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Just finished a quirky book, Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong. She’s a new writer (newly published, I guess I should say) and this story is about Ruth, a 30+ something, trying to readjust to life without her fiance, who’s dumped her. She goes back home to help with the care of her father, who has Alzheimer’s. Written in a diary style, it jumps all over about her life, her mother, the funny, poignant things her father says on good days, and the nutty stuff he does on not-so-good days, her ex-, and her very quirky friends, too. Then a woman flits through who had had an affair with her father –  you get to observe all the angst from the mom about that. Mostly it’s about her father, as he’s relatively “together” early in the book, but then he disintegrates. Reading that part isn’t fun, although the author is able to lean some humor into it. I’m not sure I recommend the book exactly – I read it through – and felt sad. It doesn’t tie up loose ends – if you want that kind of book – you may not want to read this one.

Also finished Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia. You know Julian Fellowes, the producer and writer of Downton Abbey? He lends his mind to a story about a family or two from the similar time period as Downton, who live in London. There’s some amount of intrigue, romance, observations from within the halls of wealthy Londoners and moderately well off tradesmen and their families. There’s affairs, shady business dealings, an illegitimate child, the comings and goings of the “downstairs” staff too, etc. The characters were well done – I had no trouble keeping all of the people identified. The story is somewhat predictable, but it was interesting clear up to the end.

The Letter by Kathyrn Hughes. It’s a very intricate tale. At first it’s about Tina, a battered wife [at which point I paused and wondered if I wanted to read any further, but I’m glad I did]. She tries to get the courage to leave her husband. Then enters the letter she finds in a suit pocket in the thrift shop where she volunteers. It’s old – sealed and stamped, but never mailed. Then you learn about Crissie, decades earlier, a young pregnant girl who is sent off to Ireland to a distant relative by her father, then to a rigid (meaning horrible) convent [the book takes place mostly in Manchester, England and in rural Ireland]. The letter is addressed to her. Jump forward decades and William, the adopted child Crissie gave up, tries to find his birth mother. William meets Tina in Ireland [a serendipitous moment] as she’s trying to find the woman to whom the letter is addressed. This book is the #2 best seller on Amazon at the moment. It’s a riveting tale and I really enjoyed it.

The Muralist: A Novel by Shapiro. It tells the story of a young woman, an artist, who was part of the U.S.’s WPA mural project from the 1930s-40s (she is fiction, the WPA is not). As with so many artists, even today, they live in abject poverty through much of their lives. This woman, though, had family in France, desperately trying to escape before Hitler’s henchmen rousted them into concentration camps. The story, a bit of a mystery but not of the mystery-genre, is about Alizée Benoit, this young painter, who slightly captivates Eleanor Roosevelt’s help. It also skips into current time when the painter’s great-niece uncovers paintings she believes were painted by her aunt. The painter had disappeared into thin air in 1940, and her relative tries desperately to find out what happened to her. It’s a really good story including such Abstract Expressionist painters as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner well-woven into the narrative. It keeps you guessing right up to the end. A good read. The author also wrote The Art Forger: A Novel a few years ago.

Also recently read News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles. One of my book-reading friends said this is one of the best books she’s ever read in her life. That kind of praise required me to read it and I just LOVED it. It’s about an old man (a widower), who was a former military captain, during the 1800s, who goes from town to town to read out loud the current news of the world (yes, there WAS such a free-lance job.) Newspapers didn’t make it to small towns back then. By chance he’s asked to take a 10-year old girl to East Texas to reunite with relatives. The child had been captured by an Indian tribe as a baby (her family was killed in the raid), raised by the Kiowa and as was often the case of such children, she wants nothing to do with leaving. So the “hero” in this story has his hands full. And yet, they learn to trust each other on the journey. Reaching the destination, there are lots of complications (of course!). This book is truly a wonderful read – I didn’t want it to end. The author has a gift of description and the severe dangers and difficulties of an old (wild) west horse and wagon journey. The relationship is tender. Now I’ve got to investigate the author’s other books, of which there are many. Just read this one first!

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Pasta, Pork, on April 20th, 2014.


This is the dish I fixed earlier in the week. The first dinner I’d cooked since my darling DH passed away. I haven’t wanted to be in the kitchen much – I cooked a few breakfasts – made a few sandwiches for family, heated some soup from the freezer – but cook from scratch? Zippo. But the desire to cook is starting to come back, so you’ll be seeing some recipes as I make them.

With a semi-house-full of family staying with me, and no more already-cooked food to serve them, I knew I finally needed to get back into the kitchen. First, though, I had to clear my big island of the loads of flowers that were seriously over the hill. I hated throwing them away because they were all so beautiful. Kind people knew how much Dave loved roses, so there were many from the gorgeous sprays sent to our church for the memorial service. I left them intact for a few days, but with no easy way to water big sprays, we pulled the best of the flowers out and used every vase I had in the closet! But a week has gone by since the service, and with vases cluttering the island I just couldn’t seem to think straight about cooking. They’re all gone now and maybe that will clear the teary cobwebs from my eyes so I can enjoy the work in the kitchen, preparing a meal for family. It’s just that my greatest fan, my cheering section, my dear darling husband, is missing. I hope he was smiling down from heaven as he watched me prep and cook. And as I washed the dishes (although after dinner the two guys did the bulk of the dishes, bless them). Dave always said to me that he wondered if I’d do as much cooking if I had to wash my own dishes . . . I don’t think it will make a difference . . . but we’ll see.

Fortunately, this dinner was a big hit, and surprisingly it was also quite easy. I had a gigantic whole pork shoulder roast in the freezer. I should have halved it when I bought it and made two smaller roasts, but I hadn’t done that. So I started with over 8 pounds of pork shoulder. Sigh. That’s one heck of a big piece of meat. I did cut it in half before I began the cooking, and finally ended up dividing it into two separate batches of ragu. The recipe below is for about 3 pounds of pork shoulder (aka pork butt). I got the recipe online – you can find it in several places, but it’s from a cookbook called Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style by Dominica Marchetti.

