One week prior: Make plans to have dinner with the boyfriend while J is out of town. Begin agonizing over what to feed my harshest critic/pickiest eater. Decide to make something new. Ponder French Roast. Realize it takes a bit too much prep time. Settle on stuffed pork chops.
One day prior: Filter through ten to twenty stuffed pork chop recipes online. Compile ideas and instructions, begin to formulate original recipe. Prepare shopping list.
Two bone-in pork chops
One Granny Smith apple
Sweet dried cherries
Honey Wheat bread
Five hours prior:
Pick up produce items and cheese at produce shop, hit up DiBruno Bros. for meat. Get slightly overcharged for chops. Decide not to contest it since the super nice butcher has already put up with rewrapping request. Plus, realize the sheer joy of being in/shopping at DiBruno's is worth more than a few pennies. Treat yourself to decaf cappucino.
Four hours prior:
Realize brining of the meat would be a good idea. Combine salt, sugar, pepper, apple cider vinegar and a lot of water in a shallow pan. Mix until combined, add chops, ensure coverage is complete, place in fridge. Take a nap.
90 minutes prior: Begin prep work. Dice apple, 1/8 red onion, one garlic clove, and roughly chop cherries. Toast one slice (the large butt) of bread. Open bottle of wine. Congratulate yourself for properly completing this task. Begin side dish prep. Peel two mini sweet potatoes (CSA items!), 2 carrots, and prepare green beans.
1 hour prior: Remove chops from fridge. Remove excess fat from edges, create pocket for stuffing by forming a horizontal slit about half way through the meat. Place back in brine, allow to come to room temperature.
Begin cooking. Saute prepared stuffing items until softened, add dried thyme and 1/2 cup white wine. Allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes until wine is mostly absorbed/evaporated. Add cubed toasted bread, mix well, remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup Gorgonzola crumbles.
While stuffing cooks, finish prepping side dish. Cut beans and fingerlings in half, dice down carrots. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and rosemary. Set aside.
40 minutes prior: Preheat oven to 425. Drain chops, ponder why meat looks slightly white-ish. Decide it must be a result of the acidity of the vinegar. Ignore. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Shovel as much stuffing as possible into chops, compacting it to aid the process.
When pan is screaming hot, carefully add stuffed chops to pan. Add butter and olive oil to a small roasting pan, place in oven to melt butter/heat pan.
Allow chops to cook 2-3 minutes per side, until well browned. Flip carefully, about the axis of bone to prevent stuffing spillage. Realize some spillage is inevitable due to overstuffing.
30 minutes prior: Transfer chops to pre-heated pan, place in oven.
20 minutes prior: Add vegetables to oven. Set the table. Clean the kitchen. Wait for the boyfriend.
5 minutes prior: Remove chops from the oven. Check for doneness by carefully cutting into meat directly next to bone. Breathe a sigh of relief when meat looks slightly pink and juicy. Place tin foil over chops to allow a few minutes of extra cook time and to let chops rest. Check vegetables, minorly panic that carrots are still hard.
Ten minutes after planned eating time (oops): Re-check softness status of carrots. Remove from oven. Plate chops and vegetables, serve.
Enjoy delicious dinner, discuss how improper picking chop up by the bone would be. Think up alternate stuffing ideas. Eat week's worth of meat. Bask in cooking success, good food, and good company.