A Pan-Roasted Pork Chop and Becoming a Better Home Cook

As you can probably guess, I’m an avid home cook. I whip up dinners comfortably (usually with the help of a sous chef or two) for groups of friends. I can turn the miscellaneous contents of my refrigerator into some semblance of a ‘charcuterie’ board if I have guests popping by unexpectedly. Yes, it would seem that I am slowly, but surely, becoming a kitchen wizard of Hogwart’s proportions.

Having said that, I can occasionally get so carried away, making something unusual or attempting to meld odd flavours together on a plate that I forget about the tastiness that can come out of the uncomplicated approach to cooking.

I’ve read Bon Appétit for years. I use it for inspiration in my kitchen, staying informed on the culinary happenings in North America and, regardless of the time of day/week/month/year, as an appetite stimulant. The magazine has started off the new year with a “Cooking School” issue. A good chunk of its pages are filled with how-tos and tips to get you cooking more often.

A lot of the pointers, guides and recipes I read through weren’t necessarily things that I did not know how to do, but, rather, things that I forgot to do. I am definitely the type of person that needs constant reminders in all aspects my life, and reading through this January issue of Bon Appétit was my culinary reminder for 2013. ‘Tis the season, so let’s consider this a resolution too.

For starters, I embarrassingly asked myself why the hell I had not been making my own soup stocks at home? It’s ridiculously easy. With the amount of vegetables, chicken and other bone-in meat cuts I go through, it seemed absurd that I wasn’t utilizing what I already had my disposal. So, I started again with a simple recipe for vegetable stock.

Further reading encouraged me to let go of my love of kale, arugula and leafy greens in general when it came to assembling a salad. It may feel wrong at times, but from a beautifully Italian caprese to a hearty quinoa salad (ok, I’m a little over quinoa…), you can have a stellar salad sans-lettuce. So, I turned my affection away from the fresh greens in my crisper and opted for a Shaved Root Vegetable and Orange Salad for lunch last week.


Last, but not least, the magazine featured an easy recipe for a Pan-Roasted Brined Pork Chop (that you can find here on bonappetit.com) utilizing yet another item in my culinary life that hadn’t been getting much love lately: My cast-iron pan. Poor little guy, I practically had to dust him off.

I modified the pork chop recipe a bit, brining a few smaller bone-in chops instead of one large one and using different aromatics in the butter basting process post-roasting.

If you like things spicy like I do, try using these ingredients when you’re in the last step of the recipe: 1 ghost chili, 1 TBSP dried cranberries (for a mild sweetness), 2 TSP lapsang souchong tea (it adds a nice smokiness to just about anything), and 1 TSP chili flakes.

 Here’s to another great year of great cooking and a reignited love for my cast-iron pan. I still heart you, pal!

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