So, two Saturdays later. And a recipe.
No blogging for the last two weeks despite my professing a new-found weekly faithfulness to the blog and all that. Here I sit, wondering whether I’ll ever have anything worthy of writing about, ever again. My life is pretty daily these days. I guess that’s a good thing though. Better than the mega-drama of 2009-2010, maybe?
Living in Georgia is pretty nice. Currently I reside in a large room over the two-car garage, big enough for my bed and a desk and my recliner, lots of bookshelves and my wheel. This will change this summer when I exchange this room for the small one that currently houses the two youngest boys who desperately need a little breathing room apart from each other. But for now, it’s big and airy and sunny most days, a refuge at the end of a hallway with a door that closes the rest of the world out temporarily when I need it to.
My brother’s beautiful house is at the top of a serious hill, which affords a great view of the surrounding area. Off the back deck the sunset can be seen in extraordinary color most evenings. And though there’s a street light out front (which, bah…I’d love to take out with a rock) on those evening when it’s not too chilly and the clouds part, the stars are brilliant. Quite amazing, given our proximity to the city of Atlanta.
I find that I do miss the remoteness of northern Michigan, the absolute stillness and pristine sparkle after a huge snowfall. I miss the autonomy of living on my own. I miss my kids…all grown up, with lives of their own in states that are not Michigan. I miss being married and the intimacy of a long-term relationship. I miss the wood stove. I miss Maggie, my silly old lady dog. I miss my up-north friends.
But regardless, I am blessed beyond measure to be living here, in a house full of noisy boys and raucous, barking dogs (our ‘early warning system’) and people who I have come to care deeply about (and who care about me.) I’m in a church full of people who love the Lord with a pastor who makes no apology for teaching the truth from the Word of God.
If there’s any problem with all of this, I suppose it lies within myself. Did you know that I’m actually sort of shy? I have developed no social life to speak of, despite living here for more than a year now…not anyone’s fault but my own, really. Building a network of friends with whom to lunch or to drop by and visit with is so hard for me. Looking back, I realize that one of my dearest friends has been so for more than 40 years. My other closest friends have been friends for two or more decades. But the older I get the more difficult I find it to put myself out there to make new friends, likely due to my own peculiar reticence.
So. Enough pity party for now. I’m currently cooking dinner, something I don’t have to do too often thanks to there being two other responsible adults in the house, both of whom are very good cooks. But this stuff is easy and satisfying. The recipe came to me from my sister Patty, labeled only as ‘Pretty Good Pork Chops’. How can you go wrong with that? Here’s the recipe in anecdotal format, enough to serve 3; double it for four or more, et cetera.
1 cup flour mixed with salt, pepper, a touch of thyme and a little paprika
3 good-sized pork chops (sirloin cuts are best though I personally favor center cut)
Large pan, heated with 3T olive oil
Dredge the chops in the flour mixture and brown WELL on both sides (takes about 8-10 minutes if done right) Don’t let the pan burn.
1 or 2 good-sized onions, sliced into thin-ish rings
3 cloves garlic, peeled
12 ounces dark beer
Chicken broth (at least 12 ounces, more if the pan’s bigger or there are more chops)
Remove the chops to a plate, toss the onions into the pan, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Brown over a medium-low heat until carmelized (5-8 minutes, usually.) Add the garlic, the bottle of dark beer, and replace the pork chops on top, along with any juice left on the plate. Pour the chicken broth over, almost to cover the chops. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 1-1.5 hours, turning and moving chops occasionally. When everything falls off the bones and the liquid is cooked way down, you’ll know it’s done.
Serve with smashed buttery new red potatoes, or regular mashed potatoes or rice, and a salad. Even better as leftovers (a good enough reason to just go ahead and double the recipe from the outset.)
Post-dinner note: it was really good. Enough left for lunch tomorrow.