I don’t know about you, but some things I cannot understand. (now I sound like my mother – hmmm, not necessarily a totally bad thing) Like, why aren’t people at home at dinnertime and sitting down and eating a proper meal? I see kids on the bus eating 6 mini powdered sugar covered doughnuts at dinnertime. Kids running on the street with 2 packs of Milk Duds grasped in their hands. I, for one, happen to hate cocktail parties or small plates the whole night long. At some point, I want to sit down, eat some real food, a real dinner, on a plate. My five brothers and me, we’re all the same. It drives some of my sister-in-laws crazy. I have friends who LOVE cocktail parties/small plates as the whole dinner. I was taught to not spoil your appetite and have a real dinner, so I hardly eat anything at those events, and then if there’s nothing more, I’m in trouble!
Once, when we were kids, we took a family vacation down south. One of my Dad’s close business friends had a daughter getting married. Now at that time in the South, (maybe it’s still true today) they believed that a fancy wedding consisted of an endless champagne fountain (probably of very good champagne), cucumber sandwiches and cake! Well, here we were, 6 kids, and starving for dinner. I remember that EVERYONE got really drunk, except my mother, who didn’t think it was very funny. She was so angry and in her opinion, I remember her saying to my Dad, “John, these children are starving for dinner. Can’t these rich people feed anyone?” and begging him to leave to go anywhere to get some food for all of us. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old but it made such an impression on me.
And here I am, quite the same today. Tomorrow, we will go to a cocktail party benefit at The Apollo Theater, starting at 6:30 and I will want to leave soon after to come home to eat a dinner that I will make – Buttermilk Roast Chicken that has been marinating since Saturday. Easy, if you plan it!
PORK CHOPS WITH PEACHES, SWEET ONIONS AND SHALLOTS – serves 3
3 pork chops with tenderloin section, 3/4” thick
11/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
Mary’s cocoa spice rub on one side of chops, S + P on the other side
1/2 large Vidalia onion, cut in 1/4 “ thick slices
2 small shallots, peeled and cut into 1/4” slices
3 smallish white peaches, washed, cored and cut into 8 slices
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a Vouvrey)
Parsley, chopped for garnish
This spice rub is just terrific to have around for use on pork, duck, or chicken. Use a mini spice grinder and keep it in a tightly closed glass jar or plastic container.
MARY’s COCOA SPICE RUB
1 tbs. raw cocoa nibs/cacao
1.5 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
8 juniper berries
4 whole cloves
Combine everything in a mini spice grinder and pulse until finely ground.
Wash pork chops and dry with a paper towel. Season one side of the chops with a heavy sprinkling of the spice rub.
Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add sliced onions and shallots, cover for about 10 minutes. Raise heat to medium high. Add chops, seasoned side down and let cook for 4 – 5 minutes, uncovered. Salt and pepper the top side, turn the chops and add the peaches all over. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for another 2 -4 minutes, uncovered, until just done, 140 degrees. Remove the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
Keep the sauce and peaches warm on low heat and slightly covered.