McKee Street, Ojai, California, November 18, 2012—AFTER A DAY DINING in an Airbus, about which there's not really much to be said, we finally landed at LAX and claimed our luggage, had a decent cappuccino at Intelligentsia, and then drove to Ojai to spend the night with friends. But we didn't arrive empty-handed. We stopped off to buy pork chops, potatoes, a couple of bottles of wine, and a couple of necessary items we weren't sure would be on hand: garlic and a lemon.
They were on hand, of course; no friends of ours are likely to be without garlic, and these two grow citrus fruits. Oh well.
I crushed a tablespoon of fennel seeds and a teaspoon of black peppercorns, using a wine-bottle and the breadboard for mortar and pestle — a very good substitute, by the way, not that they didn't have a couple of those on hand as well, as it turned out. I added a microplane grated zest of the lemon and moistened it all with a little white wine.
After oiling the chops, which had been salted as soon as we got them through the door, then allowed to stand an hour or so, I rubbed in the fennel seed mixture. These got pan-fried for a few minutes, first quite hot to sear the surfaces, then turned down and covered. Meanwhile Lindsey had roasted fingerling potatoes with a few cloves of raw unpeeled garlic and rosemary in the oven. A green salad after, and you have a perfect meal.
Pinot grigio, Fat Cat (Napa), 2011 (could have been better: slightly corked); Red table wine, southern France, forget the label, doesn't matter…