Dinner With The Kid

The Matthews family band love Shake & Bake pork chops and eat them a couple of times a month.  But I haven’t bought a box of it for many years,

I make my own.

Every time we’re down to crumbs in a bag of chips, or crackers, or anything crunchy, I dump the remains into a zip-top bag that lives in the freezer.  Then when it’s pork chop day, I throw everything into the bowl of a food processor along with herbs, Worcestershire, parmesan, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  If the crumbs are dark, I use them as is.  If they’re pale I also toast them for color.  Then I use it just like the store-bought stuff.

Recently, I had a big bag of tiny little pretzels I’d bought to put on brownies.  They were adorable but so small they absorbed moisture from the brownies and went stale after a day.  I don’t put pretzels on brownies so they can add disappointment. 

The Kid was coming for dinner, and I was making pork chops, so I decided they’d be pretzel-ized.

Pretzel Baked Pork Chops

4 boneless pork loin chops, ½ to ¾ inch-thick

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon mustard powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups 2% milk

2 tablespoons mustard (your choice of style)

3-4 cups pretzels, crushed, with some larger bits left for texture

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425.  Put oil into 9X9 baking dish.

Make three-part dredge:  Put flour, mustard powder, salt, and pepper into large zip-top bag.

In a shallow dish, mix milk and mustard.

Put crushed pretzels in second shallow dish.

Shake chops in flour, dip in milk, then coat with pretzels, pressing pretzels on to get as many as possible and make them stick.  Put in baking dish.

Bake for 10 minutes then carefully flip over.  Bake until internal temp until they reach 140° (approx 5-7 more minutes). 

Serves 4.

For a side, there was The Kid’s favorite potato salad.  Za’atar is a Mediterranean blend of sesame seeds and dried herbs like cumin and sumac.  If can be found online and at middle Eastern markets.

The Kid’s Za’atar Potato Salad

2-3 pounds of waxy spuds like red skin or Yukon gold

1 large lemon, juiced and zested

1 teaspoon za’atar spice

¾ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon capers

1 shallot, diced

Salt & pepper

In a pot of very salty water, boil whole, unpeeled potatoes until fork-tender.  When they are still hot, but cool enough to touch, peel and cut into salad-sized chunks.

Immediately add half the lemon juice and za’atar.  Gently stir until everything’s coated.  Loosely cover and let cool completely.

Make dressing:  Whisk together mayo, olive oil, the rest of the lemon juice, and zest.  Season, taste and reseason if needed.  Cover and refrigerate for 60 minutes.

Assemble: put caper and shallots in bowl with potatoes.  Fold in the dressing, a bit at a time, until everything’s lightly coated.

Serves 6-ish.

Our veg was broccoli.

Skillet Broccoli

1 large head of broccoli, cut into large/medium florets

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup water

Salt & pepper to taste

Put everything into skillet and cover.  Cook at medium-high (about 6 or 7) until crisp-tender, adding a little more water as needed.

Uncover, turn to medium, and cook until there’s lots of browning and crisping, turning with tongs frequently to prevent burning.  Remove from heat, check for seasoning and serve.

Serves four.

The broccoli technique works for cauliflower as well.  Just be careful that you don’t over steam the vegetables—you need that structural integrity to get a nice crusty caramelization.

Bon Appetit!

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

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