Canning is awesome. It is also making a huge comeback (did it ever disappear? I mean, I guess not, but now it is hip). In fairness I have always been on board, my mom has been canning things for years, but I think there was a generation or two out there who kind of lost the art and trust me- it is an art. I have wanted to can for a long time, but it is an intimidating task. There are a lot of steps to can properly. There is also the fear of the big B (botulism) or just plain ruining a batch of something you spent hours making. So here’s the thing, maybe next summer I’ll be ready to teach you about canning but for now, I’m going to tell you about the places I am learning from. If you have ever canned, thought about canning, or read blogs in general there is a good chance you have heard of the blog Food In Jars. It is incredible. Not only is it a great resource for how to but also recipes and links galore. Another resource I have been using heavily is the book Put ‘em Up. It is a fantastic comprehensive guide to all kinds of preserving. It is laid out well and includes illustrations, tips, and delightful recipes.
Today was my first canning experience on my own. I chose a 90 degree day here in Denver because I’m smart and I plan ahead. Wait, what? Here is the thing about canning, It’s a task it’s kind of labor intensive and if you have a small kitchen it will probably get really hot and steamy (and not in a good way). Frankly, it’s really easy to put off. My point is- don’t put it off. The rewards are amazing. Being able to give someone something you canned all by yourself is kind of an awesome experience. Learning how to preserve the flavors of summer in a jar that costs less than a dollar and doing it for ½ the price of what it would cost to buy those things out of season. Totally. Worth. It.
After reading Food In Jars a few days ago I couldn’t pass up this recipe, and I’m glad I didn’t because it was incredible.
That’s right people. It’s as good as it sounds. For this part of the recipe I’m going to direct you to the source, then I’m going to tell you how I used that delicious jam to make the best summer meal ever. Which was…
Grilled pork chops with Raspberry Jalapeno Jam served with goat cheese and arugula smashed potatoes.
2 bone in pork chops
Salt and pepper to season
2 Tablespoons Raspberry Jalapeno Jam
4-5 medium sized red skin potatoes (or other waxy variety)
4 oz goat cheese
1 Tablespoon (or so) olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful of arugula
Liberally salt and pepper the pork chops up to 2 hours in advance, chill until ready to grill. Grill the pork chops over medium high heat until they reach an internal temp of 145 degrees*. Let rest under foil while you mash the potatoes.
Boil a pot of water and season with salt (remember, if you don’t salt the water your potatoes will be bland no matter how much salt you add after cooking). If the potatoes are small leave them whole, if not cut them in ½. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and put in a large bowl, add the goat cheese, and olive oil. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until the goat cheese is incorporated and the potatoes are all mashed and slightly creamy- you may need more olive oil or even a small splash of milk if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste (about ½ tsp each). Fold in arugula and serve warm.
Top each pork chop with a tablespoon of raspberry jalapeno jam and serve with a spoonful of the mashed potatoes.
A few notes:
* USDA recommends cooking pork to a minimum internal temperature of 145, resting it under foil will raise that temperature slightly. This is the best temperature for moist pork chops, but it might be a little pink for some so please cook it to whatever temperature you feel comfortable.
– Goat cheese is really delightful with the raspberry jalapeno jam but you could substitute cream cheese if goat cheese isn’t your thing.
– Speaking of which, this would be delicious with just goat cheese on crackers. It would really be a great addition to any cheese plate.
– I joined a CSA this summer. It is a great way to eat local produce and support a local farm. I am also truly looking forward to the challenge of my weekly baskets and figuring out how to eat or preserve everything! I’m diving right in kids, get on board!