July 26, 2012

Oven Roasted Pork Chop with Fruit Salsa over Mango-Eggplant Risotto

So really, I have been cooking.  I've just been incredibly slow on the blogging front.  And I started having trouble with some of my photos, which just won't do.  And yadda yadda yadda.  Enough on the excuses.

This recipe I made for me, not for The Husband.  Sometimes he's very adventurous - I was so proud the other day in Charleston when he ate and enjoyed a pesto-based pizza!  But other times, not so much.  Pork chops are one of his boring things.  He thinks they should be grilled with bbq sauce.  Period.  End of story.

Well that just wasn't going to cut it for me.  I had a mango that needed to be used.  I had an eggplant that needed to be used (by the way, expect a lot of eggplant recipes, I'm swimming in them!).  I was going to use them!  And boy am I glad I did!  The meal even got a tolerable "I guess it's okay but BBQ sauce is better" from The Husband as he cleaned his plate.

The mango really added an interesting flavor to the risotto.  The sweetness was subtle, but the way the mango interacted with the chicken stock and the eggplant was - to my mind - quite fantastic.


Fruit Salsa

3 small heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 peach, diced
1/2 mango, diced
1 cayenne, minced
handful of fresh cilantro
juice from 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Let sit for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.


Pork chops
juice from 1/2 lime
splash of white wine

Loosely wrap chops in tinfoil with the lime juice and the wine.  Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.


2 T evoo
1/2 c rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 eggplant, diced
1 quart chicken stock
1 cayenne, minced
1/2 mango, diced
1/2 c white wine

Heat the oil in a saute pan.  Heat the chicken stock to a simmer in a separate pan.

Add the rice and garlic to the saute pan.  Stir until the rice becomes transparent.  Add the eggplant and cook for another minute or two.  Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the pan, stirring constantly.  When the stock is nearly evaporated, add another.  Continue in this manner, always stirring constantly until the rice becomes tender and creamy.  At this point, add the cayenne and mango, and then the wine.  Stir and cook a minute or two more, then serve hot.

July 2, 2012

Bacon Popcorn

The other night, The Husband and I headed out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in this town; Hamptons.  Hamptons is a fantastic restaurant, and not just because the crappiness of this town makes it look good.  It would be a very, very good restaurant anywhere!  The Husband likes to go so that he can pretend that he's in a nicer place than this town, he says.

The menu at Hamptons changes constantly.  Sometimes this leads to some pretty difficult choices.  This time we ended up with the duck entree, over a sweet corn polenta with dates and bacon popcorn.

Yes, bacon popcorn.  On our duck.  Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Needless to say, like everything we eat at Hamptons, it was fantastic.  After dinner we were talking with our usual server, who makes great recommendations and he explained the recipe for the popcorn so that we could have it at home.  So tonight I whipped up a bowl and it is every bit as good as it was at the restaurant. I'm in love!

This recipe makes the amount of popcorn The Husband and I usually split.  We don't like to eat a ton at once so if you prefer bigger servings, adjust accordingly.


3 strips bacon
1 T bacon fat
1/4 c popcorn kernels
dash dried rosemary
dash sea salt

Cook the bacon, reserving 1 T of the bacon fat.  Set the bacon aside to cool.  Put the bacon fat and the popcorn into your whirley pop (or your usual pot) and heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the kernels start popping.  Then stir constantly until the popping slows and remove from heat.  Pour into bowl.  Then crush the bacon and sprinkle the bacon bits, rosemary and sea salt over the popcorn.  Toss gently and serve!