Thursday, January 07, 2010

On burning the shit out of myself.

Right now I'm currently obsessed with three things; my new knives, my new camera and the fact that the front of our house has been ripped off to make way for a new porch and in the last 12 hours we've had at least two earthquakes, so you know, our house could be 100% porch, and maybe even "house"-free, at any point.


So, you'd think that I'd post about any of the above topics except that I don't have proper photos of any of those things and, without photos, I feel like their stories would fall flat. Mostly because I guess I need photographs to distract you from my poor storytelling abilities.

*Sigh* These are my short-comings as I've come to accept them.

So - in lieu of being able to show you the photo of my knives all snuggled up in the new drawer organizer or my camera producing something incredible (wow - the bells, the whistles, the WTF does *this* button do of it all) or my house without a front, I'll talk about pork.

Because obviously that's what a Jew would talk about in lieu of all standard subjects, right? Yeah, it makes no sense. Welcome.

In order to bring some semblance of reality to the purpose behind talking about pork, I'll preface this post (can it be a preface if it comes in the middle of a post? I don't know.) by saying that the pork isn't really the significant part of the story. No. The significant parts of the story are the rekindling of love with my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe (which incidentally includes bacon - appropriate) and the fact that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I make this pork chop recipe, I burn the fuck out of myself because I'm retarded.

Let's start the FACE part of this story, then, since the PRE part has been so frankly put.

Once upon a time I didn't make pork chops until I'd skated by all my life into my 30s. Which, for the record, was just two years ago.

Not that I didn't like pork or pork chops or pork loin or bacon (obv.), but because my mom never made it and so, therefore, I hadn't the foggiest idea where to begin and, hey, we've got all this other shit to eat, so why bother with The Mystery Other White Meat That Sometimes Comes With Barftastic Cream of Mushroom Sauce Barf?

But, Bubba? Oh, he likes pork chops. Yes indeedy. (Sorry, I really felt like I had to say "indeedy" right there, even though I'm totally ashamed of myself.)

So, being the husband-pleasey wife that I am, I set out to make pork chops. Actually, no, I set out to make The Best Pork Chops because I'm competitive and egotastic like that. I MUST ALWAYS BE THE BEST IN BUBBA'S MIND. ALWAYS.

I'm a psycho.

Anyway, I came across a recipe in Real Simple that seemed promising and would lend itself well to a pan sauce I was certain I could master with little effort on my part. I was pretty cocky about the whole thing, really, especially given the fact that I'd never laid a pork chop in a pan in my whole life and what the hell does a Jewess know about cooking pork chops but I set out sure I was going to make them The Best regardless.

Sometimes I can really be delusional.

So, I procured my necessaries, which was really only two bone in pork chops and some olive oil and set out to make these magical The Best Pork Chops like I'd been doing it all my life which I plainly had not.

And while I was all flush with I'm The Bestness I hoarded up our farmshare Brussels sprouts for two weeks so that I'd have enough to produce the Brussels sprouts feast that we've come to love thanks to Dig and her fantastic recipe which also includes bacon (bless you, Dig).

Really, in my head, we were preparing ourself for a The Best meal like none other.

And then I burnt THE CRAP out of my left hand doing the stupidest kitchen maneuver short of jamming my hand down the active disposer.

See, this recipe calls for browning the chops in a pan on the stovetop and then sliding them into the oven to finish cooking. Fine. This is all fine.

But because I was getting all fancy and shit, I had it in my head that, yes, I will brown them on the stove, finish them in the oven and then remove the chops to individual plates while I deglaze the pan with some white wine and VOILA create a very tasty pan sauce for the chops.

Except that my brain does not comprehend the fact that once a pan has been in the oven at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes, that the handle will remain at or close to 400 degrees for, oh, I don't know, about 10 minutes or more after it's been removed to the stovetop.

Like, YES IDIOT, the pan's not technically IN the oven anymore, but the handle's probably still pretty fucking hot.

Which it was. Which is how I burned the crap out of my left hand when I went to reposition it on the stove to pour in the white wine from the awaiting bottle (but not my Drinking Glass because obviously I need all that wine for myself).


And, you know, on its own, that's not much of a story. Because who hasn't burned their hand on a hot pan handle at some point, right?

