Almost two years ago, when I was planning my wedding, I was having difficulty deciding on the flavors for my wedding cupcakes. Upon tasting some samples, my brother AJ looked me straight in the face and said "you have to have raspberry, it's the flavor of the half-year." Really? The flavor of the half-year, was he on crack!? Who chooses the flavor of the half-year, I asked? "I do, of course." After the subsequent choice of lemon (fall '08), and the VERY late choice of lime (chosen one day before the end of the spring '09 half-year), it was decided that a committee should be formed to choose the flavor of the half-year.
Today, the Half-Year Flavor Selection Committee was formed and guidelines were established. The basic guidelines are that the flavors will be chosen on the day after Christmas and the 4th of July, and that each committee member (my brother, his fiance, Phillip & I) can nominate a flavor and will then rank the choices, deciding on a winner.
The flavor of this half year has been chosen, and the winner is..... APPLE!
The flavor was inspired by Phillip & my trip last weekend to Huber Orchard and Winery. We made it home with a whole bag of fresh-picked apples and a gallon of cider, along with butternut squash, whole wheat bread and local honey.
Dinner tonight utilized quite a few of our purchases from Huber.
Parmesan Pork Chops with Cider Gravy and Apple and Pecan Saute
4 Pork Loin Chops
1 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Apple Cider
2 Apples, finely diced (I used the Jonathans that we picked)
1/4 cup chopped Pecans
Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt & pepper. Dry the pork chops and press into the crumb mixture. Add 2 Tbsp butter to medium-high pan, and saute chops for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chops from pan and add flour to pan drippings. Cook flour for a minute until browned, and whisk in 1/2 cup cider, stirring until gravy is thick.
Add 1 Tbsp butter to another pan, and heat on medium heat. Add apples and pecans, cooking until apples are caramelized. Add 1/2 cup cider and cook until apples are soft.
I served this with roasted butternut squash puree, and it made a great fall dinner on an 80 degree day!