Archive for the Category ◊ Teaching Boys to Cook Series ◊

15 Nov 2010 Glazed Pork Chop for One

My nineteen year old daughter whipped this up for her dinner–over high heat–in her on-campus apartment over the weekend.  The firefighters came to call, in their big red truck, with the sirens blaring.  She set off the smoke alarm.  With one pork chop! The recipe is good, and it does deserve some fanfare, but let’s save the firefighters another trip out.  When you make this recipe, deglaze the pan over a not-too-high heat!  BTW, she ate the pork chop after the firefighters left and said it was “GREAT”!

I found this recipe a few years ago in an  NPR newsletter.  I was so excited because I was expecting all my kids to move out. I was going to be HOME ALONE for the first time in my life.  I was going to enjoy cooking for one, and this recipe for One Glazed Pork Chop was poised to be a staple. Well, life has a strange way of working out.  My last two kids at home moved out to college dorms, but my older daughter moved back, and she came back with a baby!  My kids were leaving one-by-one, but coming back in twos!

Finally, in March this year my daughter and grandson moved out, and my younger son and daughter are still away at college so the pork chop recipe is now front and center. I’ve never had the firefighters come to call while I am making this, sadly…

If you still  have family at home, my friend Kayte makes “Glazed Pork Chops for Three” using this recipe, so feel free to double and triple the quantities below.

One Glazed Pork Chop

  • 2 tablespoons jam, any flavor (marmalade does not work, the bits get burned)
  • 2 tablespoons mustard, preferably Dijon or any stone-ground mustard
  • 1 center-cut, bone-in pork chop, about 3/4-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vinegar, preferably white-wine (plain white vinegar, cider vinegar or sherry vinegar would all be fine)
    1. Mix the jam and mustard in a small bowl, with a fork. Season the pork chop with salt and pepper on both sides.
    2. Preheat a small, heavy skillet over high heat until it is hot enough to make a droplet of water dance or evaporate on contact. Add the oil, swirl around to coat, and immediately add the pork chop. With the heat still on high, brown on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes, and turn over. Spoon the jam-mustard mixture onto the browned side of the pork chop. Lower the heat to medium and cover with a plate or lid while the second side browns, another 4 or 5 minutes.
    3. Remove the lid, raise the heat to high, and turn the pork chop a few times to coat evenly. (Since cooking times can vary widely with pork chops, you may want to cut into it with the tip of a knife to check; the meat may be pink but not rosy; moist but not soft).
    4. Remove the pork chop to a plate. Scrape jam mixture off although it’s fine if a bit of glaze clings to it. With the heat on low to medium, keep cooking down the jam and mustard a little more, scraping with a wooden spoon, until the mix is very dark and concentrated and quite dry. If it burns a little, that’s fine.
    5. Lower the heat to medium, add the vinegar, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to release any delicious brown bits. You may need to add a little more vinegar to achieve a heavy, smooth sweet glaze.
    6. Put the pork chop, along with any collected juices, back in the pan and raise the heat to high (gently, unless you too want the firefighters to stop by…)while you turn the chop with a fork to finish glazing it.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, and thank YOU, firefighters,

    for stopping by my daughter’s kitchen yesterday.  She’s going to be dropping off some thank you treats soon.  Not to worry! I’ll send her some no-bake recipes!

    28 Sep 2010 Chinese Pasta Salad

    Chinese Pasta Salad?  Is there such a thing?  I doubt it.  So what is this?!  I don’t know what else to call it! Chinese Pasta Salad is the name it came to me with and I welcome all suggestions for a new name 🙂 This cold pasta side dish is good.  Very good.  I made it for a potluck last night, and three people asked me to post the recipe.  Always glad to oblige! Cold noodles, in a sauce of sesame oil, maple syrup (Chinese?  I think not!), and soy sauce with chopped dry roasted peanuts (again, Chinese?  I think not), green onion and cilantro. I wouldn’t have made this if I hadn’t tried it first.  Believe me, with this dish, the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts!

    An old coworker of mine, Mary Lou Stuart, brought this to an HR potluck at LifeScan on Tuesday, September 20, 2005.  I know the date because I still have the email with the recipe (and that horrible name).

    I changed the method a bit, just to make it easier, but other than that, I made no changes. Please forgive me for mixing up my cultures and photographing this Chinese Noodle Salad (which isn’t) on a Japanese cloth.  Also, the cilantro looks a little old, in the picture, doesn’t it?  It is.  I forgot to take a picture the day I served this. This is a picture of what was left in the refrigerator container because it wouldn’t fit into the serving container.  So that cilantro has been sitting in the dressing for three days.  Yours will look much better. The world is out of alignment today.

