lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Friday, December 31, 2010

Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

IMG_6172This was amazing. The sauce is a little bit intensive as far as sauces go, but it is totally worth it. This was our Christmas dinner and it was perfect for the occasion. Beef tenderloin goes on sale a few times a year at Rice Epicurean Market and when it does, I buy it. Who can pass up tenderloin for $6 a pound? Especially when it was over twice as much at Costco? And Costco doesn't have a nice butcher who will trim it, cut it and tie it up for you.  And you can buy See's Candy at Rice, total bonus.
Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup shallots, sliced
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 fresh thyme sprig
¾ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 2-pound beef tenderloin roast
1 tablespoon olive oil

For red wine sauce:
Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over; sauté until mixture is deep brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add vinegar; stir until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add both broths, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered 35 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Strain sauce through fine strainer into small saucepan; discard solids. Mix butter and flour in small bowl. Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in flour mixture. Cook until sauce is reduced to ½ cup, about 5 minutes. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm over medium heat.)

For beef tenderloin:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place rack on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add beef to skillet and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer beef to rack on baking sheet. Roast in oven until thermometer inserted into center of beef registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 35 minutes. Transfer beef to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Cut beef tenderloin crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Spoon sauce over and around beef.

Adapted from Michael Mina
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


IMG_5964xThis is one of my mom's recipes and one of my most favorite. Being that it is an old recipe, passed down on a weathered recipe card, some of the measurements were left to interpretation. They have transcribed most of my mom's recipe box to electronic files, but often "___" and "?" are where a measurement is meant to be. Fair warning: you will have extra of the chocolate mixture. One day, I will try reducing it to not be so wasteful, but who doesn't like licking extra batter out of the bowl? And as a bonus: no raw eggs!
Black Bottoms
makes 48

1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix first eight ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, salt and sugar together. Stir the chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Line a miniature muffin pan with paper liners. Add 1 tablespoon of the chocolate batter and top with 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until set.
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Potatoes Dauphinois

IMG_6163I have posted this recipe once before, but it was buried in an Easter post and it truly merits its own posting. My friend Shannon, she makes such amazing cakes, gave me this recipe years ago. She had sent it to me as a scanned newspaper clipping originally. This is such a fantastic recipe for a dinner party because you can make it the night before, it looks impressive and it tastes amazing. You don't have to make it in advance if you would prefer to serve it straight from the dish, it's just as tasty.
Potatoes Dauphinois

1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon each: dried thyme, salt and pepper
5 russet potatoes, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled (can substitute russet potato)
3 cloves garlic minced

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cream, milk, thyme, salt and pepper in a large pot. Cut russet potatoes and sweet potato into 1/8 inch slices, dropping them into the cream mixture as they are sliced. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are evenly coated and cream mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle garlic over the bottom of an 8 inch square buttered baking pan. Transfer potatoes into pan in layers, placing sweet potatoes in center layers. Pour remaining cream mixture over. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Cool about 1 hour. Cover, refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into rounds with 3 inch ring molds (or cut into triangles). Bake on a parchment lined (or Silpat) baking sheet until they begin to bubble, about 10 minutes.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


May you all have an amazing holiday, hopefully with a much nicer gingerbread house than mine. Kadooz to everyone who is able to decorate with royal icing.  Can I just blame my toddler for the state of the house?  I think it is only fair.  I hope everyone has a delicious Christmas!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pumpkin Gingerbread

IMG_5905I found this recipe in the most random of places, Soap Opera Digest. Now before you get too judgey, I get the magazine for free (thanks FreeBizMag!)  And yes, I get Soap Opera Weekly for free as well.  And I don't really even watch soap operas, I do DVR All My Children, but I am not a loyal viewer as a SAHM should.  This recipe was presented as a regular version and a healthier version, I made a version somewhat in the middle of the two.  The gingerbread is moist, dense and delicious.  And it used up another cup of my homemade pumpkin puree from the freezer.  Only one left...
Pumpkin Gingerbread

¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, applesauce and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, ~ 1 hour.

