Pear Butter Pork Chops

I’ve been dying to use the pear butter I made last weekend in our crock pot. Huzzah! Thanks to Tracy for the apartment-warming gift.

Pear Butter

Pear Butter

I modified a basic pork-chop-and-fruit recipe from the Canadian paper Metro News. The author of the recipe is affiliated with a massive blog, but I don’t know whether the post appeared in the newspaper or online first, so I decided it would be OK.

Pear Butter Pork Chops
Serves 2

• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 3 thin-cut bone-in pork chops (original recipe calls for 4 inch-thin chops)
• 1/4 cup pear butter
• salt & pepper

1. Season chops generously with salt and pepper.

2. Set a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and heat one tablespoon olive oil.

3. Add chops and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

4. Transfer chops to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

5. Plate meal. Pour pear butter on top. (This is the part I modified! Can you tell? :))

Pear Butter Pork Chops

Pear Butter Pork Chops

The pork chops were juicy, the pear butter was ginger-y and amazing, and the crackers with brie made for a nice side. Seeing as how we have 14 cans of pear butter, we’ll probably be making this again.

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Banana (no nut) Bread

I believe the unseasonably warm Seattle weather earlier this month caused my bananas to ripen faster than I would have liked. (I made this recipe in early June) What’s to be done with ripe bananas other than make banana bread? However, I didn’t have nuts on hand, and most recipes I saw were for banana nut bread.

But then I found this recipe from my alma mater, The State News. I was interested to see the recipe was attached to an article about banana bread being a healthier snacking alternative. Really? Healthier than what? With butterbutterbutter? It wasn’t like this was a Cooking Light banana bread recipe… Healthier than Twinkies and Sour Patch Kids, perhaps. You can read the comments below the story if you want a more biting, condescending version of my critique.

I figured I’d give the recipe a whirl, even if the health information wasn’t exactly correct and even if the recipe was snagged from the Food Network.

Banana Bread

1 cup of sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted, room-temperature butter
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

The oven should be preheated at 325 degrees and a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan needs to be buttered.

The sugar and butter need to be creamed together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Each egg then needs to be added one at a time and beaten into the mix as they are added.

1. In a separate bowl, the bananas need to be mashed with a fork. Then, mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Stir and combined the banana mix to the creamed mixture, then add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour disappears.

3. Once everything is mixed together, pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour. Use a toothpick to determine if it’s cooked entirely. Poke the bread in the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, then it is finished. Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing bread from the pan and slicing.

Notes:

  • I’m still interested in if you think it “counts” as a newspaper recipe when the newspaper snags the recipe from another source. For more of my musings on this topic, read this earlier post.
  • I didn’t get any pictures of the bread. Whoops. But it looked like pretty much every other loaf of banana bread that has ever been baked in the history of humankind, so you’re not really missing out.
  • I thought the bread was rather bland when I ate it the morning after I made it, but Toby really loved it and was sad that I took half the bread as a thank-you gift to a school that let us observe their reading classes.
Teacher Resource Room at Adelaide Elementary -- we hope you enjoyed the bread!

Teacher Resource Room at Adelaide Elementary -- we hope you enjoyed the bread!

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Published in: on June 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken Sunday

My mom and dad always joke about the years when my dad would visit Grammy’s house on Sunday afternoons and join the Beltowski family for a chicken dinner.

Mom and Dad, 1972
Mom and Dad, 1972

The chicken got a bit tiresome. And so Chicken Sundays became a bit of a joke in our family.

This year, I belatedly discovered the amazing children’s author/illustrator Patricia Polacco (a fellow Michigander). Her version of Chicken Sunday is quite a bit more touching (and tasty) than ours.

Both these anecdotes are relevant because Toby and I have recently been having Chicken Sundays of our own. Our most recent version of this featured a recipe that ran in the Washington Post in 1999. It’s from an article with the headline, “First you take a chicken breast; one way to saute and 13 ways to sauce a weekday dinner favorite.”

Reporter Pam Anderson supports a pared-down approach in the art of saute:

“There’s no need to pinch, prod, poke or push around the chicken. If the oil temperature and pan size are right, the breasts should be done with one turn in about six minutes.”

She gets straight to the good stuff (at least for me, because I need such basic instruction):

Over time, I’ve learned that to saute chicken breasts properly, you must start by heating the pan before you ever touch the chicken. Since neither oil nor butter is ideal, use a combination of the two. Butter for flavor; oil to increase the smoking point. As soon as you turn on the burner to low, add the butter and oil. Slow, steady heat keeps it from wildly sizzling, spitting, smoking and burning.

This was a pretty basic recipe, from what Toby tells me.

Toby makes the meal
The cook at work.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Sauteed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

(4 servings)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour measured into a pie plate or other shallow pan
Lemon wedges or pan sauce (see following recipes)

1. Pull the tenderloin–the flap of meat attached to a boneless, skinless chicken breast–from each breast half and saute them separately. Some brands of chicken breasts come with their tenderloins already removed.

