Monday, December 30, 2013

Caramel Apple Pork Chops - Easy & Tasty Entrée

I found this easy, tasty caramel pork chop recipe at one of my go-to sites - ( It had over 1,400 reviews, almost all positive.

Prep time is about 20 minutes and cook time is 25 minutes. It serves 4.


4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tart apples (I used Honey Crisp) - peeled, cored, and sliced
3 tbsp pecans (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated over.

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

4. Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and pork chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Excellent and Easy Cream of Celery Soup

Recently, I came across this nice cream of celery soup recipe at while searching for a way to use some leftover celery. After finding the recipe, I discovered that the celery had passed its useful life. Since I now had my heart set on this recipe, I went out and bought more celery. The recipe is from

Prep time is 10 minutes; total time is 55 minutes; and it produces six servings.


- 3 tbsp nutter
- 1 & 1/2 lbs celery ribs, sliced (cross wise. The celery will be puréed.)
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 6 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3-4 dashes hot sauce
- salt to taste
- white pepper to taste (color of pepper is important to keep creamy appearance of the soup)
- celery leaves to garnish

- In a large pan, melt butter; add celery, onions, and garlic
- Cook over medium-low heat until soft
- Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes over low heat
- Add chicken broth an bay leaf; bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes
- Remove bay leaf and purée in small batches in a blender or food processor. (Instead of that slower process, I left the ingredients in the cooking pan, and puréed them using a hand-held immersion blender. That seemed to work just fine.)
- Add cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper
- Reheat and simmer 5 minutes
- Garnish with celery leaves

Bob Evans Easy and Delicious Sausage Stuffing - The Sacrilegious Version

I love sausage stuffing. In a search for an easy and tasty version for Thanksgiving, I found this excellent one at Since our local Publix does not carry Bob Evans sausage, I ended up using Jimmy Dean sausage. I liked the recipe so much that I made it again for Christmas dinner. 

For Thanksgiving, I served it with a white gravy. For Christmas, I served it without gravy. It was nice both ways, but since I love gravy, I prefer it that way.

This takes about an hour total to make, and makes 8 servings.

- 1 pound Bob Evans Savory Sage or Original Recipe Sausage Roll. (Both times, I used the Jimmy Dean sage flavored 1 pound roll.)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 14-ounce package of cubed stuffing. I used cubed stuffing flavored with herbs and seasoning.
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I skipped this seasoning because the cubed stuffing was already seasoned.)
- 2&1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup melted butter


In a large skilled over medium heat, crumble sausage. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is brown.
Place cubed stuffing in a large bowl. Add sausage mixture. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Pour broth and butter over the top, and toss to combine.
Spoon mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and cover. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

One of these days, I'll try this with Bob Evans sausage.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney, Easy and Great with Turkey & Ham - Good Housekeeping

Several years ago, my wife started making a Good Housekeeping Cranberry-Apple Chutney to go with Thanksgiving Dinner. ( Since she is no longer able to cook, she asked me to make it for Thanksgiving. It was so good, I made it again to go with our Christmas ham dinner. I love it, and it's really easy to make:

- 5 oz. of pearl onions (1&1/2 cups) (I bought the Birds Eye all natural frozen version)
- 8 dried Calimyrna figs, chopped (1 cup)(I used Kalamata Crown Figs)
- 1&1/2 cups waters
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 medium Pink Lady or Gala apples, peeled and chopped (2&1/4 cups)
1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries (3 cups) picked over

1. (This first step is only necessary if you buy fresh pearl onions. For the frozen ones, I used the simple stove top cooking instructions on the package. This undoubtedly makes the preparation much faster.)
Fill 3-quart saucepan with water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Add onions and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Drain onions and add to medium bowl of ice water to stop cooking; drain again. When cool enough to handle, slice off and discard root end of onion; squeeze from opposite end. Onion will slip out of skin. Repeat with remaining onions.
2. In a 5-quart saucepan, stir together figs, water, sugar, vinegar, and coriander seeds until sugar dissolves. Heat to boiling; then add onions and apples. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes or until apples are tender. Add cranberries and simmer 10 minutes or until a few cranberries pop; stirring occasionally. (Instead of just letting a few cranberries pop, I waited until most had popped, creating a thick sauce.) Spoon chutney into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate 3 hours or up to 4 days.

