Friday, April 27, 2007

Caper Chops with Curried Carrots

The Recipe: Oh if only every supper were so quick and tasty! Cook the carrots and then the pork chops in a single skillet, add a few pantry ingredients. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Easy adjusted for supper for one or two. A total win!

Caper Chops with Curried Carrots, another Quick Supper ♥ Just one skillet for both. Quick, easy, inexpensive. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers friendly. Total win!

The joke in northern states is that the year has two seasons, winter and road construction. The joke among snowbirds wintering in warmer climes is that the weather is boring, one perfect 80 degree day after another.

Here in the Mississippi flyway of eastern Missouri, we’re blessed by four such distinct seasons, how can one pick a favorite?

Still, spring is wondrous!

Its promise starts small with snowdrops, crocus and hyacinths then moves to showy pussy willow, witch hazel and forsythia. Soon daffodils line roadsides in thick drifts, reaching sunward first on south- and west-facing exposures, gradually crossing over.

Then even as deciduous leaves stain green, the flowering trees burst with blossoms that parade for weeks, one after the other: the magnolias, cherries, redbuds, crabapples, dogwoods and the pears. And in that midst bloom the azaleas and the rhodies, both shameless with bold color in their own time.

Cold mornings, the furnace still kicks on but in another week, the last-frost date will pass and the annuals can be safely tucked into the warming earth.

Spring. It arrived late and stayed long in 2007. But it’s still my favorite season, at least until fall.

Caper Chops with Curried Carrots, another Quick Supper ♥ Just one skillet for both. Quick, easy, inexpensive. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers friendly. Total win!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 35 minutes
Serves 4 but easily adjusted for one or two

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and sliced in bite-size chunks
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro

  • Splash chicken stock
  • 4 pork chops, fat trimmed, seasoned to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers

CURRIED CARROTS Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and curry, cook for a minute. Stir in the stock and carrots, arranging the carrots in single layer. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until the carrots cook. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in cilantro. Transfer to a warm serving dish, cover to keep warm.

CAPER CHOPS In the same skillet, add another splash of chicken stock to deglaze the pan, gathering up the bits of garlic. Add the chops and another 1/4 cup stock, brown chops on both sides until cooked through, cooking to an internal temperature of at least 145F. Transfer the chops to warm plates, cover to keep warm.

Stir the mustard and sour cream into the remaining broth, let thicken a minute. Pour sauce over the pork chops and sprinkle with capers. Serve with carrots on the side and enjoy!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS The carrots can be made ahead of time and gently rewarmed in the skillet or even in the microwave. They are so-so good!

VARIATIONS No sour cream? Substitute Greek yogurt or even a splash of heavy cream. No capers? Substitute chopped dill pickle or green onion.

ALANNA's TIPS If you're watching calories or counting points, be careful with portion size. Pork chops can be huge! If you use two skillets, supper will hit the table even faster. Just start the carrots, then move on to the pork chops. I love cooking with chicken stock, nearly always it's No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock. This is such a great way to use a tiny bit of fat for flavor plus moisture for cooking. Win! The carrots will cook more quickly and the chops brown better in a stainless skillet – that's right, for Caper Chops, stainless is better than nonstick and even cast iron. I’ve just converted and love my new skillets, one a Cuisinart, the other a Calphalon. Why 145F? Please read through Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 3 ounces of cooked meat per serving): 263 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 73mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 4g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 7

From One Pork Chop Lover to Another ...

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Perfect Thick Pork Chops Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples
~ more pork recipes~

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Vanilla Brownies

You know how everyone has a favorite brownie recipe? the go-to brownie recipe? the make-them-all-the-time brownie recipe? Well, this is "that" brownie recipe for me. When I first started making these vanilla-scented brownies, they evoked memories of drinking vanilla cokes at the soda fountain in my hometown's drugstore. Here's the story – and my recipe for Vanilla Brownies too.

Vanilla Brownies

"These smelled so good baking ..." ~ kaoriz

Growing up, my small town of 1700 people had a K-12 school, a movie theater, a hospital, a newspaper, a bank, a dairy, five dress shops, five car dealerships, four hardware stores and three grocery stores, two cafés and two drugstores with soda fountains.

Both fountains served ‘pop’ and ‘coke’ but it was Curtis Drug where I was allowed to perch my preteen self on a stool after school, perhaps because my mom some times played bridge with Mrs. Curtis.

Above the fountain was a scruffy stuffed albino deer bagged by Mr. Curtis, gruesome by city standards but no surprise, then or now, in the northwoods towns of Minnesota.

A coke was a dime, fifteen cents with a syrup. This was the real Real Coke, sweetened with cane sugar. I was partial to cherry syrup until discovering vanilla. The glasses were small by today’s megamall measure. Ice came crushed or cubed; both dripped condensation onto the metal-edged counter.

Feeling oh-so-sophisticated, I’d sip the icy sweetness through a straw, lifting up to grin at a school friend on the next stool as we wordlessly absorbed the big-kid talk from high schoolers a few stools away.

Today, that same small town has 1100 people. The theater, the hospital, the newspaper, three banks and even one drugstore remain, even if the dairy, the dress shops, the car dealerships, two hardware stores, two groceries, the cafés and most sadly, the soda fountains, do not.

ALANNA's TIPS Vanilla isn't inexpensive on a good day and is downright pricey at the grocery store on a bad day. I tend to use Mexican vanilla, which is a little less expensive. But I also order vanilla beans from Vanilla-Saffron which is especially good for large quantities of vanilla beans for making your own vanilla or your own vanilla sugar.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Darkly chocolate, richly vanilla
saucepan brownies;
moist and fudgy in the center,
chewy on the edges
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Oven time: 30 – 40 minutes
Make 16 bars or 25 smaller bars
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 inch length of vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3-1/2 - 4 ounces bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (for salted butter) or 3/4 teaspoon table salt (for unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125 grams by weight
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted, or black walnuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar to finish, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a food processor, whiz the sugar and vanilla bean for several minutes until the vanilla is in tiny flecks.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir a bit to cool – we don't want to cook the eggs!

Whisk in the vanilla and eggs, then the sugar mixture, salt, flour and nuts.

Transfer the batter to a well-greased 8x8 cake pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into 16 or 25 squares, that's 4x4 for large bars of 5x5 for small brownie squares.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Brownie, if 25 squares, without/with walnuts: 110/140 Calories; 6/9g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 26mg Cholesterol; 79mg Sodium; 13/14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & Points Plus 4.>br/> Per Brownie, if 16 squares, without/with walnuts: 170/220 Calories; 9/14g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 41mg Cholesterol; 123mg Sodium; 20/21g Carb; 1/2g Fiber; 13g Sugar; 3/4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & Points Plus 5.
LOOKING FOR a lower-calorie and lower-point brownie? Try my Two-Bite Brownies!

PERSONAL NOTE This column was written during the winter of 2006. During a visit home that summer, much to my surprise, the albino deer from Curtis Drug showed up on a float in the 4th of July parade! And so now I have a photo as well as a mind memory. If only, if only, the drugstore still had the soda fountain!

Albino Deer from Curtis Drug, Baudette, Minnesota 4th of July Float, Baudette, Minnesota Clown Dancing

Need a Chocolate Fix?

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding Chocolate Cream Puffs Stuffed with Strawberries & Cream Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Gourmet Mocha Cookies Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble
more chocolate recipes
more recipes for bars & squares

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