In a nutshell, the roast is salted and peppered, browned well on all sides in oil, removed, then a copious amount of onions are diced and sautéed, along with some garlic. Then you add fresh rosemary, bay leaves, red wine, canned tomatoes and a pound of Italian sausage. Then the meat is added back in and its simmered low and slow for several hours. The meat gets shredded (like for pulled pork), added back into the sauce and that’s really it. Oh, except for trying to skim off some of the fat. That takes a few minutes of patience. Ideally, make this a day ahead and chill it – then you could get nearly all the fat off the top. Serve on pasta (or rice) with grated Parmesan and I added a sprinkling of chopped Italian parsley. My cousin (the GF one) ate it with rice, and when some went back for seconds, I noticed they used rice also. It’s good with both. It’s intended as a sauce for pasta.

What’s GOOD: the flavor, first and foremost. Pork, especially pork with a bone, just develops a whole lot of flavor when it’s slow-braised and simmered. It was very easy to make – it probably could be adapted to a slow cooker, though I merely did it on the stovetop as the recipe indicates. This is a keeper. It also feeds a lot of people. Generally I don’t like to re-freeze meat, but I’m going to HAVE to with this recipe.
What’s NOT: nothing, really. If you don’t have time to cook it on the stove (and tend to it during its several hours of cooking), do try to adapt it to a slow cooker – that way you could start it in the morning.

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Pork Shoulder Ragu for a Crowd

Recipe By: Big Night In by Domenica Marchetti (Chronicle Books, 2008)
Serving Size: 12

3 pounds Boston butt roast — (pork shoulder) in one or two pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large yellow onions — diced (5 cups)
4 cloves garlic — minced or smashed
1 cup dry red wine
7 cups canned tomatoes — chopped, with their juices
4 whole bay leaves (I used Turkish just because I prefer them to California bay leaves)
Two sprigs fresh rosemary (each about 4 inches long)
1 pound Italian sausage — mild (I used half mild, half spicy)
About 3 pounds short pasta, cooked (I used penne rigate, my favorite)
1/2 cup Italian parsley — chopped (my addition)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese — (or more, as needed for serving)

Notes: If using bone-in pork shoulder, you’ll want to have about 4 pounds. It will be more flavorful if you use the bone-in, but boneless works just fine too.
1. Season the pork shoulder well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until it is evenly browned. This will take at least 15 minutes. Remove pork to a large bowl or plate.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions, stirring well to coat with the oil. Saute until translucent, about 10 minutes, adding the garlic during the last minute of cooking. Add the pork back to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and pour in the wine. Let it boil for a minute before adding the tomatoes, bay leaves, and rosemary. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
3. If using bulk sausage, break it into little clumps and add it to the pot. If using sausage links, remove the casings and squeeze the meat into the pot, breaking it up well. Give a good stir, cover, and simmer very gently for 2-1/2 hours, turning the roast over at least once so the other half is submerged in the sauce. Test the meat for tenderness (I simmered this closer to 3 1/2 hours), and continue to cook until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat to a cutting board and shred it. As you shred discard the chunks of fat still attached to the meat.) Return the meat to the pot and heat the ragu through. Adjust the salt if desired. The meat is much easier to shred when it’s hot or at least warm – once cold, you’ll need to slice and chop it – it will still taste fine, but you won’t have those nice shreds of meat. The shredding – if done by hand – will take about 20 minutes or so. Also beware you don’t over cook the meat – at a point when you simmer pork you will have cooked all the fat and juiciness out of it and it will be dry. So taste the meat as you go. If you use a fork to pull off some meat and it doesn’t just almost fall apart, it’s not cooked enough.
4. Serve with cooked pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley. The sauce is fairly “soupy,” so serve in a bowl if preferred. Cool any leftovers, and freeze, if desired, in quart-sized containers.
Per Serving: 431 Calories; 28g Fat (59.9% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 111mg Cholesterol; 703mg Sodium.

Posted in Beef, Pork, on March 10th, 2014.


Gee whiz – I sure should have photographed these delicious meatballs on a colored plate, eh? I darkened it a bit so you could see some contrast. Can you even tell they’re meatballs? No matter, though, if you have a hankering for Swedish Meatballs – it’s the taste that will win you over.

Only a couple of times have I dined on Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs. We used to have the store near us, but they moved to a much larger building about 15 miles away, so I don’t visit it very often. But I’ve not forgotten how delicious their meatballs are. For whatever reason I was craving comfort food, so with some defrosted ground beef on hand, I decided to make this rendition (from the Food Network) of Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs.

I do recall when I had Ikea’s version, the meatballs were very soft. To me, that means filler, and yes, I suppose these do have some (bread, in this case), but not enough to make them quite fall apart. Almost, but not quite. The onions and garlic are cooked separately (to make sure they’re  cooked through), then combined with some milk (so the milk soaks into the bread completely). I didn’t have any dry bread crumbs, but had fresh. I should have used less milk, so my meatballs were very wet. The baking process, though, cooked off the liquid.

Once you form the 1-inch meatballs, they’re refrigerated for about an hour, then baked in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile you make the sauce, which is really just a beef broth gravy and a bit of heavy cream at the end. The only unusual thing in it is Worcestershire sauce. Not in the recipe, but I did put in just a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg in the gravy. Allspice is the predominating spice in the meat, with a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, giving them that distinct taste. Just before serving, the meatballs are added into the gravy and heated through.

The pièce de résistance, though, is the jam. Traditionally it’s lingonberry (which you can buy at Ikea). I had some Montana huckleberry jam which was just great with it. Each and every bite should have just a tiny bit of the jam – it gives it a hint of sweetness. I served this with mashed potatoes (I think that’s traditional) though some serve it with egg noodles. You’ve heard me say before that I think Costco’s instant mashed potatoes are great. I wouldn’t serve them for Thanksgiving or a fancy dinner, but they’re amazingly true to home made mashed potatoes. And ever-so easy to make. In this case the gravy and meatballs are the stars of the show anyway. The potatoes are almost an afterthought, but a necessary one.

