Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Challenge: Meanwhile, back at the Farmhouse

The second night of my challenge was successful! The cookbook I used is very inspiring!  It takes me back...as it might you.  To a more simple time.  Tonight I cooked from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook!  What I love about this cookbook is that it tells stories...and has photos of the old farmhouse that she lived in.  The stories that it tells have actual character and suspense.  It tells stories of a time when they had to live on rations.  It tells stories of God's provision beyond those rations.....and the food tells a story too!! 

The food tells a story of simplicity; something I can't help but think we are missing in our society and our constant need to go and to do....one of the reasons that Laura and her husband Almanzo were able to survive on the rations was because much of their food was grown themselves.  Fruits and vegetables were planted and tended by their hands.  Often times we don't even know that someone is involved in the process of getting that lettuce into a bag for us to conveniently pick up at the store....or that someone picked that orange from a tree.  The amount of appreciation they had for the simplicity of the true taste of their food is something worth seeking out. 

I chose a simple recipe to achieve that: simplicity in my own life!!!  This recipe is word for word from the book, I didn't change a thing, except, I only cooked two pork chops. 

Golden Pork Chops
Cooking Pork chops in milk gives them a rich, buttery texture.  
4 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cracker crumbs, more or less
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cups milk, more or less

1.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper and dip in egg to moisten all over.  Coat with cracker crumbs.  
2.  Preheat oven to 350
3.  Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Add the pork chops and brown slowly.  
They browned beautifully

When Golden,  Add milk to almost cover meat and place in oven.  

 Crazy things happen in this step.....bubbles, it's gorgeous!

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning meat once or twice until milk is almost cooked away.  

  I don't know if you can see in this pic...but beautiful things happen to this in the oven....the milk engulfs the pork and is so decadent!  It's like a down comforter....soft, warm, buttery.  Sorry, that's all I got at this hour!  

4.  Serve immediately, spooning any remaining juices over meat.  

Ok, so maybe I changed one thing.....with my remaining juices, I made a gravy...why.... because I served this with mashed potatoes....and I like gravy on my mashed potatoes!!!  Mashed potatoes and peas!  I wish I could say that they came from my garden....but let's be honest there is like 10-15 inches of snow predicted for tonight.....and I live in an apartment.  But, someday Laura Ingalls Wilder, I too will grow my food!!!  

I stopped in Peppin WI at the Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit in 2009 with my parents.  
 Mom and I in front of their tiny cabin

What a joy it was to see the simple means where Laura spent some of her days, this kind of thing inspires me, despite my small affection for some technologies, I feel we miss out on something FAR MORE important in life.  

I leave you with this poem, written by Laura about dinner.  I would suggest to you: take Dinner seriously.  NOT just the food, but the people around your table.  

Over the fence to the farmhouse, 
With laughter and repartee gay, 
It's almost time to be eating again
And we're rather too far away.  
There's Chicken and Dumplings for dinner, 
with salads and vegetables fine
And fruits just fresh from the orchard
Oh who wouldn't love to dine!  
Over the fence to the farmhouse, 
We're afraid they will not wait
And with Chicken and Dumplings for dinner
'Twould never do to be late.  
-Laura Ingalls Wilder


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