Friday, January 20, 2012

Vermont Pork Chops

This is my very favorite pork chop recipe.

At least, it is today.

2 T. maple syrup (do yourself a favor, go buy the real stuff--none of this pancake syrup nonsense)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. Dijon mustard (didn't have any, so I used the yellow stuff)
Vegetable oil
2 6-oz. boneless, butterflied pork chops (I used normal, bone-in pork chops)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix maple syrup, brown sugar, and mustard together and set aside.  Remove visible fat from pork.  Heat some oil in a  skillet over medium-high heat.  Season both sides of pork.  Brown pork 2 minutes, turn and brown 2 minutes on the other side.  Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook 2 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

Remove to a plate.

Add sauce to skillet and heat several seconds, scraping up any brown bits in the skillet.  The brown sugar will caramelize and the sauce becomes magical.

Serve pork with sauce spooned on top.

I think you could easily do 3 pork chops with this because there was a lot of extra sauce.  I made two different types of pork chops last night and this was hands down everyone's favorite.  Even the littlest one who normally abhors meat.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Homemade Pretzels

This is the recipe I used to make "old lady fingers" and "old man toes" for Halloween, but it's a pretzel recipe and it's delicious and amazing.  So, the directions include how to make the fingers and toes, but you could easily just form them into whatever shape you want.

Red or green food coloring, (optional, for fingers)
  • 24 blanched almonds, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees), plus 3 quarts, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • Sea salt
  • Fried rosemary (optional, for toes)


  1. Place a small amount of food coloring, if using, in a shallow bowl, and, using a paintbrush, color the rounded side of each split almond; set aside to dry.
  2. Pour 2 cups water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1 cup flour into yeast on low speed until combined. Beat in coarse salt; add 3 1/2 cups flour, and beat until combined. Continue beating until dough pulls away from bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat 1 minute more. If dough is sticky, add up to 1 cup more flour. Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, 1 minute.
  3. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 6-quart straight-sided saucepan over high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add baking soda. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time, and cover remaining dough with plastic wrap. Divide first quarter into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece back and forth with your palm forming a long finger shape, about 3 to 4 inches. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Or, to make toes, roll each piece so that it is slightly shorter and fatter, about 2 inches. Pinch in 1 place to form the knuckle. When 12 fingers or toes are formed, transfer to simmering water. Poach for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fingers to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, blanching each set of 12 fingers or toes before making more.
  5. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzel fingers and toes with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about three times. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary, if using. Position almond nails, pushing them into dough to attach. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.