Hye Thyme Cafe: Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops : Hye Thyme Cafe

This wasn't the Filet Mignon dinner I had planned for my first "official" dinner in my new apartment, but I was in two markets and the Filets looked terrible (those pre-packaged things wrapped in bacon, nothing fresh cut), and I saw the chops were buy one / get one, so I picked up two 3-packs and threw one in the freezer.

For those of you who don't know my back story, I grew up between Boston and Cape Cod, spending my summers on the Cape and then living there for a few years before moving to New Orleans in 93. Hurricane Katrina was enough to send me running back east, and I briefly had temporary housing on the Cape, but kept running into stumbling blocks there. First of all, I couldn't find a job (at least not right away). Secondly, nobody would rent to me. Everywhere I went, it was the same response ... you need to have at least a six-month work history before you'll be considered. Hmmm ... I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to move to the Cape, and where was I supposed to live for six months with this as yet unfound job that pays enough to cover the exorbitant rents in the first place? On to Plan B. After I moved to New Orleans, my sister and her family moved to New York, so that was my next stop - literally at their house. I have been invading their space ever since.

It was great from a food perspective, since I never really cooked when I was living by myself in New Orleans. I had a roommate the first few years, but he traveled a lot, so I didn't even have him around to cook for. When I came here, we sometimes had an army to cook for, but there were always at least two of us. Between my sister, brother-in-law, nephews, their friends, etc., I loved having a cheering section in the kitchen. It was kinda sad cooking tonight with nobody to share it with. [I should probably get out more, huh?!?]

Anyhow, since I couldn't find the filet I wanted at the first two stores and refused to make a third stop, I decided that to make my first foray into cooking in my new digs a little special, I would break down and use my secret stash of fennel pollen on the pork chops ... and pop open a bottle of wine. I usually don't do that when I'm alone either, although being 40 something, my doctor would tell me to have a glass every night.

The chops turned out great. The only thing I would do differently next time is to increase the fennel pollen slightly. All I had left was a teaspoon. It definitely served to heighten the dish, and if you didn't know what was in it, I can imagine heads tilting as a diner is trying to identify that secret ingredient. I just wish I had a bit more. By the way, the fennel pollen is the "fairy dust." I keep seeing it referenced that way on different websites and get a chuckle out of it every time.

3-4 pork chops 
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
1 t fennel pollen 
Salt and Pepper
Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and fennel pollen in a dish/bowl of sufficient size for dredging your chops and set aside.

Trim the fat from the chops (If I was pan searing them, I would leave at least some, but not for baking), and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Slather each chop with about 1.5 teaspoons of Dijon Mustard, and coat with the crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.  

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops : Hye Thyme Cafe

Set the chops on a rack over a baking sheet and top each with a sliver of butter.  

Bake for about an hour until golden and cooked through.  It took an hour in my oven, but I haven't gauged it yet to see if it's set properly. I'll have to stick a thermometer in there to check it out, but along with several other things, my thermometer seems to have disappeared.

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops : Hye Thyme Cafe

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops : Hye Thyme Cafe

Dijon Crusted, Fairy Dusted Pork Chops : Hye Thyme Cafe
See how juicy?  Love it!

I feel a bit like I just stepped out of the Twilight Zone thinking about how many things I'm missing. I have absolutely no idea how/when that happened. A lot of it is pretty random, too, like my wine opener. I had to pick up a cheapy at the market yesterday because I didn't recall seeing mine in with the rest of the utensils or kitchen gadgets. Sure enough, it's nowhere to be found. Needless to say, I couldn't figure out how to use the one I picked up. First the cork started going INTO the bottle, then I started to unscrew the cork itself! I finally managed to get it out without leaving cork in the bottle or giving myself a black eye when it finally popped out. Yay!

So far, I can't figure out what happened to my microwave, blender, corkscrew, muffin pans, frying pans, most of my pots, my wooden rolling pin, electric can opener, curtain rods, bath mat, and I can't remember what else at the moment. I know that I lost a lot of stuff to Hurricane Katrina, but I remember having these things in my temporary housing on the Cape after that. Since it was my brother-in-law and one of my nephews who moved me from the Cape to NY rather than a moving company, it's not like there was another family's stuff on the truck that some of my boxes got mixed in with. I rented a U-Haul and was there with them at the time. Very strange! There is a possibility that I still have stuff hiding in their attic, but my things were pretty identifiable based on a lot of it being in U-Haul boxes and almost everything else in clear plastic containers with white tops, and it was all stacked together at one end of the attic. It's kinda like sock-in-the-dryer syndrome.  L

Anyhow, given that I'm at least semi-functional in my new place now, I'm hoping to get back to cooking/baking/posting on a regular basis. Hopefully I'll meet some hungry neighbors.  J


  1. Nice!! Congratulations on your new apt.!!

    1. Thanks honey! It's still close to the family and a little bit closer to the office and my morning coffee LOL.

  2. I had no idea you were planning a move. I am thinking it will be nice in some ways to have your own place, and in other ways not. I think it is amazing, the things that get lost in a move. I hope all your things turn up somewhere. Hmmmm, near a Dunkin Donuts, huh. I forget was the doggie yours or your sister and BIL's? Wishing you lots of fun in your new place.

    1. No, when Tyler was around, she used to go to Dunkin Donuts with me all the time. They would always give her a few munchkins, which translated to one for her and the rest for me LOL, but she wasn't mine. Neither is Coco the CuKoo Chihuahua.

      I can have pets at this apartment complex (for a monthly fee), but I don't like the idea of leaving it home alone all day if I end up working full time. Plus there's the cost, hassle if I want to jump in the car and take off for a few days, etc. :(

  3. Alright, I have my kitchen back. As I have a freezer full of pork, this is the first of your recipes I shall try. Can't wait!

    1. Congrats on the kitchen! Just don't mangle the cork like me if you pop a bottle of wine with dinner! ;)


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