This little Piggie goes all the way home.

It's meat weekend here. This event is unprecedented at our house. I still not really able to take in how much meat it is for me but... it's a lot. I 'catch a vapse' as the Trini's say. For some reason I just had to make this. I swear to God that I've never made Pork Chops before... today was the first. But, here they are smiling at me, so happy to be a part of my kitchen table. Not only did I make them but they kinda turned out ok.

It was at my Mother-in-law June's that I first had these chops. She was good enough to bring some dishes over for us after our second child was born to keep us going AND seasoned, breaded pork chops were in the mix. I loved them, it was much like good fried chicken - they taste just as good cold. When you can say that about a food you know you've got a 'keeper' on your hands.

I've kind of mixed things up with some of my own stuff and some of the ideas in the recipe at Smitten Kitchen. As you can see from the pictures, I served this with Risotto al Limone which has become my new favourite food ever! (It's really embarassing but I can't get enough! Creamy, cheesy, lemony... ahhhhhh, gotta go get another spoonful). I'm always afraid of these kinds of dishes turning out to be too dry. In the case of these chops however, I think that the initial bath in brine helps a little bit. The results here were as moist as I could have hoped for.

Seasoned Breaded Pork Chops

6 pork chops (mine were pretty big, if you have smaller ones then maybe go for 8)
large bowl or pot full of water and about 1/4 cup of salt.
2 cups of crumbs (could be cracker, I used a Matzoh-like cracker. Bread crumbs work well too)
1 cup of Corn flakes (this could be just about anything - think ground nuts, oatmeal flour, etc)
1/4 cup of parmesan
1 tbsp Parsley
1 tbsp Thyme
t tbsp dark brown sugar (yes, I used sugar)
salt and pepper to taste
2 - 3 eggs
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 - 3/4 cup flour

preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Get some trays ready on baking sheets, consider using something on each tray to help keep the meat from sticking.

Soak the meat in the brine (salted water) for about a half hour.
In the meanwhile, make sure that all the crumbs and corn flakes are similar in size and mix together in a bowl or shallow thing (don't know what to call it really!). Add the parmesan, spices, sugar and salt and pepper and mix together.

In another bowl mix the eggs and dijon together well. Put the flour in a third bowl.

Once meat has soaked, use a towel or something to dry each chop as much as possible. Dip each chop first into the flour, then the egg mixture and lastly the crumb mixture. Make sure to get both sides of the chop. Beware, this is the truly messy part of the process - your fingers will get really yucky no matter what... just accept it and move on!

Place each finished chop on the prepared trays and place in the heated oven (just make sure that the oven shelf is approximately in the middle of the oven - oops, should have mentioned that earlier). Place the meat in the oven and bake for about 30 - 35 min.
Let the meat rest for a few minutes before cutting.

I'm Waffling just a bit...

It came. I finally clicked my way completely through an Amazon order and it has already arrived.
I could hardly wait to rip it open yesterday and open my new.... WAFFLE IRON!!! I know... isn't everyone supposed to get one when they get married? We did not. Although, since the wedding occurred almost 14 years ago I don't know if it would be doing me any good even if we had gotten one (just so that you don't feel we were complete cheated, you should know that we did receive a toaster).

I'm thrilled. The Waffle Iron has been sitting on the counter, ready to be used since yesterday. It's waiting patiently but I am not. I've already got my first recipe ready to go thanks to The Wednesday Chef. After much research, this one looks just interesting enough. I don't want to get too crazy with my first attempt AND I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to some things... pancakes and waffles are just those kinds of things (and chocolate too, but that's another story). I have the strawberries all ready to go and could even whip up some cream if it seems like that 'should' happen with the waffles.

We've all got our friday off so the whole fam' is chomping at the bit to dig into some fresh waffles. I'm itching to see if I can make these things look like they do in all the pictures! Fingers crossed....