There were 10 of us for for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. This was enough for all, with lots left over. My wife and I enjoyed the leftovers for 3 days.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chutney's Sarasota - A Dining Paradise

There are most restaurants, and then there are extraordinary restaurants like Chutney's of Sarasota, which serves Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian and other cuisines. It is not easy to serve such diverse cuisines, but Chutney's does it remarkably well. It is run by husband and wife team - Ash Shukla and Denise May, and has been a fixture of the Sarasota restaurant scene for some 27 years. We have not met her, but he is the perfect restaurateur - charming, gregarious, creative, customer-focused, etc., etc.

We had not eaten there for a number of years, but decided to try it last night when we were in the area of Sarasota Memorial Hospital for a late-afternoon doctor's appointment. It turned out to be the perfect choice. Every morsel was superb, and the wine was very nice.

Most of what we had were specials for the day. It was very hard to chose because there were so many delicious-sounding dishes.

My wife started with the Greek salad that came with her meal. This "Greek Salad" was the Americanized version of Greek salad because it had lettuce, which one does not find in true Greek salads.

I had bowl of Persian spinach and lemon soup. Its ingredients included split peas, turmeric, onion, and pomegranate. Every spoonful was superb. The pomegranate added a very nice sweetness that complemented the other ingredients.

We both chose the same main course - Bo Bo Tie, a South African dish which dates to the 17th Century, and whose origins are in Indonesia ( Early versions were made with mutton or pork. Later versions with beef or lamb. The version we had was with ground breast of chicken.

It is a mild dish with a nice mixture of spices. Its ingredients included ground breast of chicken, madras curry spices, milk, and panko bread crumbs. It was topped with a mango chutney. It was fantastic. The consistency was that of a meat loaf.

As an accompaniment to the Bo Bo Tie, we both had cranberry rice pilaf, whose ingredients included rice, dried cranberries, cashews, and sautéed onions. It too was superb.

The Bo Bo Tie, Cranberry Pilaf, and Salad were $21.95. The servings were huge.

We had a very nice red wine with our dinner - Marchesi Biscardo Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso for $42. The retail store price of this wine is about $23, so $42 is a very reasonable restaurant  price. Mr. Shukla spent a generous amount of his time discussing some of his wines, and his philosophy of reasonable pricing of those wines. We really enjoyed chatting with him. We watched him as he managed to devote attention to all of his diners. It was clear that a number of the diners were repeat customers, who loved Chutney's and felt very much at home there.

The pita bread served with our meal was very nice, not like the faux pita sold in supermarkets.

We took home a dessert- a New Orleans bourbon bread pudding, for $6. Like all of the other dishes we had, it was marvelous - sinfully rich. It seemed similar to one I have made (

One nice feature of the Chutney's menu is that diners can create multi-course Middle Eastern or Indian entrées.

The owners close for a month each year to travel and enjoy other cuisines. This year, they traveled to Italy and spent time in Umbria around Lake Trasimeno. We discussed Umbria and Tuscany with Mr. Shukla.

We highly recommend Chutney's and intend not to wait so long before returning.

Chutney's is located at 1944 Hillview St. Phone 941-954-4444. They do both lunch and dinner. I recommend making reservations.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Delicious & Easy Salmon with Philippine Flavors

In doing an Internet search for an easy salmon recipe with turmeric seasoning, I came across this very nice, mild-curry recipe on, a Vancouver-based blog devoted to Philippine cuisine. I did not include the cilantro leaves, which I did not have at home. That would certainly have made the dish even better for us. The blog's author suggests that any fish steaks would work.


- Salmon steaks or any fish steaks. (I used two 8-oz. fillets.)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used about a cup of chopped canned tomatoes)
- chopped cilantro leaves


- Preheat oven to 375°
- Sprinkle salmon steaks with salt. Place steaks on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic; cook until soft and brown. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric; and stir fry for 30 seconds. (I had premixed the spices in a small dish.)
- Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 1 minute. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with rice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apollonia Mediterranean Grill - Delicious Greek Food

My wife and I have enjoyed at least three meals at Apollonia Mediterranean Grill ( near Lakewood Ranch. On one occasion, we celebrated my sister's birthday, and on two other occasions, we had lunch with the same three wonderful friends. We loved just about everything there except the dolmades, the stuffed grape leave, which were good, but not terrific. The bottom line is that like Apollonia and plan to return.

(We are probably not quite fair in our judgment of the dolmades - grape leaves stuffed with rice and sometimes meat, and generally covered with avgolemono (egg lemon) sauce. The Apollonia version was stuffed with rice and beef and dill. The leaves were poorly wrapped around the rice and the rice was not firm.

We prefer the Levantine-style stuffed grape leaves with lamb and firm rice, and with the leaves tightly wrapped. We have had this type many times and love it.)

