Don’t Rush a Pig


Pork chops were on sale, so even though I didn’t have meat on my grocery list, I brought a package home with me.  Since there were six huge chops I separated them into zipper-seal bags and put them into the freezer. One morning I left two of the pork chops in the refrigerator so that they would thaw in time for dinner. A few recipes claim that you can prepare tasty pork chops in just ten minutes with only salt and pepper for seasoning, so I decided to see if it would work.

However, when my husband emailed me to see if he could help get anything ready for our evening meal, I googled to see if there were any interesting marinades. Ideas for “Summer pork” included fruity combinations as well as mustard-soy-worchestershire mixtures.  Joel mixed together the ingredients in a list that I emailed to him and when I got home from the office the pork had been absorbing the flavors for about an hour.  All I had to do was heat our stove-top griddle and throw the chops on.

Maybe I wasn’t patient enough. The pork chop did not want to let go of the griddle after cooking for five minutes on one side. I put a cover over the meat to see if capturing some moisture would help it release; no luck.  Eventually, I was able to force the pork chop off and flip it over, but when we cut into our pieces the flavor had not penetrated the meat. Also, it took several days of soaking and scrubbing to get the bits of burnt-on pork off my griddle.

Pork chops take two.

The next weekend, our grocery store’s flyer was advertising their “buy theirs get ours free” offer. One of the items was barbeque sauce. If you purchased a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce they would give you a bottle of the grocery store brand for free. They hoped that you would compare the two and notice that their version was just as good as the “real” name brand product.  Sweet Baby Ray’s has quite a few interesting-sounding flavors to choose from, but I stuck with the classic regular one.

At first, I thought that I would just throw the rest of my frozen pork chops into the crockpot and let them cook until they were tender enough to shred for pulled pork sandwiches. I couldn’t remember if you were supposed to put the barbeque sauce in the whole time you were cooking the meat or if you were to wait and just mix it in at the end. So, I looked it up.

While looking, I ran across a recipe that cooked potatoes along with the meat. Cooking two-thirds of your meal in one slow cooker sounded like a good idea to me. The author(ess) suggested greasing the inside of the crockpot and layering sliced potatoes, sliced onion, pork chops and bacon. Barbecue sauce goes between the layers. You let these ingredients cook on the high setting for 4 hours. Then you are to add cheese for the last 10 minutes. I decided to keep things simple and leave out the bacon and cheese.


The moisture from the pork drops to the bottom of the slow cooker, mixes with the barbeque sauce, and boils the potatoes. The liquid was a bit runny after the first 4 hours of cooking. But we didn’t eat it until the next day, and when I reheated the mixture it had thickened enough that I didn’t need to add any roux or cornstarch.  A bag of steamed peas added some color to the plate.


We enjoyed the meal, but next time I might let the meat cook a bit longer, because I like fall-off-the-bone tender pork.

Categories: Food and drink, Pork, Potato, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

All is safely gathered in

One of my coworkers decided to harvest the last of the herbs growing in her backyard, since, at least by night, the temperatures have started to drop towards the freezing mark. She offered me some basil and rosemary, as well as several small red peppers.

Thanks, Kathy!

For lunch, Joel decided to make use of the fresh herbs by including them in seasoning for oven-roasted potatoes.

What a good jolly day off. All bright and windy. In this weather we need to be out walking when we can.

I had two potatoes, ovened with oil and garlic and basil and thyme and rosemary and parsly and paprika, and two hot dogs to balance it and ketchup.
We need pickles.

He prepared them again, tonight. This time adding chili powder and red pepper flakes.

Speaking of pickles…

While we were enjoying our supper, I noticed this nose-less face pressed up against the glass of the pickle jar.


Categories: Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Potato | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Chorizo Stew with Potatoes and Capers

A large box arrived yesterday afternoon. Williams & Sonoma had offered free shipping and a 20% discount in addition to already reduced prices, so I decided to order a heat-resistant, silicone spatula that has been on my wish list for some time.  The size of the box did not correspond with the size of the spatula. Maybe they just wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t get lost in the mail, so they included a lot of bubble wrap with a coupon and their latest catalog.

They advertized brightly-colored linens and plates of a “Spanish style”.  Another page showed a photograph of two shiny, filled paella pans  –one with lobster and the other with a variety of shellfish. I skimmed the rest of the pages of beautiful, expensive, and unnecessary kitchen goods, and only tore out one page to keep.

Chicken and Chorizo Stew was dressed in a Dutch Oven that you could purchase in your choice from a variety of colors. The price wasn’t tempting, but the recipe was. Not all of the ingredients were in my kitchen, but what I had was close enough.


2 fresh tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce were substituted for the large can of plum tomatoes. Dried oregano for fresh, and capers for the green olives.



After browning the meat and sauteeing the onions and garlic, I deglazed the pan with the white wine and reduced the liquid to 1/3 cup.  Then, everything went back into the pan, along with 4 cups of chicken broth, to boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.


I was afraid that the potatoes would turn to mush, but they were still quite firm, and rather waxy, when we tried the new stew (reheated) this evening. The colors make a nice presentation, and the flavors and textures are acceptable. Not too exciting, though.


Categories: Chicken, Food and drink, hungarian paprika, Meat, Pork, Potato, Soup, stew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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