Monday, February 22, 2010

two days late and one top chef challenge post short

So I was totally determined to have a recipe ready for this month's Chef it Yourself Top Chef challenge (Anamaris chooses random ingredients and you go to town coming up with the best dish you can create.)

I actually did manage to come up with a dish and get it prepared by the deadline - despite my stupid messed up finger, which is making me so f$#@ing clumsy!

I'm actually pretty sure my injured digit is acting independently of the rest of my hand as payback for being dumb enough to stick it in a plugged in appliance meant to pulverize food items.

Anyways, like I said, I finished the dish and then left to walk the puppies, deciding I would photograph and post when I got home.

And then I fell through the ice....into the water.

No fear faithful readers, it wasn't very deep (otherwise I wouldn't have been out there - I do have some common sense. I'm not sure where it's vacationing this week but I do have some.)

I was soaked up to about the butt area and we were luckily close to home so I walked as fast possible with soggy boots and frozen stiff pants back to the house - with SeaBass laughing his own dry butt off behind me. He's such a comfort.

The upshot of the situation is that by the time I got dry and warm and comfortable again it was night.

And this is what it looks like when I try to shoot food at night

It looks poopy and I will not settle for it. I determined to give up the competition deadline and re-shoot the next day.

Which is when Sugar Dog got attacked by another meanie dog at the local dog park leaving her with some serious gashes (this is after the oven cleaning extravaganza.)

This brings me to today. And now I'm ready. Are you?

This month's ingerdients were: ginger, dates and couscous. Totally out of my element but I was pretty happy with what I made. My measurements are pretty loose because I was really still playing with the dish but I'd like to share it anyways.
 Maple Glazed Pork Loin Chops with Date Sauce and Toasted Couscous with Pine Nuts

3 Pork Loin Chops

1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 tbsp maple syrup
a couple dashes of hot sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
s&p to taste

Mix ingredients together and pour over pork.
Allow to marinate 3 hours to overnight.

Date Sauce 
1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely diced
1 cup chopped pitted dates
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp grated ginger
candied ginger (optional)
1 tsp chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
season with s&p

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in sauce pot.
Add in dates, balsamic vinegar, ginger, chipotle and paprika.
Stir and allow to saute for a moment.
Add in chicken stock and allow sauce to reduce to desired consistency.
Season with s&p.
Blend sauce to a smooth consistency.

1 cup couscous
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted (or slivered almonds toasted)
1 tsp orange juice
1/4 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp. butter

Prepare couscous as directed.
Saute prepared couscous and toasted pine nuts (or almonds) in pan with butter.
Stir in orange juice and zest.
Season with s&p.


Cristina @ TeenieCakes said...

Ugh! So sorry about your fall.

Your pork & couscous photo turned out looking delicious. I've never had couscous...this looks delicious and I'm gonna have to give it a try (especially with those pine nuts!).

Scott K said...

looks wonderful!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

What an unfortunate series of events! I'm sorry! It does sound delicious!

Ms Bibi said...

You poor thing.

It looks wonderful.The pork looks so juicy and ready to be devoured.

Trix said...

Ug, you are having quite the run of bad luck aren't you? But I love that even a mangled finger and falling through the ice won't stop you from posting! Nice job using the ingredients in an organic, unforced way.

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