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TIP OF THE DAY: Finding The Perfect Pork Chop Preparation

Growing up, we had pork chops for dinner once a week. Mom pan-fried them with a Dijon glaze, and served them with sides of caramelized onions and her skin-on, chunky mashed potatoes.

Caramelized onions mixed into the mashed potatoes, by the way, generates an even better flavor experience greater than eating them separately.

Some caramelized onion tips:

  • Onions shrink down to one-quarter of their bulk when caramelized. Make four times as much as you think you’ll need.
  • You’ll be happy if you have extras for the next day. Here are ways to use caramelized onions.
    Back to the pork chops:

    We don’t often dine at restaurants that have pork chops on the menu; but when we do, we order them. Usually we’re disappointed because they’re:

  • Served plain, not interesting.
  • Served smothered in mushroom cream sauce or a variation of marinara. Both sauces are fine in their place; but to our palate, their place is not on a pork chop.
    So every few months, we treat ourselves to some Kurobuta* (Berkshire) porterhipork chops from Snake River Farms, and recreate Mom’s preparation.

    While boneless chops are easier to eat, bone-in chops (and steaks) cook up with more flavor. That’s because the meat close to the bone has more fat, which delivers more flavor. Chefs explain that the bone also engenders a juicier, more tender piece of meat.

    Plus, you get a bone to gnaw on, if you so desire.

    According to the National Pork Board, there are five types of pork chops. All are cut from the loin, at the top (back) of the pig:

  • Blade Pork Chops. Cut from the beginning of the loin in the shoulder area, the chops may contain some blade bone as well as back-rib bone. Blade chops are usually thicker and more marbled. blade-end pork loin chop, blade steak, pork loin blade chop, pork shoulder blade steak, pork shoulder steak, pork steak and shoulder chop. They often are butterflied and sold as pork loin country-style ribs.
  • New York Pork Chops. Sometimes called center cut chops, these are boneless and located above the loin chops, toward the head. The 1¼ inch-thick top loin chop is also called an America’s cut.
  • Ribeye Pork Chops From the center of the loin in the rib area, these include some back and rib bone.
  • Porterhouse Pork Chops. These are cut from the lower back, just behind the rib chop. These chops include a lot of meat as well as a bit of tenderloin meat, and and have a characteristic T-bone shape.
  • Sirloin Pork Chops. These are cut from the area around the hip, and often include part of the hip bone.
    Bone-In Versus Boneless

    While boneless chops (New York/center cut) are easier to eat, bone-in chops (and steaks, the same for lamb and beef) cook up with more flavor. That’s because the meat close to the bone has more fat, which delivers more flavor. Chefs explain that the bone also engenders a juicier, more tender piece of meat.

    Plus, you get a bone to gnaw on, if you so desire.

    Lately, we’ve sliced our way out of the box to try these preparations from Clemens Food Group, via Flavor & The Menu:

    It’s just two simple steps:

    1. MAKE A RUB

    You can create any rub you like, but here’s one for starters:

    Combine cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, sweet paprika and turmeric with olive oil. Massage into the pork, then finish with a squeeze of lemon.


    Clemens calls these “flavor boosters,” which is the definition of condiment (actually, see the longer definition below).

  • Balsamic glaze
  • Harissa yogurt sauce (substitute harissa for the cumin in this recipe)
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Mint pesto (substitute mint for the basil)
  • Pico de gallo
  • Chimichurri

    Fancy Pork Chop
    [1] This Frenched pork chop leans against a mound of red Swiss chard. Create the mound by pressing the cooked chard into a food ring (photo courtesy Clemens Food Group).

    Fancy Pork Chop

    [2] This bone-in chop (photo courtesy North End Cafe | Louisville).

    Pork Chop & Pork Belly
    [3] Yes, please: A sliced porkchop, a cube of pork belly, and a fresh fig and mesclun salad in the middle (at Due Forni | Las Vegas).

    Grilled Pork Chop
    [4] A pork chop like mother made (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Berkshire Pork Chop

    [5] We don’t have pork chops often, but when we do, it’s Kurobuta, a superior grade of the Berkshire heritage breed (photo courtesy Lobel’s | NYC).

    While conventional practice is to place the sauce on top of the protein, we prefer these options:

  • Drizzle or spoon the condiment across the empty plate and place the protein on top.
  • Spoon it in polka dots around the perimeter of the plate (see some examples here).
  • Stack it against a pile of vegetables, or on top of them, as shown in photos #1 and #2.