We had a friend over for dinner – Irene – who has Norwegian heritage. She swooned over these meatballs and said “oh, these taste just like my mother used to make.” You can’t get a more hearty recommendation than that, can you? I sent her home with some left overs.

What’s GOOD: Oh gosh, we thought these were wonderful. Absolutely mouth-watering delicious. Whether they’re true to the store’s version, I don’t know, but they’re very, very close and definitely worth making. Yes, I’ll be making them again, according to this recipe! I have another version of Swedish Meatballs on my site, but these are better!

What’s NOT: not a thing.

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Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

Recipe By: Food Network’s rendition of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs
Serving Size: 6

1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup white onion — minced
2 cloves garlic — minced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork — lean
1 large egg — plus 1 egg white, beaten
Vegetable oil — for brushing
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh parsley — chopped Lingonberry jam — for serving (optional)

1. Make the meatballs: Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined.
2. Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
4. Make the gravy: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lingonberry jam, if desired. (Serve with mashed potatoes or over egg noodles.)
Per Serving: 584 Calories; 43g Fat (66.6% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 171mg Cholesterol; 293mg Sodium.

Posted in easy, Pork, on March 8th, 2014.


Did we have pork chops in the freezer? Check. Apples? Yes, one. Check. Onions? Yes, always one of those on hand. Check. Italian Parsley? Yup. Check. Lemon juice? Oh yes. Check.

I’m sure you’re all just like I am – we eat different meats in rotation. Sort of. Chicken, chicken, fish, chicken, pork, chicken, fish, and way down the rotation list, lamb. This particular night I was in the mood for pork and sure enough, we still had two more pork chops from the Berkshire pig. I think this dinner will be the last, however. We have a Berkshire ham, which we’ll probably have for Easter, and I think I have one more pound of ground pork. When those are gone, I’ll be completely empty of Berkshire. Sadly.

Lucky is the word for me when it comes to pleasing my hubby – Dave never complains no matter what I serve him. Only when we’ve had the same leftovers 3 times does he grumble a little. I rarely do that – I try to insert something else in between, or I try to re-invent the dish somehow. But with some things that’s not possible. When I’ve defrosted meat to begin with, made something, I don’t like to re-freeze it. It’s already been frozen and I’ve read that meat just loses flavor when you do that. I’ve been known to do it with soup, when the protein comprises very little of the taste in the soup itself. Like tonight, for instance, as I’m typing this, I have meatballs in the refrigerator, chilling. From a couple of pounds of defrosted ground beef. (I’m making something close to Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs – if it’s good, I’ll post it in a few days.) I made a big batch – bigger than I should have I think – and my only hope is that we’ll have a guest over to help eat it up. Because I don’t want to freeze them.

Okay, back to pork chops. I’d saved this recipe in MasterCook – and so my notes say, I found it on Oprah’s website, although it’s a Mark Bittman recipe. Must have been awhile ago. But I searched for pork chop recipes within my to-try recipes and this one just seemed the best fit. And talk about easy!

The chops were seasoned with salt and pepper, browned in a skillet. Some vermouth was added to the pan along with a minced-up shallot. The chops are removed, and then you add the sliced apples and onion and cook that for awhile with some chicken stock, then the chops go back into the pan for a little while – maybe 10 minutes – while the sauce reduces down a bit. That’s it. Add a tidbit of butter (as a finish to the sauce) and garnish with Italian parsley. Done. I had a smidgen of rice left over from the chicken tikka masala I’d made the other night, so I added just enough to give the plate a rounding-out. It was enough for the sauce to soak into, which was delicious.

What’s GOOD: how quick and easy the dish was to make. My DH loved it – but then, he loves pork chops just about any way I’ll make them. Loved the interplay between the savory sauce and the sweet apple. Apple and pork really do go together well.

What’s NOT: nothing at all, really. Liked the dish a lot.

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Skillet Pork Chops with Apples

Recipe By: Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Basic (via Oprah’s website)
Serving Size: 4

2 pounds pork chops — preferably bone in (6 to 8 ounces each) 1″ thick [I used chops that were 1/2″ thick so cooked it for less time]
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine — or light-bodied beer [I used vermouth]
2 tablespoons chopped shallot — or red onion
3 medium apples — peeled, cored, halved, and sliced [I used less]
1 large onion — halved and sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock — or more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons parsley — chopped fresh for garnish

1. Blot the chops dry with a paper towel. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chops, turn the heat to high, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When they brown and release from the pan easily, turn the chops, season again, and cook this side the same way. The whole process should take about 2 minutes per side or 3 to 5 minutes total.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the wine—be careful here; the wine may splatter a bit when it hits the hot oil—and the shallot and cook, turning the chops once or twice, until the wine is almost evaporated, 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer the chops to a plate and return the pan to the heat.
3. Add the apples and onion to the hot pan and stir until they start to stick, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the stock, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chops to the pan, along with any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat so it bubbles steadily, then cover.
4. Cook, stirring occasionally and turning the chops once or twice, until the chops are tender, 5 to 10 minutes; add another 1/2 cup stock or water if the apples start to stick. When the chops are done, they will be firm to the touch, their juices will run just slightly pink, and when you cut into them the color will be rosy at first glance but turn pale within seconds. By this time the apples and onions will also be soft. Stir in the lemon juice and butter and taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the chops with the sauce on top, garnished with the parsley.
Per Serving: 535 Calories; 32g Fat (56.7% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 119mg Cholesterol; 390mg Sodium.

Posted in Grilling, Pork, on January 25th, 2014.