    Chinese Pasta Salad (not..)

    1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
    1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B, if you can find it)
    1/2 cup sesame oil
    1/4 cup soy sauce (I have also used teriyaki)
    1 cup chopped cilantro
    1 bunch chopped green onions (6-8)
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts.

    Blend the maple syrup, sesame oil, and soy sauce in the blender.  Pour over cooked and drained noodles.  Add in chopped cilantro and green onions. Refrigerate overnight.

    Just before serving stir in the chopped dry roasted peanuts.

    Mary Lou said she sometimes adds about 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken to the salad (she uses a cooked rotisserie chicken).  I’ve done this once or twice (with a chicken breast poached in a bit of soy sauce and water/broth), but actually prefer this salad without the chicken.  Plus, it’s always nice to have something on the table for the vegetarians and vegans in the group.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you know Mary Lou Stuart, please forward this message to her. I have lost track of her.  If she is uneasy with her name being on this post, I will use a pseudonym.

    24 Sep 2010 Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

    Who eats jarred spaghetti sauce?  I hope no one.  I don’t. Not ever.  Well, I’ve had a spoonful here and there, so I do know how bad it is.  Too much vinegar.  I like wine, tomatoes, onions, fresh mushrooms and fresh meat in my spaghetti sauce.  I’ve never used a recipe.  I learned from watching my Dad, who learned from watching the Galloping Gourmet (I think he also got permission to drink during the day from the Galloping Gourmet, but that’s a whole other story.)

    My daughter, Abby, has asked me to write down my “recipe” for Spaghetti Sauce.  I put the word recipe in quotes because when I make spaghetti sauce, I just go for it.  It’s never really the same twice, but it always works out  (I’m not Italian, so I make no claims to an authentic Italian sauce).   Last week, when I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce, I carefully wrote down what I did so Abby can make her own spaghetti sauce while she is away at college.

    If you haven’t made spaghetti sauce before, perhaps this “recipe” can be your starting point. Use this as a guide to add and subtract ingredients to suit your tastes. Over the years the amount of meat in my sauce has decreased.  I’d like to cut it my 1/3 more, but my son would get upset.  We all like mushrooms, so I use a good amount.  I don’t like green or red peppers, so I leave them out completely.  One thing I wouldn’t change is the “Super Six”, the must-haves for seasoning spaghetti sauce:  sautéed onions, garlic, celery, parsley, basil and oregano.

    After the sauce is made, I let is sit overnight and then we usually have it for dinner. And, if I give in to the pleading of my older daughter, I’ll make a tray of lasagna, too, and then we’ll eat that for the next few days.  The remaining sauce I freeze in 3 or 4 cup batches.  This recipe will makes 10-12 cups of sauce.

    I hope you never buy jarred sauce again.  Nasty stuff.  Too many preservatives.  Not enough flavor. This is so much better, so much better.

    My Mom Polly’s Spaghetti Sauce

    Olive oil, as needed for sauteing
    2 large onions, coarsely chopped
    2 cups diced celery
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    ¼ cup minced parsley
    2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes (recently I have use the “Muir Glen” brand, but for years I used whatever was on sale at the grocery store.  If you have them, use blanched, chopped tomatoes from your garden.  If you don’t like  chunky spaghetti sauce, then substitute the same amount of tomato sauce.)
    2 16-oz cans tomato sauce
    2 cups water
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 teaspoon salt (add more later if needed)
    1 teaspoon pepper
    1 ½ lbs to 2 lbs of ground beef (or a mixture of your choice of ground beef, sausage, pork, veal.  Use at least 50% ground beef.  I have used ground turkey before, and don’t recommend it. I found the flavor to be too mild for this robust sauce)
    1 lb sliced mushrooms
    2 cups red wine (any robust red wine), optional, of course

    Heat about 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet.  Stir in chopped onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and starting to caramelize. Stir in chopped celery and sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and parsley and sauté for another minute.  Do not let the garlic brown or burn.  Pour mixture into a large stock pot, and turn on heat to medium.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 -60 minutes, stirring occasionally (the longer the simmer, the richer the sauce). Meanwhile, in the skillet, add another tablespoon or two of olive oil and sauté the sliced mushrooms.  Add the mushrooms to the tomato sauce after the sauce has simmered at least 30 minutes.  In the same skillet that browned the onions and the mushrooms, add the ground meat.  Brown the meat, and then drain the fat off (to drain put the cooked meat in a colander over a bowl).  Stir drained, cooked meat into the tomato sauce, along with 2 cups of red wine, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Taste, and more salt, pepper and brown sugar if needed. Serve immediately over hot noodles and topped with grated Parmesan cheese, or let cool, refrigerate, and chill overnight. Warm up only as much sauce as needed for your next meal.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, I always like it when you stop by!  Leave a comment and say HI!

