Braised Skinny Pork Chops

Mom had bought some thin pork chops and had a recipe for country braised ribs that she wanted to try, so we decided to wing it and try to make the recipe work for skinny boneless pork chops. It was surprisingly good, considering that we didn’t have half of the ingredients, including the main ingredient, and didn’t cook it in the oven! I really liked it and the flavors were great, and the pork tender. Amazing how things work out.  🙂  Mom’s the brave one… I need to follow recipes, but her challenges certainly make me try harder, and they also make me think about how things cook, which really makes me more confident when I can figure it out!


Our recipe:

  • 5 boneless trimmed pork chops, about 1/2″ thick
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (we used a very thick tomato sauce that was left over)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper


  1. Season chops. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in dutch oven and brown chops for 1 minute on each side. Transfer to plate.
  2. Add 1 tbsp oil to pan and saute all veggies until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes.
  4. Add chops back to pan (on top of veggies) and add stock to cover veggies and half way up chops. Cover and simmer on stove until meat is tender, about 10 more minutes. You’ll need to drain some of the stock before serving.

I served it with a quick mushroom risotto, and sauteed zucchini and onions (just sauteed them in butter and olive oil, salt and pepper until zucchini slices were translucent and onions slightly caramelized). Delicious.



Chard Strata

The rainbow chard was ready for harvest today and we had 1/3 of a long loaf of day-old italian bread but not much else in the house. It’s tough coming up with dishes in which to hide chard from Chris. He’s not a big fan of it even though it is mild and tasty and healthier than spinach.


Today’s harvest for the strata… I love rainbow chard’s colors!


Ready to harvest… the vegtrug is filled to bursting! The arugula has gotten very peppery and has started to bolt, but it has pretty flowers!

What better way to appeal to Chris’ appetite than a bread pudding? Even better, something with cheese and a custardy texture? Strata to the rescue!

I found a number of chard strata recipes online (Martha Stewart, NY Times, Williams-Sonoma), but I settled on this one because it had fewer ingredients and better matched what I had in the house (the others called for sausage or mushrooms as well). Of course I still made a number of changes to the original. It came out great and would have been even better had Chris not been so famished… we ate it before it had time to get to room temp but it was still delicious (and heavy). I served it with a chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad (nice and light).



Here is my recipe:

  • 2 bunches chard, chopped, separate thicker stems from the rest
  • 1/3 long loaf italian bread or baguette, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to butter casserole dish
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced (gruyere would probably be delicious, we only had cheddar in the house)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% because that’s what we had)
  • 6 large eggs
  • kosher salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 9×9 casserole dish.
  2. In 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil saute onions and chard stems until soft and translucent, season with salt and pepper
  3. Add garlic and bread and saute for a minute or two, season a little more
  4. Put bread mixture in casserole dish
  5. Add another tbsp butter to pan and saute chard leaves until wilted and soft
  6. Add 3/4 of cheese to casserole and add chard. Mix all together.
  7. Top with remaining cheese and egg/milk mixture
  8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top
  9. Allow to cool before serving (slightly warm is fine but allow time for it to set and flavors to blend, room temp better)

I’ll update this post tomorrow to let you know how it is leftover. Photos of the process below.

breadonions   chardcooking




Mother’s Day weekend – a gardener’s favorite weekend!

Hooray! The spring veggies are growing so fast! The arugula is almost ready to eat and is soft and delicious. The rainbow chard is about 5″ tall and looking great, and the slow-to-start leeks are coming along.


Arugula close-up… soft and delicious!


Rainbow chard is taking off and looking good


Everything is coming along in the veg trug. The netting is great for keeping the squirrels out! (They dig big holes in all of my beds and pots and uproot my plants to plant their peanuts!)


The flowers I planted last week are doing very well too (cosmos, snapdragons, and lobelia).


Rosemary surrounded with snapdragons and variegated vinca.


Snapdragons close up. My favorite old fashioned flower.


Snaps and blue lobelia. I love the variety of colors.

The beds are coming along. I cut down the knockout rose again as it had gotten huge and was crowding out the lady’s mantle and hosta. Plus I added some cosmos so they will grow nice and tall and will need the light.


The yellow tulips in the bed below are a late variety so they always come up after I’ve forgotten all about tulips. That bed now has lavender, tulips, cosmos, sweet peas (only about 3″ high so far, too short to reach the trellises), and purple day lilies.



I also planted tomatoes and herbs this evening (once the third day of deluges this week finished). Too dark for photos, I’ll take them tomorrow and log the herbs and tomatoes that I planted.

Sauteed Scallops and Ramps

Yay Spring!

I ordered ramps (spring onions) and Nantucket bay scallops from Fresh Direct and sauteed them in a little butter and olive oil, with salt, of course. They were delicious. I sauteed the ramps first in olive oil and butter (seasoned with salt and pepper too) and then removed them from the french oven and then sauteed the scallops. All you have to do to clean the scallops is remove the little white muscle and then rinse and pat dry. Season with salt, and then saute in olive oil and unsalted butter. They were so delicious! The onions were mild and the leaves were so good, and the scallops were buttery and delicious.

Next time I’ll take photos. I just didn’t want to wait and let them get cold before we ate.

Ramps before and after cooking (looked just like this but photos are not mine)


Ramps before


Nantucket Bay Scallops before and after cooking (looked just like this but photos are not mine):


    NB scallops before


NB scallops after (yes, they were this tiny!)– mine weren’t frou frou like this… but this is pretty!