Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taylor's First Post!

First off, hello! 

My name is Taylor, and I am Shawn's daughter. As you know, my dad is a wonderful cook. Lucky for me, I got the awesome cooking gene from all sides of my family! Growing up surrounded by chefs, I was taught to cook at a very young age, and have loved working in the kitchen ever since.

For my first dish on this blog, I decided to make pork chops, honey carrots, sauteed zucchini, and garlic toast. Simple and inexpensive, yet delicious.

Total prep time: 5-10 minutes
Total cook time: About 20 minutes
Difficulty: 2
Cost: $5 for 3 portions

Turn your oven to 350 fahrenheit so it can heat while you prep.

I started with the pork chops. I used 4-oz chops, and seasoned all 3 of them with a total of 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning. Set them aside on a plate, so they can marinate for a few minutes before cooking.

Next, I prepped the garlic toast. I used 3 Texas toast-sized slices, 2 tbsp butter, 3 medium cloves of garlic, and 1/2 tsp each of course ground salt and pepper.

Make sure your butter is soft. If you store it in the fridge, leave it out until it comes to room temp. If you're impatient like I am, throw it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Do not let it melt, or it won't come out spreadable. Crush the garlic into the butter, and add salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until it looks like this:

Spread your delicious garlic butter on your slices of bread, and toss it in the oven. You can also add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top, after you spread the butter. It should take about 20 minutes to properly toast.

Next up: zucchini. I made 1 medium zucchini per person, seasoned with 1/4-tsp lemon pepper each. Chop the zucchini into medallions, about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

Honey carrots. One of my favorite dishes since I was a kid. Start by setting a medium pot of water to boil.

I took this many baby carrots (about 2 handfuls or so?), 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, and 1-1/2 tsp each of brown sugar and honey. You can also use big carrots, just peel them, and cut into 2- or 3-bite sized pieces.

Now that everything is prepped, the real fun begins. Remember that everything will be cooking at once, so be sure and keep an eye on your timer, and all of your dishes.

Because I use cast iron, I started by heating a grill pan for the meat, and a medium-sized skillet for the zucchini. I had my heat set to very low, but if you are using metal pans, feel free to cook on a medium-low flame. 

Cook the pork on the grill pan with a little bit of olive oil until sufficiently browned (about 2-3 minutes per side). Once the meat is brown, toss the chops in the oven for another 5 minutes or so, or until cooked all the way through.

Once your water boils, toss in the carrots and cook until soft, but not mushy (about 4-5 minutes). Once cooked, immediately strain the carrots, and put them back in the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and carefully stir together over a medium heat until the honey and sugar melt together.

When your skillet heats up, pour a bit of olive oil in the bottom and add the slices of zucchini. Sautee until brown, then add the lemon pepper and a bit of chicken stock (about 1/4 cup for 2 zucchini), and cover. Let that simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the squash is soft and the liquid has disappeared. This is what it should look like before you add the liquid:

Everything should finish cooking at the same time, if you time it properly. Plate it up nicely, and enjoy!

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