Monday, April 16, 2007


Like everyone else, I was horrified and shaken by the news coming out of Virginia Tech today. I had spent the morning complaining to various people (basically, anyone who would listen) about the seemingly interminable cold, gray, and rainy weather we've been having. It's hackneyed, I suppose, but even listening to the news on a "slow day" really puts these gripes in context.

It felt good to come home and go on "autopilot" with busywork for a bit - chopping, stirring. Still, I listened all the while to NPR's coverage of today's tragedy, becoming more and more sick over the chilling events.

I feel almost irreverent posting a recipe on a day like today, when such horrific events occupy all our minds and make us feel guilty for our mundane complaints - make us feel lucky or anxious or scared - make us stop and ask, for the trillionth time: why must these things happen in our world?

Still, one of the wonderful things about a homecooked meal is the ability to comfort, like mom's backrub or clean sheets. For that reason, I'll post the recipe that brought a little bit of warmth to our apartment this evening.

Cooking Light's Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. paprika
1 t. chili powder
3/4 t. garlic powder
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/8 t. allspice
1/8-1/4 t. cayenne pepper
4 (6-0z) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed

Combine all spices in a small bowl. Rub onto pork chops. Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Cook chops 2-3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 8 more minutes, or until done, turning occasionally.

Cheddar Grits
Adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups skim milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup polenta meal, coarse-grind
1 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese (I like Cabot's 50% Light)
1 T. unsalted butter
Salt and ground pepper

Bring milk and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in polenta, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally with whisk. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar, butter, and salt and pepper. Add more milk or water if needed to reach desired consistency.

I served this meal with roasted cauliflower.

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