That’ll Do

15 May

I remember reading a piece in the New York Times a few years ago about happiness and stuff and things.

I like to be happy. I also like stuff and things, I won’t lie. I love shoes, and books, and marbles but like most people, if I’m remembering this article correctly, the things I think will make me happiest don’t always do so.


Those new flip flops I was so anticipating because I thought they’d make me look like I just got back from the Capri? They actually make me miserable. They hurt like a sonofabitch.

But I have discovered one reliable source of consumerist happiness, Tamarack Hollow Farm. I love to swing by their stand on Wednesdays at the Greenmarket and impulse purchase pork.


I’ve only done it twice now and the joy is undeniable. Unlike a car which soon becomes a money pit, a pork shoulder or a couple of chops provides happiness that lasts a few days, culminating in an intense sense of well-being.

First there’s the purchasing. Who doesn’t like buying stuff? Then there’s the plotting and planning. What should I do with my pork? Thirdly there’s the concocting. Will the marinade actually add flavor? Is that relish really necessary? And finally there’s the cooking and eating. Does it taste as good as I thought it would?

So far I’m two for two on the last question, which makes me, well, happy!

Pepi Relish

My most recent impulse purchase pork, a pair of chops, got an 8 hour marinade in some Chinotto, the brine of Rick’s Picks Pepi Pep Peps and some secret herbs and spices (Yes I use pre-made spice blends sometimes. I’m not a saint! And my mom knows the guy that makes them. And they’re awesome.) before being lightly dusted with flour and fried in a little olive oil.

Chinotto Chops

I made up a quick relish from the Pepi Pep Peps and mashed some potatoes and rainbow chard. It was a simple, hearty, unpretentious finger-lickin’ good dinner. So good in fact I’ve been made to promise not to impulse purchase any more pork for a month. We’ve been eating too well!

Chard Mash

While this promise makes me a bit sad, it won’t be that hard to keep. We’re heading out of town on Friday for a very well-earned vacation. We’re heading into the sunset, westward into the Rockies; Colorado Springs, Ridgway, Denver and Boulder.

Are there any must see places that you guys would care to recommend? Must eat delicacies? Must hike trails? Any suggestions for all things dorky, artsy and foodie would be greatly appreciated!

I may be able to blog from the road, but just in case I can’t or I decide I don’t want to, I’m still trying to hunt down some guest bloggers for while we’re gone.

I’d bring back the rabbits, but, well, we ate them.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Chinotto Chops, Chard Mash and Pepi Relish.

Chinotto Chops

prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: 15 minutes

  • 1 6oz. bottle S. Pellegrino Chinotto
  • 1/3-1/2 c. Pickled Pepper Brine
  • healthy glug of Olive Oil
  • about 1 1/2 tbsps or so Bloody Rub’n Kick (or a combination of spices similar to those found in a Bloody Mary)
  • small pinch Kosher Salt
  • 2 Pork Chops (or more, 1 per person)
  • Flour

Place the first 5 ingredients in a large, heavy duty ziploc bag. Rinse the chops and place in the bag. Seal and press out as much air as possible. Massage the marinade into the meat. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, flipping once.

When marinated, remove the bag containing the chops from the fridge and allow to warm up just a bit. Place a handful of flour on a plate. Remove the chops from the marinade, allow to drip dry for a second. Place the chops on the plate and coat lightly with flour. Wash your hands.

Heat a glug of olive oil over a medium flame in a cast iron or heavy skillet. Carefully place the chops in the pan and allow to brown slowly, at least 7 minutes per side, or longer, depending on the thickness.

The USDA says your pork should reach an internal temp of 160°F. Personally, I pay a premium for well raised pork and would prefer to not eat it after it’s been turned in to pork pucks. Like Bruni, I prefer my pork a little pink. Listen to your heart.

Serve with Chard Mash & Pepi Relish.

Chard Mash

prep time: 15 minutes ~ cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 1-2 lbs Potaotes or as much as needed for the number of people you’re serving, washed and cut into chunks
  • a few big handfuls Rainbow Chard, washed, stems removed and if large torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salt

Set a large pot of salted water over a high flame. Add the potatoes. Cook until just turning tender. Add the chard. Cook until very limp. Drain. Return to the pot. Add a healthy knob of butter, a good glug of milk and a pinch of salt (exact amounts depend on how many ‘taters there are). Mash and mix until incorporated.

Serve with Chinotto Chops and Pepi Relish.

Pepi Relish

prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: none

Finely mice the pickled peppers and move to a small serving bowl with whatever brine acumulates. Add a healthy glug of olive oil and a pinch of the secret seasoning. Blend with my salad dressing tool of choice or a fork. Taste and adjust balance if necessary with salt, pepper or vinegar.

Serve with Chinotto Chops & Chard Mash. Enjoy!


15 Responses to “That’ll Do”

  1. Mary May 15, 2007 at 7:42 am #

    You’re killing me here. What kind of ring do you want already.

  2. Susan in Italy May 15, 2007 at 7:53 am #

    Hmmm.. Rick Pick’s Peppy Pep Peps. It makes me happy just saying it.

  3. Lisa (Homesick Texan) May 15, 2007 at 8:36 am #

    There’s a terrific independent truck stop outside of Denver called Johnson’s Corner. They have some of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Good biscuits and gravy, too. As for your flip-flops, you should get a stick of Bodyglide (they sell it at sport stores). Rub some on your feet before putting on your sandals and it’ll keep the blisters at bay.

