Friday, February 5, 2016

Slow Cooking Without A Slow Cooker - Spanish Pork Chops (Link)

This dish may have taken Rachael Ray 30 minutes to prepare, but I'm 90 minutes into it and I'm not done.

I used bone-in chops, and let them cook longer in the oven

This is not to suggest that Rachael is a bald-faced liar - on the contrary, I've made this dish before and finished it in well under an hour - but this is the first time I've tried to make it since fibromyalgia moved into my very immediate neighborhood, and besides moving more slowly, I'm having to stop periodically to catch my breah, recharge my engines, or just feel sorry for myself. Besides demoralizing me, this is upsetting Anakin because I am seated on "his" stepstool.   However, if I scoot over and give him half, he's quite happy - so much so that when I got up to chop more vegetables, he stayed in his spot and left half of the seat for me.

The weather is kind of sucky today, and I slept much later than I had intended to.  If not for the fact that I really had to cook these pork chops while they are still fresh, I would still be in bed. I've got to gather my spoons before it is time to head over to my Tai Chi class. I seriously need to go to class, as it has been a whole week, and I am finding it hard to sink and relax.

Preparing the vegetable for the stuffing

It took the entire afternoon, but I finished it, at great cost to me in spoons and good cheer. I'd previously written up a neat list of telephone tasks to take care of today, but preparing a relatively simple dinner for four took everything out of me, and none of those other tasks got touched. I keep getting worse, and I am sincerely frightened.

Cooking the longaniza with the vegetables

I had to take a nap, albeit a short one, curled up in my favorite corner of the couch, so that I could drive to St. Cloud for Tai Chi. Driving was terrifying between the rain, the dark, and my fuzzy vision, but I made it, and I'm glad I did.      
Combining the longaniza and vegetables with the crumbled corn muffins

If I had one piece of advice to pass on to you today, it would be "don't try to play chess at 1:00 in the morning." Especially with a computer, which by it's very nature of being silicon-based, never gets tired. Yesterday I was thinking I was finally beginning to understand the game, but by today (it's 2:00 AM on Friday as I'm writing this) I was back to making stupid mistakes. Overtired and just a little bit of fibro fog when I couldn't recall that the Horse is called the Knight, and found myself moving pieces to protect the Bishop, which I had mistaken for the King. Ha! Let's try this tomorrow ...

Side view of finished dish

The recipe link is on Rachael Ray's website as Spanish Pork Chops with Linguica Corn Stuffing and Cherry-Rioja Gravy. You can also find it on the Food Network site.  There are a number of Rachael Ray recipes I like, but this is a favorite. Yes, I did make some changes (no, really?) I used an entire 12 oz. jar of Smucker's Orchard's Finest Tart Cherry Preserves, but I tasted and carefully balanced the sweetness with salt and more red wine. For the beef stock, I poured a 10 oz. can of Campbell's beef broth in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and added enough water to make 2 cups. I used Longaniza Puertorriquena, which I was hoping to be a linguica-type sausage, and it was, and it was delicious. And I used the open Cabernet Sauvignon for the red wine.  It has turned out to be an absolutely perfectly delicious wine for cooking, and I presume for drinking as well (I don't drink red wine).

Top-down view of finished dish

And now that it is officially Friday morning, I am drinking coffee and congratulating myself on completing at least one task from that neat little list. I paid my fine to the Commission on Ethics. One more thing done with, not just now but forever. It is no longer the Commission's business as to what assets I own and what debts I carry. Kiss mah grits.

Next goal is to prepare a fax to the firm handling my Social Security disability matter. If I can get that done, I'll declare the day a success. The Tai Chi sufficiently relaxed me so that waking up and getting out of bed was not as traumatic as usual, and my memory was working to the extent that I could practice the 21 moves of Preparation Form, Beginning Form, and Ward Off Left. Sort of. I still think I'm screwing up some of the moves in Preparation. Close enough for government work - ha, that's funny. Almost.

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