Fiery Baby Bok Choy Recipe

Last night, we were looking for something different for our vegetable side dish and we came across this amazingly simple dish from Williams-Sonoma.

Baby boy choy is packed with vitamins and nutrients and is ridiculously low in calories…in fact 1 cup of bok choy has only 9 calories. Winter is the best time of year for this cruciferous vegetable, so right now it’s also very inexpensive. (I bought a pound and it cost only $0.98!)

We were a bit concerned that the recipe was going to be a bit too spicy for the kids (who can be really picky about that) so we toned it down slightly by omitting the chili oil in order to head off any dinnertime arguments. The dish still packed some heat, but the only complaint we had was that there wasn’t more of it!

The ingredients are few, the flavor large, and it’s mindblowingly fast.

Check out the recipe over on Williams-Sonoma and let us know what you think!

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Sophia helps make the caramel apples!

A friend of mine shared a link to this fun recipe a week or two ago and since I had been planning on pork chops that night anyway, I decided “why the heck not?”!

Pork and apples go together like bread and butter…the sweetness of the fruit complements the meat so very well that they’re simply a perfect match. This recipe ups the sweetness factor and was so delicious we actually had no leftovers whatsoever!

Sophia wanted to help tonight, so while I pared the apples, she measured the sugar and cinnamon. (She actually measured the cinnamon three times before she got it right and we lost some on the counter…and the floor…but she had fun.) She also had fun learning about where cinnamon and nutmeg come from and playing a bit with the nutmeg grinder I bought a few years back. Seriously, if you don’t have a nutmeg grinder, get one…the flavor difference between fresh and pre-ground is astounding.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Amazingly, my kids didn’t care too much for the sauce as it was a little too sticky (I think I overcooked it by a minute or two which with caramels makes a HUGE difference), but they loved the chops and even ate the apples which surprised me as they are quite picky eaters. This is also why you’ll notice the sauce is on the side in the picture. I didn’t feel like fighting the dinner battle for the #897th time.

We had our caramel apple pork chops with a loaf of rosemary bread from a local bakery and perfectly tender broccoli with parmesan shavings.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops
4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops (I had 7, so that’s what I made!)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
2 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)
1. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil to pan. Add chops and cook about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan to serving dish and keep warm.
2. Combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
3. Melt butter to skillet, and stir in the sugar and spice mixture and apples. Cover and cook until the apples are just tender.
4. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and place on chops. Keep warm.
5. Reduce the remaining sauce uncovered in skillet until thickened slightly.
6. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

The link from my friend | The original recipe

Happy eating!
~Karen – A Brief Reprieve

As various publications and blogs reported yesterday, Gourmet Magazine is closing, effective immediately. The big question stirring around the web now however is, “What about

While the site apparently won’t be publishing any new content, according to this memo from Drew Schutte, senior vice president and chief revenue officer at Conde Nast Digital, the site will remain accessible through the end of the year:

Changes like this are tough, but the long term goal is a positive impact on our overall business.

To that end, a singular focus now within the Bridal category, should have a positive impact on our sales and marketing efforts.
In regard to and Gourmet,com, the sites will remain up at least through the end of the year.

If you have advertisers booked into 2010 or feel those booked on them now will be interested in a change, please call Christine to discuss.

Between Epicurious, our editorial for Mom’s, and new Mom’s demographic buy, we have solid options to offer.

So what does this mean to you? It means you don’t have to panic to grab recipes off of for archiving RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!! You’ll have a couple of weeks to say goodbye, cry in your wine and pick out the classic and elegant recipes you’ll pass on to your children as part of your family food heritage.

Baked Catfish with Lemon Aioli

I just got this recipe from my friend Angel and although it looked pretty good, I was leery of trying it out because of the cayenne and the fact that my kids are notoriously picky eaters.

Yesterday while perusing the fish counter at Bel-Air, I noticed that catfish was on sale, so I decided to give it a whirl. I told my kids a little white lie when they turned up their noses at it (“Angel’s kids love it and they’re just your age!”… completely false on all counts) but it worked…they scarfed it right down. Couple of things to note, it is a little spicy, so I’d probably go a little lighter than I did on the cayenne and I had to double the spices for the rub to have enough for both fillets. Oh, and the aioli? Totally makes this dish.

Baked Catfish with Lemon Aioli
1 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1/2 lbs catfish fillets
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced (I used 4 and tossed them in the microwave for about 30 seconds before mincing them)
Salt and freshly ground back pepper
Heat oven to 400F. Mix together thyme and cayenne and rub onto catfish and place in a 9×13 pyrex prepared with a little cooking spray. Bake fish until opaque and cooked throughout, about 14 minutes.
Combine mayo, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl to make aioli. Serve fish hot with aioli.

This was a super simple and inexpensive dish and my kids actually ate it!! Score! Seriously though, it came together very quickly and our oldest daughter asked to help make it next time since it was “fancy”.

Recipe: Spicey Buttermilk Fried Chicken

I have been trying really hard lately to move away from frying as a preferred cooking technique, but sometimes comfort food just calls you and this is a recipe that I came up with to help satisfy that comfort food urge.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-3 TBL Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (to taste)
  • 1 TSP Essense (or similar spice blend)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • canola oil or other preferred oil for frying.

Split the chicken breasts in half length-wise to create a thin filet.

Mix the buttermilk and the Red Hot Sauce and pour into a bowl or plastic container for marinating.

Mix the flour and Essense and place on a plate or in a shallow plastic container for dusting.

Marinate chicken in buttermilk/Red Hot Sauce blend for at least an hour.

Remove Chicken from marinade and let excess liquid drip off.

Coat the still damp chicken in the flour/Essence blend

Carefully place chicken in a skillet (Cast Iron preferrred) with oil heated to medium high heat.

Cook for about 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy and cooked through.

I like to serve with mashed potatoes and pan gravy and some fresh buttermilk biscuits right out of the oven with butter and jam or honey.   This is not the healthiest recipe on earth, but I am more and more convinced that it’s moderation and not deprivation that will get us where we want to be health wise.  This recipe is sure to please any family with it’s great crispy texture and the huge flavor from the Red Hot Sauce in the marinade and the Essence in the coating.

I am kicking myself in the butt big time for not taking a picture – but I am making this again this week and will make sure to update with a pic.

Serves 6-8 as written.