At our most recent lunch with our three friends, my wife had  the dolmades as an appetizer for $8.99. Her main course was the gyro sandwich with gyro lamb in grilled pita with onions, tomatoes, and arugula, and french fries for $11.99.  Her sandwich was delicious.

I had the Gyro Platter for $13.99. It was very nice.

For dessert, she had Tiramisu for $7 and I had Galactoboureco - phyllo dough, custard, and honey -for $6. Both were excellent.

My wife enjoyed a glass of white sangria for $7.50 and I had Saint George Agiorgitiko wine for $10 per glass. Both were excellent. Agiorgitiko is the most planted type of grape in Greece. On its menu, Apollonia misspells Agiorgitiko.

At my sister's birthday, my sister and I both ordered the braised lamb shank with rice pilaf and roasted vegetables ($20 each). It comes with a choice of soup or salad. She chose a salad and I chose a soup - chicken, lemon, and rice. My wife had the "Classic Combo" - Moussaka, Pasticcio, Spanakopita, and house-made dolmades. She also had the salad.

Everything was mouth-wateringly delicious except the dolmades, which were decent. 

The soup was out of this world, and the lamb was fantastic.

For dessert, my sister and I had the galactoboureco ($4)  and my wife had the house-made rice pudding ($3). All were very nice.

The wine I chose was Atlantis Red ($10 per glass) from Estate Argyros on the island of Santorini. When I asked the waitress what type of grape was used in the wine, she checked and said it was Malbec. That surprised me because I was unfamiliar with any Greek use of Malbec, which tends to be used primarily in South American reds. I later checked the Estate Argyros web site ( and learned that this wine is made from 90% Mandilaria grapes and 10% Mavrotragano. The wine was decent.

Two of us had the Greek coffee ($2.50). It was delicious.

The bottom line is that Apollonia is a very nice addition to the local dining scene.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mei Mei Garden Chinese Restaurant - Edible Food

We recently decided to try Mei Mei Garden Chinese restaurant, in the hope that we could find delicious Chinese good close to home. It was a disappointment. Our two dinners could best be described as "edible." We did not even save the leftovers.

My wife's entrée was Shredded Pork with Ginger and Scallions - $12.95. She also had a shrimp roll - $1.95.

My entrée was Beef Chow Fun with Vegetables and Sauce - $11.95.

We also used a coupon for a pair of free egg rolls.

The restaurant is located 8310 Market St., Lakewood Ranch.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Asparagus Shandong - A Nice & Easy Side, Great with Salmon

In a recent search for an asparagus side to go with a salmon entrée, I found this winner at ( It was fast, easy, and tasty. It was a perfect accompaniment for the salmon. It serves 2-4.

Instead of 1 1/2 lbs. of asparagus, I used a pound because there were only two of us.


- 1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise on the diagonal into 2" pieces
- 1 tbsp. Japanese reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
- 2 drops red chili oil
- 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus to pot and cook until tender-crisp and bright green - 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, then immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water. Set aside to cool - 2 to 3 minutes. Drain again, then transfer to paper towels, pat dry, and set aside.

2. Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil in a medium bowl. Add asparagus and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.

Super Simple Salmon

It's hard to believe how fast and simple some delicious recipes can be. I found a terrific salmon recipe in this category at This one is appropriately named "Super Simple Salmon" (

This recipe calls for four salmon fillets. I only used two 8-0z fillets because there were only two of us. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and requires very few ingredients. I prepared it in a grill pan on the stove.


1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 x 6-ounce salmon fillets
2 tablespoons butter
4 lemon wedges


1. Stir together the garlic powder, basil, and salt in a small bowl. Rub in equal amounts on the salmon fillets.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon in the butter until browned and flaky - about 5 minutes per side. Serve each piece of salmon with a lemon wedge.

Forage in Salt Lake City - An Incredible Dining Experience

On a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I had one of the most incredible dining experiences of my life. It was at a small restaurant called Forage (, where a colleague and I had a 15-course meal. Each course was small, but exceptionally creative and delicious. Moreover, each course was served in a very artistic way. At the end of the meal, we were delighted with the many different tastes we had experienced, but did not feel in the least bit full. We accompanied our meal with a nice red wine from northwest Italy.

It was my colleague who discovered Forage in Internet browsing, and suggested we try it. As soon as I read the reviews he forwarded to me, I agreed that we should try it.

