Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Scary Parental Project

I just got back from giving my 16 years old son a driving lesson. It was a bit frightening. We stopped off afterward at a favorite little joint, Surf Taco. It is definitely a Jersey Shore locals kind of a vibe. The closest one to us is the one in the Toms River, Silverton section, but the coolest are the original Point Pleasant Beach store and the store, in that order.

I had a chicken taco in a crispy tortilla and a grilled steak taco. Matt had the steak taco and the buffalo chicken taco. We ordered extra chips, which are perfectly fried, and got a few different salsas. The verde salsa is a spicy tomatillo based sauce. My favorite is the baja, which is made from some smokey chilles. The mild is also great, but the hot is way to hot for me.

It was a great end to a scary but exciting ride.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Great Cooks Blogroll

I joined the Great Cooks Blogroll. It is maintained by the Simply Daily Recipes, which is a great sign I recently found.

Pea Soup

This is a great recipe to make when you have a ham bone left over. We had a spiral sliced ham when my daughter was home from college and I put the bone and the leaving in the freezer. When it snowed the other day it was my signal to make this simple and stick to your ribs comfort food. You have to make the homemade croutons. It just isn't the same without them.

Pea Soup


Ham Bone and left over ham
1 onion
2 carrots
2 celery ribs
bay leaf
6 pepper corns

Place all ingredients in stock pot. Add enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Skim any scum that rises to the top. Lower heat to a gentle simmer, cook for 4 or more hours. Strain stock and put aside ham bone and ham pieces. Chill stock and remove fat. You should have 6 to 8 cups of stock.


2 leeks
2 ribs celery
2 carrots
2 T olive oil
ham stock
1 bag of dried peas, rinsed and picked through
salt and pepper to taste
ham or smoked sausage

Dice the leeks, carrots and celery. Sweat the vegetables in the olive oil. Add the ham stock and simmer for about 1 hour. Add the dried peas and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until peas are tender. Take about half of the soup and put through a food mill. Shred the left over ham or dice the smoked sausage and add to soup. Correct for seasoning. Serve soup with croutons.


Good quality bread cubed
olive oil
garlic salt

Toss bread in olive oil and bake in one layer until brown and crispy. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Creamy Lemon Oat Bars

Since it snowed yesterday I had to bake. I made Creamy Lemon Oat Bars, which I had never made before. They were FANTASTIC!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Apple Butter Glazed Pork Chops

This is one of those "whatever I can find in the fridge" recipes I threw together last night. It turned out pretty good.

6 Pork Chops 3/4 of an inch thick
1 T. canola oil
3/4 cups dry vermouth
3 T apple butter
1/3 cup orange juice
1 T butter

Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one side of chop with sugar. Put oil in cold skillet. Place chops sugared side down in cold skillet, pressing into the pan. Turn pan to medium heat and cook on one side for about 6 minutes until chops are browned on one side. (You should hear pan sizzle after about two minutes or the pan is not hot enough). Turn over chops and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes until internal temp is 140 on an instant read thermometer. Remove chops from pan and cover with aluminum foil.

Turn up heat on pan and brown the juices that are left in the pan. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth. Reduce by half. Add the apple butter and orange juice and any juice that the meat has given up to pan. Stir over heat until a sauce is formed. Add a bit of water if sauce is to thick. Stir in butter over low heat. Correct seasonings. Return chops to pan and gently heat, coating chops with the pan sauce.


I served this last night with a side of this noodle, cabbage and sour cream dish I make. Was it good!