Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pork Chops – Breaded

While normally we think of breaded meat as being fried, and the breading absorbing fat from the frying operation, these pork chops are different. We bake the pork chops with a minimum of fat- it could even be a non-stick spray.

While Pork Chops Evelyn used catsup and lemon, giving them a slight sweet-and-sour flavor, these pork chops are seasoned with your favorite mustard.

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Breaded Pork Chops

(Mother) Catharine P. Crary

  • pork chops
  • your favorite mustard
  • evaporated milk (small can will do for 4-6 chops )
  • fine bread crumbs

Spread mustard on one side of each chop. Dip both sides into milk. Dip both sides into bread crumbs.
Place chops on an oiled baking sheet, mustard side up. Bake 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I think you can agree that this recipe is very simple, and doesn’t take much work. And you can have the chops ready on the table in less than 60 minutes from when you start.

Pork Chops Fairly Plain

While cooking the different pork chop recipes – Pork Chop Evelyn and Pork Chop Breaded– I felt my understanding of cooking the meat still lacked something. Yes, the recipes are good and flavorful, and I strongly recommend them. Herein, I am going to look at cooking pork chops with a minimum of flavor. And did they ever come out moist! And yes, I am sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of the cooked pork chops.

Pork Chops Fairly Plain

Ingredients

  • an Oven Safe skillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 inch thick pork chops

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a plate, mix the spices and spread them for dipping the pork chops. Dip both sides of the pork chops into the seasoning.

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray. Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

Place the skillet with pork chops in the oven and bake them for about 20 minutes; the internal temperature of the chops should be about 150 degrees.

Remove the skillet from the oven and tent the chops while the meat relaxes and stops losing moisture- about 5 minutes. Then serve.

If you lack an oven-safe skillet, you can move the pork chops from the skillet to a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

I actually used my thermometer that I introduced you to when I published my Dilly Bread recipe in the center of a pork chop to establish the time it took for the internal temperature to get to 150 degrees. In my oven, that was only about 15 minutes. I strongly suspect with the times I give in the other pork chop recipes that we might be over-cooking the chops. That could be because the recipes come from my parents’ generation when pork was cooked well in all cases.

Pork should be cooked from 145 degrees (rare) to 160 degrees (well done) in the center of the meat. If at all possible, I would recommend using an oven safe thermometer the first time you try this recipe; then you will have knowledge of your ovens heat transfer characteristic. Also, the thickness of the chops will make a big difference- thicker taking longer and thinner taking less time. As I noted, my chops were about 1 inch thick.

Once you develop this technique for cooking your pork chops, you can try other seasonings. Almost always you will find that garlic as one of the flavors. I believe that rosemary is also quite common. I have noted soy sauce and ginger are also common in marinating pork, so they might be flavors to include.

I hope that this recipe can give you a starting point for understanding pork chops and how to cook them with a minimum of flavoring to go with the other dishes of your meal.

Corn Bread

Marlys shows several optional ways for baking this recipe. I used the muffin tins, and everything came out perfectly. But, I remember Marlys making it in her old 10 inch cast iron skillet- the one she would never let me touch for fear I would wash it and ruin the seasoning of the iron. She also made it at times in the 8 inch square Corningware dish she had.

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Corn Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs

Mix together with wire whisk. While mixing, heat oiled pan in oven;
add batter.
Bake at 400°F for:

  • 12 muffin tins——20 minutes
  • 8″ square pan——25 minutes
  • 10″ fry pan———25 minutes

A word of caution about the recipe. Heating the oiled pans in the oven might cause the oil to smoke and burn. The oven is at 400 degrees, which is hotter than most oils used in recipes can take. (In the recipe, the oil is okay; it is when it is in the direct heat that it breaks down). For an oil that can take the 400 degrees, look for peanut oil, or even sunflower oil. Generally seed or kernel oils are good to about 450 degrees. When looking at the back of my Mazola corn oil bottle, it says that it burns at 375 degrees; and I agree after trying to use it to oil the pans.

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Muffin tins seem to vary in size; my tins are about 2.75 inches across, and just over an inch deep. The recipe seems to make a perfect amount for 12 tins; each tin was filled to the top and I ran out of mix. And the baking time was also ideal; you can see the good color on the corn muffins.

Chili Beans

This was one of Marlys’s favorite recipes; she made it as a Halloween dinner just about every year. It is very rich in meat and flavor. There are plenty of options for adjusting the heat of the chili, from the amount of cayenne or hot sauce to add, to whether you add fresh peppers. I will discuss what I did below the recipe.
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Chili Beans

(Betty Smith, 1968)
(Altered by Marlys Crary)

  • 2 lb. hamburger, ¾ – 1 lb. sausage – combined
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder (or more)
  • 3 (16 oz) cans kidney beans
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 24 oz. water
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumen
  • cayenne, to taste
  • hot sauce (Tabasco), to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch or masa harina (optional)

Optional

  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded, de-veined, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeded, de-veined, finely chopped

Brown meats. Add onion and garlic (and optional fresh peppers). Add chili powder, beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, 24 oz. water, salt, pepper, cumen, cayenne and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and simmer at least 1 hour before serving. Longer is better, and leftover better. May thicken with cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water or masa harina .

