Mustard Pork Cutlet

I love me a crispy, pan-fried, cutlet. I often do a traditional flour, egg, breadcrumbs coating however I wanted to dry something a bit different. The idea of using mustard to bind the crumbs to the pork popped into my head. Walla, another successful weeknight protein source.

Mustard Pork Cutlet
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, about 4 oz. each and 1/2″ thick
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a pie plate or rimmed dish. Set aside.
  2. Use a meat pounder to flatten each pork chop to around 1/4″ thick. Season with black pepper and kosher salt on both sides. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Smear each side of the cutlets with about 1/2 tsp. of mustard. Press each side of the cutlet into the breadcrumbs until they are well coated. Coat all 4 cutlets before continuing.
  4. Heat the oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until it shimmers. Add 2 cutlets and cook for 4 minutes per side. Check the temperature of the cutlets with an instant read thermometer; 140°F is fully cooked. Transfer to a cooling rack set over some paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Repeat with the other two cutlets.
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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

True confession – one of my guilty pleasures is “blue box” macaroni and cheese. That said sometimes you want something more “grown up”, something with a bit of depth to it. This recipe, based on one we’ve used for years from Joy of Cooking, hits that spot.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (8 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ancho chile powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup “red matter” (or 1/2 cup diced onion)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 oz. Colby-Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Use 1/2 a tablespoon of butter to thoroughly grease the inside of a 1 /12 quart baking dish.
  2. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Add the kosher salt and allow water to return to a boil. Add macaroni and cook per the directions on the package (it was 11 minutes for me). “Al dente”, or even slightly under, is desirable here as the macaroni will bake in the sauce.
  3. While the pasta cooks melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and ancho chile powder; use a whisk to incorporate these ingredients into the butter. Cook the mixture for 1 minute; stirring constantly.
  4. Add the milk and whisk to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and add the “red matter”/onions, paprika, pepper and sea salt. Stir until well incorporated. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens.
  5. Add about two-thirds of the grated cheese and stir until melted.
  6. When pasta is ready drain and add to the cheese sauce. Stir until all of the macaroni is coated with sauce.
  7. Transfer half of the macaroni and cheese to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle about half of the remaining grated cheese over it. Add the remaining macaroni and cheese and sprinkle the last of the grated cheese over it. Distributed the Panko bread crumbs over the entire dish.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the dish half way through cooking to promote even browning.
  9. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes:
“Red matter” is a guajillo and caramelized shallot jam that my husband makes in large batches a couple of times each year. We use it in braised greens, stews, stir fries and, mac and cheese. You can substitute diced onion if your husband doesn’t provide you with this bounty.

I turned the broiler on 450°F for 3-4 minutes to help brown the top of my macaroni and cheese.

Crab Cakes

My husband had to be near the computer for work on New Year’s Eve so we decided to stay home. I wanted to make something simple and tasty but kind of “fancy”. Crab cakes fit the bill and were a hit. I cooked up a bit of white rice with shallot and threw together a faux Remoulade sauce.
Crab Cakes with rice and faux Remoulade sauce

This recipe was emailed to me back in 2001 by a friend. I’ve replaced a couple of ingredients and adjusted the amounts to suit my preferences.

Crab Cakes
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 lb. lump crab meat (see note), drained and checked for shell bits
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ~1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (divided)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl beat together the eggs, Worcestershire, mustard, salt and peppers. Add the crab, mayo, shallot and 1/2 cup of panko. Mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the remaining panko in a shallow dish, such as a pie pan. Form the crab mixture into 8 patties and coat with panko. Place patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and, again, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons oil over medium low heat. Add 4 crab cakes to the skillet and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet and stash in the oven while you cook the remaining crab cakes using the remaining butter and oil.
  5. Serve with a green salad or white rice. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Notes:
For the crab meat I used a 50/50 mix of Phillips Premium Crab “Jumbo” and Phillips Premium “Back fin Lump”. Using the back fin crab helped reduces the overall cost of the crab, the most expensive ingredients in the dish. I don’t feel that the crab cakes were any less delicious even though I didn’t use the Jumbo crab for the whole thing. Phillips Premium was America’s Test Kitchen’s top rated crab meat and for these you want to the best you can find. Thankfully the Phillips website has a “Where to Buy” feature which saved me from driving from store to store. I found it locally at Price Chopper.

I used 2 scoops from a #20 disher to portion out the patties.

You can make these a day in advance and refrigerate overnight. Just skip step 1 (preheating the oven), make the patties and cover completely with plastic wrap.

For the faux Remoulade sauce I mixed equal parts mayonnaise and store-bought chili sauce (think spicy ketchup) with prepared horseradish, Dijon mustard and a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.