    A condiment is an auxiliary food product that puts spark into food. It is a spice, sauce*, or preparation (chutney, horseradish, ketchup, mustard, relish, salsa, etc.) that is served with food to enhance its flavor.

    There are sweet condiments, too. For example, fudge sauce, marshmallow creme, sprinkles and whipped cream ice cream make a plain scoop of ice cream taste better.

    The word is first found in print in French around 1420, and descends from the Latin condimentum, spice, which sprang from the verb condre, to season.

    Condiments add an easy flourish to the most basic foods. They can transform an everyday ham sandwich or roast chicken into something special (use some of those caramelized onions!).

    Condiments are also evidence of pervasive fusion cuisine at its best. Indian chutneys, French mustards, Italian pestos and Spanish salsas, to name just a few, are often paired with American dishes from eggs, roasts, salads, and sandwiches to desserts with crème anglaise from the U.K., dulce de leche and red wine sauce from Italy and rose water from Turkey.


    *Kurobuta is a Japanese name for a certain quality of pork, from a certain breed of pig: the black pig. In the U.S., that pig is called the Berkshire, a heritage breed. Kurobuta is a higher quality than generic Berkshire. While all Kurobuta pork comes from Berkshire pigs, not all Berkshire pigs are Kurobata grade.


    THANKSGIVING: Chocolate Turkey Place Settings

    Burdick Chocolate Turkey

    A scrumptious two-bite chocolate turkey, delivered in a beautiful gift box from Burdick Chocolate.


    For the Thanksgiving dinner table, we have long used chocolate “place settings,” a [confusing] name given to a party favor presented at each place setting [of flatware and dishes].

    For many who follow this tradition, the place setting is a chocolate turkey. Some people add a ribbon or a tag that substitutes for a name card.

    A couple of years ago, thinking “We’re all sophisticated adults,” we chose bottles of artisan maple syrup instead. The universal response: “Where’s the chocolate turkey?”

    This year we’re using boxed miniature turkeys from chocolatier Larry Burdick.

    Each chocolate turkey has a center of dark chocolate ganache and toasted almonds for feathers. It is enrobed in either dark or milk chocolate.

  • The milk chocolate turkey ganache is blended with pecan, chestnut, and bourbon.
  • The dark chocolate turkey’s ganache is blended with cranberries.
    Each turkey is only a couple of bites—very satisfying but not “too much.”

    It is presented in a lovely gift box with a satin ribbon, like an edible jewel.

    You can also purchase boxes of four turkeys.

    Burdick is one of the country’s great chocolatiers; so even when it’s not a holiday, treat yourself to some.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Tribali Organic Patties & Sliders In Beef, Chicken & Pork

    Tribali foods was launched by a holistic nutritionist and vegetarian who sought to add meat back into her diet. But she wanted “clean” meats.

    That meant sourcing top organic cuts: grass-fed and grass-finished pastured beef, free-range chicken and humanely raised pork.

    She then created versatile, minimally-processed patties and sliders, and seasoned them global flavor combinations: herbs, purées, spices and vegetables.

    The line was then frozen but the meats cook up quickly: “ready to nourish” in minutes.

    Tribali fits with popular eating plans such as the Mediterranean/Greek diet, the Keto diet, the Paleo diet and the Real Foods diet.

    But more importantly to us (we eat every diet) is that everything is very flavorful and nutrient-dense. We try a lot of prepared foods, and most of them are under-seasoned, requiring that we add condiments, salt or other flavor boosters.

    Tribali is perfectly seasoned—so much so that we were taken by delightful surprise and immediately made them a Top Pick Of The Week.

    Animal welfare is a priority for Tribali; the supply chain is transparent.

    The line is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, CCOF Certified (organic), non-GMO Certified, Paleo-Certified, and Whole 30 Approved.

    There are no binders, fillers or hormones. You can feel good about what you eat.

    And what you’ll eat is so delicious!

    There are options for breakfast, lunch and dinner—not to mention sliders with cocktails. The line currently includes:

  • Mini Sliders: Chicken & Apple, Pork & Sage (these are terrific as breakfast meats)
  • Patties: Chipotle Chicken, Mediterranean Beef, Umami Beef (photo #2)
  • Patties Coming Soon: Greek-Style Pork, Moroccan-Style Lamb, Thai-Style Turkey
    Use them to make:

  • Burgers, sandwiches and wraps (photo #3)
  • Eggs and frittatas
  • Pasta dishes, including zoodles and other vegetable noodles
  • Protein-topped salads, salad bowls, squash bowls and grain bowls (photo #1)
  • Stir-frys
  • Tex-Mex
  • Veggie-centric plates with steamed vegetables
    There are recipes on the website, all of which we want to make. We especially like the sliders that use baby portabella mushroom caps instead of mini-buns.


