One of the best things about food blogging is all the foodie friends I get to meet. The new friends I've made through this blog is a major reason behind my decision to not pull the plug during my identity crisis. Molly, Fatemeh, Sam, all the other bloggers with whom I interact without having met them in person yet, and although not a blogger herself, Melissa, enrich my life in CA so much that to lose the blog connection would really be a tragedy.
Sam, whom I met in person just recently, is the author of the blog that inspired me to start my own blog. I could tell she was having a lot of fun writing, shooting, and experiencing the food, and her food photography and her writing style made me want to do it myself. In person, she is just as lovely as her blog would indicate. She recently went back to the UK and has been sharing her epicurean adventure on her blog. She also brought us lucky bloggers back in the US a few treats...
As soon as I saw "apple & sage" on the jar, I immediately thought PORK! I love pork. It's my favorite every day protein, and I prefer it over chicken, fish, shrimp, or tofu. I enjoy Niman Ranch's pork from Trader Joe's so very much, that I likely eat at least a whole pig during the course of the year by myself. Wilbur would not be spared if it were up to me.
This jam is thick and full of sage-y goodness. It's sweet, tart, and herby spicy (as opposed to peppery spicy). The after taste leaves a clear impression of an apple with all its freshness. I can almost feel the crunch of an apple as I let the jam linger in my mouth.
I decided to apply what I learned from Molly and wrap the jam in the middle of thinly sliced pork. I sliced the Niman Ranch boneless pork chops into three thinner slices and slathered the jam on, tied the pork rolls like scrolls, and threw it into the pan. I seared the sides, added some sea salt and my stand-by sake, closed the lid to 'steam' the meat, and made my side dishes of spinach-pea quinoa and steamed broccoli. Once the quinoa and the broccoli were ready, Wilbur was ready too.
Anne, my wonderful sous chef, always thinks it's so funny how I add sake to everything I make, whether it is an Asian dish or a Euro/American dish. The aroma of the sage really came alive and filled the air during the sake steaming, and the remaining sauce after reduction had a lusciously sweet viscosity from the apple. The jam complimented the natural sweetness of the pork and the texture from the rolling was nicely fitting for the mixture of flavors. During the meal, all three of us - the Papa Bear, Anne, and me - said in unison, "Thank you, Sam!"
We'll definitely be having this again soon, since this dish was quick and easy but had the depth of flavors to be dinner-party-quality. That's my kinda dish!
Sam is also our headmistress at my food blog school.