Peppered Pork Chops with Peach-vinegar Glaze
• 2 boneless pork chops, ¾-inch thick
• 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (garlic pepper, lemon pepper, or a pepper blend)
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped red onion
• ½ jalapeno pepper (or to taste), seeded and minced
• ½ cup chicken broth
• ¼ cup peach jam
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Fresh cilantro, chopped
Rub chops on both sides with seasoned pepper. Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook chops to brown on one side; turn chops and add onion and jalapeno to pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 1 minute. Add broth, jam, and vinegar to pan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Serve chops with pan sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
• 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uniform in size
• ¾ cup flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 2 eggs
• 1½ cups seasoned breadcrumbs
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 4 tablespoons salted butter
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
Using a sharp knife, carefully slice chicken breasts in half, cutting parallel to the cutting board. Cover the top and bottom of the chicken with plastic wrap and flatten with a meat mallet or rolling pin to ¼-inch thickness.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Beat eggs in a separate shallow bowl. In a third bowl, stir together bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Dip chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 or 3 chicken breasts to pan and brown nicely on both sides (approximately 5 or 6 minutes total time). Continue to brown remaining chicken in batches of 2 or 3 pieces at a time, adding 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil for each new batch. Place browned chicken in 9x13-inch glass dish and finish cooking 15 to 20 minutes or until juices run clear.
Variation for Lemon Chicken
Eliminate Parmesan cheese from bread-crumb mixture. While chicken is baking, wipe out sauté pan and melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add ½ cup white wine or chicken stock, 1 tablespoon capers, and the juice of 3 lemons. Simmer until sauce thickens. Serve over baked chicken. Slice fresh lemons on top.
Practically every Sunday dinner I make includes roasted vegetables. They are so easy and delicious. I heat the oven to 400 degrees F., chop up vegetables, sprinkle with olive oil and Himalayan salt, and pop in the oven. I often roast squash, Brussels sprouts, and onions together. There are endless possibilities. These are some of our favorites.
Brussels sprouts: Cut off the end and discard any nasty outer leaves. Toss with olive oil and salt, place them in a single layer on a pan, and cook about 40 minutes.
Root vegetables: Carrots, turnips, butternut squash, yams. Peel and chop into similar sizes, about 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and place on pan. It is important to not overcrowd. Keep in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes.
Sweet potato fries: Peel sweet potatoes, slice up like french fries, and roast 45 minutes. Season with salt after roasting. (The grandkids gobble these up.)
• 2 clementines, peeled and sectioned
• 1 regular grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
• 1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
• 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
• 1 mango, diced
• Seeds from 1 pomegranate
• 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
Combine fruit in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and stir gently.
Note: To peel grapefruit, cut off the skin. Split in half. With a sharp knife, remove the membrane. Insert the knife under the inner edge and cut from the inside out.
Welsh Skillet Cakes
These Welsh Skillet Cakes are part of every Thanksgiving and Christmas in my home. During Mitt’s governorship and the presidential campaign, I’d bring several batches of them into the office. Mitt’s chief of staff, Beth Myers, would eat a few and then package up a few more to take home to her two kids—or so she said. That gave me the idea to make these as Christmas gifts for friends, which I have done for several years.
This recipe is from Annie Evans, my Welsh grandmother. It is required that all family members learn to love this recipe—the Welsh blood must live on. You must be careful not to overcook the cakes or make them too thin.
• 1 egg
• ½ cup milk
• 1 cup currants
• 3½ cups flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup shortening
• 1 cup sugar for dipping
Beat egg with milk. Add currants and set aside. Sift together flour, 1 cup sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Work shortening into flour mixture with pastry cutter or hands and mix until mealy. Pour milk and currants over flour mixture all at once, and mix well. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill at least one hour.
Roll chilled dough about ¼- to 1/3-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out cakes. Grease a pancake griddle (a frying pan will not do) with oil and heat to 325 degrees F. Place cakes on griddle to cook, turning when the uncooked side has a glossy look. Do not overcook. It’s a bit like cooking pancakes: most of the cooking is done on the first side before they are turned over. You don’t want to keep them as long on the griddle once they have been turned over, or they get too dry. Place one cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip both sides of cakes in sugar as you take them off the griddle. Cool.
By the way, these stay fresh for two or three days. And they freeze beautifully: I usually make a double batch and freeze half of them so I can bring them out with no fuss or muss on special occasions.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Torte
This one is everyone’s favorite. So good.
· 1 cup flour
· ¾ cup sugar
· ¾ cup sour cream
· ½ cup butter, softened
· ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
· 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee (optional)
· ½ teaspoon baking soda
· ½ teaspoon baking powder
· ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool. Invert onto serving plate and top with Fudge Topping (below).
• 1 cup heavy cream
• ½ cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 (7-ounce) jar macadamia nuts
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, sugar, butter, and chocolate and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Put water and ice in a large mixing bowl. Place pan in bowl and stir until mixture is of spreadable consistency. Stir in nuts. Pour topping evenly over cake, allowing some to run down the sides. The trick is to make sure it is not too runny; let cool to desired consistency before spreading on cake.