Years ago, when I was in the advertising biz, we had a very talented art director on our staff from the Philippines, named Dolf. He was an American, but so loved his native country’s cuisine. A couple of times he brought chicken adobo to our festive potluck lunches – his version from the Philippines, a wet braise kind of dish. But this post is NOT about the Filipino version, which is altogether different. Not just a little bit different, but a lot different.

SPANISH ADOBO is a spice mixture, and is meant to be liberally applied to pork chops (and allowed to sit there, so it becomes a marinade) and grilled – it’s cinchy easy to make. I saw a blog post from one of the varied ones I read, and it was called pork chops adobado. Since I’d not heard the adobado (rather than adobo) part before, I started sleuthing. Adobo is the spice mixture, but once you put it on some kind of meat and grill it, it becomes a food preparation, so it’s the adobado or adobada. I read what wikipedia had to say about it, then did a search and came to a recipe at epicurious that sounded just right.

In the explanation, wikipedia says of ancient cooking:

Animals were usually slaughtered in the coldest months of winter, but surplus meat had to be preserved in the warmer months. This was facilitated through the use of adobos (marinades) along with paprika (a substance with antibacterial properties). Paprika gives a reddish color to adobos and at the same time the capsaicins in paprika permit fats to dissolve to the point of allowing tissue penetration, going deeper than the surface.

spanish_adobo_pasteIf I interpret what that says, it means meat was marinated for long periods of time, like months – yikes. From winter to summer? So, by using a paprika-based marinade, they were able to preserve meat without refrigeration (obviously) and the capsaicins (that’s what gives heat to peppers) in it allowed for better absorption. Spanish (or Mexican) Adobo is a oil and spice paste that’s spread on the pork up to a couple of hours ahead of grilling. It’s a mixture of oil, paprika, dried oregano, fresh garlic, ground cumin, hot chili flakes, fresh lime zest, salt and pepper.

I slathered this mixture onto 2 pork chops and 2 steaks. It’s a heady mixture – not only with spices, but it has some heat. If you’re averse to hot spicy food, eliminate the chili flakes. I used half-sharp paprika (a mixture of mild and hot), so it was plenty hot for me. The recipe calls for mild paprika. The paste marinated on the chops for a couple of hours (in the refrigerator), then Dave grilled them. First they’re browned – and I mention this only because with the reddish paste on them, it may be hard to tell when the chops are truly browning as they’re already brownish red before you put them on the grill. After they’re grilled on both sides just to get grill marks (if you can see them), you move them over onto an indirect area of the grill, loosely cover them with an upside-down foil pan, or with foil itself to finish cooking. Use a meat thermometer and take them off when they’re just done!

You can vary the heat depending on what kind of paprika you use. Please don’t use grocery store paprika – it doesn’t cut the mustard. (Oh, ha! I made a joke . . . 🙂 Here is a link to Penzey’s page for Hungarian paprika. Many high end markets now carry premium Hungarian paprika – do seek it out. And do refrigerate it. Penzey’s also sells Spanish paprika, but that is the smoked variety. Perhaps cooks in Spain do use the smoked, but I’d try it without the first time. And if I tried it, I’d use half regular and half smoked. The smoked goes a long way.

Be SURE to use a meat thermometer – the chops took much less time than anticipated. Ours were about 3/4 inch thick, and only took about 10 minutes cooking time. And?

What’s GOOD: the adobo spices were a big hit. I loved it; so did Dave. We have found a new, local purveyor of pork, and this first try was great – the meat was tender and juicy. The paprika and other spices hit a great flavor note for both of us. It was a quick preparation – and some nights that’s exactly what’s needed. I’ll be making this again and again.
What’s NOT: I can’t think of a thing. We loved this, big time.

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Grilled Pork Chops with Adobo Paste

Recipe By: Adapted from Epicurious
Serving Size: 4

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika — (can use half-sharp)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano — crumbled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes — or more if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest — finely grated, from a fresh lime
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds bone-in pork center rib chops — 3/4″ thick, or thicker

1. Heat grill to medium-high for direct-heat cooking.
2. Stir together all ingredients except pork chops in a bowl to form spice paste, then rub paste all over pork chops. Allow to rest for 20 minutes to 2 hours in refrigerator.
3. Oil grill rack, then grill chops, turning over occasionally and moving around if flare-ups occur, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes total.
4. Move chops to indirect heat, then cover loosely with heavy-duty foil, turning chops over once, until thermometer inserted horizontally into center of a chop (do not touch bone) registers 140°F, 6-10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Per Serving: 405 Calories; 29g Fat (65.3% calories from fat); 31g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 89mg Cholesterol; 770mg Sodium.

Posted in easy, Pork, on January 1st, 2014.


Surely you’ve heard somebody talk about milk braising a pork roast. I know I had, but somehow, even though I’d read and heard it was a really tasty way to prepare pork, I’d never actually done it. Plus, I’d simply pictured a curdled gloppy sauce. Who boils milk with any expectation of something pretty!

What I had were pork chops, not a roast. Time was at a premium that day (when I made this a couple of weeks ago I was deep in a quagmire of gift wrapping and Christmas card mailing), I quickly scanned through some recipes for pork and stopped at milk-braised pork. Hmmm. The original recipe I had would take too long, so I researched online and came across this extra-easy and quicker method (although it does take about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish) that was perfect for my timing.

I didn’t even print out the recipe – it was that kind of simple, although I did double check the cooking time and the last-minute saucing. The recipe came from the Southern Food section of that site, from Diana Rattray, who has provided most, if not all, of the recipes. And this is simple with a capital S! First you make a flour, salt and pepper mixture (and there is very little flour) and coat the chops. You shake off any excess. Into a hot frying pan they go (with a little oil and butter). Meanwhile, you use whatever amount of flour is left over from the dipping (not much) and use a whisk to combine it with some milk. You want to remove all the lumps. Once the chops are browned for about 3 minutes per side, you pour off most of the drippings, and add the milk/flour mixture, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. It cooks for about 30 minutes or so, stirring every so often. You don’t want the sauce to reduce-down too much and burn.

