to need a big-ol’ Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed large cooking vessel (we originally started cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven, and then realized the whole thing just wasn’t gonna fit, so we then switched to a stockpot to finish off the dish, as the visually astute of you may notice from the accompanying pics) – add about 1/4 cup of the oil to your cooking vessel of choice and heat over medium-high.

Fry, fry, baby...

Fry, fry, baby…

When ready to go, add as many of the pork chops as will fit comfortably and fry until golden brown (about 5 minutes a side). Drain the browned chops on paper towels and let sit aside as you move on… the rest if the dish is going to cook a bit before they go back in, so if you want cover and throw into the ‘fridge…

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Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pot and throw in the chopped veggies. Cook a few (3 to 4) minutes until the onion is opaque then add the sausage du jour… continue cooking about 5 minutes or so until the veggies have softened.

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Stir in the tomato paste, the thyme, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the quart of broth, plus a quart of water and bring up to a simmer.

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Add the drained beans and stir well. Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring now & then.

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Add the chops, mix well and return to the simmer. Cover and cook for another hour, again stirring when you think about it…

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Uncover and cook about another 45 minutes until the beans are tender and the gravy is as thick as you like (“the consistency of a bowl of chili” according to Dr. BBQ). Stir on occasion, trying not to break up the pork chops (at this point at least…).

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Remove the chops to a serving plate and the beans to a bowl… this is really good with a side of greens and some cornbread (maybe try Grandma Hayes’s Corn Bread?)!

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Or if you prefer, you can just break up the pork and toss on top of a bowl of beans…

So... darn... good...

So… darn… good…

and still dunk in some cornbread…

And here’s one more picture of the book in case you forgot what it looked like since the start of the post…

Pork Chop Cookbook

Pork Chop Cookbook

I’ve made several recipes from the book, and liked them all! If you like a bit of piggy on your plate, this book is worth picking up! I put up a post a while back of a chicken recipe that was inspired by one of the chop recipes from the book, you can see it here.

As always, I hope you give this one a try, and please post your thoughts in the comments!

Back to the kitchen – see you soon!

 

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

It’s almost Classic time!

October 23, 2014

The Fifth Annual Food & Wine Classic at the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World is just around the corner, and I’m getting excited! The event runs on Friday and Saturday with the restaurants from the resorts providing food items (some will change from night-to-night, some remain the same both nights) and tons of wine and other adult beverages being offered. You can buy a wristband that allows you unlimited servings of everything, or buy individual tickets to purchase items as you like (not the best deal). There are also several seminars offered (for an additional fee) during the weekend.

In anticipation of the upcoming weekend (October 31 & November 1, 2014, by the way…) I thought we’d take a pictorial look at last years event to whet our virtual appetites… so let’s dive in!

Classic

Banners on the breezeway heralded the event…

Booths

Booths in the afternoon before the onrush on Friday

The calm before the storm...

The calm before the storm…

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam...

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam…

and grilled chicken...

and grilled chicken…

combine for Cabana's Chicken Yakatori dish

combine for Cabana’s Chicken Yakatori dish

Chefs from Shulas

Chefs from Shula’s served the same item on both Friday and Saturday…

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Wine

There was more wine to try than you could shake a glass at… over thirty (!!!) booths with most offering one red and one white varietal

Big Fish

A Really Big Fish…

sign

outside the Todd English booth.

Prepping the Nitro Miso

Prepping the Nitro Aioli Miso Cracklings…

composing the dish...

that go along with…

the final dish

the final dish of Tuna Tartare.

Happy, happy guests...

Happy, happy guests soon filled the walkways between and around the Swan and Dolphin resorts

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish...

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish…

Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Dragon Roll with Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Sake-to-me???

Sake-to-me??? If you didn’t want wine with your sushi, you just had to step next door to sip some sake courtesy of Ty Ku.

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib's Smoke Shop

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib’s Smoke Shop

A selection of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard

A plate of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard on Friday

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Both Friday and Saturday Picabu offered a selection of tacos…

Beef, pork and veggie tacos...

Beef, pork and veggie tacos…

and stuff to spice them up with!

and stuff to spice them up with!

If you don't want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better.

If you don’t want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better… there were two beer kiosks with different options each night. There will be a separate beer garden this year with even more brewed selections and food (for an extra charge, of course).