When I recently made this recipe, I put in the jalapeno peppers but not the poblano pepper. I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne, and 3 Tablespoons of hot sauce. (My hot sauce is Cholula brand). This was more than enough heat for me, and I put a dollop of sour cream on the top of my serving to help me control the heat. I think the cayenne heat was what I was feeling because it was like an after-taste effect in the back of my throat. I have not had a problem with that amount of jalapeno pepper in a large amount of soup or chili.

For thickening, I used the masa harina option.

There seems to be a pattern in the recipe for the number 3; 3# meat, 3 cloves garlic, 3 Tablespoons chili powder 3 cans of kidney beans and 3 small cans of tomato sauce. It was this latter item that caught my eye- I buy a total of 24 oz. of tomato sauce, but in a 16 oz. plus an 8 oz. cans.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Marlys loved the Halloween season; she was a kid and loved to go out into the fields to find her own pumpkins. And so it is no surprise that when she found this recipe, it became a standard part of the Fall season. It was often the dessert for Halloween night.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Combine above together in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 2 inch up sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 pkgs (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup (16 oz. can) solid pack pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup undiluted evaporated mil
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat cream cheese and sugars in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs, milk. Add cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg; beat well. Pour onto crust. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set.

Topping
  • 2 cups sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine above in small bowl. Spread over surface of warm cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Remove side of pan and chill several hours or overnight.

You want to pull the sides of the graham cracker crust up the sides of the spring-form pan all of the two inches suggested in the recipe; otherwise, you will have cheesecake filling left over. The finished cheesecake filling should be a couple inches deep.

The second time I made this recipe, I decided to pour all of the filling into the crust, and it fit, but was domed in the middle. I baked it off this way. As it baked, it leveled itself, and rose about an inch above the top of the spring-form pan; the filling was way above the top of the crust. After taking the cheesecake from the oven and starting to top it with the sour cream mixture, I noticed that the filling was starting to collapse on itself. In the end, the filling was just about at the top edge of the spring-form pan when the cheesecake had been cooled in the refrigerator. So, my hint is to not be afraid that the filling is too much and it does NOT need to stay in the crust; it can overflow the crust by several inches.

Since this is a spring-form pan, and the crust has plenty of butter in it, remember to place the pan on a sheet pan to catch the drips; you don’t want to be cleaning the bottom of the oven, or having dripped butter burning.

When I was making the filling, it seemed as if the mixer wasn’t cleaning the bottom and sides of the mixer bowl adequately; there were areas of white showing through where the cream cheese hadn’t been mixed with the pumpkin. So when you are scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl, go deep to the bottom and lift up any ingredients that are not joining the mix.

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Since this was suppose to be a Halloween dessert, I decided to make a pumpkin face on the top of my cheesecake just for fun. I used food coloring to make the topping orange. It took quite a few drops of both the red and yellow to get a deep enough orange. Then, before spreading the topping, I saved out about 1/3 cup, and added food coloring to make a deep brown color. After adding the blue, I needed to add still more red to get the right shade. I filled a piping bag and drew the features free-hand on the spread, orange topping. Have fun with your food!

Pear Tart

After developing what I thought was an exceptional Peach Tart, I felt the flavors I had chosen would also make an excellent Pear Tart. So I pushed ahead with that modification to the tart, and can now publish the recipe. Most of the notes and suggestions I made for the Peach Tart hold for the Pear Tart

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Pear Tart

Pastry

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger root*
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shortening.

* if you don’t want to buy and grate ginger root, substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

While this is a tart, and works nicely in a tart pan with a removable bottom, it can also be made and served in a regular pie pan. You will notice in the picture that I made the tart in one of the disposable pans you buy at the supermarket. And, interestingly enough, the pastry is strong enough that I was able to free the tart from the pan and lift it out onto a flat plate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place flour, ginger, sugars and vanilla in a food processor. Start the food processor and add the shortening about 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Remove and press into an 8 or 9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Cool the tart shell before continuing.

Filling:

  • 2 ripe pears peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp grated ginger root
  • 1/8 tsp rum or almond extract.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrangethe quarters of pears as radii in the cool tart shell. Process in a bowl with a whisk, or a hand mixer, the cream cheese, butter, milk, and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then spices and extract. Pour over pears but don’t overflow the crust- you may have some custard left. foil the edges of the crust so it doesn’t burn.

Bake 30 minutes, or until brown at the edges.

Daughter Jenn, whom I consider the pear expert, told me to use either Bartlett or d’anjou pears for baking, and I used the Bartlett. The pears you get in the store are seldom ripe; from remembering my Mother canning pears, I wrap each pear separately in a piece of newspaper and wait several days until it turns yellow.

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There is no magic to peeling pears; there skin is solid enough that you peel them like an apple or carrot. Once peeled, I quartered the pears lengthwise, and using a melon baller, removed the seeds and stem. I went to quarters so that I was certain the custard would fill the area where I had removed the seeds; I feared that the custard might not get into the dome where the seeds had been. But, I created a slightly different problem; there were too many tips of pears in the center of the tart. I had to cut off the tips of every other pear quarter in order to make space for the other four tips. Those cut off tips were tucked under the pears in the area where the seeds had been.

The pear tart is certainly easier to make than the peach tart – there are fewer pieces to put together. And because pear season seems to follow peach season, this tart will allow you to extend the season for making ginger tasting tarts.