Except who, may I ask, has gone about making the same exact meal multiple times and burned the crap out of their same hand EVERY SINGLE TIME by doing the EXACT SAME STUPID THING because they just don't learn?

Well, I'll save you the suspense, it's me.

So, what I'm trying to say is that I've gotten really good at making these awesome Brussels sprouts and a white wine pan sauce while holding a bag of frozen peas in my left hand.

Also, I have a nice pan handle tatoo on my left hand into which my large sauce pan fits swiftly.

Yay for that.

Thankfully, after I did this last time and then saw my neighbors while still clutching the frozen peas, these same neighbors had pity on me, thought they'd save me from myself and came over for dinner the next night with a lovely and useful silicone pan handle cover so that I'd not burn my left hand down to a stump in the name of pork chops.

Merciful, these folks. I love them lots.

Anyway, as a thank you for sitting through this painful and rigorously mind-numbing post, I will offer up this menu as a token of gratitude.

Though I will warn you that you may want to keep that bottle of wine in the fridge until such time as you actually need it rather than doing a "one for the pork chops, one for me" dance with your wine glass because it can result in, ahem, impaired reasoning skills that may then result in burning the fuck out of your hand.

Just saying.

Pork Chops with White Wine Pan Sauce and The Best Brussels Sprouts
Pork Chops by Real Simple
Pan Sauce and all associated foul language by moi

Firstly, this is more an order of processes to a final meal than a recipe. So don't get all, what kind of recipe is this, loser? because I'll have to smack ya.

OK, firstly again, gather your Brussels sprouts up and trim and halve them so that what you have is a pile of perfect looking bright green gems with some loose leaves and IMPORTANT no little bugs hiding in their leaves. Yay. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil, lay out a few strips of bacon, per Nici's recipe, and slide them in the oven until they're roasty and not burnt, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan to a cooling location. Leave the oven on 400 degrees.

Warm up your ovensave pan and add the oil, thus beginning the pre-oven portion of Real Simple's pork chop recipe.

Set out some plates for later because this menu moves pretty fast. Just make sure they're out of the way enough so that you can still function.

Add your pork chops to the pan and follow the recipe, turning when they've browned - about 2-3 mins per side.

Slide the pan into the oven. Turn the oven light on to remind you that HEY IDIOT THERE'S SOMETHING IN HERE.

Grab a good sized mixing bowl and pour in the ingredients for the Brussels sprouts' dressing except the bacon. Whisk it up, crumble the bacon, stir that all in and set it aside. 

Take out a small sauce pot and add about 1/4 cup of water. Throw your Brussels sprouts in there with a pat of butter. 


Put the lid on the pot and position that baby over one of your smaller burners and bring it to a quick boil over medium heat. Turn the burner off and let it steam briefly - only until the sprouts are bright green. Strain them and dump them in the mixing bowl of dressing. Toss. Set aside.

Return to the oven (about 8 minutes have passed) and remove the pan from the oven WITH AN OVEN MITT.

Place the pan over one of your larger burners (turned off) and plate the two pork chops, leaving just the pan goodness in the pan. 

CRUCIAL DETAIL: Slip the handly silicone handle sleeve onto your pan, grab the half-drunk bottle of white wine from the fridge and turn the heat up to med/high on the stove under your pan. Wait a minute and then splash in enough wine to despackle the pan of all of its porky loveliness. Allow it to boil and reduce into a lovely syrupy sauce.  Pour it in equal amounts over the two pork chops.

NOTICE HOW YOU DON'T BURN YOUR HANDS. Rejoice appropriately.

Spoon the sprouts onto the plates. Refill your wine glass. Serve your dinner and enjoy savoring it without having your left fist wrapped around a bag of Trader Joe's frozen peas.

The end. 


  1. I *almost* did that the other day but then remembered that someone smart told me to put a pot holder glove or a towel over the handle to remind (duh) you that it's hot.

  2. First, I have to say...jen's smart.

    Then I have to say...thank you for reminding me that my sister gave me brussel sprouts and I have to go cook them now. There are so many though I will be steaming them and then putting them in the freezer in indivual serving protions, because I am the ONLY one in this house who likes them.

    Oh yeah...and then I want to say, sorry about your hand. Thanks for the recipes!

