Friday, February 19, 2010

BLACKENED 4 Cheese Stuffed PORK CHOP and I am off to the Virgin Islands

Well, the goats moved off the road. This weekend (yes, tomorrow), Jackie and I are off to our new life as beach bums (well, I will be the bum, she will still have an even more inconvenient day job). Incredible, we wait for three months to get the wheels rolling, and we get 2 days notice before we actually have to leave. God bless goats on the island and Washington government bureaucracy.

SO, ST Thomas in the US Virgin Islands will be home for at least the next 6 months! Monday will be my first post from the islands, til then, keep coming back. I have some good stuff I have been saving for my travel dates. New content daily.

First, I want to thank a fellow blogger for a wonderful romantic night I had with my wife on Valentine's Day.

Way back on December 16th, the authoresses (wow, apparently that is a word as it didn't get kicked back by spellchecker) from the MYSTERY LOVER's KITCHEN posted a suggestion for using cranberries as a base in a clear flower pot. When I saw the post, I knew I was going to use this for Jackie's flowers for Valentine's Day. In fact, here's the comment I made way back then....

"I love the idea of the cranberries in the flower vase. I am both proud an ashamed to admit that I sleep in a bedroom painted New Orleans Whore House RED. That vase and flowers would look great, and will be a Valentine's day gift for my wife...

This tip will do short term wonders for my sex life!!!

And sure enough, the flowers shown are the ones that Jackie woke up to on V-D morning. Here, Take a look at the close up of the cranberries. Nice touch. And thank you Jenn McKinlay, one of the authoresses (my new favorite word)) for the idea and the wonders it did for me!

And speaking of V-Day, this is the recipe I made for Jackie for our Valentine's dinner. This was Jackie's favorite meal from our recent trip to new Orleans. We have been to
Chef Paul Prudhomme's restaurant K-PAUL's Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans several times. Jackie has ordered the same meal more than once and she lists this as her favorite meal. So, I started planning how to replicate the dish, and here is what I came up with...

Blackened 4-Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops
Mise en Place (assemble the ingredients)

1/4 cup Cajun Blackening spices for a rub
2 center cut pork chops, about 1 1/2-inches thick (10 to 12-ounces each)
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 cup Caciocavallo cheese, grated
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons Butter

Season the top and bottom of the pork chops with the rub, also the sides. Only use about half of the rub for this step. Cut a pocket through the side of the pork chop into the center of the chop, using a small knife. Work the knife back and forth so that the opening remains fairly small, but the pocket is about 1 inch deep and 1 inch across. Season each pork chop evenly with 1 teaspoon of the Seasoning Mix.

Combine the cheeses, basil, sour cream, Vegetable Magic and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the Meat Magic in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Makes about 2 cups. Stuff each pork chop with about ½ cup of the mixture.

At this point, I used my handy dandy cooking bands to hold the hole together. You can either use toothpicks, or order the bands from Amazon. Honestly, I am taking a box of cooking necessities with me to the island, and these bands are definitely going. There is a link to the left where you can order them easily.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. While it is heating, we are going to blacken the meat...

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat, pour the remaining spices into the hot butter and mix well.

Place the pork chops in the pan and cook, turning once, until the pork chops are browned on both sides, but not cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

The butter mixture will begin to smoke, and the spices will blacken (it's called Blackened for a reason). Don't worry, it is supposed to do this. The butter and the seasonings flavor the meat and it is legendary! This method of cooking was popularized by Chef Paul. he used this for Red-fish first, and it is now used for chicken, fish, pork and steaks. BUT, make no mistake, if it is not seared in butter with the extra spices, it is not blackened, it is just spiced with blackening spices. The extra step makes a big difference in the taste! Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook until the temperature in the thickest part of the pork chop is at least 155°F, about 12 minutes.

I plated this with the garlic noodles I blogged about yesterday. The contrast between the blackened spices and the sweet noodles made for a wonderful plating!

IT WAS WONDERFUL! Exactly like she remembered, and was a huge hit. It was spicy, but not so bad that my wife's delicate pallet could not take it. All the cheese mixed well and helped fill each bite with flavor!

And now, I gotta go pack... Come back tomorrow for a post about Chocolate covered bacon...



  1. Have a great move!

    That is a great combo of cheeses you have with your pork chops :-)

  2. Travel safe! Can't wait to read about all the new adventures you and Jackie are going to have!!

  3. Wow! You really go all out! Someone around here could take notes from you. Sounds like you are living the good life as well by going to the Virgin Islands. Can't say Im not jealous. Have fun!

  4. Oh my goodness gracious. There's not much I love more than stuffed pork chops. Even at 8am, which is the time here as I read this. Yep, I would eat one right now. Is that wrong?

  5. Love those pork chops!!

    Good luck with your move. I hope everything goes smoothly.

  6. Holy moly...such a lot to think about in one post! First, safe travels and best wishes as you settle into your new home. Second, the pork chops and the garlic noodles look awesome. Third, love the vases. At Christmas, I line glass bowls with pine, then fill with cranberries and water and float candles in them for my center-pieces. Fragrant and festive. : )
    Fourth, chocolate-covered bacon? Really?! I love chocolate and I love bacon...but I don't know if I'll be sold on this one. Can't wait to read about it.

  7. Great googly moogly . . . you're finally on your way! The post and photos are terrific, the pork chops sound delicious and I can't wait to hear about your bacon. You are such a prolific blogger!

  8. WooHoo!! You and Jackie are gonna love the Virgin Islands! Glad the goats got off the road. Have a safe trip. Can't wait to see what you post from there. :)

  9. Have a good trip, and update us on the local cuisine!

  10. Your chops look delish! Have a great time. I've never been to the Virgin Island but I've heard it's fabulous. Someday....

  11. Congrats! Have a safe flight and good luck getting there. I am so excited to see you cooking from paradise. This looks absolutely fantastic. It's everything I pork.

  12. Safe travels! Hope you have a great flight and have fun!

  13. The cranberries in the vase are stunning! What a spectacular idea. I will be back for the choloclate covered bacon and I laughed myself silly bout how you described the color of your bedroom - too funny. Have a safe trip.

  14. The chops look awesome! Good luck in the islands!

  15. The chops look great... glad they were a hit! Have a safe trip!

  16. The pork chops look wonderful. Have a safe move...lucky you! Wish I could go to the islands for several months!!!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

  17. Have a safe trip Dave. You can grill all of the time now. I can hardly wait to see your and Jackie's new digs.

  18. Travel well, my friend. You and Jackie be safe.

  19. good good luck tomorrow! i'm excited to hear about the islands! i love the porkchops. i happen to be a fan of anything that's been stuffed with cheese.

  20. Have a great trip Dave! Can't wait to see you in the islands! :-)

  21. Pork and cheese are such a wonderful combo. Can't wait to hear more about your move; how's the internet connection there by the way?

  22. Oh wow that stuffed pork chop looks amazing! And off to the Virgin Islands for 6+ months?! I am soo jealous! I hope you'll post pics!

  23. Whoo Hooo!! V Islands - here you come!

  24. Have a safe trip to VI. Comment to tulips is very funny!

  25. 2 days notice for a 6-month trip? Wow! I love the cranberries in the flowers, and the pork chop looks so delicious!

  26. Love the confession, love the flowers and the pork chops sound amazing!

  27. Yee haw and awaaaaay you goooo!!

  28. I crown you The King of Pork -- these look amazing! (Pork, cheese, blackening spice, what's not to love?)

    Safe travels to you and Jackie, and I can't wait to see your next updates!