    Tribali Chipotle Chicken
    [1] A hearty salad topped with strips of chipotle chicken (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Tribali).

    Tribali Thai Burger
    [2] A yummy Thai burger with rice noodles and a red cabbage slaw. Add a bun if you like. We added Stonefire Naan, a soft Indian flatbread; roti also works*.

    Tribali Beef Patties
    [3] Ready to dig in? This burger stack was created by Primal Gourmet.

    The line is available at Walmart and other retailers nationwide (store locator), as well as from the website,


    *Both of these flatbreads, of Indian origin, look similar. The difference: Roti is typically made from whole wheat flour and is cooked either on a tawa (a flat skillet) or in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay or metal oven. Naan is made from all-purpose white flour, is leavened with yeast, and then cooked in a tandoor.



    GIFT: Fancy Sprinkles

    Gold Sprinkles
    Gold glitter on donuts (both photos courtesy Fancy Sprinkles).

    Sprinkles Glass Rimmer
    Glass rimmers, available in every color in the rainbow.


    Here’s a holiday gift idea for a baker: edible fancy sprinkles from Fancy Sprinkles, a well-named company.

    Yes, it’s a bit of a niche product, but the right person will be tickled pink [sprinkles], or any colors you bestow.

    We’ve never seen such assortments of creative sprinkles, including eight designs just for Christmas:

  • Candy Cane Lane
  • Grinchmas
  • Mistletoe
  • Snowfall
  • Ugly Sweater Party and others
    Each is a beautiful mix of colors and shapes: not your mother’s sprinkles!

    The company has done a great job of putting together colors and shapes. Everything is mixed to order.

    Use the sprinkles on:

  • Beverage and cocktail rims
  • Cakes, cookies and doughnuts
  • Fudge and other candy
  • Ice cream and cones
  • Anything else
    The sprinkles are conversation-starter—so if conversation wanes at Thanksgiving, sprinkle the gold, orange and white Pumpkin Spice collection over the pumpkin pie or the rim of your pumpkintini.

    Individual jars are $5 and up, depending on the complexity of the mix.

    There are gift-boxed assortments from $15 to $32, and a “sprinkles club” with a different assortment each month, seasonally-themed.

    >>TAKE A LOOK!<<




    TIP OF THE DAY: Creative Nachos For National Nachos Day

    November 6th is National Nachos Day, In fact, the dish was invented by accent, when customers arrived at a restaurant after the kitchen had closed. The manager, named Nacho (the diminutive of Ignacio), threw together some ingredients in the fridge to feed the folks.

    The rest is history (here’s a bit more on history of nachos): a favorite snack was born. They moved from Mexican restaurants to the mainstream.

    Basic nachos are so easy to make; no wonder they’re a party favorite. At their most minimal, you need tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and salsa. The next step: avocado, beans and/or refried beans, chile, cilantro, corn kernels, jalapeños, scallions, sour cream.

    From there, anything goes, as we’ll demonstrate in today’s tip.

    Nachos are easily adaptable to regional American flavors like barbecue, corned beef, grilled shrimp and gumbo, local cheeses, horseradish, pot roast, southern-fried chicken, Wisconsin blue cheese.

    It’s easy to go global, too, as more recent menu additions include nachos with Hawaiian, Indian, Italian, Japanese and other culinary influences.

    While nacho traditionalists may roll their eyes, fearless foodies might delight to a plate of nachos with prosciutto and melted gorgonzola, tiny meat balls with Bolognese and parmesan atop crunchy tortilla chips, or fresh crab and béarnaise.

    “It’s all in the build,” says Flavor & The Menu, a magazine and website where chefs check out national trends.

    “Although nachos often look like a thrown-together pile of chips and toppings, the ones that move this trend forward are more thoughtful in [putting the ingredients together]. Not only does the balance need to be considered—between chips and cheese, savory and sweet, crunchy and soft—but the intention in the flavor play is also critical.”

    Flavor & The Menu took a look at how chefs around the country are interpreting nachos. You can create any of the ideas at home.

