My best friend from college came over for dinner last week, so I decided to splurge on a few select items from and what a treat it was!
I bought lemon parsley mafaldine (www.pappardellespasta.com) and turned it into a vegetarian pasta salad chock full of farmers market veggies. The cheese I put out (www.thecheesepeople.com) with fresh berries was a visual stunner. The blue cheese, in particular, rivaled some I had the good fortune to sample in France. If you would like to taste it, go to stall No. 7, The Cheese People, and ask for a sample. That's what I did.
“Give me the smelliest blue cheese you’ve got,” I said to a young man who was extremely knowledgable and demonstrated excellent customer service.
Not everyone is up for this kind of aroma and flavor. I once worked with a French man in London and he was obsessed with the smelliest cheese I have ever inhaled in my life. Every 15 minutes he would get up from his desk and run across the flat to unwrap his baby blue and steal a little hunk. I realized then that in matters pertaining to cheese, follow the French with your nose.
But my personal favorite at last week’s Farmer’s Market was the pork chops I purchased from Jakes Country Meats (www.jakescountrymeats.com) at stall No. 6.
I purchased two medium-sized frozen pork chops for $7 per pound, and a package of Italian Sausage for $7 per package, and went home to prepare my grill.
As the daughter of a sausage maker, all other sausages run the risk of paling in comparison. I used to watch my dad grind his pork and make his sausages daily on a brick barbecue pit that he built with his own two hands. This is a tough act to follow, so please forgive me for making the bone-in pork chops the star of the show. (The sausages were very good, too.)
Trying to decide how to prepare my pork chops for the barbecue, I recalled the words from my friend and
“Every good Southern woman has a bottle of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt in her kitchen,” she told me one morning before filming.
I had purchased a bottle shortly after that. So, I decided to do nothing to the pork chops except thaw them, sprinkle on a little Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and throw them on the grill until they were cooked to 170 degrees internally.
Those pork chops were a real show stopper. Though each of us had a little of everything, those two chops got divided up like they were the last few rations during a war.
Especially delicious was the meat closest to the bone. We spent a good deal of time debating why on earth they tasted so good. I said it was because they were raised without antibiotics and probably allowed to roam free to develop strong bones, which flavors meat excellently. My friend ventured a guess that it was, quite simply, the freshest meat you could get from farm to fork.
Any way you sliced those pork chops, they were truly outstanding. I loved the fact that I did very little to them for them to turn out so rich and with such a complex, bone-in flavor. I knew those pork chops were amazing when I insisted my husband taste mine. He took one bite and asked me, "Do you need this back?"
I will be heading out to the Elmhurst Farmer’s Market again tomorrow and will likely pick up another package of bone-in pork chops.
See you at the market!