Down Home Porky Goodness & a Failed Attempt at Something Odd

So when I found out about the Food Network Magazine photo contest several weeks ago, I bookmarked every recipe I thought would be tasty, within my skill set, and sexy in a photo. Up until Friday I had put out Grilled Hawaiian Pizza, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese “Croutons” & Mini Strawberry Shortcakes, Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, and Ground Turkey Tostadas. While I only had the time to make the first three, I still wanted to knock out the rest, so after the latter two, I have come to my final recipe, bookmarked with a page from an apple-shaped Post-It, that I chose to enter into the contest that didn’t make the deadline.

The October, 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine has a “weeknight meal” that consists of citrus & honey glazed bone-in pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes. We picked up some thick-cut chops and a couple of sweet potatoes and, surprisingly, dinner was ready in the ETA described in the magazine (~30 minutes!).

The chops are marinated in a perfect ratio marinade – one part fat (in this case, EVOO) to one part citrus (in this case, orange juice) and additional spices (in this case, I believe it was rosemary). They’re oven-baked, so you have plenty of time to get the other items together: preparing the potatoes for mashing (no extra ingredients, here, just potatoes and I used about 1-1/2 Tbsp of butter), preparing the glaze (adding honey to the already-mixed marinade) and making the rolls, which I’ll get to shortly.

I’ve made mashed sweet potatoes before, so I was a little apprehensive when I saw how few steps were outlined in the recipe for making these: microwave, scoop, mash, done. They were super tasty and the slight bit of crust created by the broiler and the glaze on the chops gave them an incredible taste. The chops came out tender and juicy and the potatoes ended up being just sweet enough and surprisingly creamy (and not raw!…not that that’s ever happened to me before…)

But I went a step further: Scratch-made dinner rolls! From a recipe I found on, these rolls were very much like the sweet potatoes – suspiciously easy. I varied from the original recipe just a tad by using whole-wheat flour and formed most of them into a muffin pan to bake. The rolls came out light, fluffy, and while admittedly a little dry, quite tasty. My only issue here was how many rolls this recipe makes! I had two with dinner, Erin had one. I snacked on another a little later…We each had one for breakfast the next morning…I made some gravy and topped some for lunch…and we still have some left over! Worth giving a shot, though.

But I went yet another step further: Washed everything down with the delicious Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Okay, so as the title says, there was a somewhat failed attempt at another goodie that was a little odd in the first place: Black Bean Brownies. Intended to be a vegan-friendly recipe, I hit my first obstacle when trying to mix the batter made from black beans, bananas, honey and cocoa: it’s waaaaaaay too dry to mix. I cheated and added about a half a cup of milk. You finish off by dropping in 1/4 cup oats into the batter and pouring into a pan. Here’s my second mistake: the recipe called for an 8×8 pan, which we don’t have, so I used a 9×12. The brownies came out moist and actually aren’t that bad, but they’re very thin and taste more like banana bars than brownies. I desperately wanted to have a post about them, but they simply just did not and will probably never make the cut.

As always, show Food Network some love, they pay my bills!

Also, for the rolls recipe plus other awesome easy food recipes (amongst many, many other tutorials) check out Instructables

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