Your New Favorite Pork Chops

by Hilary Gauntt on August 21, 2016

I’ve read a few recipes over the last couple of years with this same intriguing title, and tried a few. Haven’t posted any. But this one from the March Bon Apetit lives up to it’s name in my opinion. Just thick bone-in pork chops sauteed in a skillet with sage, garlic and a bit of butter; turned often until they have a golden brown crust and an evenly cooked pink interior. The pan sauce created is wonderful; don’t omit the butter as the small amount that makes it into your mouth adds so much flavor.

1 tbs. vegetable oil

2 1 and 1/2 inch thick bone-in pork rib chops (8-10 ounces each)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 sprigs sage

2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Season pork chops all over (including the fat cap) with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until bottom side is golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Repeat this process, turning about every minute until chops are deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135 degrees, 8-10 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on thickness of chops.)

Remove pan from the heat and add sage, garlic, and butter, smashing the garlic into the butter. Tilt skillet and spoon foaming butter and drippings over pork chops, making sure to baste the fat cap as well as the rib. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes (pork will come to 145 degrees as it sits.)

Cut away bone and slice pork about 1/4 inch thick. Serve with any juices from the cutting board spooned over the top. Serves 4.

Note: Whoops! As I typed this I noticed “serves 4” for the first time. Served 2 very happy campers in our house!

pork chops with sage


Turkey Cutlets Marsala

by Hilary Gauntt on August 14, 2016

Elizabeth David was a scholarly British cookbook author who had a major impact on her country’s notoriously bland cooking, post World War II. After attending the Sorbonne in Paris she didn’t retain much of the course work but “What had stuck was the taste for a kind of food quite ideally unlike anything I had known before.”

This simple preparation for turkey was in an article she wrote called “A Small Scale Thanksgiving”. It comes together in 15 minutes, and the wafting fragrance of browning butter and Marsala wine will bring people into the kitchen wanting to know when dinner is going to be ready. I used a bit less butter and found the two large servings enough for three. I love how she advises you to season the cutlets “aggressively” with salt and pepper !

4 turkey cutlets, approximately 1 1/4 pounds

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Flour for dusting

4 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/4 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup chicken stock, homemade or low sodium

Place the cutlets on a wooden board, and season them aggressively with salt and pepper, then lightly dust them with flour.

Melt the butter in a large saute or frying pan set over medium-high heat, and when it begins to foam, add the turkey cutlets to the pan. Turn down to medium, and cook, gently, for 3 minutes a side, being careful not to allow the butter to blacken.

When the second side is just about done, pour the Marsala over the cutlets, and allow it to bubble and combine with the butter. Now do the same with a splash or two of the chicken stock. Cook in the pan for 2 or 3 minutes more.

Note: My cutlets were much smaller; 8 instead of 4. I pressed each two together and proceeded with the recipe. Another time I used turkey tenderloins and sliced them in half horizontally to make thin cutlets. I have served this twice with the Charlie Bird Farro Salad in a preceding recipe as they complement each other perfectly!

turkey marsala


Another Anniversary

by Hilary Gauntt on August 9, 2016

“The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention.”

“I promise if you keep searching for everything beautiful in the world, you will eventually become it.”
Tyler Kent White

“Death is not an ending, but a symbol of movement along the path upon which we are all traveling. As it may be painful to lose contact with the physical aspect of one we love, the spirit can never be lost. We have been and always will be a part of each other.”
John Denver

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
A line from the message Queen Elizabeth II sent to the United States after 9/11

“As I get older, I am becoming more selective of who I consider a friend. I find I would rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies.”
Steve Maraboli



Fresh Peach Cake

by Hilary Gauntt on August 6, 2016

The peaches are luscious now, and here is a wonderful way to use them! My assistant Hunter Kirby, age 3, decided this was the best thing we have ever made. (Everything we have made to date includes either frosting or whipped cream). You layer the rich batter with fresh sliced peaches and cinnamon sugar, and your house will smell divine as it bakes.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan. ( I used a 10 inch round)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until just combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.

peach cake
Of course we topped this with whipped cream!
Hunter peach cake


Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

July 28, 2016

This is such an easy way to prepare fajitas, and you can throw it all together ahead of time (my favorite type of recipe.) Just toss all the ingredients together on the pan along with the spices, bake for about 20 minutes and then drizzle with lime juice and cilantro. Pile into warm tortillas and […]

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Gazpacho Dip

July 22, 2016

I offered to bring an appetizer for a bay cruise in our friend’s new boat; so obviously that meant something room temperature with no assembly required! This was a dip I used to make years ago from the Junior League of Los Angeles cookbook that fit the bill. It’s like a salsa but with the […]

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Garlic Chicken With Asparagus

July 15, 2016

This is a perfect summer dinner; light but full of flavor. I was looking for something to do with my beautiful fresh asparagus and some chicken thighs and remembered this recipe from TV Chef Michael Symon’s cookbook “5 in 5” (5 fresh ingredients and 5 minutes). I am using his lovely photo as I had […]

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The Perfect Victoria Sponge Cake

July 3, 2016

We have just returned from a hiking trip in the Cotswolds; a glorious wandering through picture book villages, wheat fields and hill sides dotted with sheep. I came home wanting to build a rock wall covered with climbing roses in front of our house; but I’m not sure that’s happening! What I DID successfully bring […]

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Spiralized Zucchini Cacio e Pepe from “It’s All Easy”

June 12, 2016

This healthy dish is from Gweneth Paltrow’s latest cook book; a lightened up version of an Italian pasta classic. Spiralized (yes its a word!) zucchini noodles stand in for the pasta and are tossed with olive oil, pepper and Parmesan with no cooking involved. Of course to try this I had to buy a spiralizer […]

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Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

June 6, 2016

Charlie Bird is the name of a restaurant in Soho, and this wonderful dish was created by Chef Ryan Handy. The farro is cooked in apple cider and bay leaves and is flavorful enough to eat on it’s own. But when combined with Parmesan, nuts, herbs, tomatoes and arugula it becomes something quite special. Speaking […]

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