Adapted from Soap Opera Digest
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hamburger Rolls

IMG_5686My usual go to meal to take to a new mom is Chicken Spinach Pasta bake. My friend Sarah brought it to me when I had Miss F and I have brought it to a number of my new mom friends. My friend had her gorgeous baby Stella this month and I decided to break out of my pasta casserole rut and make her Dr Pepper Pulled Pork instead. And I decided to be extra daring and bake rolls without using my bread machine. I turned to Confections of a Foodie Bride for a fantastic recipe and she totally came through.  I am not sure I will ever be able to have store bought rolls again.
Hamburger Rolls

2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet yeast
¼ cup warm water (105°-115°)
1 cup warm milk (105°-115°)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Sesame seeds for topping

In a bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface and let sit for 10 minutes. If the mixture hasn’t started to get frothy, start over. Add the warm milk, oil, salt and 1 ½ cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Add an additional cup of flour and then the remaining flour 2 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This particular dough should be quite slack, i.e. very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 3 cup point, to make the dough just kneadable, sprinkling in only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the work surface.

Switch to the dough hook and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough in oil. Cover with a dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Working with oiled hands, divide the dough into 9 equal pieces (a bench scraper and kitchen scale come in handy here). Shape each piece into a ball, and flatten into 3 ½-inch disks. For soft-sided buns, place them on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet a half-inch apart so they will grow together when they rise. For crisper bun, place them three inches apart. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

15 minutes before you want to bake the buns, preheat the oven to 400°. Just before baking, brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with any desired toppings.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°. When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

Adapted from Confections from a Foodie Bride
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta

IMG_5676xThis dish is super similar to one of my most favorite pasta dishes, Artichoke Chicken Pasta. The addition of bacon and cream make this dish all the more decadent. Fresh lemon juice is vital, it really adds a nice tangy flavor to the pasta, it is especially nice with the capers. I love capers, I need to cook more things that include capers in the recipe. Anyone have any great caper recipes?
Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta

12 ounces angel hair pasta
2 slices bacon
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved and pounded to ¼ inch thickness
¼ cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 teaspoons capers, drained
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, chilled
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, cook through. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat chicken with flour mixture. Without crowding, carefully place chicken in the bacon grease. Fry until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to paper towels. Stir the mushrooms, artichokes, and capers into the pan; cook until the mushrooms are soft. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice, cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and the butter to the sauce, stirring until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and return them to the pan. Stir the pasta and bacon into the chicken mixture. Serve.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Jap Chae

IMG_5667As soon as I saw this recipe on My Adventures in Food, I knew I had to try it.  I had to make a couple of changes to the recipe, the biggest issue was the noodles.  I couldn't find any made of sweet potato.  We have a huge selection of Asian noodles at our grocery store, but not a single one of them was made with sweet potato.  I settled on glass noodles made from green beans, which meant I had to change how they were cooked.  They only needed soaking in hot water instead of boiling.  Miss F gobbled this up, I was shocked.  She normally doesn't like the flavors in this dish.  C liked it as well, but I doubt he would go for it without meat. 
Jap Chae

12 ounce clear glass noodles

½ lb chicken, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce

1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, slivered
½ onion, cut into slivers
6 ounces mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds

Soak noodles in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Combine meat, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce in a bowl, toss the meat to evenly coat. Let marinate while you prep all the vegetables.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the marinating meat. Cook until meat is done, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add carrots, zucchini, red onion, shitake mushrooms, and green onions. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and add to plate with meat.

Place 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce to pan. Stir to combine. Add noodles to pan. Stir to coat and heat through. Return meat and vegetables to pan, and toss to combine. Drizzle sesame oil over the contents of the pan. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.

Adapted from My Adventures in Food
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Marinara Sauce

IMG_5666xOne of my friends asked for a tomato sauce for her mom to use in lasagna. I realized I have never written down my recipe, I always just wing it whenever I make a simple tomato sauce. I have been making marinara sauce for years. Back when I was single, I would make a big batch of it and eat it with pasta for a week. At one of my first dinner parties ever, I served baked ziti with homemade sauce, I remember being so impressed with myself. If you don't want to add the carrots to the sauce, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar instead.
Marinara Sauce

½ onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
½ cup red wine
1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cans (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes

In a small food processor, process the onions and carrots to a fine mince. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the carrot and onion mixture, sauté until soft, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomato paste, basil and oregano, stir it in to incorporate and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the diced tomatoes, bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Cayenne Chocolate Cookies

IMG_5695Yesterday, I had a fantastic cookie exchange to attend. The details: 72 cookies, packaged in groups of three, sending you home with 24 varieties of cookies. My cookie recipe made more than I thought it would, so I was able to send an extra cookie in each bag. Which was a way better idea than having another two dozen cookies in my house just begging to be eaten. This cookies are fantastic, they are rich and chocolatey, they finish off with a nice, spicy kick. Miss F especially enjoyed them, she loves the spice!
Cayenne Chocolate Cookies
makes four dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and blend well. Add cayenne, cocoa, baking soda and salt and blend very well. It's important to blend this stage completely so that heat is evenly distributed. Add flour and blend. Fold in chips. Refrigerate for one hour. Drop teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Source: AllRecipes
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Tortilla Crusted Chicken with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

