Mary’s Memo #2306

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF



Knowing many of you are Taste of Home subscribers, I rarely mention their cookbooks although I've bought a few that were available to me for $10.00. Taste of Home 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes, however, cost $22.99 plus postage. Bryan shoppers tell me they prefer recipes that are easy to make and don't take a grocery bag full of ingredients to make so this should be a winner.

The cookbook came on a cold winter day when I didn't plan

to leave the house. Fortunately, I happened to have the ingredients for Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce. When pork loin halves are on sale, meat department people cut a roast into 1-inch chops for me. That way I'm rarely without pork chops in the freezer. Although the original recipe said to cook pork chops to 160oF, I only cook them to 145oF. The National Pork Board follows the guidance of the U.S.D.A. which recommends cooking roasts, tenderloins and chops to an internal temperature of 145oF, followed by a 3 minute rest time. Ground pork, however, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160oF.

PORK CHOPS WITH MUSTARD SAUCE



4 boneless pork loin chops (about 6 oz. each)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chops in olive oil. Add wine and garlic, stirring to loosen brown bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes. Add broth; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until internal temperature is 145oF. Remove pork from skillet and cover with foil. On medium high heat bring pan juices to a boil; cook until juice is reduced to 1/3 cup. Stir in butter, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce; heat through. Serve with pork. Yield: 4 servings.

SOURCE: Adapted from Taste of Home 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes.

BRINING MEAT



My Mary Ann started brining pork and poultry way before I did but I'm here to say it does make meat juicier. The following proportions are enough for 4 pork chops or a chicken half:

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 quart water

Whisk salt and sugar together in quart of water until both are dissolved. Add meat and brine in the refrigerator 1 hour per pound. Drain brine and proceed with grilling, broiling or roasting.

AVOIDING THE FLU



The flu season extends into March so we're hearing a lot about how to avoid it. I have a soap dispenser at the sink that I don't have to touch and I use it a lot. The hand towel in the kitchen as well as the bathroom is changed daily. Invest in Clorox wipes to sterilize surfaces. Daddy was way head of his time by cleaning counter tops, etc., before dishes are washed, not afterwards with dirty dishwater. In addition to cleaning vegetable brushes in the dishwasher, clean toothbrushes as well. Especially during flu season don't share the same toothpaste tube. With all the additional hand washing, do keep them lubricated with CeraVe moisturizing lotion, recommended by dermatologists. Regarding laundry, follow directions for washing delicate and colored clothes in your automatic washer but when it comes to bed linens, kitchen towels, wash cloths, also ones used in the bathroom, only hot water will kill bacteria. One other thing: Do avoid anti-bacterial soaps because you could build up immunity to bacteria that could later save your life. This is a well known fact and I can't understand why antibacterial soaps and detergents are still on the market!

CONVENIENCE FOODS NOT ALL BAD



My generation cooked more "from scratch" but I've added some of the produce department's pre-packaged mixed vegetables to my shopping list. Remember the recipe made with the zucchini stir-fry combo on the January 14 memo? This weekend I tried the broccoli stir-fry with La Choy's new Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce. Since I like fresh mushrooms, I also added them to the mix.

ORANGE GINGER BROCCOLI STIR-FRY



8 oz. package button mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 package broccoli stir-fry (mine weighed about 3/4 lbs.)

2/3 cup La Choy Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute mushrooms in olive oil and butter until nicely browned. Add broccoli stir-fry mixture and Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce, stirring constantly until just crisp-cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 portions. Note: To make this a quick main dish instead of a side, add 1 cup cut-up rotisserie chicken.


PS: Salt is mentioned twice in the list of ingredients in the Groundhog Soup recipe in the January 28 memo. The amount needed is 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste), not an additional 3/4 teaspoon!
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