Walnut-Pear Bleu Cheese Salad

Walnut-Pear Bleu Cheese Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 2

A double-handful of mixed greens
1/2 of a ripe pear, thinly sliced
1/2 of a cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon walnut pieces
1 tablespoon bleu cheese crumbles

  1. Place greens in a bowl.
  2. Add dressing, toss to coat.
  3. Divide lettuce and place on two plates
  4. Add equal amounts of pears, cucumbers, walnuts and bleu cheese to each.
  5. Note: You can make this vegan by either removing the bleu cheese completely, or replace it with something else savory. (Maybe wasabi-coated tofu crumbles? I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work.)

Nutritional data:
Calories:        131
Fat:                 9g
Sat fat:         1.9g
Chol:       12.5mg
Sodium: 154.1mg
Carbs:          8.4g
Fiber:           2.4g
Protein:        5.8g

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 2

2 tablespoons white balsamic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Nutritional data:
Calories:        104
Fat:                 7g
Sat fat:            1g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:   62.5mg
Carbs:        10.1g
Fiber:              0g
Protein:           0g

Beer Braised Pork Chops

BLOGGER WON’T LET ME UPLOAD A PICTURE AT THIS TIME! I have a nice photo of the meal, but Blogger seems to have changed it’s procedures. 🙁

Beer Braised Pork Chops
Serves 4

2 teaspoon olive oil
4 boneless pork chops (approximately 6 ounces each)
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
12 ounces beer (it can be a lager or an ale, but NOT a hoppy beer!)
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
Your preferred seasoning (I like Penzey’s Krakow Nights.)

  1. Season pork chops with pepper or your preferred seasoning blend.
  2. Preheat large 10-11″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  3. Add oil.
  4. When oil is hot, place chops in skillet and sear 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  5. Add pears to the skillet, cooking about 6 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a plate.
  6. Add beer and sage to the pan. With a plastic or wooden spoon, scrape any caramelized bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Return pork and pears to pan, partially cover the skillet and bring to a simmer.
  8. Keep heat on low and braise 5-7 minutes, or until the pork is heated completely.
  9. Remove pork and pears from skillet, cover to keep warm. Increase heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced by half.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        305
Fat:                8.5g
Sat fat:           2.6g
Chol:            82.5mg
Sodium:         3.5mg
Carbs:          20.9g
Fiber:             3.6g
Protein:        32.3g

I specifically said “NOT a hoppy beer.”  When the beer gets boiled down, all the flavors will become concentrated. If the chosen beer is a hoppy, deliciously bitter ale (such as the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA) the resulting sauce will be overwhelmingly bitter. Find a soft, mild beer. I used New Glarus Spotted Cow. A German wheat ale (Franziskaner), a malty and fruity Belgian white ale (Hoegaarden) or Ommegang’s Rare Vos would all work very well in this recipe because their flavors would pair well with the pork, the pears and the sage.