2. Place the breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper and pound or roll until even in thickness.

3. In a 11- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil.

4. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts and tenderloins with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Set aside.

5. A couple of minutes before sauteing, increase the heat to medium- high. When the butter stops foaming, turns brown and starts to smell nutty, transfer the chicken breasts and the tenderloins to the skillet. Cook, turning only once, until the chicken breasts are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (tenderloins will be done a little sooner). Remove the chicken from the skillet.

Orange-Dijon Pan Sauce With Rosemary

(4 servings)

1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon butter

1. To the drippings in the skillet, add the orange juice, mustard and rosemary and boil over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup.

2. Carefully tilt the skillet so the liquid collects at 1 side of the pan.

3. Whisk in the butter until the sauce is smooth and glossy.

4. Spoon a little sauce over each sauteed breast and serve immediately.

The meal.
This week’s meal.

Notes and Modifications
• Per serving: 43 calories, trace protein, 4 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 8 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber
• Toby said, “I just followed the recipe to a tee.” So apparently that’s all you need to do.
• Recipe taken from: First, You Take a Chicken Breast; One Way to Saute and 13 Ways to Sauce a Weekday Dinner Favorite. Pam Anderson. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.:Sep 22, 1999. p. F01

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Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Yucatan Chicken with Peach-Avocado Salsa

This award-winning recipe was the talk of the town in Hilton Head, S.C., where it won the 42nd Annual National Chicken Cooking Event in 1997. I wanted a fool-proof chicken recipe for dinner tonight, because I was definitely not in a chicken breast mood.

I hoped that Teresa Hanna Smith of Santa Rosa wouldn’t let me down. When she won the 1997 competition, she was already a five-year veteran of the program. I trust people who have more experience than me.

The judge chairman that year said she noticed some trends in the 1997 finals:

This year’s recipe trends were influenced by international flavors, according to Carol Haddox, judge chairman and editor of the Chicago Tribune’s “Good Eating” section. The recipes included flavors usually associated with Thai, Greek, Moroccan, Mexican, Indian, Tuscan and Italian dishes. The creative blends of ethnic ingredients resulted in some tasty poultry dishes.

Another tendency was toward recipes with “quick, fast preparation,” says Ms. Haddox. “People want dishes that are easy to cook.”

I’m not sure if her observations would still be considered trends at this point, more than ten years later, because I think many of those ideas still drive new recipes today.

Excerpted from the Chattanooga Free Press

Chattanooga Free Press. April 16, 1997, Gwen Swiger, E1.

YUCATAN CHICKEN WITH PEACH-AVOCADO SALSA
($25,000 winning
recipe by Teresa Hanna Smith)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Peach-Avocado Salsa (
recipe follows)
Lime slices

Place chicken in shallow glass dish; rub all sides with garlic pepper seasoning. Pour orange and lime juices over chicken; drizzle with olive oil. Crush oregano with fingers and sprinkle over chicken. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken from marinade and place in large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Saute, turning, about 12 minutes or until lightly browned and fork can be inserted in chicken with ease. Serve topped with Peach-Avocado salsa; garnish with lime slices.

Peach-Avocado Salsa
In medium bowl, mix together 1 fresh peach, peeled, pitted and diced; 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and diced; 1 tomato, peeled seeded and diced; 1 1/2 cup diced jicama; 3 tablespoons chopped red onion and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. In small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil; pour into peach-avocado mixture, stirring gently.

Yucatan Chicken with Peach-Avocado Salsa
It. Was. Delicious. 

Our notes and modifications: 

• The chicken is ridiculously moist. Deliciously, ridiculously moist.
• Peaches are nowhere close to being in season in mid-January, so we debated for a while whether we should use canned peaches, nectarines, or mangoes instead. We went with the mangoes, and we were pleased with the results.
• If you’ve never peeled jicama before, here’s how.
• The chicken is buried beneath the salsa in the picture. The tortillas were fried soft corn tortillas. The beans were Top Foods store brand, and the rice was Rice-A-Roni Spanish Rice. The meal was delicious overall, but I could have done without the rice.
• If you would like to enter the National Chicken Cooking Contest, you have until August 31 to submit your application.

Finally, we chose to accompany our meal with Rising Moon, the spring ale from Blue Moon. Toby and I are both familiar with Harvest Moon, Honey Moon, and Full Moon (Blue Moon’s other tasty seasonal ales), but we’d never heard of Rising Moon. Regardless, it’s tasty. Not as delicious as Harvest Moon, but nice nonetheless.

Coors Brewing Company didn’t say whether Rising Moon was a new release, and yet we couldn’t find any images of it online, which indicates to me that it’s probably new-ish. Coors’ fact sheet (link downloads a PDF) doesn’t even have an image of it. Google Images doesn’t have one either, so here’s one I took:

Rising Moon
Rising Moon, Blue Moon’s spring ale 

Because this is a recipe introduced to the world through a food competition, I figured I should mention that I just ordered an interesting-sounding book called Cook-Off: Recipe Fever in America. I’ll let you know how it is once it arrives.

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Published in: on January 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm  Comments (3)  
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