    14 Sep 2010 Baked Potato Soup

    I found this recipe in the crock pot cookbook “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman.  So, I tried this recipe in the crock pot.  When I was in the midst of it, I was thinking “WHY”?  Why cook potatoes for 5 hours in the crockpot, when they only take 20 minutes on stop of the stove?  It’s not like the crockpot did anything special to the potatoes, plus I still had to peel the potatoes, blend the soup, cook the bacon, chop the green onions and grate the cheese. Does cooking the potatoes for 5 hours in the crockpot make more sense than boiling them for 20 minutes?  I don’t think so.  I liked the soup though.  LOVED the soup, so I revised it to make on top of the stove (didn’t take much revising…).

    This soup starts with water! You don’t have to find 2 or 3 quarts of chicken stock to get started (which makes it economical, too).  Just boil five pounds of potatoes (one small $1.99 bag) in water until done.  Blend.  Then serve with baked potato toppings of butter, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, and crumbled bacon.  Soooo yummy. So easy!

    Baked Potato Soup

    5 pounds russet potatoes
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    1 cup half-and-half
    1/2 cup sour cream
    8 oz. bacon, cooked crisply, and crumbled (OK, so I used a bit more than 1/2 lb.)
    1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    2-3 cups grated cheddar and jack cheese blend (to taste)

    Peel and dice the potatoes.  Cover with cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are falling apart (cooked more than you would for mashed potatoes).  Depending on the size of your potatoes, this could take 20-40 minutes.  Turn the heat to low.  Add in butter and half-and-half.  Simmer until butter is melted, about another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Stir in sour cream.  With an immersion blender (the blender-on-a-stick thing), blend soup until creamy. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender.  Be careful, and don’t fill up blender more than half full.  Hot liquids tend to splash out when the blender is turned on).  Return soup to stove and turn on heat to medium.  Gradually blend in the grated cheese (to taste).  Stir in the chopped bacon and sliced green onions. Taste.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot. (I actually prefer this soup the second day.  I like to have the flavor of the green onions and bacon settle into the potatoes.)

    Mmmm. Make this your first soup of the season. It was mine!  I’m happy!

     
    11 Sep 2010 Zucchini Pasta

    I have debated back and forth about posting this recipe…  Pros: it uses up zucchini, which is very important this time of year.  The pasta recipe is good.  Simple, straightforward. Good.  Cons: It’s not GREAT; it’s good, but it’s lacking Emeril’s “Bam”!  I made this for the first time at my friend’s beach house this summer.  We all liked it, but we all thought it needed something else.  Garlic?  Shallots?  Lemon Peel?  Egg yolk?  Not sure…

    When we returned from the beach my friend kept asking for the recipe and I kept thinking about making it again.  So it had to have something, right?  I sent my friend the recipe (I had no intention of posting it), and I made it again.  The results were the same.  The pasta was good, not great, but…

    …for the last two nights I have had leftover homemade pizza, leftover beef rice bowl, and leftover ribs in the refrigerator, along with the leftover Zucchini Pasta.  Two nights in a row I’ve chosen leftover Zucchini Pasta over all my other choices.  So this dish has to have something, right?  Maybe it’s just comfort food.  End of the summer comfort food.  Yes, that must be it.

    This recipe is from a Pasta Cookbook I received as a birthday present and took to the beach to read. (I read cookbooks like novels. Who’s with me on that?) The cookbook is called “Homestyle Pasta” by Bay Books (I don’t think that’s a person and I couldn’t find a link!!)  I’ve changed the recipe a bit, but only to reduce the amount of pasta.  The original recipe called for 1 lb. of pasta.  That’s too much pasta, and not enough zucchini and cheese.

    Did I mention how easy this is to make?  While the pasta boils, stir up the zucchini…

    Did I mention that my two year old grandson can’t stuff this into his mouth fast enough?

