Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig SauceWho gives a fig?
The other day I found myself in possession of two beautiful baskets of fresh Black Mission figs. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long in the hot weather I set about figuring out how to use them.

I knew I didn’t want to use them in a dessert—the last thing I really need to be eating is dessert. Also, that seemed too easy. I wanted something different. So I went searching for savory recipes that included figs.

There are a lot of things you can do with figs beyond just shoving them in your mouth. There’s fig and balsamic jam. Fig pizza. You can slice them up in a salad with fresh goat cheese. Or, you can wrap them in bacon and throw them on the grill. (See our recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese.)

When I think of the combination of figs and savory, pork often comes to mind. Probably, because pork can handle the sweetness of the figs the same way it can with apples. So, it was no surprise that my search for something new landed on a recipe that was the inspiration for these Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce. I knew I had found what was for dinner.

The original recipe calls for pork tenderloin, but I brined some thick-cut, boneless pork chops instead. I used the same pan that I used for the pork to make the fig sauce. Once the sauce was done I pulled the chops from the oven and spooned the figgy goodness on top.

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce
Adapted from Food 52
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Berry Trifle Recipe and Memorial Day Menu Ideas

Berry TrifleRemembering
Memorial Day weekend is coming. We can slow down and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. It is a time to celebrate those brave men and women—but it is also a time to celebrate the freedom that their sacrifices ensured.

Chances are your Memorial Day celebration will include a BBQ, either at your place or with friends and family. It’s just how we do it in the good ‘ole U. S. of A. Of course, what constitutes a BBQ is different for everyone. For some, it’s burgers and dogs. For others is slow-cooked ribs or juicy chicken. Perhaps it’s your favorite sausage. And don’t forget the rib-eyes…

To help you choose your BBQ, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite BBQ recipes for you to look over while preparing for the big day. Remember there are no hard and fast rules as to what should and should not be at your Memorial Day BBQ. You want to throw some shrimp on the barbie? More power to you!

I have just one request. Don’t forget Dessert.

Dessert for a crowd can be difficult. I have always been a fan of the Berry Trifle at outdoor gatherings. It’s pretty. It’s tasty and you make it as big or little as you want. I like Tyler Florence’s recipe a lot. Feel free to substitute some good vanilla pudding for the lemon curd or, heck, use both!

Here’s our list of recipes
Mains
Cherry Cola Ribs
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade
Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peaches, Mint & Almonds

Sides
Tri-Colored Orzo Salad
New Potato Salad
Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
Green Chili Rice Casserole
Jumbo Pico Salad
Amy’s Spicy Slaw

Desserts
Peach Cobbler
Lemon Meringue Pie
Texas Sheet Cake
Overstuffed Nutters

Berry Trifle
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 4 servings
You can adjust it up or down depending on how many you are feeding. It is also lovely when assembled in individual serving glasses. Read more…

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori ChickenLucky Thirteen
Every year at this time I get a little crazier than normal…it’s birthday week. In the span of 6 days we will celebrate the Boys’ birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day and my Daughter’s birthday—all on top of our usual insane schedule.

Not surprisingly, food plays a big role in our celebrations. Birthdays, at least for the kids, start in the morning with the Donut Cake which is basically a bunch of donuts piled on a plate with candles in it. Not complicated, but still awesome. And, as always, the birthday boy or girl, gets to pick what they would like for their birthday dinner. Sometimes we go out to eat. Other times we stay home and eat whatever they request. This year we had scheduling issues so we did a little of both. Gotta love Birthday Take-out!

When I was pregnant with the boys I craved Indian food 24/7—the spicier the better. I guess it should come as no surprise how much they love it, too. So for their birthday dinner, we ended up with container upon container of their favorite Indian dishes from our go-to Indian restaurant. This was followed up with some awesome (if not a little bit smashed) ice cream cake.

At 13, the days of the boys’ bouncy house parties are behind us. And, I am okay with that even though it means that they are growing up. It also means that have progressed beyond chicken nuggets to the good stuff like this…

Tandoori Chicken
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Tandoori Chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner. The trick is to prepare the marinade the day before and set it in the fridge overnight. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase the red tandoori coloring from an Indian grocer. Ours isn’t as colorful, but it is equally delicious!

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Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos

Citrus Marinated Chicken TacosFiesta De Mayo
May is a month of celebrations. There are five birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. It’s a busy month and the official kick off is Cinco de Mayo.

For the record, I do not have one single drop of Mexican blood in me. Not even a little. (I’ve done the Ancestry DNA test. I’m pretty boring.) What I do have is an insane love for Mexican cuisine, which is why Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in my house. My husband went so far as to remind me last night that Cinco de Mayo was this Friday. As if I hadn’t already started planning? Dude, it’s like you don’t even know me…

Cinco de Mayo falling on a weekday can be somewhat problematic. Sure, the fact that it’s on Friday is a good thing since you can sleep in on Saturday. But, it makes menu planning a bit more limiting. For a lot of people, Mexican food means tacos and burritos. And, while this is a part of Mexican cuisine, there is so much more to it. Mexican cuisine has boundless diversity and flavor that varies from region to region. You could spend years trying to experience all of its nuances and hidden tastes. Which is exactly the problem. Some of the best food Mexico has to offer takes time and does not lend itself to a Friday night meal after work.

So, tacos it is with fresh tortillas, preferably homemade. (If you have never made your own tortillas, grab a bag of Maseca and give it a try. You’ll never go back to packaged.)

This Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos recipe is one I made for my very first Cinco de Mayo celebration 20 years ago. It’s an oldie but a goodie. I have been known to add a little tequila to the marinade when I’m feeling sassy…

Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos
Yields filling for about eight tacos

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Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous

Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date CouscousOn The Lamb
Growing up, we always had lamb for Easter. There may have been the occasional ham but I always associate lamb (and my grandmother’s purple water goblets) with Easter.

I have a very clear picture in my mind of my grandmother carving the leg of lamb with an electric knife (!) and with each slice she may or may not have encountered a whole garlic clove that she had stuffed into the meat. I also remember the tiny metal containers for the mint jelly. The leg of lamb was always tasty, the mint jelly not so much. Back then, traditional roasted leg of lamb or the occasional broiled lamb chop with rosemary was pretty much the limit of my exposure to lamb. Nowadays though, when I think of eating or cooking lamb my tastes run to the Middle East.

No matter the occasion, if I am cooking with lamb chances are the flavors are going to be North African or Middle Eastern in nature. Easter dinner is no different. Harissa has thankfully replaced the mint jelly on the table and potatoes have made way for the couscous. So, depending on how formal we want to be, dinner can be lamb kebabs with pita and hummus or a roast shoulder with couscous and date stuffing. And there is always this family favorite, Moroccan Lamb Tangine.

I think this year because I feel the need to make an effort, I’m doing the Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous. It’s been a while since I have made Moroccan food and this is the perfect time to dust off a favorite recipe!

Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous
Adapted from Arabesque by Claudia Roden
Serves 4 to 5

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