  • Add cheeses and sauces from just about any cuisine.
  • Swap out the tortilla chips accordingly, for a base of arepas, mixed vegetable chips, paratha, pita chips, plantains, pork rinds, rice crackers, roti, wontons, yucca chips (we stop short of suggesting matza chips with chopped liver, chopped onions and parsley).
  • Instead of raw or pickled jalapeño, include kimchi or shishito peppers; or use a gochujang hot sauce instead of salsa.
    Here we go!

  • ASIAN FUSION Komodo in Los Angeles: Kimchi Nachos include chicken and bacon, sriracha aïoli, kimchi and cheese on fried corn tortillas.
  • BARBECUE Little Goat Diner in Chicago, IL: Machos Nachos pile barbecue pork, beans, pickled peppers, cheddar, sour cream and avocado on housemade masa chips (masa is the ground corn from which tortillas, and tortilla chips, are made).
  • GREEK Meraki Greek Bistro, Miami, FL: Greek nachos, with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta, yogurt sauce and olive oil on pita chips.
  • HAWAIIAN Next Door in Dallas, TX: tuna poke nachos are made with cucumber, pine nuts, wasabi crema and wonton crisps.
  • HAWAIIAN Chive in Vero Beach. FL: poke nachos top unsalted corn chips with minced ahi tuna, seaweed, tomato, wasabi mayonnaise and horseradish cream.
  • INDIAN Bollywood Theater, Portland, OR: Chaat and ’Cho, inspired by an Indian street snack, a base of wheat-and-nigella-seed crackers with boiled potatoes, tomatoes, black chickpeas, sev (tiny fried chickpea noodles), yogurt, green chutney and tamarind chutney.
  • INDIAN Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville, TN: Lamb Keema Papadi Nachos, an Indian take that layers spicy curried lamb, tamarind chutney, provel cheese and cucumber-tomato kachumber (cucumber salad) on papadi chips (made from chickpea flour).
  • ITALIAN Five in Fresno, CA: Tuscan Nachos with spicy Sicilian sausage, mozzarella, provolone, Alfredo sauce, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo and cilantro on fried wonton chips.
  • JAPANESE Samurai Burrito, Fountain Valley, CA: Sashimi Nachos with raw fish, sesame seeds, wasabi mayo and togarashi spice on wonton chips.
  • KOREAN 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY: Gochujang Chili Cheese Nachos, a Korean-Texas of beef chili simmered in beer and chipotle infused with gochujang, cheddar, serrano peppers and sour cream spiked with more gochujang, with multicolor tortilla chips.
  • MEXICAN NOUVELLE Country Cat in Portland, OR: Chicharrones Nachos are all things pork, topping a layer of pork rinds with crispy pork, red curry-spiked Velveeta, a cilantro-radish salad and a squeeze of lime.
  • SOUTHERN Honey Butter, Chicago, IL: Fried Chicken Nachos with fried chicken strips, corn pico de gallo and pimento cheese sauce, finished with a drizzle of lime crema and candied jalapeño, over tortilla chips.
  • SOUTHERN Party Fowl, Nashville, TN: spicy chicken topped with avocado, cheese, green onion, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and white beans on bacon-fried tortilla chips.
  • VEGETARIAN Petty Cash Taqueria, Los Angeles, CA: vegetarian Roasted Cauliflower Nachos with crema poblano, Jack cheese, rainbow cauliflower, kale and pickled Fresno chiles.
  • Make it today!


    Greek Nachos
    [1] Greek-style nachos with feta, olives and yogurt sauce at Meraki Greek Bistro in Miami (photo Mission Foodservice).

    Indian Lamb Nachos
    [2] Indian lamb nachos with tamarind chutney at Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville (photo Plateline).

    Fried Chicken Nachos
    [3] Fried chicken nachos with pimento cheese sauce at Honey Butter in Chicago (photo Tim Musho).

    Chicken Nachos
    [4] Spicy chicken with the fixings on bacon-fried tortilla chips, at Party Fowl in Nashville.

    Poke Nachos
    [5] Poke nachos, fusing Hawaiian poke with seaweed, wasabi crema and wonton chips, at The Westin Princeville Kauai.

    Portabella Nachos
    [6] Portabella nachos with blue cheese and jalapeños atop blue corn tortilla chips (photo Flavor & The Menu).

  • VIETNAMESE Chef-consultant Robert Danhi: bánh mì -inspired nachos with grilled lemongrass pork, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs atop rice-tapioca crackers, drizzled with roasted chile sauce.
    So let’s forget the black beans, cheddar and salsa for the moment. What’s your fusion nacho? 



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