    Zucchini Pasta

    1/2 lb. fettuccine (the original recipe called for 1 lb of pasta)
    1/4 cup salted butter
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Cook the fettuccine in boiling salted water per package directions. Drain pasta and keep warm.  Melt butter in a large frying pan, saute the garlic for one or two minutes.  Stir in grated zucchini and saute until zucchini is soft, about 3 minutes.  Stir in drained noodles and grated cheese. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Good. Fast. Easy. End of the summer comfort food.  And you now have three less zucchini.  HEY! You could attach this recipe to the zucchini you drop off on your neighbor’s porch after dark tonight!

    Enjoy these last days of summer.  Enjoy your harvest 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

    07 Sep 2010 Beer Can Chicken

    My friend Adele is the queen of Beer Can Chicken.  She even tried to teach me how to do it. I failed miserably.  Mine just didn’t have the flavor that hers had.  Knowing I was beat, I decided that Adele would reign as Beer Can Chicken Queen forever. And ever.

    …but the flavor of her chicken kept nagging at me.  For two years I let it bother me…

    Then, the theme of my Cookbook Club in August was “Grilling”, with the book being any BBQ/Grill book by Steven Raichlen.  I already had a few of his books (BBQ Bible, How to Grill, and Sauces, Rubs and Marinades) so I thought I was all set. Wouldn’t you know I would casually wander past the cookbook section in the bookstore ANYWAY?  Just to look, of course. What should I see there but another cookbook by Steven Raichlen!  The title of this book?  “Beer Can Chicken“!  I couldn’t NOT get it. It was only $12.95…, and I had a 40% off coupon!  It was a sign!  It was time for me to attempt Beer Can Chicken, again.

    Now I am not quite up to Queen Adele’s level, but I am loving this method of cooking a chicken.  For Cookbook Club I made Thai Coconut Chicken and Peach Nectar Chicken. (Pictured above.  I cooked them both on the same grill at the same time.  The darker color of one of the chickens is a result of a darker rub.)  Both went over well, but I thought the sauce for the Thai Coconut Chicken was too thick and had too much peanut butter in it.  I’ll have to make a few changes before I can endorse that recipe (like decreasing the peanut butter from 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup, and increasing the liquid a bit).  BUT, I like fruity BBQ’d stuff, so the Peach Nectar Chicken was a big hit with me.  Both of these recipes I made on the grill.

    Yesterday when my 19 year old son was home, and said he wanted to learn to cook something (I couldn’t believe my ears, but I jumped right on it!). One of the things we made was Raichlen’s Basic Beer Can chicken in the oven.  I’m coverted!  He is too. This is one GREAT way to cook a chicken.  Once the nasty prep work was done (rinsing the chicken and removing the innards) it was a super easy dish to make that needed no babysitting once it was in the oven.  I told my son he could eat a week off of one roasted chicken (especially if he boiled the bones up for chicken stock and then used that for a pasta-veggie soup towards the end of the week).  I’m not sure he’s at the point to make his own chicken stock and then transform that into a soup, but I have hope for the boy.  If can master Beer Can Chicken at 19, he’s off to a good start.

    Now, I’m pretty sure that you are wondering WHY you should roast a chicken when you can buy good ones at the supermarket or Costco…  The taste my friends, the taste!  This chicken is moist and flavorful.  If you give a supermarket chicken a 4 or 5, on a scale of 1 to 10, you’d give this chicken a 10 (and you’d be wishing for an 11 on the scale)!

    Recipes below can be cooked in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes (check after 1 hour), or on either a gas grill or charcoal BBQ for the same length of time.  If you are unsure of how to cook indirectly on the grill or BBQ, please consult one of Steven Raichlen’s books (or view an online video). The first recipe is a basic roast chicken recipe, which we roasted in the oven and served without any sauce.  The second recipe is the one for the Peachy BBQ chicken, which I cooked on a gas grill and  served with a sauce.

    Once you make one of these, you’ll be whipping up your own variations.  Will we be bringing back the traditional Sunday Roast Chicken dinner this fall?  Maybe, just maybe…, it would be easy enough… 🙂

    Basic Beer Can Chicken

    1 12 oz can beer (or Coke-a-Cola)
    a 3 ½ – 4 lb whole chicken
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil

    For the rub:

    1 Tablespoon chili powder
    1 Tablespoon  Kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
    2 teaspoons light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like  a bit of a kick)

    1. Position oven an oven rack low enough to accommodate an upright chicken sitting on a can. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Combine all ingredients for the rub into a small bowl.  Mix and set aside.