Not realizing the nuances of the flour, I’d put a bit too much in the bowl, so I had to add additional milk so this mixture was soupy, not thick. If it’s thick it will likely burn and/or boil away. It won’t be pretty! If you have a low-enough burner, it’ll cook very gently. That’s the goal. After 20-30 minutes, you turn the chops over and add more milk. The amount can vary because of the flour amount used. I added just a little bit of my Penzey’s chicken soup base to add more flavor. Again, stir it around, cover and simmer for about another 30 minutes. During this time, check the sauce – if the gravy is too thick, add more milk, but don’t add too much. I added some dried thyme to this, as it’s my go-to herb when I want to add some flavor. Then you take off the cover and allow the pork to continue bubbling away, but the sauce will reduce and get thicker. In that time I quick-like made a salad and some mashed potatoes.

My DH thought he was back home as a kid. Growing up, his mother and dad had a housekeeper named Sarah, a loving Black woman who cooked and cared for the family nearly her whole life. She was from the South, and often cooked kale, turnip greens, black eyed peas and the like. This dish just reminded him of the meals she used to prepare. He wanted to sop up every single bit of the gravy (since I don’t make this kind of a meal very often).

What’s GOOD: how easy this was to make, although it does take more than an hour of just simmering – you want that pork to be fork tender. The sauce was lovely. It’s NOT a fancy sauce – it’s just milk, flour, salt and pepper, so don’t expect some deep character kind of gravy here. Do make some kind of carb (rice would be fine too, or even noodles) to eat with the sauce. I’ve added a note in the recipe about throwing in some mushrooms to this. I didn’t, but if I’d had any, I’d have used them in the sauce. Definitely a keeper of a recipe. Comfort food, for sure.
What’s NOT: probably the lengthy cooking – for pork chops, 1 1/4 hours is a long time to simmer. Hard to do with a table full of hungry children waiting. If you can plan ahead, by all means do it.

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Milk Braised Pork Chops

Recipe By: Adapted from, Diana Rattray
Serving Size: 4

4 pork loin chops — about 3/4 to 1-inch thickness
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper — or more, or seasoned pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme — [my addition]
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk — added at the end (may not need all of it)
1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s chicken soup base — or other paste-type chicken base
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1. Trim excess fat from the pork chops.
2. Combine flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large food storage bag. Add chops; shake to coat them with the seasoned flour mixture. Remove chops from bag; pour remaining flour mixture in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in 2/3 cup milk. Whisk to remove any and all lumps.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter with the vegetable oil. Add pork chops and cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the drippings. Add milk and flour mixture to the skillet. Stir well until it’s smooth, adding more milk if needed, so it’s a soupy sauce, not a thick one or it will burn during the braising process.
4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Turn the chops over. Add remaining milk and chicken soup base (paste); stir to dissolve; cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, if you’d like to during this section of cooking. If the soupy sauce boils away too soon, add more milk and reduce heat.
6. Uncover skillet and cook the chops for about 15 minutes longer, or until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, or to your desired consistency.
Per Serving: 235 Calories; 12g Fat (48.1% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 64mg Cholesterol; 309mg Sodium.

Posted in Brunch, Pork, on December 11th, 2013.


In 1987 this recipe (called Tahoe Brunch back then) was published in our neighborhood weekly newspaper. I clipped it out and prepared it numerous times over the years – often when we did a brunch on our sailboat because it can be prepared the day before, then baked the day-of. (We have a smallish oven on the boat, and I did have one pan that would fit in it.) A month or so ago I went to a Phillis Carey cooking class, and she prepared it too, with just a couple of modifications. It was then I realized that I’ve never posted this recipe here on my blog. That mistake is now fixed!

It seems that I don’t entertain for brunch anymore. I think it’s because every Sunday morning we’re busy attending morning services at our Presbyterian church, and to try to put on a brunch after that, when we don’t even get home from church until about 11 is just not feasible. Do people have Sunday brunches on Saturdays? I suppose I could – I just haven’t ever thought of it.

So this delicious recipe has been updated just a little bit – I reduced the amount of Italian sausage, tried to quantify the amount of bread called for, have given options for the cheddar or Provolone, and options for either parsley or basil. And gave you options for adding the mushrooms (I used to) or fresh tomatoes (Phillis’ recipe). I’m a bit staggered by the calorie count on this recipe – I may have never noticed it before.

What’s great about it is the fact that it’s made the day before, and over the years I’ve made this numerous times for Thanksgiving morning, Christmas morning, or New Years Day morning. It’s the Italian sausage in it that I like so much. Spicy sausage just gives this a wonderful flavor. Mix that with the cheese, and it’s kind of like pizza in a breakfast dish, I suppose.

It’s very easy to put together once you cook the Italian sausage and onions. Phillis’ recipe had you cube up the bread. My old recipe calls for buttering bread in slices. Either way works.

What’s GOOD: It’s the Italian sausage in it that I like the best, but then I’m a fan of the stuff. The recipe just has lots of flavors abounding in it from the mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes and the seasonings. Love that it can be made 24 hours before. Do bake in a glass or ceramic dish, not metal. You’ll hear lots of mmmm’s and sighs when you serve this.
What’s NOT: nothing really except that it’s rich and high in calories! But it’s a special occasion kind of dish.

