It's that tricksy, thieving kind of East Coast bright outside. The sort indicative of clear, freezing air that makes snotmonkeys of the lot of us.
So I'm trying to combat the sunshiney-freezing mindphuck with bright-tasting food. The Man and I always keep Twinings Black Peach Tea around as a winter balm; he was steeping himself a cup as I was prepping pork chop brine. I got the unmistakable whiff of peaches and thought...why the hell not?
So I subbed the 2 bottles of Magners (which we didn't have around, anyway) with 24 ounces/3 cups of strongly brewed peach tea. Instead of the apple-sage butter, I went with sliced fennel and onion sauteed in the chop searing pan (yep, my fennel fascination continues) deglazed with a bit of sherry, so that the natural sweetness of the veggies picked up caramelized meat mojo.
I had a couple of sweet potatoes lingering from Momma Foodie's visit (she loves unadorned, whole roasted sweet potatoes); I cubed them for faster roasting (skin-on) and tossed them with some kosher salt, chili powder, olive oil and a couple of sprigs thyme. About 20 minutes in a 400 degree F oven and boom--toothsome, comforting, crispy-candy-spicy, and a nutritional juggernaut as well, with copious vitamin A, C, fiber and manganese.
The chops picked up a subtle suggestion of summertime fruit and tea, and it foiled well with the softened licorice of the fennel and spicy sweet potatoes. Look how defiantly stinkin' cheerful that plate looks! Take THAT, January.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, the chops came out a lil
dry--I had purchased a nice-looking eco-pack of boneless loin chops
(about 1-inch thick), and without the bone and subsequent fat to
protect them, they were all-too-easy to overcook. (Even when brined for
3 hours. KHAAAN!!!). So when dealing with boneless chops, let 'em
brine for as long as you can; go no more than 1.5 to 2 minutes a side
for searing, and 1 to 2 minutes per side in the oven for finishing.