Forage specializes in using local foods "from the wild and from small farms and ranches." It serves a single set menu of 15 courses for $87 per person. It also offers wine pairings for $65, or juice and other non-alcoholic pairings for $26. It also offers a small, but nicely constructed wine list. The wine we chose was a bottle of 2011 Pecchenino San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG (a red).

Forage was opened in 2009 by Chefs Bowman Brown and Viet Pham. Chef Pham subsequently left in 2012.

In 2011, Food and Wine Magazine included Chefs Brown and Pham in a very small group of the Best New Chefs in America.

In a January 2013 Iron Chef competition, Chefs Pham, Brown, and Luke Fowles defeated Chef celebrity Bobby Flay. Their most innovative dish then was a beef fat ice cream with cherries. It blew away the judges. (

Each course that we enjoyed had only a few bites and was served in a very creative fashion. In some cases, food was served in a way that it blended in with non-food items in the dish - so that one almost had to "forage" for the food. Of course, the server pointed out the actual food item.

The restaurant is located in what appears to have originally been a residence. It is relatively small inside.

Two servers waited on all the clients. There was a young woman named Brooklyn, and a young man of Nepalese ethnicity named Pratik. Both were very attentive, professional, and helpful.

After returning from my trip, I sent an email to Chef Brown thanking him for the terrific meal and asking him to review my descriptions of the dishes. He kindly responded and corrected a couple of my errors.

The courses we enjoyed were:


Juniper Soda and Sorrel Sorbet - with salt around the rim

Potato Crisp with Elderberry Caper, Shallot, House-Made Sour Cream

Burn Eggplant Crisp with Eggplant Purée

Elderberry Leather with Chicken Liver Paté


Grilled Dragon Tongue Beans

Smoked Cheddar, Malted Barley, Epic Beer Batter

Main Dishes

Smoked Tomato Broth, Corn, and Fresh Trout Roe

Idaho Sturgeon and Cabbage infused with Rosemary, and with Buttermilk Whey

Plum and Tomato with Sheep's Milk Cheese and Basil Purée

Vegetables with Roasted Chicken Vinaigrette

Smoke Trout with Rosehips, Wild Sumac, Apple Juice, and Rosehip oil

Aged Duck with Beets and Burnt Onion


Muscat Grapes, Celery Sorbet, and Sorrel Powder

Asian pear purée and Douglas Fir Mousse

Rosehip sherbet, vanilla meringue, sparkling yoghurt, dried raspberry.
At the end, we were served a couple of candies, probably home-made.


Dolcetto is a type of wine produced from a grape of the same name. It is from the Langhe area of the Piedmont Region of northwest Italy. The Langhe is one of Italy's greatest wine producing areas. Its star wine is Barolo. While Dolcetto is one of the Langhe's lesser wines, this one was very nice. I think the price was about $40.
Thanks Chef Brown!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Salsiccie all'Uva - A Delicious and Really Easy Tuscan & Umbrian Sausage Dish

I found this terrific recipe several years ago on the New York Times' Diner's Journal Blog ( I've prepared it several times, most recently last night. I've always been happy with the results.

The first couple of times I tried it, I used Publix mild Italian sausage. However, last night, I tried Roma Sausage from Mazzaro's Italian Market in St. Petersburg, FL. The Roma sausage's ingredients include capicola, pepperoni, and asiago cheese. I'd never heard of it before, but it was very nice.

This recipe serves 4 and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.


- 1 to 1&1/2 pounds fresh Italian sausage
- 4 cups seedless grapes (I used red grapes)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, or to taste. (I used 4 teaspoons of balsamic.)


1. Place sausages in a 10- or 12-inch skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook the sausages turning from time to time, about 15 minutes. When they are brown all over, prick each sausage in a few places with a thin-bladed knife and cook for 5 minutes more. (The author of the NY Times blog posting advised that waiting 15 minutes to prick the sausages to release their fat would minimize the mess and that the sausages would brown perfectly even in a dry pan. He was right; and per the recipe, I used a dry skillet.)

2. Remove sausages to a warm platter. If more than a tablespoon or two of fat remains in the pan, remove the excess. Add grapes and turn heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the grapes collapse. Add vinegar or lemon juice, stir, and turn off the heat. Serve sausages nestled in grapes.

(Note: The NY Time author used the "salsiccia," the Italian singular for "sausage." I used the plural, "salsicce." If you Google the recipe title using either, you'll find lots of results in both English and Italian.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mojo Peach Pork Sauté - Delicious & Easy Publix Recipe

Tonight, I tried making a Mojo Peach Pork Sauté I had sampled at Publix the other night. We loved it. The recipe serves four and takes about half an hour to prepare.