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Tahoe Brunch (Bread Pudding Breakfast Casserole)

Recipe By: A 1987 Tustin News article
Serving Size: 10

4-6 cups french bread — crusts removed
2 tablespoons butter — softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh mushrooms — sliced (optional)
2 cups yellow onions — thinly sliced
salt and pepper — to taste
1 pound Italian sausage — sweet (mild)
3 cups cheddar cheese — grated (or Provolone)
6 whole eggs — extra large
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh parsley — chopped (or basil)
1 cup fresh tomatoes — chopped (remove some seeds if possible)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese — grated for topping (or Provolone)

Notes: don’t use a really soft bread in this or it will just turn to mush.
1. Butter the bread with the softened butter, cut into cubes and set aside. In a 10-12 inch skillet, melt the 1/2 cup butter and brown the mushrooms and onions over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until onions are golden. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Crumble the Italian sausage and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
2. In a greased 11 x 7-inch ceramic or Pyrex casserole, add all the bread cubes, top with the onion and mushrooms, sausage and cheese.
3. In a medium-sized bowl mix the eggs, milk, both mustards, nutmeg, with salt & pepper to taste (about 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Pour over the sausage and cheese mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. At least 30 minutes before baking, remove casserole from refrigerator. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350° oven for 45 minutes, then sprinkle top of casserole with fresh tomatoes and some additional cheese. Bake 15 more minutes until mixture is bubbly. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Per Serving: 885 Calories; 45g Fat (45.9% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 82g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 233mg Cholesterol; 1579mg Sodium.

Posted in easy, Pork, on November 29th, 2013.


Pork Tenderloin is such a versatile meat and is also very quick and easy to prepare. We needed to eat dinner by 6pm (to leave to go to a concert) and I started dinner at 5 and everything was done at exactly 6:00. This version is quite simple and very tasty.

This time I searched at Eat Your Books to find a pork tenderloin recipe that would be (1) easy; and (2) quick. Success on both counts. I have Barbara Kafka’s book that’s all about roasting any kind of meat. It’s one I refer to whenever I’m doing some hunk of meat, so when her book popped up on the list, I looked at the ingredients needed – oh good – I had them all. If you’re at all tentative about the process of roasting, you might consider having her book in your repertoire: Roasting: A Simple Art.

This recipe required no more than combining a simple rub that went on first, then I gently rubbed olive oil into the meat as well. The spices are Moroccan in culture – hence the Tangiers in the title, but the spices are available everywhere. Nothing all that exotic – the recipe called for salt, cinnamon and cardamom. I added some turmeric and smoked pepper. Into a roasting pan it went, into a hot oven and in 20 minutes flat it was out of the oven and cooked perfectly. I tented the meat with foil and while the meat rested, I made a very simple sauce from the few pan drippings, adding some white wine and stock, and lastly adding in just a little bit of butter. So very easy. We’re trying to eat less and less red meat (although pork tenderloin is really, really lean to begin with), so this one tenderloin actually provided enough for us for 3 dinners. I sliced the meat thinly and widely diagonal, so we had the illusion of eating big pieces of meat, but it really wasn’t. Each serving had just a tiny bit of the sauce drizzled on top.

What’s GOOD: how quick and easy it was to make. Including the sauce at the end. I got everything ready so when the meat came out of the oven everything was right there to whisk together the sauce on the stove top. I quick-like made a vegetable and a salad, and dinner was ready. Love it when that happens. Taste was nice – this isn’t an off-the-charts kind of dinner, but it was good for sure.
What’s NOT: nothing, really.

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Pork Tenderloin Tangiers

Recipe By: Adapted from Roasting, by Barbara Kafka
Serving Size: 3

1 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon smoked pepper — (Schilling)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Italian parsley — chopped (for garnish)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup pork stock — or water, or chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Remove silverskin from pork tenderloin. Preheat oven to 500°F.
2. Combine turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and salt in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the spices all over (all sides) of the pork. Pour half the olive oil into your palm and gently smear it all over the pork. Repeat with remaining oil. Don’t rub, just gently spread the oil all over. Place the tenderloin into a shallow roasting pan with low sides (that’s just slightly bigger than the roast), tucking the thin end under by an inch or two.
3. Roast tenderloin for 10 minutes, turn the roast over and continue roasting (about 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the pork) until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
4. Remove pan and place on your stovetop. Remove pork to a heated platter and tent loosely with foil.
5. SAUCE: In a measuring cup combine the wine and broth. The pan will be intensely hot – turn on vent and slowly add the liquid. It will steam and boil. Do NOT touch the pan. Turn on the heat under the pan and simmer the liquid, scraping up any browned bits from the pork. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Taste for seasonings (salt and pepper?). Turn off the heat and allow mixture to stop boiling. Add half the butter and gently stir until it’s melted, then add the remaining butter. Pour into a pitcher to serve.
6. Slice the pork across the grain and on the diagonal (to get larger slices) and drizzle the sauce on top. Add some minced Italian parsley if desired.
Per Serving: 306 Calories; 15g Fat (51.2% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 114mg Cholesterol; 747mg Sodium.

Posted in Pork, on September 24th, 2013.


No, this isn’t a commercial for All-Clad. I do have these adorable little single-serving ramekins, though, that my friend Cherrie gave me a year or so ago and I forget to use them. They were just perfect for this dish. You could also use just a regular pan for both servings.

While we were on our trip I got a nice email from the folks at Frieda’s Produce. It’s apple season again (hooray) and they wanted to send me some. We got them a few days after our return, and after eating one out of hand right away, I tucked them away in the refrigerator because I knew I wouldn’t use them immediately. But some nights later, once I got back into the routine of fixing dinner (gosh, it was so nice to be on vacation and eat out every meal – no prep, no planning, no cleanup), I was ready to start using some of those organic apples. They sent me baby Cortlands, Cox’s Orange Pippins and Ribston Pippins. If you’re interested, at least the Cortlands are available at some Sprouts markets. Maybe not all. Call and ask. They’re an unusual apple because when you cut them up, they don’t turn brown. All of these are heirloom types: Cortlands date to 1898, the Cox’s from the early 1800s and the Ribston from 1708.

It was so nice of Frieda’s to send the apples to me. I just love apples. Ordinarily I would make dessert with them, but I talked myself out of that since we’d had ample desserts on our trip. I wanted to give ourselves a little break. Not that we had dessert every day – we did not, but even every other day is more than we do at home. If I did my favorite apple dessert, I’d be making my Mom’s Crisp Apple Pudding. I just don’t ever seem to tire of that one. And maybe I will still make that one of these days.

