Tropical Rum Glazed Porkchops

Oh the wonders of cooking with alcohol. If I really enjoy the flavor of liquor in a cocktail, then why in the world would I NOT enjoy that flavor in a home cooked meal? The major benefit is that I can enjoy the flavor without the hangover the next morning. Kitchen experimentation is one of my favorite pastimes.

So I knew that I wanted to make a Captain Morgan glaze for pork chops. Try googling rum glaze and the first and most common thing that comes up is pineapple rum glaze. And yet I feel like no one has tried it with spiced rum. Why is that? It was delicious! I used the black Tattoo spiced rum, and I used a mix of pineapple juice and mandarin orange juice because I didnt have enough pineapple juice. But I definitely would like to try it again with the classic spiced rum and straight pineapple juice. Flavor combinations are bouncing around in my mind. What about rum lime on chicken? Does cranberry and rum go together? What if I mixed orange and pineapple? Or how would it turn out if I used a juice with a thicker consistency?


So the process was relatively simple. Although a little time consuming and exhausting. The worst part about making a glaze is that it has to boil and be whisked for like TEN minutes! My arm wanted to fall off. It’s like making a meringue without an electric mixer. Definiteky worth it though. This glaze has a half-cup of the rum, 12 ounces of fruit juice, two-thirds of a cup of dark brown sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. It ends up being a thick syrupy texture with very bold and prominent flavor.

When I worked with my pork chops, I put some AP flour on a paper plate, sprinkled some seasoning salt on top, and the put the porkchop in the flour on bkth siees. Then I put it in a preheated pan with about two tabelspoons of olive oil. This helps create a nice crust on the pork chop and gives the glaze something to stick to. Let it cook a couple more minutes each side before spooning some of the glaze that has cooled slightly over the top. As it’s cooking it will create even more of a syrup that you may just want to pour over a waffle because it smells that good. Flip only twice, as you dont want to lose any of that yummy crust, and baste each time with a spoonful of glaze. You will have leftovers to cook with that chicken for your salad tomorrow, I promise.

I served it with rice and may have licked the plate. Try it, you wont be dissapointed.

To make the glaze:
● 1/2 c rum (spiced, dark, dark spiced – your choice)
● 12 oz fruit juice (pineapple preferably at this point.)
● 1/2 c butter
● 2/3 c dark brown sugar
● 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Pour the rum and the fruit juice in a pot at room temp. Whisk together and turn on the heat to low. Add the butter and sugar. Keep on low and whisk frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved and tbe butter is completely melted. Have patience, this will take about 7-10 minutes on low.
2. Bring the heat up so that you get a rapid boil. Let boil for 7-10 minutes, whisking constantly to cook off the alcohol. BE CAREFUL! Alcohol is highly flammable.
3. Pull off the heat, and let sit for approximately 10 minutes while you get your meat ready and begin cooking it.
4. Baste the meat approximately twice a side, and serve. So far, this has been tested on pork by me, and on chicken and salmon by the person who wrote the recipe originally. (It was in a forum)

Christmas 2011

Christmas this year, though not surrounded by the hustle and bustle of my crazy family, was still centered around the food. As it should be. Even though it was only me and my hunny, I still went all out to try and bring in the feeling of being home. I made ham, and green bean casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, a salad, cornbread, and macaroni salad (even if we did forget to eat that). Oh yeah, and used my new Cuisinart Toaster Oven (Thanks Mom in Law!) for an apple pie.

For these big holiday meals, I’ve found that I should have paid more attention to my Mom when she was cooking, because I have called her a lot knowing what I want to make and not having any idea how to do it. Here’s the lowdown on ham:

Buy a ham. (obviously – don’t want to insult your intelligence here, but just stick with me…) Don’t buy the smoked ones, or the spiral cut ones. Buy the one that your instinct tells you is going to be way too much of a pain to cook. It will have one side that is flat and the other will have a big bone in it. It tends to be sitting in a center aisle freezer in your grocery store.

If you don’t already have them on hand, you’ll need whole cloves, dark brown sugar, a jar of maraschino cherries, and a 14 oz can of sliced pineapple (the rings). Oh, and some toothpicks.

So, to put it all together. Take the ham, put it in a big pan (I’m running the risk of rhyming here…) flat side down, and make slices into the ham, creating little squares, just through the fat. In the corners of these squares, put the pointy side of the cloves. After you’ve done that, take the pineapple rings, and using the toothpicks, pin them around the ham. They don’t have to cover it, but they work to flavor the ham and help keep it moist. And then, take the maraschino cherries and pin them into the center of the rings. Finally, take the brown sugar and rub it into the exposed parts of the ham. It creates a yummy glaze.