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and Old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish 'n' Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar "Chips"

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish ‘n’ Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar “Chips”

And yes, there was pork...

And yes, there was pork…

lots and lots of pork!

lots and lots of pork!

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel from Cib’s was perhaps our favorite item on Saturday… and you could have as much as your arteries could handle!

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Shrimp being seared...

Shrimp being seared…

for the Shrimp "n" Grits from bluezoo

for the Shrimp “n” Grits from bluezoo

And to wrap up the evening...

And to wrap up the evening…

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard.

This really is our favorite event during Food & Wine Festival time, and maybe our favorite event of the year period! Bonnie and I will be there for sure (along with other members of the Harem), and we hope to see you there as well! If you’re going to be there, please be sure to say so in the comments below!

For more info on the Classic, go to the event website!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

 

 

For those (probably older) folks who still use snail mail…

Celebrity Chefs stamps

Celebrity Chefs stamps

you can now get the first celebrity chef stamps!

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

Nice photos/portraits of the five chefs (James Beard, Joyce Chen, Julia Child, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi) adorn the stamps with the back of the sheet sporting bios of each of them. It’s a nice variety of cuisines represented, and with the tradition that to be depicted on a US stamp a “real” person has to be deceased (even though this is no longer a hard-and-fast rule), this is certainly a good list of some of the first celeb chefs, but I think that Justin Wilson also belongs here…

Despite that little nit-pick on my part, I did scurry down to the local Post Office to get my hands on a sheet of these on the first day they were on sale!

So, keep an eye on your mail, you never know when Julia or Edna may show up in your box!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

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This past week saw the opening of the 2014 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and not surprisingly, we were there!

Promo filming going on in the new Puerto Rico area early on Thursday

Promo filming going on in the new Puerto Rico area early on Thursday

I was there on Thursday for the soft-opening day along with Papa Harry and Mama Ginny, and Miss Bonnie joined us for the festivities on Friday and Saturday.

New Patagonia booth before the opening

New Patagonia booth before the opening

I thought I’d share a few pics and initial thoughts on some of the new stuff at the festival, so let’s dig in, shall we?

Food & Wine display at Epcot entrance

Food & Wine display at Epcot entrance

The entrance display is much less elaborate this year than it has been in the past. All the elements look to be recycled from prior displays.

No bog here...

No bog here…

And in the area that formerly held the Ocean Spray cranberry bog sits a few more recycled items and a salad-tossing Mickey topiary.

If you need a brewed libation to start your tour of the food booths, you won’t find the craft beer kiosk in it’s usual location at the beginning of the World Showcase…

Craft Beer is located inside the Odyssey building this year

Craft Beer is located inside the Odyssey building this year

you’ll have to take a detour to the left and enter the Odyssey.

Pour me a beer... or four...

Pour me a beer… or four…

Inside the (thankfully!) air-conditioned space you’ll find ample tables and seating…

Beer Flight and Craft Beer Snack Mix

Beer Flight and Craft Beer Snack Mix

and, of course, beer (and there is something different about beer at the festival this year, more on that later…)! And this year some food items as well are being served alongside the brews.

Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip (top) and Muffuletta Pinwheels with House-made Pickles

Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip (top) and Muffuletta Pinwheels with House-made Pickles

I really liked the nicely spicy pimento cheese (must be the Southern Boy in me) while Bonnie loved the snack mix that’s served gratis with any beer purchase (oddly you get one nice size serving with a single 6 ounce brew, and the same amount with a flight…) and she also thought the pickles alongside the Muffuletta Pinwheel were perhaps the Best-Pickle-Ever!

Around the World Showcase there are two expanded/highlighted areas this year…

Main entrance to Puerto Rico area

Main entrance to Puerto Rico area

Puerto Rico sits in the area behind the Desserts and Champagne booth (Promenade Refreshments during the rest of the year)…

Brazil!

Brazil!

while Brazil has taken over the large area that has been home to the Belgium booth in recent years.

Seating area adjacent to the Brazil booth

Seating area adjacent to the Brazil booth

Colorful flags fly over the seating area and the new booth is covered in bright tiles…

Oddly, the sign above the booth says "Introduced 2014"... but there was a Brazil booth in 2013... and even before that...

