Slow-Roasted Pork Chops over Apples + Onions, with
Shaved Brussels Sprout + Fennel Slaw

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I love love love to cook. Almost as much as I love to eat. And I plan to subject you to the details of many a delicacy on this here blog. Starting with this one!

The first day of fall was just a few days ago, and while the weather in sunny Los Angeles isn’t quite cooperating yet, I’m willing it into my world little by little. This recipe is insanely easy, requiring only 4 ingredients, 30 minutes prep time, and 3 patient hours of waiting. The pork chops slowly roast/steam/braise over the aromatic bed of apples and onions that are slowly caramelizing in their bath of brown sugar… imparting a sweet, savory, meaty flavor that screams of crisp autumn nights. The wait for this meal is worth it, and while it happily cooks away in your oven, it smells like fall is having a party in your kitchen. And when it’s done? The pork literally falls apart at the touch of a fork. Tender, juicy, comforting, and delicious.

The slaw is a perfect side for this dish, providing a nice delicate crunch alongside the tender pork and melted apples and onions. The earthy flavors in the sprouts and fennel complement the pork and apples perfectly, and rounds out the plate with a pretty, textured greenness.

Slow roasted pork chops over apples + onions

What you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

2. Prep your onions, and lay them out in an even layer on the bottom of your dish. (I use a 9×13 pyrex baking dish for this, which fits everything perfectly.)

3. Do the same with the apples, on top of the onion. Yes, there will be more apples than onions. It’s better that way.

4. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the two layers.

5. Lay your seasoned pork chops over all that goodness, leaving a little space between each one.

6. You can optionally add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper if you want to throw a little heat into the mix. Which I always do.

7. Cover the whole dish tightly with aluminum foil, and pop it into the oven.

8. Occupy yourself for the next 3 hours. Do not phutz with the dish. Do not lift the foil to peek in on your food baby. Just let it cook in peace, and enjoy the heavenly scent.

Hint: this is a good time to prep the salad, so it has plenty of time to marinate and become tasty deliciousness. Here’s how you do that!

shaved brussels sprout + fennel slaw

What you do:

1. Shave it all up. Shave it good. You can use a knife, or my preferred instrument, a mandoline slicer. I also use a cut-resistant glove whenever thinly slicing anything, because I learned my lesson when I cut off my fingertip that one time. It especially makes using a mandoline way easier and safer.

2. Mix it all up. Mix it good.

3. Add the lemon juice and mayo and stir it up good.

4. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Cover, put in the fridge, and let the flavors make sweet love for a couple hours. It will soften the vegetables and improve as time passes.

And in this instance, I added a splash of apple cider vinegar to create continuity of flavor between the two dishes. But that’s optional.

Behold! The finished product!

pork chop with apples and onions


I see London, I see France… meet my favorite underpants!

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Until the tender age of 35, I wore whatever nether-tethers Costco or Target was running a sale on. See, my dog Paco is a card-carrying member of the Crotch Cuisine Club. That’s right folks, something about the smell and taste of anything that has rubbed up against his mommy’s undercarriage apparently smacks of divine nectar to my dog. He has been known to consume the entire crotch from a pair of denim jeans or yoga pants I had dared go commando in – and lived to tell the tale. And no matter how deep in the hamper I’d bury my laundry… he managed to seek and destroy pair after pair. So, you can imagine that the thought of splurging on fancy panties seemed rather out of the question.

Until I got divorced.

Suddenly, my Hanes habit was infinitely less appealing. The thought of a new man having to bear witness to me in a generic cotton underoo was simply not acceptable! (My poor ex-husband was not really afforded such royal treatment. Symptom #1,419 that we weren’t the best match.) Plus, now I was sharing custody of Paco with said ex-husband, so my undies were guaranteed sanctuary from the panty-pirate-puppy at least every other month. So I set about finding some intimates that fit my criteria: cute, comfortable, durable, and natural.

Is it just me, or does wearing underwear from Victoria’s Secret make any of you feel like you’re dressing up in your mom’s lingerie? I mean, not that it’s old lady-ish. But, that kind of sexy just doesn’t feel natural to me. And, in my experience, their undies shrink and/or fall apart very quickly. After a few washes, the elastic would start to pull out and the edges would fray, and I ain’t got time for none of that cheap workmanship on undies at that price! Target stuff held up better, for pete’s sake. And in generally, overly satiny, lacy, “sexy” stuff just felt like a costume to me. Meanwhile, I hadn’t felt sexy in such a long time, I didn’t even know where to start. Suffice it to say, finding the right kind of lingerie for my kind of sexy has been kind of an adventure.