(I have a soft spot in my heart for Publix recipes since I learned to cook at Publix Aprons Cooking School.)


- 2 firm peaches, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, coarsely chopped (I skipped the chives because I didn't want to buy a package of chives just for a tablespoon)
- zest & juice of 1 lime
- 1 lb of pork tenderloin sliced into 1-inch thick slices
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 12-oz bag of Publix fresh fajita vegetable mix. (If the fajita mix is not available, use about half an onion, half a red bell pepper, and half a green bell pepper sliced.)
- 1/4 cup Publix Bakery spicy peach butter. (You could probably substitute spicy or regular peach preserves)
- 3 tablespoons mojo marinade.


- Preheat large sauté pan on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Season pork with salt & pepper; place oil in pan. Add pork; cook 1-2 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove pork from pan.

- Add fajita vegetables to same pan, and cook 3-4 minutes, or until peppers begin to soften.

- Combine peach butter, mojo, lime zest, and lime juice.

- Add pork, peaches, and peach butter mixture to vegetables. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens. Top with chives and serve.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chicken Katsu - Tasty and Easy Japanese Dish

One of the types of dishes I enjoyed in Japan was Katsu dishes such as Tonkatsu (Ton = pork), Katsudon, and chicken Katsu. Americans who are not vegetarians usually enjoy katsu dishes. What many don't realize are that the original Japanese katsu dish, a beef dish first created in Tokyo in 1899 are Japanese versions of western dishes. Katsu is an abbreviated Japanese pronunciation of the English word "cutlet" (katsuretsu) (

I decided to try making Chicken Katsu. I found an recipe that was very easy, and the results were excellent ( The author of the recipe says it can also be used to make Tonkatsu (by replacing the chicken with pork.) I plan to give that a try.

This recipe serves 4 and should take less than half an hour to prepare. I served it with Japanese-style short grained sticky rice.


- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/2 inch thickness. (I avoided the pounding by purchasing thin-sliced chicken breasts.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup oil (I used canola oil) for frying

1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour, egg, and panko crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Then:
- Coat the chicken breasts in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Dip the chicken breasts into the egg.
- Press the chicken breasts into the panko crumbs until well coated on both sides.

2. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the hot oil, and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

3. Serve with rice and tonkatsu sauce. (You can often find tonkatsu sauce at oriental food stores. The brand we prefer is one called Bull-dog sauce. Tonkatsu sauce also sounds very easy to make. Google "tonkatsu sauce recipe" to find recipes for the sauce.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Delicious & Easy Glazed Carrot Recipe

If you enjoy glazed carrots, you may enjoy this really easy Emeril Lagasse creation which I found on the food network. It's named, "Oh Yeah Baby Glazed Carrots."  (


- 1 one-pound bag of baby carrots
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt


Place all the ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender and the sauce becomes a shiny glaze, about 15 minutes.


Terrific Pork Chop Recipe

In searching for a good, easy pork loin chop recipe, I found a YouTube creation - "Juicy Pork Loin Chops"  ( that easily produces moist, delicious results.


- Pork loin chops (I used two center cut chops from Publix.)
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- As many cloves of garlic as you'd like, chopped coarsely. I used four large cloves
- one onion, sliced
- salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you'd like. I used pepper and a very nice French sea salt with herbes de provence, lavender and cornflower, called Balade en Provence by Delices d'Ophelie. The salt was a gift from friends Kathy & George.


- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet.
- Heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Put the pork chops and rosemary into the skillet and cook the chops for 3-4 minutes on one side.
- Turn the chops with tongs, not a fork.
- Add the onion and garlic, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Put the skillet in the oven and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, using oven-safe gloves or other protection to hold the skillet.
- Remove the pork chops from the skillet and cook the onions and garlic for another 5-10 minutes. (I did 5 minutes.) You can add salt, pepper, and/or other seasonings to the cooking onion-garlic mixture.
- Combine pork chops, onion, and garlic. Serve.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baked Salmon with Dijon & Garlic

Since Publix had wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon on sale this week and since I also had a coupon for $2 off any Publix fresh seafood item, I googled "sockeye salmon recipe" and came up with this fast, easy, tasty recipe from Natasha's kitchen ( I was very happy with the results.

I used two 7-ounce fillets for the two of us, but I made the same amount of sauce specified in the recipe. I used it all on the two fillets.