Oddly, the sign above the booth says “Introduced 2014″… but there was a Brazil booth in 2013… and even before that…

A close-up view of some of the tiles that sure looks like, of all things, a Coelacanth! Would sure be more interesting if they were serving those instead of Tilapia! But then, I guess Coelacanth aren't exactly sustainable (and also from no-where-near Brazil...)...

A close-up view of some of the tiles that sure looks like, of all things, a Coelacanth! Would sure be more interesting if they were serving those instead of Tilapia! But then, I guess Coelacanths aren’t exactly sustainable (and also from no-where-near Brazil…)…

There were live musicians in both Brazil and Puerto Rico during the weekend… a very nice touch…

Guitarist in Brazil area

Guitarist in Brazil area

we’ll see if it lasts past the opening weekend.

Recipe, and a little "health note" posted at the Africa kiosk

Recipe, and a little “health note”, posted at the Africa kiosk

At several of the kiosks, the storage boxes have recipes from Robert Irvine printed on them.

Desserts & Champagne Menu

Desserts & Champagne Menu

For the first time in recent years, not all the bubbly beverages at the Desserts and Champagne booth were from the Moet & Chandon label…

This is what a $32 glass of Dom Perignon looks like

This is what a $32 glass of Dom Perignon looks like

Block & Hans

Block & Hans

In the American Adventure, Block & Hans has forsaken beers sales now for wine.

Block & Hans Menu

Block & Hans Menu

And getting back to beer…

Brewer's Collection Menu from 2013

Brewer’s Collection Menu from 2013

let’s look at the Brewer’s Collection menu from last year…

Brewer's Collection Menu from 2014

Brewer’s Collection Menu from 2014

and compare to this year… notice anything???

Yep, up until this year beer drinkers could chose from a 6 ounce, 12 ounce or even 22 ounce glass (and a 24 ounce flight of four 6 ounce taps), this year all festival beer locations are serving exclusively 6 ounce glasses, and the flights total 16 ounces (four 4 ounce glasses). When I queried a cast member if this was a method to keep the drunks a bit more in line (which it most certainly is), she gave me the well-prepared answer that the festival was intended to be a “sampling” event, and the smaller servings was simply going “back to the roots” of the event. Actually I think this is fine, I liked when they added the 6 ounce servings a few years ago exactly for the reason that it allowed me to sample more beers without getting too bloated or blotto (at least early in the day…). It’s also worth noting that when they first added the smaller servings that didn’t really jack the price for them (only about a quarter extra on average), and somewhat surprisingly they kept prices the same this year. Regular (year-round) beer locations, BTW are still serving 12 ounce beers.

Souvenir Wine Glasses

Souvenir Wine Glasses

Since they don’t now have a vehicle for selling the 22 ounce souvenir beer glasses, Disney has added a souvenir wine glass (for an extra $4) with a wine purchase at the kiosks (or you can just buy the glass if you like). The glasses are heavy plastic and hold about 8 ounces, they are sturdy and a reasonable size for home use, so not a bad price for a Food & Wine remembrance.

Cookbooks, mugs, towels and more...

Cookbooks, mugs, towels and more…

And don’t fall off your chair, but there is a ton of new merch for the 2014 festival! The cookbook this year features recipes from not only the Food & Wine Festival, but also ones from Flower & Garden and the Holidays around the World (so they will get to sell it year-round I imagine…).

The 2014 festival poster

The 2014 festival poster

Beers continue to be a big theme with “Brews Around the World” showing up on several pieces of merchandise, including tee shirts…

Front of "Brews..." Tee

Front of “Brews…” Tee

The backside of "Brews..."

The backside of “Brews…”

there’s even a women’s cut this year.

The ladies version

The ladies version

And yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, there was some food too…

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi and an O.K. Beer (I guess not a great beer, just an ok one...) from Poland

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi and an O.K. Beer (I guess not a great beer, just an ok one…) from Poland

so here’s some pics of some of the new items…

Mocequa de Pescado (Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce), Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) and a Xingu Black Beer from Brazil

Mocequa de Pescado (Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce), Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) and a Xingu Black Beer from Brazil

The tasty insides of the Pao de Queijo

The tasty insides of the Pao de Queijo

(you can find the recipe for these goodies in the post Let’s Cook! Pão De Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Puffs)

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese and a Sam Adams Octoberfest

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese and a Sam Adams Octoberfest from Hops & Barley