One day before we went on our vacation I decided to clean out one shelf in the freezer. It just wasn’t packed very well, and items kept falling off the shelf and onto my tender sandal-clad toes. Ouch. I found a package of 2 small thick-cut pork chops in there that I’d forgotten I had, so I placed them strategically in the front so I’d see them when we got back. Once we returned, I reached into the freezer for something else, and gosh, wouldn’t you know, those pork chops fell OUT and landed on my toes again. So, that made my decision – I’d cook them.

pork_chops_apple_rum_ingredientsMaking these was not difficult or all that time consuming, really. Once I seared the chops, removed them, then cooked the onion, then the apples and re-inserted the pork in the 2 pans, I stuck them in the oven (covered with foil) and baked them for about 20-25 minutes, until the pork was not quite fork tender.

Pork chops have a habit of either being too chewy, or once they reach a point of tenderness, and you continue to cook them, well, they get dry and hard to eat.

Actually, I didn’t serve them in the little pans – my DH wanted me to, but the All-Clad ramekins are nonstick, and  using a knife might have gouged the nonstick surface. So I removed them to a plate. We had cabbage to go along with it (my recipe for sweet and sour cabbage) which was just very tasty with it. If I’d been better prepared I would have made some rice to put beside the pork because there was a lot of very tasty juices running all over the plate.

What’s GOOD: apples and pork are a perfect pair, like salt and pepper, meatloaf and potatoes; you know what I mean. This wasn’t an over-the-top kind of dish, but it was relatively healthy and had enough flavor for a satisfying dinner. If you have apples on hand, use almost any variety – just don’t use the types that fall apart when cooked (like Delicious). You want the apples to stay in their perfect slices. It was easy enough to make and while the pork cooks you can slap together the rest of your dinner.

What’s NOT: nothing really. Next time I might sprinkle just a bit of flour on the chops, which would help thicken the sauce a little bit – that would be nice, then you could drizzle the sauce on top.

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Braised Pork Chops with Apples

Recipe By: Adapted from Just Braise blog
Serving Size: 2

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 pound boneless pork top loin chops
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander pepper to taste
2 whole apples — (Granny Smith, Empire, Rome, Cortland), sliced into 16 wedges
1/2 medium yellow onion — chopped
1/3 cup dark rum
1/2 cup pineapple juice — or apple juice/cider
2 tablespoons Italian parsley — minced

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a deep oven-safe pan (or dutch oven) over high heat, warm butter and olive oil (to barely coat bottom of pan).
3. While pan is warming, prepare the pork chops: Wash and fully dry the meat. Coat evenly on both sides with cinnamon, cumin, coriander and pepper. Carefully place meat in pan and sear both sides until thoroughly browned; about 4 minutes each side. The spices will brown quickly – just don’t burn the meat, but dark brown is desirable.
4. Remove the pork chops from pan and reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are translucent. Deglaze by adding rum and scraping bits that have stuck to the pan. Add pineapple juice and apples. Braise the apple wedges in the juices until they are limp and have absorbed some juice; about 4 minutes.
5. Return pork chops to pan and move apples around the meat to cover sides and top (some may remain under the chops).
6. Cover pan and place in oven for 10-15 (or 20-25 if you’ve used thicker chops) minutes until pork chops are juicy and succulent and liquid has reduced. Serve with the apples on top and around the sides with the sauce all around. Garnish with Italian parsley. Ideally, serve this with some rice to soak up the juices.
Per Serving: 484 Calories; 16g Fat (35.2% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 85mg Cholesterol; 69mg Sodium.

Posted in Grilling, Miscellaneous, Pork, on September 6th, 2013.


As a food blogger, it’s so fun when a company contacts me – gee, little old me – asking if they can send me some food product to try. No charge. No strings attached. Actually, Freida’s contacted me about Hatch green chiles, but almost as an afterthought, they threw in a box of finger limes.

Prior to this, I’d only read about finger limes. Before our trip to Australia 2 years ago, I thought I’d scour the food markets there (if I could) to find some. I wanted to taste them. (Alas, it was the wrong time of year for finger limes, so no, I didn’t see a one.)  The whole idea of the finger limes is so bizarre, in a way. Let’s backtrack . . . finger limes were developed in Australia. The limes are small, some pink, yellow, green and off white. When you cut them in half and squeeze them, the little balls of encapsulated lime juice roll out, almost like a roll of fluff. But they’re not fluff, they’re these little sacs of lime juice. Here you can see what they’re like. finger_limes2

The average finger lime, uncut, is about an inch long. I cut several in half and gently squeezed. As I was working , I cut several of the limes more lengthwise and tried to extract the little juicy gems. Hard to do, actually, but once I cut them in half crosswise, and did the squeeze technique, they came right out. I have yet to try these on a piece of fish – that will be the ultimate test, I think, with a bunch of these adorable things scattered on top of a sizzling hot swordfish steak. Some marketing type came up with the “caviar” name, but it’s actually very apt as the sacs kind of pop in your mouth.

The origin of the relish came from Southern Living. It is called a Peanut-Basil Relish. The basil is chopped up finely, then you add green onion tops (only), some fish sauce, garlic, sesame oil (a tiny amount) and olive oil. Serrano pepper was in the mixture, but I didn’t have one, so I substituted some chipotle chile. And then I got the idea about using the finger limes. Peanuts have a role in this – I kept them separate until I was ready to serve (because they absorb liquid easily). It took about 5 minutes to make the relish.

Meanwhile, I sprinkled about a teaspoon of light soy sauce on the pork chops, then a bit of olive oil and some Montreal pepper seasoning. Those went on the grill until the meat reached 150° and they were perfectly done. I spread the relish on top and we chowed down. It was delicious. I happen to have a bumper crop of basil at the moment and this made good use of it. The relish recipe suggested if you have left overs, to mix into pasta.

