Saturday, January 14, 2012

Herbed Pork Chops and Spice Collections

I have a really extensive array of spices in my house. One of my most coveted items is a spinning 48-jar spice rack that costs about $250. Even then, I'm not sure it would have enough jars. I was delighted when I got a spice stepper for Christmas because it really helped me clean up my kitchen counter. I used to have a bunch of spices in a rack that is supposed to be wall-mounted, but that I had to prop up under a kitchen cabinet. Frequently, my jars would make a bid for freedom and the whole thing would topple over.

I love playing with my own spice blends and when I'm away on vacation I often find myself coming back with some kind of local blend, or something that would cost me a fortune should I purchase it here in Vegas. When I was in Seattle last Spring, I found myself at the Pike Place Farmers Market and I managed to pick up a package of Herbes de Provence for less than a dollar. When I go to Atlanta I hit the Dekalb Farmers Market and I get enough curry spices to last several months, as well as new spices to try and other things to stock up on. I think I came away with about a dozen containers of spice for less than ten dollars.

Having an array of spices on hand makes it really easy for me to to play with flavor in food. Sometimes, when I don't really have too much in the pantry I can dive into my collection and come up with something simple and yummy.

Pork Chops with Herbes de Provence

This is such an easy recipe I almost feel as though it shouldn't count. I serve this with green beans and grilled tomato to make a tasty lunch that doesn't weigh me down for the rest of the day.

Herbes de Provence is a mix of Savory, Fennel, Thyme, Basil and Lavender. It goes beautifully with pork. The Lavender doesn't make it floral, it just punches up the flavor and makes the blend really work.

2 Pork Chops
1 Teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Olive Oil

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and then sprinkle each side with Herbs de Provence. Put a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick pan and, when the pan is hot, place the chops in the pan. Cook about four minutes on one side, then three minutes or so on the other until the chops are done. I used thin chops for this, you may need to cook them for longer is the chops are thicker.

Serves two as a light lunch with some fresh sides, or one for a main course with some boiled potatoes and asparagus.

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