Saturday, February 19, 2011

Come on, let me through/I've got so many things, I've got to do/I've got no business being here with you/this way - Pork chops

I am a bargain shopper, for groceries along with everything else. One of my favorite things at my local Schnucks is the 'clearance' rack in the produce department. (I have yet to encounter an equivalent at any other Schnucks. Anyone?) Before you wrinkle your nose in disdain (or worse), keep in mind that this is perfectly good produce, although it does need to be eaten that day or the next usually. They've recently begun to sell these convenience containers of vegetables cut up for soup. I would never even consider such a thing at full price, but a tall container full of chopped onion, celery and carrots for 89 cents? You betcha!

The other day I bought a tray full of banana peppers without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with them, which is unusual because I'm usually inspired by my bargain finds. The first I did with them was make some spicy vinegar; I heated vinegar with a little sugar and salt, then poured it into a jar atop the sliced peppers (seeds intact). I prefer the tart snap of this concoction to a plain hot sauce, particularly for bean dishes. Today for dinner I pulled out a couple of pork chops and thought I would grill them and make a sauce of sort from onions and the peppers. It turns out that the peppers had grown quite hot so after a bit of sauteeing I had a teeny amount of raw sugar, some white wine, and finally, after the wine cooked out, a bit of butter and cream. It definitely mellowed the heat, as did the leftover mashed sweet potatoes.

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