It gradually became clear that my undergarment needs generally fall into three primary categories: casual, sexy, and fitness-friendly. (To be clear, even the casual and fitness-friendly pairs should have an element of sexy in them. But “sexy” still deserves it’s own category, y’know?) After careful research, trial, and error… I’m pleased to share with you my favorite knickers for each need!

Casual:
MeUndies are, hands-down, the perfect blend of comfortable, cute and casual for every day underwear needs. Their boyish cut of their brief gives just the right amount of coverage while still feeling feminine and flirty, and the micro-modal blend is almost too-soft-to-be-true. They’re like your softest, favorite vintage t-shirt jersey… only with enough grip to hang on to your bum. And the waistband is nice and thick, without being too tight – so no muffin top! They’ve also got nice thongs, socks and t-shirts, but the boycut briefs are definitely my favorites. They come in a sweet array of colors and patterns, and MeUndies does a bunch of fun “subscribe and save” or bulk purchase deals. Bonus: they hold up absolutely great in the wash. I just throw them in with my other delicates, and they come out fine, every time. I just love ’em.

MeUndies-Arrows-by-CavernBriefs

Sexy:

I’d been hearing about Hanky Panky for years. Women I know would extoll their virtues regularly, and my interest was definitely piqued. One day they had a big sale, and I took the plunge. My friend Jessica specifically recommended the low-rise thong, so I got a few colors in that cut, and a smattering of other cuts and styles that looked interesting. Holy baloney these things are amazing. They’re lacey, but somehow feel as comfortable as jersey. No itchiness, no weird pulling, just the right amount of spandex. The thong is a one-size-fits-all dealie, but they miraculously fit like a glove. The waistband has a nice feminine dip, and the wide straps on the sides grip without cutting in. Best of all, the *ahem* rear of the thong slides cozily into it’s *ahem* slot, and doesn’t irritate my skin at all or feel like a weird overly-tight strap. They’re simple and effortlessly sexy. I also got a couple pairs of boyshorts and hipsters, which I also really love, for days I want just a wee bit more coverage. These also fare really well in the washing machine, I’m happy to report. I ain’t got no time for handwashing my knickers!

Hanky Panky
clockwise from top left: 1. low rise thong, 2. low rise thong, 3. low rise thong and lace bralette
4. cheeky hipster, 5. signature cheeky hipster, 6. lace boyshort – available here

Fitness-friendly:
I work out a lot, and I sweat a lot while working out. I wear tight, spandex pants with moisture-wicking fanciness, and I definitely wanted underwear that a) wouldn’t leave visible lines, b) wouldn’t retain moisture, and c) was comfortable as hell. I found it in the least-likely/most-likely place: Lululemon. At first blush, it seems laughable to even call their Light as Air thong “underwear”. When you get it out of the box, it’s all but see-through. Just a seemingly flimsy, seamless, and incredibly thin band of “Transluxent” fabric, with a tiny cotton patch sewn into the crotch. But, slide this sucker on, and give it all you got in the gym, and you’ll never go back to any other panties for your fitness needs. I am completely sold on it’s breatheability, moisture-wicking awesomeness, and barely-there comfort.

light as air thong

It’s just the right amount of underwear, and softly clings to my skin with just the right amount of hold, and zero friction factor. Sometimes, I completely forget I have them on, and something about the sheer softness of the fabric lends them a decidedly sexy factor, too. These do stretch out a tiny bit by the end of the day, but a quick wash on delicate with my other workout gear snaps them right back into place. No shrinkage, just a return to normal. Oh, and no fabric softener for these puppies, as with any other moisture-wicking fabrics. Otherwise they get coated and lose their wicky mojo. No bueno.

I’m so pleased to have found 3 go-to brands that make me feel naturally sexy, comfortable, and happy. Now, if I could only have such luck with bras. I’m still in Target junior’s department styles up top. Yeah. SEXY.

But I’m sure I’m missing some stellar options out there. What are your favorite brands?