Once this is all done, cover the pan with foil, and stick it in the oven at 350 for one hour. At the hour mark, take the foil off, and leave it in the oven for another 30 minutes. The fatty part of the ham should be crispy and pulling away from the ham, your cloves will be falling out. Those crunchy skin pieces? They’re the best part.

So, how ’bout a leftovers recipe? Of course you can make some yummy ham sandwiches…but what about Mac and Cheese with ham and broccoli? Doesn’t that sound so much better? I used the recipe from Macaroni and Cheesecake, in which she cooks the noodles in the milk and then adds the spices and cheese. I changed it up a little bit though, I added ham and broccoli which I sauteed in some olive oil with onions, and I also did a half and half mixture of milk and heavy cream. I’m thinking she was right about the milk though – the cream is too thick, and I had to add a lot more milk at the end. From previous experimentations, I have found that gruyere and cheddar cheese taste really good together, so I did that too. You all should try it! It makes pretty tasty leftovers too…

How to Choose and Cut a Pineapple

I was in my local grocery today, and they had a sale on pineapples and mangoes. Oh how I love these fruits. I really should be an island girl. I love the food, I love the weather, the culture and the ocean. I can’t understand how anyone can live there and not love the ocean, or the food, or the culture. My mom is native Hawaiian, my dad wants to be native Hawaiian, and therefore I have no problem infusing it into my culinary lifestyle. So back to the pineapples.

While there on vacation this year, we bought a pineapple from a roadside stand, brought it back to our surf shack, cut it up and bagged it for enjoyment later. Well, after a couple hours snorkeling with the turtles, the salt water and the sun really saps your energy. Pineapple? Perfect replenishment. Therefore – that little pineapple promptly disappeared between me and my hunny. Sorry dad.

So the grocery store! I was picking out my pineapples to take home and cut up, and I noticed a lady admiring them, who looked completely clueless. She picked one up, looked at the price, looked at the pineapple, and looking disappointed, set it back down. I don’t think it had anything to do with the price. I don’t think she knew what to do with it.

So I’m going to help all you people out who haven’t had the lovely opportunity to visit the islands or been shown how to handle a pineapple. Because I think everyone should be able to enjoy this sweet fruit. Ocean available or not.

Step 1: Choosing your pineapple. Simple. Smell the bottom. Not the pointy part, the other side. It should smell, well, like a pineapple. Sweet and slightly tangy. If it doesn’t, or it smells sour, possibly doesn’t have a smell at all, put it back. Then after you find one that smells good, grab one of the leaves on the top that is in the center of the spiky-ness, and pull it out. If it’s ripe, it will pull out rather easily. Otherwise it will be extremely difficult and you may even need two hands.

Step 2: Taking it home and preparing to cut it up. Ok, here comes the easy part! You’ll need only four things. Your pineapple, of course. A large cutting board, preferably one that has the little ridges around the sides to catch the juices. If you’ve gotten a ripe pineapple, it’s going to be juicy. A large serrated knife – like a bread knife, and something to put it all in. Pineapple doesn’t last long enough in my house to put it in a Ziploc container and then have to wash it, so I put it in a gallon size bag.

Step 3: Cut off the ends. First cut off the spiny end, or the top. Just lay the pineapple on its side, and slice down about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the spines. Then do the same exact thing to the other end, the bottom of the pineapple. Now you have a cylindrical shape with a flat top and bottom.

Step 4: Cut off the rinds. Stand the pineapple up on one of its new flat ends, and cut down just underneath the skin, attempting to follow the natural curve of the pineapple. Go all the way around, cutting off the skin in strips. Then go back and cut off strips where there are any additional round circles with the spines in the middle. You will want to cut strips off, even if there are only one or two, because that part of the pineapple will be sour and not very tasty.

Step 5: Cut out the core. Now there are two ways to do this, you can cut around the core the same way you did with the skin, or you can do it a different way that I find a little easier. With it still standing on its end, cut the pineapple in half. Then lay it down, cut side up, and cut the core out in a triangular shape. Do the same to the other half.

Step 6: Cut it in chunks. Now that the core is cut out, just cut the pineapple long-ways in strips, and then cut the opposite way to make chunks. Good luck not snacking as you’re cutting.

And that’s that! You have a perfectly chunked, juicy, delicious pineapple. It will be worth the time it took, I promise. And if you’re like me, wishing the summer was back already, you’ll enjoy it imagining you’re sitting on the beach, basking in the sunshine after swimming with sea turtles.