Ensalada de Carrucho (Conch Salad) and Medulla Light Beer from Puerto Rico

Ensalada de Carrucho (Conch Salad) and Medulla Light Beer from Puerto Rico

Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Coppola Su Yuen Reisling and Su Yuen Red Wines from China

Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Coppola Su Yuen Reisling and Su Yuen Red Wines from China

Griddled "Yard Bird" and Pepper Bacon Hash with an I-4 IPA and Eroica Riesling from the Farm Fresh booth

Griddled “Yard Bird” and Pepper Bacon Hash with an I-4 IPA and Eroica Riesling from the Farm Fresh booth

Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon from Scotland

Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon from Scotland

Escargot Tart in France

Escargot Tart in France

A trio from Japan (top to bottom): Tuna and Salmon Spicy Hand Roll, Chirashizushi (Salmon, Shrimp, Crab and Egg Omelet over Seaweed Salad and Rice), Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

A trio from Japan (top to bottom): Tuna and Salmon Spicy Hand Roll, Chirashizushi (Salmon, Shrimp, Crab and Egg Omelet over Seaweed Salad and Rice), Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Inside the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Inside the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Green Lip Mussels and a Kim Crawford Pinot Noir in New Zealand

Green Lip Mussels and a Kim Crawford Pinot Noir in New Zealand

And how was the food? Everything we tried was anywhere from good to great… The Sea Scallop from Ireland and the Bacon Hash from Farm Fresh were definitely our top two of the new dishes we tried this weekend, both rated a wish-I-could-have-more-right-now status. I liked the Slider with Pimento Cheese much more than I expected, and everything in Brazil was a winner… Nothing in Japan was transcendent, but all were good (with the Chirashizushi being the most interesting), and I’d gladly down any one of them again… the Conch Salad in Puetro Rico was very flavorful, but it was a very small portion of the salad atop quite a bit of rice… the small items in Craft Beers were all pretty good, with the Pimento Cheese being my favorite…

All in all, it was a great start to a record-long Epcot Food & Wine Festival! There’s still a lot of dishes to try, and we’ll have many other things to share and discuss over the next several weeks… so…

We’re back to the kitchen, and back soon to the Food & Wine Festival! See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

Finally…

September 22, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Let’s take one more look at five years ago when the blog began… this time it’s our first real visit to La Cava!

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

After several weeks of being teased by the new tequila bar in Epcot (see The Tease – Part One and The Tease – Part Two) it was finally time to consummate my budding relationship with La Cava del Tequila…

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The Friday after the second tease, I again made my way back to the World Showcase – it had been another less than wonderful week at the Real Job, so this was going to be (I hoped) an especially sweet end to the week.

Instead of my standard right turn, I planned to cheat on my usual dear Stella, and made a left towards my current agave desires… I heard my name called and a dear couple of friends came into view – I made small talk for a bit, but it was obvious I was distracted – I was on a mission… I bade them goodbye and continued on……

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The Tease – Part Two

September 11, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Again looking back five years from today… more La Cava…

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

Or should that be Part Dos???

I’m fortunate to live close enough to the World that I can go for a day trip – or even an afternoon trip if I so desire – I can leave my house (or work) and usually be inside a park in under an hour and a half.

I have been known to go over for a Friday afternoon, especially if I’ve had a less than wonderful week at the Real Job (I’m done there at about 11 AM on Fridays) and need a little de-stressor. My routine is to go to Epcot, head up to World Showcase, and take a right… just a few yards along you come to the Promenade Refreshments stand which, joy of joys, has Stella on draft! I start my “lunch” with one of those lovely libations, wander a bit, maybe do a Kim Possible Adventure or two (the…

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The Tease – Part One

September 9, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Let’s go back five years from today and see our first post about LaCava del Tequila…

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

For the past couple of years there have been rumors of a Tequila Bar opening in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. It seemed a logical move (adding more alcohol is always a logical move in my mind), and was usually thought to be just around the corner…

And I’ll add now – if you don’t know already – I’m quite fond of the margaritas (and the tequila contained therein)… now back to our narrative…

Finally a few months back it seemed like it was finally happening – one of the shops on the periphery of the pavilion closed and the construction walls went up…

Several weeks ago I was there with Kim Possible and saw the walls for myself – I knew it was finally happening – I had to hug & kiss the wall, knowing what was to come behind them… ahhh… the anticipation…

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Part Two of the Tease…

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