Saturday, February 04, 2006

A short and largely skipable post...

A lovely photo by Bea, hosted at Flickr
So, a few miscellany - I'll continue the shouts next week. I haven't quite decided how to divide up the rest of you in a logical (to me) fashion. But I'll come up with something.

First of all, and just for the record, swimming is the coolest thing ever. I don't know how I went ten years without doing this. Oh, sure, it still hurts some, and aches afterwards; I'm really out of shape! But damn, I'd forgotten how good it feels. It's the most sensual of sports for me - the water licking against your body as you glide through it, resisting and giving way as you push against it with hand and foot - delicious. The way it simultaneously dampens your other senses - it's harder to hear, harder to see, nothing much to smell aside from pool chemicals - takes you to a very internal place, where the petty troubles of the day shed away like droplets on a leaf. Your breathing becomes rhythmic to your arm stroke (it must unless you want water in your throat) breathe-exhale-exhale-breathe, further relaxing and focusing your mind, while you count laps, chant earworming song lyrics, conjure daydreams and mental imagery. Afterward, I ride the bus home with a dazed and glazed expression on my face, blissed and distant, radiating heat like a flare - when it's cold out steam rises from me for at least 30 minutes afterward. Swimming's a trip.

And besides that, I've lost five pounds since last week. 217 down to 212. I want to remember that in a couple of weeks when it isn't as fun as it is now.

I was just visiting Julie Beth's blog, and she's started commuting on her scooter. Which means she's hooked, and good. I do so miss my scooter from November through April. I visit it weekly to run for a short while, keeping the battery charged and the fuel lines clear. But its small tires are not safe on ice, and it runs pretty lean when it's cold - prone to engine shutoff at stops. So, I'll wait. April isn't that far away, and who knows? The way January was, maybe we'll get an early thaw. Julie Beth has decided to name hers Starbuck, which is nice - a clever shoutout to both Moby Dick and Battlestar Galactica. Which raises a question - what should I call my scooter? I've called it just "Scooter" for the 18 months I've owned it, but with a different Scooter throwing some ugly shade on that name, I'm thinking something else is called for. Got a suggestion? Drop it in a comment. You can take a look at my ride here.

Okay, so that's it for today. Going to a flick shortly (something Oscar® nominated, but I forget what exactly. Boo knows), and then Flogging Molly tomorrow night.

However, Julie Beth requested a recipe, and since working out in the pool makes hitting the dinner deadline a bit trickier, I'll post the fastest, best porkchop recipe I have. These always work, and are always good. You have barely enough time to steam some veggies to serve alongside. Or make someone else toss a salad.

Pork Chops with Mustard Crumbs

Heat oven to 425F.

In a blender or food processor, chop or mince 2 garlic cloves (this is a bit tricky in some blenders, you may want to chop before tossing it in). Add a slice or two of hearty bread, - whole grain, rye, french loaf, whatever, torn into chunks. You want to end up with about 1 large cup of crumbs, so use your best guess on how much to toss in. Add a teaspoon or so of sage (more if using fresh). Add 1/2 tsp salt, and a large 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Pulse process into uniform chunky crumbs.

In a large skillet (oven safe if you have one), heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add the crumb mixture, and saute until lightly brown, toasty, and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan to a prep bowl. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

Add 1 tbs olive oil to pan, and heat over medium high. Add four 3/4-to-1 inch thick pork chops (I've used thinner, and I've also halved this recipe; it's pretty adaptable). Brown chops in oil turning over once - about 4 minutes total. Smear 1/2 tbs dijon mustard on one side of each chop (2 tablespoons mustard total). Top each with 1/4 crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Put pan in preheated oven, and roast until chops are cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Turn off oven, and serve! Start to finish, about 15-20 minutes total, serves four.


Randy Wylde said...

The flick turned out to be Walk the Line. Really pretty excellent performances all 'round, but Witherspoon and Phoenix will knock your socks off. Excellent piece of work.

julie beth said...

and we just bought pork chops! now i need to scrounge up some hearty bread, and we're set. that looks SOOO good, thanks!!

oh, AND i scooter-commuted (scootmooted?) again today..i love it! i am, truly, one of y'all.

julie beth said...

HOLY cow, i made them pork chops last night, along with a delicious side of diced turnips, onion, rosemary and thyme, and man, randy, those were nummy chops!

thanks for the recipe! my favorite part was making the breadcrumbs. Mmmmmmm! i'm gonna adapt that to as many other meat recipes as i can!

what about using a dry mustard-honey-soy goo instead of dijon? with a sprinkle of sesame oil after toasting, and perhaps sesame seeds rather than sage? that kinda thing? mmmm. so many possibilities! you've opened my eyes to the universe of breadcrumb toasting! :)