Waffles with Maple Syrup
via The Wednesday Chef via julia Moskins

2 eggs
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar (it calls for light but I only had dark brown sugar and it worked fine)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
butter for the grill (although it says that mine doesn't need any)

Heat grill.
In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set the bowl aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter together and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes before cooking (I actually waited to heat up the grill until the batter was mixed and that waiting time for the grill to heat up was also my waiting time for the batter - perfect).
Ladle about a 1/3 of a cup of the mixture onto the heated grill and cook until golden. (This waffle iron literally beeps when the waffle is ready - how great is that???)
I served mine with Maple Syrup (really it has to be Maple Syrup - table syrup is just not ever the same) and strawberries for those that wanted.

People really!! Why did no one ever tell me that this stuff was absolutely divine. This beats the H#%* out of pancakes... light, airy, these things absolutely melted in our mouths AND the waffle maker made it pretty much pain free. I'm hooked, totally hooked!!!!!
Yeah for fridays off!!!!

A Not-so-Tart Tart

Ahhhhh (long sigh). This is what I love. I quiet day, the smells of baking through the house. The sound of the washing machine getting the clothing ready for the week. Kids getting ready for bed. And something lovely (hopefully) ready to be eaten when the kids are in bed and Derek and I can have a few quiet moments before the flurry of the week (which reminds me... I have to send out an email pronto!)

I've been eyeing a Rustic Vegetable Tart recipe for a while now but when Sweet Mary posted this gem yesterday I knew I had to give it a go. I've worked with puff pastry before (although, I've never made my own and as long as Tenderflake is out there I don't intend to) so I know that it's easy and yields impressive results.

I'll admit that given the other stuff on my 'to-do' list today I was rushing through this a bit and I would give it more time in future and take a little more care. However, I made sure that I used ingredients that wouldn't need much TLC to taste good.

I think that this little gem would make great appetizers if friends were coming for dinner or you were hosting a party. There are endless possibilities for this recipe. Heck, I might even try a pastry puff pizza - why not. I went a little uptown with this one today and made Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese the star of this show although there are plenty of grilled veggies to balance out the richness. At the end of the day, Derek and I enjoyed nibbling on this while quietly gearing up for our crazy week ahead.

Wanda's version of the Savoury Tart:
Tart with Goat cheese and Smoked Salmon

1 pkg of puff pastry (I used Tenderflake)
1 sm. pkg of goat cheese
6 or so slices of smoked salmon (I cut each big slice down to small pieces)
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
5 thin slices of Havarti (got some at the market yesterday and I had to sneak it in)
1/2 - 3/4 of a zucchini (depending of the size), sliced on the thin side
1/2 - 3/4 of an eggplant also sliced on the thin side
1/2 an onion, sliced thinly
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil and butter as needed
salt and pepper to taste
handful or two of julienned basil leaves (slice them nice and thin) to sprinkle on at the end

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare two cookie sheets (or any flat surface) with a little bit of cornmeal sprinkled so that the pastry doesn't stick.
Heat a large pan (I used a large caste iron frying pan). Once heated, add the olive oil and/or butter (I used a mixture of both - butter tastes really good in this recipe) and add the zucchini and eggplant, lying each flat so that they can grill. Watch closely for when they are ready to turn over.

Once both sides of each veggie slice is grilled well (honestly, if you just sauteed the stuff it would probably work just as well and possibly not be as tedious) remove from the pan and add the onions, add more oil if needed. After a couple of minutes add the garlic. Once limp and looking a little caramelized remove from the pan and take the pan off the heat.

Roll out the puff pastry until it's about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. place on prepared oven sheet. I made two separate tarts (because the pastry was divided in two - no other reason) but you could easily make it into one big tart. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese leaving an edge of about an inch. Add the veggies on top, spreading things out nicely. Add the smoked salmon, spreading the pieces around generously and repeat with the Goat cheese and the Havarti. Finish with salt if needed and the basil sprinkled over the top.

Here you have a choice. You can leave the edges flat as is or fold them up (as I have done in the pictures) to get a bit of a walled edge. Completely depends on how you're feeling that day and makes no difference to the recipe at all! (Nice eh?!)
Bake for about 20 min (if it doesn't look done give it a few more minutes but keep an eye on it. Don't despair if it looks like it's getting a big bump in it, that will settle back down once it's out of the oven. Once baked, let it cool slightly before cutting and then dig into this flakey crust and enjoy each morsel!

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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