  4. Amanda May 15, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    Stop copying my life. You impulse-bought the pork shoulder for the bbq right after I did*, swore off doing so right as I did (mother’s day), and now, you’re going to Colorado this weekend. I leave thursday night. Seriously. I’m freaking out.
    My parents retired out there a few years ago, and they’re not crazy adventurous eaters in the least. They LOVE Claim Jumper. I don’t know if you’re aware of this place, but the portion sizes are legendary. You can get like three meals from an appetizer alone there. My parents are skinny and barely eat, so they love that they buy one meal and eat it for a week. So they don’t really take me to the most interesting places there. There are some good one-off bbq, mexican, and wild-game type spots, so look for that stuff. Have a great time!
    * I loved your marinade, and my husband wanted to marry me again for it!!! I tried adapting it to my slow-cooker, though, and I think I lost some bbq flavor for it. I’ll work on that.

  5. Toni May 15, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    I love your impulse buys! I keep telling people that I don’t do as much clothes shopping as most women (well, most of the time anyway). But I’m seriously addicted to food shopping! (Thanks, Mom and Dad for the genes that help me stay thin!)

    Sometimes those down home, meat and potato meals are the best! Love the look of mashed potatoes with rainbow chard – I’m sure I’d love them!

    Sorry I can’t recommend anything in Colorado. Now, if you were headed to Santa Fe or Taos, I’d definitely have some places to recommend! Enjoy your trip, and don’t worry about blogging. This is a vacation!! We’ll all be here waiting for you when you come back, anxious to hear about your trip. Enjoy!

  6. Hannah May 15, 2007 at 7:00 pm #

    In Denver:
    Tamayo (nuevo latino), Cherry Cricket (best burgers!!), Bonnie Brae Ice Cream, Brother BBQ, tamales from La Popular, and many many other places!

  7. ann May 15, 2007 at 9:33 pm #

    Mary — Round, big, Tiffany setting… ;-)

    Susan — Right? Good stuff!

    Lisa — Cinnamon rolls… that sounds awesome. My mom gave me some of that stuff once, I really should find it… It’s somewhere here in the apartment… this is the problem with moving into a bigger place, more places to hide stuff!

    Amanda — that’s just weird. I think in order to keep the universe from ripping asunder, we must promise never to meet! I’m really glad you and the hubby liked the marinade. I wish I had a slow cooker! I’d tinker with the recipe with you.

    Toni — Maybe next year I’ll hit you up for some places, or when next my folks are down in your neck of the woods… For some reason I read Taos as Tacos. I think I need some green chili!

    Hi Hannah! those sound like wonderful places, especially Brother BBQ. I know nothing about it, and yet, I’m in love.

  8. s'kat May 16, 2007 at 8:44 am #

    “What should I do with my pork?”

    How funny… I often find myself asking the same question!

    I can’t help you with your trip, but it sure sounds like a fun one!

  9. Luisa May 16, 2007 at 9:28 am #

    Ooooh, the Rockies! What fun. We did that trip last August, and while I have little to recommend on the dining front, camping in Rocky Mountain National Park was great. Have fun! Stay away from the bears! :)

  10. Terry B May 16, 2007 at 9:54 am #

    Another great post, Ann. You’re right about stuff not guaranteeing happiness. A good piece of pork, on the other hand… You’re also right about not cooking pork to death. Trichinosis [the disease associated with undercooked pork] is not common in the US anymore, mostly due to changes in the methods of feeding of pigs over the last 30 years. In fact, most cases [and there were only 19 cases reported in 1998, to put things in perspective] now come from game animals. So a little pink is generally fine and makes the meat less dry.

    Those potatoes sound fabulous! I need to experiment more with adding veggies to mashed potatoes.

    And finally, have a wonderful vacation! Come back with amusing stories.

  11. Christina May 16, 2007 at 11:23 pm #

    Will you stop almost making me cry over the beauty of pork? C’mon already.

    Seriously, another great meal. Thanks for sharing it!

  12. ann May 17, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    s’kat — it’s a wonderful question to have to ask yourself, isn’t it?

    Luisa — I will definitely stay away from the bears, and actually, away from the camping too. I don’t camp, but I do hike, so that means I’m not a bad person, right?

    TerryB — yeah, thank god for no more trichinosis! Mashes of vege and taters are so good. I especially like spuds mashed with legumes; peas, garbanzos, favas, limas. They turn it such a fun color!

    Christina — Thanks! No more pork for awhile, I promise!

  13. Terry B May 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm #

    The legumes are an interesting call, but I like the way the chard looks. Makes me think spinach might be another good call, perhaps with some minced garlic thrown in because it plays so nicely with spinach.

  14. Tiny Banquet Committee May 20, 2007 at 11:40 am #

    I, too, have been tortured by flip-flops – cheap or expensive, rubber or leather, I have had issues with all of them, so I am very interested in finding some of Lisa’s secret weapon!
    The pork chops look great but I am such a carb-addict that I’m just as interested in those mashed potatoes – adding a bit of greens makes them health food, right?

  15. Julie May 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    I echo TCB: the pork chops look great, but I’m just as interested in the potatoes. OK, maybe I’m even more interested. They look delicious.

    Have fun in the Rockies. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

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