    3. Pour out or drink 3/4 cup of the beer or Coke.  With a church key make 2 additional holes in the top of the now half full can (so more liquid can steam out and into the chicken).  Spray the outside of the can heavily with Pam.  Set can aside.

    4. Rinse the chicken, and remove the packet of innards. Pat dry. (This is the nasty part)

    5. Place 1 teaspoon of rub inside the body of the chicken.  Place ½ teaspoon rub in the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle 2 teaspoons veg. oil over the outside of the chicken and rub or brush it into the skin. Rub the oil covered chicken with 1 tablespoon of the rub.  I also put a bit of rub in between the skin of the breast and the meat of the breast. (Just pull up the skin, sprinkle in the spice mix, then rub it a round a bit) Pour remaining rub into the can of peach nectar.

    6. Put the chicken on the can.  Then put the can with the chicken onto it into a roasting pan. Pull the legs forward.  The legs are two of a tripod, the can is the third. Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back.  Chicken should look comfortable and be well balanced.

    7. Place chicken in oven.  Bake for approx. 1 1/4 hours.

    8. CAREFULLY remove the chicken from the oven.  Be even more careful removing the chicken from the can, don’t let any hot liquid spill on you. Removing the can from the chicken is really a two person job.  I had my son hold the chicken with foil covered oven mitts over the sink, while I pulled the can out of the chicken cavity with tongs. If you sprayed the can with Pam, this should be relatively easy to do, just a bit awkward.  If you forgot the Pam, may God be with you.

    9. Let chicken sit for 15 minutes, lightly tented with foil, before carving.  We slice the breast, and serve in surrounded by thighs, drumsticks, and wings.

    Peachy BBQ Chicken

    1 12 oz can peach nectar
    a 3 inch cinnamon stick
    a 3 ½ – 4 lb whole chicken
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    2 cups wood chunks (peach or apple) soaked for one hour in water/beer then drained (not needed if cooking in oven)

    For the Rub

    2 teaspoons brown sugar
    2 teaspoons sweet paprika
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon cardamon

    For the Peach BBQ Sauce

    ¾ cup peach nectar
    ½ cup ketchup
    2 tablespoons peach or apricot preserves
    1 tablespoon honey, more to taste if desired
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon dark rum (or peach schnapps)
    ½ teaspoon soy sauce
    ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
    ¼ cup water
    Kosher salt
    Black pepper, to taste

    1. Combine all ingredients for the rub into a small bowl.  Mix and set aside.

    2. Pour ¾ cup of the peach nectar into a measuring cup and set aside for the BBQ sauce.  With a church key make 2 additional holes in the top of the peach nectar can.  Add the cinnamon stick to the can, Spray the outside of the can heavily with Pam. Set can aside.

    3. Rinse the chicken, and remove the packet of innards. Pat dry. (This is the nasty part)

    4. Place 1 teaspoon of rub inside the body of the chicken.  Place ½ teaspoon rub in the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle 2 teaspoons veg. oil over the outside of the chicken and rub or brush it into the skin. Rub the oil covered chicken with 1 tablespoon of the rub.  I also put a bit of rub in between the skin of the breast and the meat of the breast. (Just pull up the skin, sprinkle in the spice mix, then rub it a round a bit) Pour remaining rub into the can of peach nectar.

    5. Put the chicken on the can.  Pull the legs forward.  The legs are two of a tripod, the can is the third. Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back.  Chicken should look comfortable and be well balanced.

    6. Set up grill for indirect grilling.  Place drained wood chips in smoker box.  Preheat grill to high or until there is smoke, and then reduce to medium.

    7. Set chicken on can on unheated portion of grill.  Cover grill.  Rotate chicken ¼ turn every 15 minutes.  Cook until chicken temp is 180 in thickest part of thigh, about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.

    8. While chicken is cooking, combine all ingredients for BBQ sauce in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add additional salt, pepper, and honey to taste.  Serve sauce warm or at room temperature with cooked chicken.  Any leftover sauce will keep for a week, covered, in refrigerator.

    9. CAREFULLY remove bird from grill.  Let chicken rest for 5 minutes then wrestle the bird off the can.  DO NOT SPILL THE HOT LIQUID or burn yourself in any other way.

    10. Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken and serve with Peach BBQ sauce.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Come back again!