Now THAT is the only kind of smoking I will allow…

I am back after a brief but very sad interlude and that is all I will say about that.  As mentioned in my last post, I will be creating a recipe in my Father In-Law’s memory but at this moment I have not perfected it, so the recipe is a work in progress. Now, onto our regularly scheduled program.

Living here in western Pennsylvania is kind of like being in tobacco country back in the 1940’s.  More people smoke here than in Winston Salem (where I used to live) and geesh!, that is “where Camels come from”.  I will not launch into a diatribe about the hazzards of smoking or anything like that (Pennsylvanians you need to read the memo) but there is one kind of smoking I CAN get behind, and that is smoking meat! Or, you can do the same to fish or poultry, vegetables even or whatever else blows your dress up.  My wonderful children bought me a smoker for my birthday and I had the innaugural “smokfest” yesterday.  Since it was the smoker’s maiden voyage, I used a commercially available rub from McCormick Seasonings and a new kind of barbecue sauce (for me) called Charlie Staples Real Barbecue Sauce (very good by the way and I highly recommend it). The result was excellent!  I will be experimenting over the next few weeks with seasonings and sauces and will let everyone know how the food turns out.  In the interim, here is a post from the old site and it is in keeping with the pig theme here you go!

This little piggy went to…

From the title you can add your own ending but in this case the piggy went right into the baking dish where he belongs. Ah, the story for this recipe is about as mundane as they get. There I was with 2 pork chops, one apple and most of a large onion and with me was my son, home from college and hungry. Not wanting to head back to the grocery store (really, it feels like I am always there and for the most part I am. I can even name almost all of the staff. Sad right?), I decided to work with what I had and see if it turned out. Remembering the stuffing in my stuffed pork tenderloin recipe, I thought that I could do that (pretty much the same ingredients) but without the heavy chopping and such. I also wanted to duplicate baked apples without messing up another baking dish. And, I wanted something simple and not time consuming. Doing pork chops this was was the answer. You might wonder where the name came from and that is okay. It is not that I was on a “date night” with my son (that would be more than a bit freakish) but refers to the amount. A little while back, I converted several of my recipes to “date night” quantities for friends of mine who were older and did not have kids around anymore and the name kind of stuck. You can always expand on this to make it for more than two but then I would have to wonder what your “date nights” are like. (wink – wink, nudge – nudge, say no more, say no more ;-)) The recipe has simple ingredients and is kind of short but very delicious.

Date Night Baked Pork Chops
(or you can double the recipe and make it for 4)

Gary Bechard: “The Well Fed Cyclist”


2 – Boneless pork chops, thick cut (1 inch to an inch and a half)
1 – Medium to large Granny Smith apple, cut into wedges (leave the skin on)
1 – Small sweet onion (or 3/4ths of a medium or large one) medium sliced into crescents
½ tsp – Cayenne Pepper (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp – Ground cinnamon
½ tbsp – Ground nutmeg
½ cup – Mushroom broth (or you can substitute vegetable stock or broth)

Construction Instruction

For these pork chops, I used a 9” X 9” baking dish that was about 2 ½ to 3 inches deep. First, pour the mushroom broth in the bottom of the baking dish. Next, on a separate plate, dust both sides of each pork chop with cinnamon and cayenne pepper and place into the dish. After this is done, cover the pork chops with the onion slices and then add the apple wedges. Dust the apple wedges with the remaining cinnamon and the nutmeg and bake in a 330 to 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the chops are done. Note: I use a lower heat and tent the chops with aluminum foil to make sure they are cooking “low and slow”. You really want them to absorb the flavors of the seasonings.

The pork chops were served with a wild rice pilaf which had sautéed Portobello mushrooms and asparagus tips along with a vegetable side of cut green beans accented with roasted red bell pepper slices.

The Well Fed Cyclist


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