Seared Pork Chops spooned with our gifted jar of incredibly warm spiced Pear Chutney from our sweet neighbor Pat Goneau, who also loves to cook and makes the most incredible meals. Thank you for New Year’s Day brunch, Pat!!
We swapped jars of Peach Whiskey Jam from our peach orchard with them for jars of Spiced Pear and Ginger Chutney from their pear orchard. A win-win I’d say! We waited until deep winter to pop open a jar, heat it up slowly, and spoon it onto seared buttery pork chops.
So the big surprise under the Christmas tree this year for the holidays was cross country skis. If you are going settle in and enjoy the many months of beautiful snowfalls one after the other up here…the silver lining of it all is getting out and gliding into the pristine white landscape that defines a New Hampshire winter… to ski. I desperately wanted to be like so many locals here who have been raised from toddler-hood to fly down the groomed slopes of the many quaint downhill ski resorts that surround us. After my first winter out of the gate, or should I say out of the chair lift… my pride came to the reluctant realization that this hobby may not be my forté. However, this has led me to that second favorite past time of New Hampshire-ites…cross county skiing. This may just be my happy place.
It’s been an incredibly beautiful winter up here in the great white north. In the early morning hours, once all the fireplaces are lit, the house begins to warm from a long frozen night and the day begins the rhythmic hum that we have come to know and appreciate. When the afternoon rolls around, we’ve been heading out into our back woods for a daily cross country ski work out. Incredibly, we are still discovering and exploring the acres of land that came along with this old farmhouse. We have a sweet pond down the hill from our big red barn that we’ve been working on clearing so that we can enjoy it more during the summer months. We’ve always known about the pond, but what we didn’t know is that it extends for a couple of miles way back into the pine and maple tree studded woods. The water is frozen solid many inches thick and this picturesque pond becomes the ideal trail for losing ourselves in the back country of our land. After we click on boots to the skis and look for an even smooth rhythmic glide, there isn’t a sound out there except the soothing swishing movements our skis make on the virgin snow as we glide along under the towering woods. The air is so hushed. The experience is so meditative. With my ever busy and always distracted mind, it is the soothing balm to this winter wonderland that is giving us quite the daily escape from the ever hurried pace that is life in the 21rst century.
Speaking of escapes, one of the dreams we had moving up to New Hampshire was the ability to pop into NYC and Boston whenever we felt the pull of urban life seeping into our days of hibernation and secluded lifestyle up here. A new deluxe bus service on Concord Coach Lines just opened up an express ride, equipped with plush seats, movies, and wifi about 25 minutes from our tiny village that can take us directly into NYC’s midtown. We been having wonderful stays in the city of lights, exploring the urban winter wonderland, visiting with Madeleine, going to see Trevor Noah at The Daily Show, and tapping deeper into this incredibly vibrant and fun city that I have missed so much from my college days. This last return from our go round into the Big Apple, found us shoveling through over a foot of snow upon returning to The Nehemiah! Not to mind though…the juxtaposition of the bustling frenetic pace of NYC to the quiet calming snow filled landscape of our farmhouse, makes my head spin with constant gratitude and appreciation of…this wonderful life.
Places mentioned or photographed in this post:
Momosan Ramen & Sake – delicious hot bowls of ramen soup and an entire menu of sake selections
The Baccarat Hotel – for one of the city’s finest high tea experiences.
The Plaza Hotel (the Palm Court) in NYC – another fabulous place for high tea right off of Central Park
Pret a Manger – wonderful spot for picking up soups, salads and sandwiches made fresh every day.
Financier Patisserie New York – oh la la! Just window drooling is not enough.
Papyrus in Grand Central Station – an entire store filled with everything that is beautiful Papyrus papers and cards.
- Two bone-in loin pork chops
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Olive oil for searing the chops
- Spiced Pear Chutney:
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons seeded and minced jalepenos
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 whole clove
- 2 pounds firm ripe pears (5 cups), peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped crystalized ginger
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Combine the sugar, vinegar, jalapeno, cinnamon stick, and clove in a large heavy duty sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the pears, onions, cranberries, crystalized ginger, mustard seeds, fresh ginger and ¼ teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is soft and the liquid is reduced, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 10 more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and clove. Keep on warm while you sear the pork chops.
- Pork Chops:
- Pat the pork chops dry on both sides. Sprinkle all sides generously with salt and pepper. In an iron skillet, heat olive oil until very hot. When you gently touch the pork to the pan, it should sizzle. Add the meat and cook for 3–5 minutes, or until browned. Turn and cook the other side until browned (minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F so I take my pork chops off at 140 degrees F). Before the temperature hits 140F, add a Tablespoon of butter to the pan and gently coat the pork chops for added richness and browning. IF the pork chops are browning on the outside too fast, pop the skillet into the oven at 350 degree F. With an instant read thermometer poked into the meat, heat until internal temperature has reached 140˚F.
- Heat up the chutney in a separate pot while the pork chops are resting on a cutting board. Spoon the chutney over the chops and serve. Easy and very delicious!