1.5 lbs salmon (this was wild sockeye salmon)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 large OR 3 small cloves of garlic, pressed
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard (grey poupon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup mild olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices (mostly for effect)


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Line a rimmed baking dish with foil. (Natasha wrote that she had not lined the dish and regretted it because she had to scrub the dish fiercely for a day and a half to get it clean. I followed her advice.)

3. In a small bowl, combine the chopped parsley, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well.

4. Cut salmon into even portions: I made 4 generous cuts of salmon. (I used only two cuts of salmon.) Lay them onto the lined baking dish skin side down.

5. Generously brush all sides of the salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices.

 6. Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don’t over-cook or the fish will be dry. (I had two pieces of salmon - one thin and one thicker. I cooked the thin one for 12 minutes and the thicker one for 14 minutes. That worked fine.) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lobster Roll Sandwich Recipe - Delicious, but Can Be Expensive

Thanks to our daughter pointing out a nice and easy recipe, we had delicious lobster roll sandwiches last night. The recipe was from Real Simple magazine ( Depending on the time of year, the lobster can be expensive.

The recipe serves 4. I scaled the amount of lobster and corn down to serve the three of us.

The recipe supposedly takes 20 minutes to prepare. It took me a bit longer, principally because the lobster did not come out of the shell as easily as I had hoped.


- 4 lobster tails (about 1&1/2 pounds total). The lobster tails I used were small and would not have produced that amount, so I calculated that this recipe calls for 6 ounces per person. It took six 3-oz tails.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh corn (from 1 ear) (The ear I bought yielded only 2/3 cup.)
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt & black pepper
- 4 potato hot dog buns (Publix didn't have the potato hot dog buns, so I used their tasty hoagie rolls.)


1. Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer and place the lobster tails in the steamer basket. Cover the pan and steam until the lobster is opaque throughout - about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the tails. Using kitchen shears, cut straight down the central membrane (the thin, paler pink portion on the inside of the tail) and pull apart to break the tail in half. Remove the meat from the shell immediately (to stop the cooking) and coarsely chop. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, tossing, until tender - 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Reserve the skillet.
3. Into the bowl with the cooled corn, add the lobster, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to combine.
4. Brush the insides of the buns with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Brown the buns, buttered side down, in the reserved skillet over medium heat until golden - 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Divide the lobster salad between the buns.

A Nice Philly Cheesesteak at Charlie's Steak and Hoagie

After visiting the doctor's office the other day, I had a hankering for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich (  I decided to head to Charlie's Steak and Hoagie, not far from the doctor's office. I had enjoyed Philly cheesesteaks there before, but it had been a number of years. I discovered the sandwiches are as delicious as ever. I'm getting hungry as I type this post.

My sandwich included chopped steak, American cheese, onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a nice hoagie. It was prepared quickly as I waited. It was fantastic.

The hoagies are available in two sizes - 6" and 10". I had a 6", which was perfect for me. It cost $6.41 with tax.

Charlie's offers a variety of other hoagies, deli sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, etc.
They serve breakfast, and are closed on Sundays, and are not open for dinner.

You order at the counter. Service was fast and friendly.

It is a bit small - two tables for 6, four tables for 4, one table for 2, and 5 seats at the counter.

It is located in the Gold Tree Plaza at 2854 Ringling Blvd., at the intersection of Ringling and Tuttle.

Another Nice Moroccan Chicken Recipe

In looking for a recipe to use some leftover dates with couscous and leftover rotisserie chicken from Publix, I found a nice Moroccan chicken and couscous recipe at ( It is easy to prepare - a total of about 40-50 minutes of prep and cooking time. It serves two. (I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it sure tastes good.)

I made a couple of changes:
- The recipe calls for a pound of cut up boneless chicken breast. I had about half a pound of mostly breast meat on a whole rotisserie chicken. The chicken was Bourbon Maple chicken. That flavoring was primarily on the skin, which I removed.
- The recipe called for two tablespoons of flour, but did not say how to use it, so I eliminated it. That did not seem to affect the terrific flavor. (I assume this was for dredging to better coat the chicken. I'll probably do it next time to see the difference.)
- the couscous called for 1& 1/4 cups water. I used 1 cup chicken broth (The RiceSelect brand Moroccan-style couscous I use calls for 1 cup of liquid per 1 cup of couscous.) The chicken broth adds flavor.