IMG_5365xThis chicken dish was super quick and very tasty. Add some black beans on the side and your meal is ready. We are very lucky in Texas to have quality tortilla chips at the regular grocery store. El Milagro is my chip of choice, they aren't salted, so you get the true corn flavor rather than the salt salt salt of other brands (cough...Tostitos...cough).
Tortilla Crusted Chicken with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
¼ cup milk
4 cups tortilla chips (El Milagro works great, something with no salt)

¼ cup sour cream
1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
juice of one lime
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound the chicken out to ¼ to ½ inch thickness or butterfly each breast. In a bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. In a food processor, pulse the tortilla chips until they resemble a fine powder. Put the crushed tortilla chips in a separate shallow dish. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture. Dredge the chicken into the crushed tortilla chips and toss gently to coat. Place the chicken in a greased baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

In a small food processor or blender, add sour cream, avocado, cilantro, lime juice and water. Process until smooth, salt to taste. Drizzle sauce over chicken. Serve.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

IMG_5378xI am pretty sure this recipe got saved on my computer during some magazine purge. I subscribe to all sorts of magazines, usually for free thanks to freebizmagazine or from rewards points for the cat litter we buy (so appetizing!). Real Simple has disappointed me in the past with most of their recipes, but this one was a standout. This is such a comforting dish and totally worth all the stirring. For one of my first ever dinner parties, I made risotto. I don't think I got to spend much time with my guests prior to dinner...stir stir stir!
Butternut Squash Risotto

4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and grated
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup Parmesan, grated

Warm the broth in a small saucepan over low heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes. Add the squash and cook until squash softens, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until absorbed to add more. It should take about 30 minutes for all the broth to be absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan.

Adapted from Real Simple
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Cinnamon Ice Cream

IMG_5441xThis is the first ice cream I have ever tried using eggs. It was really good! Especially good scooped on a slice of warm apple pie. C still isn't sold on the homemade ice cream, he still prefers his Blue Bell. I definitely don't!
Cinnamon Ice Cream

1 cup white sugar
1 ½ cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk half of the mixture into the eggs. Whisk quickly so that the eggs do not scramble. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir in the heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.

Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caramel Apple Tart

IMG_5494xInstead of a traditional apple pie this year, I decided to try out this tart for Thanksgiving. It was amazing! I had to make the caramel sauce twice, the first one was gritty. I had overcooked it. After some googling, I decided to add some corn syrup to ensure that it would be smooth. It worked well. The caramel was perfect for drizzling, I will make it again for sure. I love caramel apples and this was a lovely alternative. That being said, I did dip a slice or two into the caramel sauce for snacking.
Caramel Apple Tart

2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1//2 inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Caramel sauce
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
5 large Granny Smith apples (about 2 to 2 ½ pounds), peeled, cored, cut into sixteenths

For the crust:
Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using

For caramel sauce:
Bring sugar, cream, butter and corn syrup to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat spoon thickly, whisking often, about 8 minutes. Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover; chill. Whisk over low heat until warm before using.

For filling:
Whisk flour and sugar in large bowl to blend. Add apples and toss until evenly coated. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang even with top of pan sides. Arrange apple slices in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly. Cut remaining apple quarters lengthwise in half; stand in center of tart, fitting snugly.

Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove tart from oven; brush with some of caramel sauce. Cool tart to room temperature. Rewarm remaining caramel sauce. Drizzle tart lightly with sauce. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Adapted from Martha Stewart (crust) and Bon Appetit
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

IMG_5380xI always have a crockpot full of hot apple cider stewed with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Of course, the whole gallon of apple cider never gets drank, maybe if I spiked it people would drink it all? It usually is just me and my mother-in-law who drink it, but I will continue making it because it makes the house smell like the holidays. I am still working up the nerve to make apple cider doughnuts. This is such a quick way to make pork chops and it is perfect for the fall.

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

4 pork rib chops, ~ one pound
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup apple cider
1 ½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chops until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Stir together cider and brown sugar and add to skillet. Simmer, uncovered, turning chops once, until meat is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate.

Add vinegar and mustard seeds to sauce and boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Return chops with any juices on plate to skillet and simmer until meat is just cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Adapted from Gourmet
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