This weeks Cookbook Challenge theme is Stonefruits--mangoes, cherries, apricots, almonds, peaches, pears, etc. All of the choices sounded like excellent candidates for an enjoyable meal, but I had a few cans of apricots sitting in my cabinet that I have been meaning to pay attention to for quite some time. Unfortunately, many of the recipes I found called for dried apricots which I did not have on hand AND no matter how I searched, it was nearly impossible to find a recipe that called for canned apricots.
I decided on the Braised Pork Chops with Apricots for the main dish since I already had most of the ingredients but as soon as I can get my hands on Urfa and Maras pepper, I'm making my second choice, Lamb Stew with Turkish Flavors. At the last minute I realized I didn't have any cumin and almost completed the recipe without it, however upon tasting, you could tell something was missing. My mom ran to the store and picked up the cumin, as soon as it was added to the dish all was right. It provided that hint of savory to balance out the sweetness of the apricot. To compliment that sweet / savory of the pork chops, I made Curried Rice, Bacon and Cabbage Pilaf on the side. I'm not the greatest rice maker, but this one actually came out pretty good and not crunchy! Yayy!
For dessert, I had a hard time deciding whether to do the Apricot Upside Down cake or the California Apricot Coffee Cake. As you can see, the Coffee Cake won and it was a big hit. So many times I've baked a full size cake to have at least a quarter of it go to waste...there were no leftovers from this cake and the girls are already asking me to make it again. This is despite me reading the recipe wrong and using a 1/2 cup of brown sugar instead of 1 1/4 regular sugar. I think the almond extract saved me...the taste was very pronounced.
Technically, I didn't use my own cookbooks to find these recipes, they are from my online recipe box at Epicurious.com and ApricotProducers.com. Hopefully I will be able to find suitable recipes in my own cookbooks for some of the upcoming themes. I would definitely make the coffee cake and rice dish again...the pork chops, only for a special occasion, they required too many steps for a typical night's dinner.
Braised Pork Chops with Apricots and Curried Rice, Bacon Pilaf
California Apricot Coffee Cake
|Added the apricots before the crumb topping|
|Fresh from the oven...smells fantastic!|