What’s GOOD: the relish is ever-so easy to make, and the chops were simple to season and grill. Loved the Asian flavors – they’re not overwhelming at all (either the soy sauce on the meat or the fish sauce in the relish) but gave it a piquant taste altogether. The relish would be delish on other things – it does need to be used right away, I think. The little bit that was left in the bowl when I got done was turning black, which is what basil does when it’s bruised and wet. I could have whizzed it up in the food processor and made a paste (with more oil, probably) but I liked it as a kind of rough relish.
What’s NOT: really nothing at all. Liked everything about it.

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Grilled Pork Chops with Spicy Basil Relish and Lime Caviar

Recipe By: Partly my own ideas, part adapted from Southern Living.
Serving Size: 4

2 1/2 pounds bone-in pork sirloin chops — or any cut of pork chops
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Montreal seasoning pepper to taste
4 tablespoons green onion tops — (green part only)
1 1/2 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic — crushed
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
4 teaspoons finger lime caviar — or fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts — chopped

1. Dry pork chops with paper towels. Spread soy sauce on pork, then olive oil, followed by a moderate amount of Montreal pepper seasoning.
2. Grill pork, searing both sides, until the interior temperature reaches 150°. Remove to a heated platter, tent with foil and set aside for just a few minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the green onion tops, chopped basil (use a ceramic knife if you have one, so it doesn’t bruise the basil), crushed garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, lime caviar (or lime juice) and add the peanuts last (or sprinkle them on top when serving). If you have left over relish, add a bit more oil and use it to season rice or pasta. Use it within a day, as the basil will turn black and look very unpalatable. Spread the relish on top of the grilled pork chops.
Per Serving: 476 Calories; 34g Fat (64.0% calories from fat); 39g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 293mg Sodium.

Posted in Brunch, Chicken, Pork, on August 27th, 2013.


For a couple of years we’ve been enjoying a single breakfast sausage most mornings. Trying to make it more healthy, but not giving up the pork aspect altogether, we’ve settled on a mixture of half ground pork and half ground turkey. Delish.

For the longest time we ate Costco’s all pork breakfast sausage, which comes from a distributor in San Diego. If you go outside of SoCal, you’ll find different branded sausage at Costco. I’ve been trying to find more healthy alternatives, though, and at first I tried making sausage patties with all ground turkey. We just didn’t get the flavor and texture we were looking for, so after going back to breakfast sausageCostco’s sausage for some months I decided to give it another try. This time with the half and half mixture and more spices. I’ve been making this for about 3-4 months now, and we’re very happy with the results. One of these times I’m going to use slightly more turkey than pork.

The spice mixture started out as one from my friend Sue, who now lives in Colorado. Sue’s mild turkey breakfast sausage  had great flavor, so I went with her combination, but just used a bit more.

Here’s a little triptych at left of how I do it:

(1) all the meat goes into a big bowl

(2) the seasonings are sprinkled all over – do NOT just throw it into one little pile – it will never get mixed in well enough – trust me on this

(3) mix it up and separate those spices as much as possible

(4) use a cookie scoop (or a spoon) to make really large 2-tablespoon-sized balls, approximately, and roll them, then flatten carefully

(5) On a metal sheet lined with waxed paper (or foil) place the patties a hair’s breadth apart, stacking 2 layers with waxed paper in between layers

(6) place tray on a flat surface in the freezer and allow to freeze solidly for about 3-4 hours

(7) remove from freezer and gently pry the patties off the waxed paper and place in Ziploc freezer bags (the quart size will hold about 16 or so of them). Seal up and replace bags in the freezer.

Below is a photo of them during the freezing process. I balance the cookie sheet on several items in the freezer so they’re almost level – and not touching the top rack, obviously. Can you tell my freezer if pretty darned full? I make a double batch of these each time (2 pounds each of turkey and pork) and they keep just fine for a couple of months in the freezer.


When you’re ready to have some, remove the number you want from the freezer bag and slowly (on a low setting) microwave/defrost them for about a minute until they’re defrosted. Do not “cook” them in the microwave – once you actually start to cook them in a frying pan, they’ll cook unevenly if they were partially cooked in the microwave and will tend to dry out.

The only advice I have – don’t over cook them – if you make these you’ll learn how quickly these cook and to remove them just when they’re done. They go from tender and juicy to dry and firm (and not very tasty) in a jiffy.

What’s GOOD: we like everything about this combination. We feel a little bit healthier because we’ve cut out half the pork, but with some in it, it still has all the pork flavor I’m looking for. I really like the subtle mixture of spices – be sure to sprinkle the red chili flakes all over the bowl – they’re potently hot – I speak from the voice of experience here.
What’s NOT: nothing, really. It’s a bit of a nuisance to make, but you’ll have enough to last awhile. Or make a double batch like I do.

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Pork & Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Recipe By: Adapted from my friend Sue, from a friend of hers
Serving Size: 30

1 pound lean ground turkey — (a mixture of light and dark meat)
1 pound ground pork — (not seasoned, just plain ground pork)
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves — rounded

1. Place ground pork and turkey in a mixing bowl. As you add the seasonings, sprinkle them all over the meat, which makes it easier to distribute it when you mix it in.
2. As gently as possible mix in the herbs and form into individual patties (about 2 T each and use a cookie scoop if you have one) and place on a waxed-paper lined sheet pan. You can cook them at this point, but I freeze the whole batch. So, freeze them, then remove from waxed paper and store in a Ziploc freezer bag. To defrost, remove and use a low setting to defrost in microwave or place them in the refrigerator the night before you want to prepare them.
3. Fry the patties over low heat (they cook quickly and will dry out if cooked over high heat). When frying them, add just a little jot of canola oil to the pan if desired.
Per Serving: 62 Calories; 4g Fat (62.7% calories from fat); 6g Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 21mg Cholesterol; 161mg Sodium.

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