(The article also included a salad recipe, which I did not use.)


a. For chicken

- 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut up
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (I used 1/8)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup chicken broth

b. For couscous

- 1&1/4 cups water (I used 1 cup chicken broth.)
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped dates or 1/4 cup raisins (I imagine that other dried fruits like apricots or cranberries would work nicely.)
- 1 tablespoon capers


a. Chicken

- Combine chicken and all spices (I assume now that "all spices" includes the flour.)
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and put in the chicken-spice mixture. (I used medium heat.) Cook 5 minutes, then transfer the chicken into a bowl.
- Pour the orange juice and 3/4 cup of chicken broth into the skillet.
- Let the sauce reduce.
- When it thickens, put the chicken back into the skillet and cook until done - 7 to 10 minutes.

b. Couscous

1. Put the liquid (water or broth), couscous, bay leaves, dried fruit, and capers into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. (I do this differently. I first put the liquid in the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then I put in the other ingredients.)

2. When the saucepan ingredients reach the boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and cover. The couscous is done when all the liquid is absorbed. (If you do it my way, put in the other ingredients when the liquid reaches the boiling point. Then remove from heat and cover. Done this way, it takes about 4-5 minutes for the liquid to absorb.)

3. (Added by me) After the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and mix the ingredients well. Remove the bay leaves. You can now serve the chicken and couscous. Depending on your preferences, you can put the chicken on the couscous or alongside it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Tasty Meat Rub - Easy to Make

For my birthday and Father's Day, my sister made and gave me a very tasty cooking rub that she had made herself, using a recipe that she found on Pinterest ( I have now tried it twice - once on a porterhouse steak and once on pork loin chops. I loved it both times.

I tried it on the steak first, and discovered that I probably should have put a heavier coating of it on the steak. I did put a heavier coating on the pork loin chops, and that worked very nicely. Both times, I first brought the meat to room temperature and then coated it on both sides - first with olive oil, and then with the rub. Both times, I cooked the meat in a grill pan.

The rub recipe from Pinterest is:
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and stir until blended. According to the Pinterest recipe, the results are supposed to be a deep red mixture. However, my sister's mix was more of a deep brown. The mix could then be put into a small jar or  Ziploc bag. The Pinterest posting says the mixture is enough for one or two grilling sessions. Since I prepared only one large steak and four small pork loin chops, it is enough for a number of such meals.

Super Simple and Tasty Roasted Asparagus

I combined a couple of super easy recipes, one by Ina Garten and one by Kathleen Daelemens, plus a change by me, to create this recipe. They don't get any easier than this.
It would be very easy to change; e.g., adding minced garlic, changing pepper or salt type, etc.
Serves 3 and takes a total of 25-35 minutes.


1 pound of asparagus

2 tablespoons of olive oil


lemon pepper


Preheat the oven to 400.

Rinse asparagus and break off tough ends. If the asparagus is very thick, consider peeling it.

Put the olive oil in a sealable plastic storage bag. Then put the asparagus in the bag and coat it with olive oil.

Spread the asparagus in a single layer in a baking pan, and sprinkle with salt and lemon paper to taste.

Roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp. The amount of roasting time depends on the thickness of the asparagus. Very thin asparagus may be done after 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

If you like zucchini, try this easy side

Thanks to for another winner - Balsamic Grilled Zucchini ( It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and serves 4. There were only two of us, but I had no problem devouring the other two servings.


2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. (I used Emeril's Italian Seasoning)
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat grill for medium-low heat and lightly oil the grate (I used a grill pan on the stove.)

2. Brush zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt over the zucchini.

3. Cook on preheated grill until beginning to brown - 3-4 minutes per side. Brush balsamic vinegar over the zucchini, and continue cooking 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

How easy is that?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Moroccan Chicken with Almond Coucous

Yesterday, I was searching for an easy recipe  in order to use chicken on sale and leftover dates. I came across this Moroccan chicken recipe and made it last night. It was very easy and tasty. I found it at

I did make two changes. I used chicken breasts rather than chicken thighs, and I used cilantro paste from a squeeze tube rather than fresh cilantro. (I did not want to buy a whole bunch of fresh cilantro for only one tablespoon.) I cooked the chicken breasts in the same way that was suggested for the chicken thighs. That worked fine for me.

The recipe with the chicken thighs makes four servings. It took me about 45 minutes to prepare my modified version.


The ingredients are divided into two - those for the chicken portion of the dish and those for the couscous:

Chicken Ingredients

- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 reason cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned (I used two skinless chicken breast fillets. I cut the larger one into three pieces, and the smaller into two. They weighed about 1 pound and a quarter.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1- 1 & 1/4 cups shallots, peeled & quartered
- 1 & 1/4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth divided - 1/4 cup and 1 cup
- 12 whole pitted dates, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Couscous Ingredients
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted

(The total of two cups of chicken broth equals 16 ounces, but the Publix and brand-name chicken broth come in 14/14.5 ounce cans, so I cut back a tiny bit on the broth so I would need only one can.)


