Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunday, Getting 'er Done

I woke up early on Sunday, but couldn’t fall back to sleep. So, I gave up and got up. I had a couple cups of coffee watching the news. Then I wrote the Blog entry and made some soft-boiled eggs for breakfast.

I started the usual Sunday morning chores, refilling the pillbox, winding the clock, watering the houseplants, and so on. I started a load of towels and my bathrobe in the washer. I went outside and watered the emerging grass seed by the shed. Then I hooked the hose to the soaker hose in the vegetable garden. Back inside, I started on dinner.

Yes, you heard me right. Dinner! I am making an Alton Brown recipe for coffee and molasses marinated pork chops and they need to get busy marinating!

Now, you are supposed to use bone-in chops, but I didn’t have any. What I did have was a big pork loin that I thawed out yesterday. So, I cut off four fat slices for my “chops.”  The question then was what to do with the rest of the pork loin. I decided to roast it with a Carolina dry rub I found for pork chops (I don’t know if this is from North Carolina or South Carolina, BTW). I figured I could turn it into pulled pork or something.

So, I made my dry rub by combining a tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, paprika (I used “smoked” because that’s all I had), chili powder and black pepper. I also put in a big pinch of Kosher salt. I rubbed the rest of the pork loin with it and stuck the loin into an aluminum foil-lined cake pan. I put that into a preheated 400 degree F. oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Then I made the marinade by combining the following: 1 cup cooled strong black coffee, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 8 sprigs of fresh thyme. I whisked everything but the thyme together and added the mixture and the thyme to the gallon baggie with the four pork chops in it. That went into a bowl in the fridge (to avoid any leak problem) after I massaged the bag.

I went outside again, shut off the water and reeled in the hose.

Did I mention I had planned on either going fishing or shooting my pistol this morning? Well, I planned on it, but realized I had way too much stuff to do. Damn!

Back inside, I shaved while waiting on the pork roast. When the timer went off, I flipped the pork loin over with my tongs and stuck the meat probe in it. I set the alarm for 155 degrees F. It should take another 25-30 minutes, I’d guess.

I guessed wrong. It took 21 minutes. I took it out to rest and cool before I stick it in either the fridge or the freezer. I did slice a small taster’s piece after a bit, though. Damn! That was excellent for something that was just an afterthought!

Finally, I showered (the cats were grateful). I dressed in shorts and a t-shirt as it’s supposed to be warm again today.

I went out in the garage to finish up that cart. It was 11:45 a.m. Before I did, though, I massaged my meat in the fridge. I also fired up the dishwasher and started the last load of weekend wash: the bedding (I told you I had a lot to do!)

I got the top and shelf cut out, nailed and then screwed on. I took a break to go back inside and fold the towels, hang up my robe and then throw the bedding into the dryer.

Then I attached the cart wheels (groan). My right arm (the one that I had the rotator cuff surgery on) was killing me by the time I finished. But, I got ‘er done!!!

I put the Craftsman toolbox on (please note: It really looks “full” but a lot of that is plumbing tools, etc.) and screwed the Whitworth socket holder to the top. I think I will drill out holes for screwdrivers as well, but by then I was beat.

I took a break inside and put away the pork loin roast. The air conditioning felt great! It was 2:15 p.m. (I was having fun with this new time stamp thing).  But, I had no time to tarry, so I went out to put together the motorcycle lift.

It was easier to assemble than the directions led me to believe. I got it all together and then went out to the shed and got the garden rolling seat. I think it would be easier on my back to work on the bike sitting down rather than bending down.

I put the miter saw cart back and the sawhorses away. Then I went out and fetched my car. Once everything was buttoned up, I went inside and took a nap.

I woke up around 5:30 p.m. and went out back to cut the lawn. About half way through the mowing job, I realized my earlier suspicions were correct. The deck was not level. So, fixing that will go on my ToDo list for next week. I finished up at 7:30 and then lit the charcoal for tonight’s dinner.

Inside, I made the glaze for the Japanese eggplant. I whisked together 1/2 cup of miso, 1/4 cup of rice wine, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.

I turned the oven on “warm” and went out to harvest the eggplant. Back inside, I cut them in half, brushed the cut side with canola oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.

I got the coals ready and the grate oiled, then I put the eggplant cut side down. I grilled them for about four minutes, until they were golden brown. I flipped them over and brushed each with the miso glaze. I grilled the skin side for another two minutes. I applied one more coating of glaze and then flipped them over again.  They were more flimsy and I lost one into the coals. I let the glaze caramelize (about three minutes) and then pulled them off. I stuck them in the oven.

I cleaned the grates and re-oiled them and then grilled the pork chops. I went about four minutes on the one side, turned then over and grilled that side until the internal temperature was 145 degrees F. (I used my instant read thermometer this time).

I took them inside and plated my dinner. The eggplant was amazing (seriously). The pork chops were just okay. I’m not sure if it was not having the bone in, but they just weren’t as good as I had hoped. It could also have been just having the same pork loin with the Carolina dry rub, which really was outstanding. But, I was disappointed.

I cleaned up the minor mess and went in to watch my Sunday night shows. I went to bed at 11:00 p.m.

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