Friday, July 17, 2015

The Closing of This Chapter in Our Lives + Spicy Glazed Pork Chops & Country Apple Galette Recipes

We closed on Don's and Eleanor's house on Tuesday. It was a sad, sad day for all of us. We would have liked to keep the house in the family, but it was just not financially possible. I had to wait until today to compose this post because it was just too upsetting to write it any sooner.
I feel many different feelings simultaneously. I feel saddness, regret, happiness, frustration, stress, but most of all I feel kind of flat - that does not make any sense, but there it is. That is how I am feeling right now.

It was taken so much work to get to this point. Part of me is envious of the families that have a very short time to take care of business since it would be done and over quickly. Part of me is thankful that we had so long to take care of business, to prep the house, to have a few last parties, etc. We could take our time saying good-bye. I am both thankful for that, and I was a bit tortured by it.
On Sunday, we had a family meal at the house with our family, Doug, Mark and Lilia. We sat in the side yard taking in the sunset. I tried to sort of memorize it; I tried to remember what it felt like to sit with Don and Eleanor, enjoying the sunsets. It made me weepy.
On Monday we finished up removing stuff from the house. Ethan went around recording sounds that remind him of his childhood in the house. He recorded the closing of the garage door, the door into the house, the door to the porch. He recorded the sound of the cupboard doors being opened and the dishwasher closing. There is also a recording of the sound of the waterfall in the back yard. I think that is what I will miss the most, beyond all of the people related memories and sounds. We walked around, looking at everything, trying to memorize it. We knew that would be the last time we were there and that it would be the last time it still felt like home. That made me weepy, too. The people who bought the house are flippers. We may go back when they have an open house after the remodeling, but it will not feel like home then. As we drove away for the last time, I noticed that the neighborhood no longer feels like our neighborhood.

On Tuesday I cut some of the flowers from Eleanor's garden to make a few bouquets for our house. They are the last gifts from Grandma Eleanor. I was trying to find a way to close this chapter of our lives with something positive. Eleanor would have been happy to see the displays I've created with her flowers. I made one for Ellie and three for the rooms on the main floor of our house.
Larr took photographs out of most of the windows and of many of the common views within the house. He was doing his own kind of mourning.

I thought that this part would feel different; I thought it would feel more complete, and that I would feel happier. In reality, the part where we work over at that house is done, but there are boxes of stuff to be gone through, processed here at our house, in our garage and in a storage space. I am looking forward to when my life will feel like it is back to normal. How long will that take? I am not sure, I would not be surprised if it took another year to get to that point.

Spicy Glazed Pork Chops
via: BudgetBytes

4 thick cut pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the brown sugar and spices (salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and garlic powder or whatever spice blend you like).

Remove the pork chops from their package and rub the brown sugar/spice mix all over both sides. Use all of the spice mix.
Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is nice and hot (it will look wavy in the pan), add the pork chops. Cook the chops for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned.

If you are using an oven safe skillet, place the skillet in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they are cooked through. If your skillet is not oven safe (most plastic handled skillets and teflon are not safe in the oven), transfer the chops to a baking sheet lined with foil then place in the oven.

Remove the chops from the oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops in the pan prior to serving.


Country Apple Galette


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water

4 Golden Delicious apples
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey, preferably wildflower
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and butter and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 seconds; you should still be able to see small pieces of butter in it. Transfer the pastry to a work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until chilled. (You can also roll out the pastry and use it right away.)

Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes.

Peel, halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the larger center slices and coarsely chop the end slices and any broken ones; about half of the slices should be chopped. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-by-14-inch rectangle and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the chopped apples over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Drizzle the honey over the chopped apples. Decoratively arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter. Fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.
Bake the galette for about 1 hour, until the pastry is nicely browned and crisp and all of the apples are tender. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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