In fact, I have been using them all over the place (see here.) Since it is no longer cranberry season and you can't find the bright, tart little joys in the produce department anymore, I thought I would write about a meal I made my family back during winter break, right before I had my wisdom teeth removed, as a final "hurrah!" before having to give up chewing and solid food in general for a few days.
For those of you who have had the procedure done, I hope you had as much luck as I did - I slept through the whole thing and was never in pain. I, of course, have my wonderful parents to thank for that, as they took good care of me while I was reduced to a less than independent state to say the least. My mom was reminiscing I'm sure while feeding me mushy foods during the first 12 hours after the operation as I drifted in and out of a euphoric sleep. I remember very little, but according to my sister, who is always looking for an opporunity to get my goat, disappointedly reported that I did nothing of interest.
This mean was a way to also use some leftovers in the fridge, including a forgotten half bag of cranberries from Christmas. I made a quick pan sauce with them, containing strawberries and fresh thyme, and deglazed the pan with a splash of white wine and chicken stock to round out the flavor after searing my pork chops in the skillet.
I served these panko crusted and roasted pork chops with herbed quinoa which, if you have never worked with it, is really a miracle grain. Just as versatile as pasta or rice but so incredibly healthy. I chopped up a lot of left over fresh herbs to dress this ancient grain, including tarragon, thyme, and rosemary, and then drizzled in sunflower oil and lemon juice.
I threw these last two photos in here an encouraging image to all home cooks out there. I am probably one of the messiest cooks you will ever find, and most of the time when I am at home I have to tell my mom not to come in the kitchen less she freak out at the monstrous mess I have made. The good thing about these messes, which sets them apart from most obnoxious sties, is that they are edible.