Wednesday, April 28, 2010


There is a motley parade out there of Food Network 'celebrities' that I can't stand.  Leading the pack shitty-food-first is Rachael Ray.  Her voice, a cross between acute laryngitis and choking on one of Izaboo's chew toys, is insufferable.  The recipes run a continuum of uninspired to inedible.  I hate all of her inane phrases that she insists on explaining in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE ("E.V.O.O., which is actually Extra Virgin Olive Oil"... "it's a Stoup - thicker than a soup, thinner than a chowder... Stoup!!!").  Calling her viewers kids, which I guess makes sense.  You have to either be extremely underage or extremely drunk to want to dive into Quick 'n Cheezy Hot Dog Cassabake.  Guy Slammalammadingdongajamma Fieri, mug-raping the camera in a relentless quest to steal the scene from a small town's local legend burgers and pancakes.  He too abbreviating everything in sight, believing in the charisma he doesn't actually have gives him license to do so.  The sunglasses-on-back-of-head, trashy bleached hair and smell of Axe body wash that can actually waft through the TV seal the douchebag deal.

But most unwatchable, most loathsome amongst a list that continues to go on (Alex Guarnachelli and her bitchface, Alton Brown's patronizing, Ted Allen's utter uselessness) is Sandra Lee.

The terrible food with no finesse.  The creepy tablescapes.  The concerning abundance of vodka.  The lllllllooong llllllll's  (llllllllllllllemon llllllllllllollllllllllipops you're gonna lllllllllllllllllove!).  Her perchance for comandeering her nephew for these ackwardly mimed family brunches. 

So, when I want to present a recipe that involves a few premade shortcuts, I refuse the Semi-Homemade label.  I will not, in any way, align myself with this glue gun-happy psychopath.

I will call it Scratch-Deficient.

I made these a couple nights ago, when I really didn't feel like making dinner.  My mind was doing an imagined inventory of the freezer contents, searching for something easy and not disgusting.  But, I had pork chops out and thawed.  It would be a waste.  So I threw this together, mostly upon my experience in the past and my growing ability to make a decent sauce.  Deglazing is my best friend.  I wanted to share, because its Scratch-Deficienty makes it good for weeknights.  Being able to add another level with the pan sauce makes you feel like you're eating something special, something that deserves to be eaten at the table.  Also, it makes Matt smile like this. 

Scratch-Deficient Pork Chops for Two <3

2 large, boneless pork chops
1 package of Stove Top, prepared in the microwave all white trash-like
2 tbsp dried cranberries
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 tsp and 1 other tsp fresh thyme, minced (one's for the pork chops, the other is for the sauce)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup

While hot out of the microwave, mix the Stove Top with the cranberries.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat a stainless pan with olive oil on medium heat.  Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, then add to the heated pan.  Allow them to develop a nice crust on each side, about 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan, and take off the heat.  Allow the pork chops to cool slightly, until they are safe to the touch.  Using a sharp knife, make a pocket opening on a long side of each pork chop, careful not to puncture through to the other side. 

Stuff the pockets with Stove Top and cranberry mixture.  You can pack the stuffing in, so don't be afraid to press and stuff.  Place in a Pyrex dish, top with minced thyme, and place in the oven to finish roasting for about 20-24 minutes.  Don't let the things dry out.  There is nothing worse than dry pork.  Except maybe raw pork.  That can, like, kill you.

Meanwhilst, put the pan back onto the heat at medium-high.  Add the vinegar to deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits that the pork chops left behind.  Add dijon, thyme and maple syrup, and whisk together.  Allow to thicken, stirring very frequently.  After it is incorporated and seasoned with salt and pepper to your liking, put on low to keep warm as the pork chops finish. 

Serve the pork chops with the sauce and whatever side dish you opt for.  Matt chose leftover Stove Top (that was not cross contaminated with a stuffing spoon!  Take out what you need if you want to eat the rest!).  I had wild rice.



  1. Hey, I work with Sandra's brother and he has a lot of nice things to say about her.

  2. Sorry :(
    But I doubt he has good things to say about that meatloaf.