DIY Valentine's Day Dinner

Lori Fangio from A Taste of Paris shares recipes for a complete DIY Valentine's Day dinner -- pan-seared pork chops with apple-cranberry pan sauce, creamy mashed potatoes and French chocolate bark.

Pork Chops with Apple-Cranberry Pan Sauce

2 boneless pork chops, 6 ounces each
1-2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
½ large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
¼ cup chicken stock
pinch cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a chef’s pan set over medium/low heat.  Salt and pepper pork chops liberally.  Dredge chops in flour and place into the hot pan.  Sear for 3-4 minutes until pork is getting brown.  Flip and sear the second side. Remove the chops from the pan and place them in a glass baking dish and into the oven to finish cooking, about 18 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.   To prepare the sauce deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until mixture is thick and apples are breaking down a bit.  Remove from heat and serve over the pork shops.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold’s, peeled and diced
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain water, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.  Place potatoes in a bowl an electric mixer and mix with cream and butter until perfectly smooth.  If potatoes are still too stiff, add a bit of the cooking water until desired consistency is reached.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

French Chocolate Bark

1 12-ounce package of 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli 
½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup coconut

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals stirring well in between each time.  Spread melted chocolate on parchment paper creating a thin sheet of chocolate. Sprinkle with fruit and nuts and slightly press into chocolate.  Chill the candy in the refrigerator until set and break into pieces. Keep bark refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.