Deciding what to make for dinner can often be an indecisive circling that ends with frustration and spaghetti with pesto. Some people plan their meals a week ahead. Once in a blue moon I get myself together enough to do that. My pantry however is fairly well stocked and once I do decide on something I usually only need to pick up an extra thing or two, usually fresh vegetables or meat.
Most of the time when I’m inspired to cook, I’m inspired by a single ingredient or dish and then I scour my cookbooks or epicurious.com for supporting dishes. I usually consider the meal as whole and try to balance taste, colour and texture. Rarely do I discuss the fact that I try to balance the colour of a meal. It’s pretty important to me but I feel it’s a bit of a personal quirk. I’m also not a stickler for following a recipe, especially with foods that I feel familiar with, and I feel free to substitute and improvise. I do use and follow recipes, but that requires a little more planning and time.
For this meal, I started with two sweet potatoes that I purchased at lunch at the local Turkish vegetable shop. A quick search of epicurious yielded a recipe for Whipped Sweet Potatoes that sounded good. Next I wanted to use the blood oranges I had at home. Blood oranges were in season when I made this meal and I had been having them nearly everyday. (Aside: Fresh blood orange with cottage cheese!) Between epicurious, the internet at large and a porkchop consultation phonecall to Tiffany, I planned and made the following meal. All ingredient measurements are “add to taste”.
Blood Orange and Avocado Salad
- blood orange supremes
- red onion
- habanero chili
- brandy vinegar (I would have used limes if I had had any)
Served on a bed of lettuce.
Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- roasted sweet potatoes
- chipotle en adobo
Seasoned Pork Chops
- pork chops rubbed with a mixture of fleur de sel and five-spice powder, pan fried
Other than the sweet potatoes, I bought a ready-to-eat avocado and pork chops.
The whipped sweet potatoes were amazing: smooth and slightly spicy with a hint of smoke. The orange and avocado salad was delicious but I think lime juice really was missing. The pork chops were a bit on the salty side for my taste but I think that might have been avoided if I’d seared them better.