  3. Ouch. I was once carrying a cookie sheet (with a hot pad) when my retard step brother pushed the thing into my arm on purpose. Yeah- I had a 2 inch dark brown gash like burn and scar for years. So in the summer, if my arms tan you can see a faint white 2 inch yucky thing on my arm. But instead of dropping the mother effing pan, I set it on top of a piece of plastic bag. Because hi- I'm smart. Ruined the $40 cookie sheet. MOM?? Was pissed.

  4. We've all burned ourselves once in a while. I thought I'd conquered the "mutilate yourself by burning your hand on the pan in the oven game", but I did it again over Christmas. Now I'm sort of puppy-training myself by making a rule to get the oven mitt out of the drawer before engaging in any oven activities. We'll see how it goes, but I'll probably forget and do exactly what you did -- again.

    The pork chops and brussel sprouts look ever so delicious. Thank you for sharing all this as well as giving me a menu idea for tomorrow night. Tonight was grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup. The sandwiches were created from homemade bread made this morning. I share this not to be a wise ass but trading you menu ideas since I'm coopting yours for tomorrow night. Good faith exchange.

  5. Holy Crap Finny -- that recipe looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing -- sooo worth the read. Hope the hand is better now -- I've done exactly the same thing -- just can't get used to the idea that the handle from the oven just might be hot. Duh.

  6. I very much appreciate the fact that you did NOT use the phrase, "scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan." I loathe the phrase brown bits. So overused.

    Despackling is a brilliant word. I'm stealing it. Thank you.

  7. Jen - Yes, that'd be one way to do it. But knowing me, I'd put it in the oven and leave the towel on the handle and have myself a great little kitchen fire. Yay.

    Claudia - I'm jealous of your sprouts. There, I said it.

    Sara - Wow. That blows. Who DOES shit like that and thinks it's OK? Idiot. I hope you "accidentally" kicked him as hard as you could in the nuts. Retard!

    Though, the cookie sheet thing, sad. Where did you get this $40 cookie sheet? That seems pricey! Though...maybe not everyone buys their cookie sheets at Target like I do. Fancy lady.

    Junie - Well, I can 100% recommend the silicone handle sleeve because, unlike my regular inferior oven mitts, it can go in the oven with the pan and, VOILA, when you go to take the pan out, the handle sleeve is miraculously cool. Ok, well, it's warm, but not hot. And it won't burn you. And once the pan's back on the stovetop, it cools really fast so that when you go to mindlessly reposition the pan you won't suffer any injuries that lend to making up new bad words.

    Which I did. In between shrieking. The dog is totally afraid of me when I'm in the kitchen.


    I love the good faith exchange, by the way, I think another batch of that minestrone would go LOVELY with grilled cheese on some fresh baked No Knead Bread. Hmmm...dinner tomorrow night perhaps...:)

    Anna - I don't know why I can't understand this either. I can't even learn things the hard way!

    Kris - And I very much appreciate the fact that you appreciate non-cliched phrases. That shit BUGS me. Some other terms I'll never use in recipes (or otherwise, probably): drizzle, encrusted, "on a bed of", smidge or smidgen, pinch or dab.

    All of these make me want to strangle someone. USE ORIGINAL WORDS.

    OK, rant over.

    Use "despackle" as much as you want. Let's see if we can't make it into its own cooking cliche ;)

  8. I always love that little 20-second mind delay that I have when I do something stupid like burn my hand. I register "holy fuck that's hot and I'm burning the crap out of my hand," and then I calmly walk to the counter because either it doesn't actually register that I'm giving myself scars or I don't want to drop dinner on the floor and scare the crap out of the cat.

  9. Oh hell, every time I enter the kitchen I hurt myself somehow. I've cut, burnt, and bashed myself more times than I can count. And I like to think I KNOW how to cook and yet still manage to maim myself regularly. So now I just expect to get hurt somehow and when it happens I look at it and go "Huh. That's interesting. It hurts like a bee-at-chy bitch, but it's interesting."

    Made chopped beef a few weeks back. with a cleaver. Survived. Hubby is still telling me how proud he is I have all ten fingers.....


  10. Yay for that brussels sprouts recipe. And the new one you just posted. And I made one last night that will be in tomorrow's post. I fucking love the b.s.

    Now to read the bean post (busy lady with all that amazing cooking).

    ps I think I will hop in my car with my girls and drive down your way some time this year. Martini at noon?

    pps We are also going to run something when I am there. If you're into that.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.