There was a craving inside of me that could not be satisfied with the produce found in New York. I found that every peach I bit into, every mango slice that I ate and every orange wedge I gnawed on lacked a juicy sweet and sticky slurp factor that was supposed to accompany a summer fruit. Don't get me wrong, there was some ooze after every bite, but the flavor lacked the INTENSITY that justified the 1.99 EACH price tag. I wanted each bite to scream "YA'LL!". Instead, it screamed "you all." Lame. I knew then I needed to fly back home. So, I booked a ticket to my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida and off I went.
From the airport, I asked my driver (okay, my dad) to take me to the Farmer's Market so that I can get my fix. Once there, I loaded up on mangos, peaches and strawberries and stuffed my face with fruit on the car ride to my parents' house. After my body was fully detoxed, I was ready to retox with the other thing the South is known for, fried food. Before I went to my favorite Chicken and Waffles spot, I thought I should ease into it with a pan fried meal first then indulge in deep fried territory. In order to get started, I needed some pork.
Pork Chops, inexpensive but oh so luscious.
Invited a few friends to the pig party.
I used honey roasted mixed nuts to add to my panko parmesan coating. Why? Because honey and pork go together like peanut butter and more peanut butter (I'm not really a jelly person). Also, you can chop your nuts with a heavy cleaver so that you can control the size of each piece. Use this method for when your guests arrive. Once they are settled in the next room, throw the remaining whole nuts in a zip lock bag and bang the bag with a rolling pin.
That works too.
That works too.
Mix the chopped nuts, parmesan and panko together in a bowl.
Create your assembly line - pork, whipped eggs, then your breading. Make sure you season your pork chops with salt and pepper before you begin!
In a very heated pan, crisp a few slices of bacon and for the love of everything glorious in this life, save the fat. Set cooked bacon aside on a few sheets of paper towels.
Coat the seasoned pork chops with egg then dip in panko nut mixture. Next, gently lay pork chops in hot bacon fat until golden brown (approximately 5 minutes), flip and brown on the other side. Make sure you don't crowd the pan.
Place pork chops on a rack and insert into a 350 degree oven until cooked through. Meat internal temperature should be around 145 degrees. Aren't they precious??
After about 10 minutes, carefully remove pork from oven... (I should really brush my hair).
Viola, crunchy panko pork chops!
But wait, there's more! Before we begin our feast, we need a side item. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my sister!
Because cooking should be a family affair, like crocodile hunting!
My latest obsession. My sis recently introduced me to this amazing show. The fiance is really going to love Swamp People clogging up our Teevo. Anybody know where I can get fried gator tail in New York, please, PLEASE do tell. Mmmm... Okay, back to the food!
Raise your hand if you find beets extremely sexy...
And grotesque at the same time? Femme Fatale of the root family. I digress, this recipe is super easy.
Hey, there. What's your name? What's your sign? Oops, sorry.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Quarter your beets and liberally season your beets with sea salt and pepper. Wrap in foil. Pop in the oven, cook until you can easily spear with a fork.
Around 40 minutes.
Once cooked, dice in one inch pieces.
EEEK! EEEK!! BLAHHHhhahhHHH!
Okay, I'll stop. Dice your bacon from before and assemble.
Super easy. Ready?
You're done! Now put it all together...
A match made in heaven! Short and simple. Why?
Because more time should be spent cuddling with puppies.
Panko Nutty Pork Chops
4 (5- to 7- ounce) Center-cut bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crushed honey roasted mixed nuts
5 slices of thick cut bacon
salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season both sides of your pork chops with salt and pepper.
2. Whip two eggs in bowl and pour in flat plate
3. Combine panko, cheese and mixed nuts in another plate
4. Heat skillet. Once heated through, fry bacon until crisp and fat is rendered.
5. Dip seasoned chops in eggs, then coat pork chops in breading.
6. Gently lay the chops in bacon fat. Cook until both sides are toasted.
7. Place porkchops on rack over a baking sheet and slide preheated oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Serve immediately.
Endive Beet Bacon Bites
4 Belgian endives
2 medium sized red beets
1 cup blue cheese
5 strips of bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Seperate, wash and dry endive leave. Place each leaf next to one another on a flat serving tray.
2. Put a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put the beets on it.
3. Drizzle olive oil over them and wrap them tightly in the foil, making a packet.
4. Roast until a knife inserted into the largest beet meets no resistance, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
5. Cool and remove the skins by rubbing the beets with a paper towel. (Gloves are a good idea to prevent staining your hands.)
6. Cube beets. Once cubed spoon on each endive. Spoon blue cheese, then sprinkle almonds on top. Top the plate with crumbled blue cheese and crumbled bacon. Serve.