Chicken Portion of the Recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes on one side. Turn chicken, remove skillet from heat. (I assumed that "turn chicken" meant, turn the chicken and cook the other side for 3 minutes, so I did that.)

Combine reserved flour mixture and shallots. Add to skillet. Stir in 1/4 cup chicken broth and dates. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Remove skillet from oven. Place skillet over medium heat, and stir in 1 cup chicken broth. Cook for 1 minute, and stir in cilantro. Return chicken to pan. Cover; remove pan from heat.

Couscous Portion of Recipe

Combine 3/4 cup broth, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in almonds. Serve with chicken and sauce.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Selling a Used Smart Phone

I have discovered that quality used smart phones can be resold in a variety of ways. I just sold my unlocked Samsung Galaxy S2 SGH-I777 on eBay for $182.50.

The following are some of the ways I found to sell a smart phone, with the price currently offered for my model:
- - this fantastic site lets you compare offers from many buyers. The best price offered here was $109.70
- - $60
- AT&T - $100 rebate
- Best Buy - $54 (Might have been more, but phone had a slight flaw - which I mentioned in my eBay ad.)

My phone probably got a better price because it was unlocked (i.e., it could be used with other carriers than AT&T, from whom I purchased it.) AT&T helped me to unlock several months after I purchased it.

Be sure to remove all personal information before reselling the phone. With the Samsung, that is easy to do by doing a hard reset. I tested the phone after the hard reset. I confirmed that the data had been removed and that the phone was still unlocked. 

(My new phone is a Galaxy S4, which I purchased at for $168, with a $50 gift card, which brought the price down to $118. That price required a 2-year AT&T contract.)

Sarasota Ale House - Great Lobster Dinner Special

Every Wednesday evening, Sarasota Ale House (, which is part of the Miller Ale House chain, offers a Maine lobster dinner for $12.95!!! The dinner includes a 1&1/4 pound lobster, choice of one side dish, and coleslaw. For an extra $2, you can add crab and lobster stuffing.

Seven of us had the lobster dinner, and loved it. In fact, one of our group loved the lobster so much, he had a second one.

I had onion rings with mine, and they were excellent.

Their drinks seemed reasonably priced. My wife's gin & tonic was $2.95, and my Greg Norman Malbec was $6.95 per glass.

They do not take reservations, but will put you on a waiting list if you call a half hour or so in advance.

It was already crowded when we arrived at 5 pm.

The Ale House is located at 3800 Kenny Drive, at the intersection of Bee Ridge and Cattleman Rd., a stone's throw from exit 207 of I-75.

We are grateful to our friends M & T, who visit Sarasota each year, for tipping us off to this, and other wonderful dining experiences.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce.

We love this New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. It is addictive. I found the recipe, based on a recipe from the Bon Ton Café, at

It serves about 10 diners


Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey (I used Southern Comfort, which was invented in New Orleans. I only used 3/4 cup.)
Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups) (I used about 8 cups.)
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon - I used Southern Comfort.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce:

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth. (It did not thicken until I put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.)

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.

New Orleans Creole Gumbo

I love this Creole Gumbo recipe which I found at It serves 20 people. I made it for a dinner for 7 people, so we have been having lots of leftovers. I cooked the gumbo a day in advance and refrigerated it. Since the recipe is so large, I had to use a very large pan that we used to use to steam blue crabs.


(Bacon drippings are called for in 2 parts of the recipe below. I did not have enough so I used a combination of butter and bacon drippings. I used the butter in a 1 to 1 ratio.)

- 1 cup all-purpose flour

- ¾ cup bacon drippings

- 1 cup coarsely chopped celery

- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

- 1 large green pepper coarsely chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced (I used a 12-ounce package from Trader Joe's. I also noticed that Publix carries a 1-pound package of Johnsonville, New Orleans-style Andouille sausage.)

- 3 quarts water

- 6 cubes beef bouillon

- 1 tablespoon white sugar

- salt to taste

- 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco sauce), or to taste

- ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend, or to taste (Publix carries it.)

- 4 bay leaves

- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

- 1 (14.5 oz. can) stewed tomatoes

- 1 (6 oz. can) tomato sauce

- 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder (Publix carries it.)

- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings

- 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed

- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

- 1 pound lump crabmeat

- 3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

- 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder

1. Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

2. Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

3. Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.