Pork Chops with Apple Cider Braised Red Cabbage

Pork chops, red cabbage, green beans
I use this recipe as the center piece of my own personal Octoberfest
1 cup flour

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 center-cut, bone-in pork chops

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1 head red cabbage, shredded

1 cup apple cider
Combine flour, paprika, pepper and salt in a pie plate. Dredge pork chops in mixture, coating both sides.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Brown chops over high heat, about 3 minutes per side. Remove meat to a platter and cover to keep warm.

Reduce heat and to the same skillet add onions and cook until they start to soften. Add cabbage and apple cider and return pork chops and cover skillet; cook 25-30 minutes over low heat. Cabbage should be soft and chops should be cooked to 160 degrees.

Green Beans
German Style Green Beans with Potatoes

1 pound fresh green beans
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 small new red potatoes, cubed
2 soft, ripe tomato, diced
¼ tsp summer savory
½ pound of bacon

Clean green beans and dice potatoes

Cook bacon in large skillet. Add onions simmer until soft.
Next add in the diced tomato and summer savory, let simmer for a few minutes.
Add green beans and potatoes. Cover and let simmer until potatoes start to soften
Add a splash of red wine vinegar and serve.

Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

White Cake with Lemon Filling


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Spray two round cake pans with pan release.
  • Place the white cake flour, the sugar, the shortening, salt, and 2/3 cup of the milk in a mixing bowl
  • Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer at medium speed.
  • Stir in the baking powder.
  • Add egg whites, ½ cup milk, the vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour batter into the cake pans.
  • Bake in 375 degrees oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool on a wire rack.  When they are cool, split layers. (now you have four rounds) Spread the cooled Lemon Filling between the layers and frost with creamy white frosting and decorate with coconut.


1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup fresh lemon juice

Zest 3 lemons

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • In a glass bowl, use a whisk or beater to make  the sugar and eggs mixture smooth.
  • Whisk in the butter, lemon and zest
  • Cook in the microwave for one minute at a time, stir each time until the mixture has thickened.
  • Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Funky Chicken Sandwich

funky chicken sandwich 052This is not a strict recipe.  It’s more like friendly advice.  I got this advice from Chicago singer/songwriter Pat Smillie.

Mix up some cooked chicken, sliced andouille sausage and BBQ sauce in a bowl and microwave until hot.  Put it on a big soft bun with a slice of raw onion and some cole slaw on the side.
As long as we are just mixin’ it up, I don’t see what would be wrong with adding some chopped ham or shrimp either.  Just clean out that deli drawer, add BBQ sauce–its all good.
As always, your comments are welcome.  Try it out and let me know what happens. What is your favorite BBQ sauce?

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Recycle that stale bread

stuffed chicken with Brussels sprouts

Don’t throw away that state bread; instead, use it to make croutons, bread crumbs, bread pudding or stuffing.

Not all types of bread are good for all of the recipes.   Example- an old apricot Danish won’t make good croutons or bread crumbs but it will make delicious bread pudding or stuffing for a pork roast or a turkey.

Is it Italian bread? Make bread crumbs or bruschetta or crostini.

Is it sliced whole wheat? Make croutons for salad and soup.

Is it rye bread?  Make stuffing for pork roast.

Is it egg bread? Make French toast, stuffed French toast, Monte Cristo sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, or pannini.

Is it Danish or croissants?  Make bread pudding, French toast casserole or strata, or stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey or a thick cut pork chop or a chicken breast.

Rye Stuffing for Pork Roast

4 cups dry rye bread, cut into cubes or torn into small bits

2 tablespoons butter

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 cup green cabbage finely chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon savory

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon sage

Melt butter in large frying pan over low heat.  Cook vegetables until they soften and then add the bread bits, the stock and the herbs.  Remove from heat and stir until bread is moistened.  This stuffing is excellent for a pork roast or thick cut chops.  Dust the outside of the roast or chops with a mixture of salt, paprika, white pepper and quickly brown outside of meat in a pan over high heat.  Transfer meat to baking sheet or pan and cook in 375 degree oven until thermometer inserted in thickest part reads 160 degrees.

7 Steps to guarantee an unforgettable Chicago Blues Experience

toronzocannonlive1. Go out to the neighborhood clubs. The people in the neighborhood clubs are much more gracious and friendly and the prices will be lower. The downtown clubs employ the same musicians but the show is always much better when everyone is  relaxed and there’s a chance that you will meet some real local   Chicagoans.  The downtown clubs are full of other tourists.

2. Plan to stay until the last set
Sleep late or take a long afternoon nap (you’re on vacation, right?)
There are usually three sets. The first set is a good time to get a seat, but the crowd and the band are not warmed up yet.  The second set is the most crowded. The third and final set is the best.  The crowd thins out a little and this is when the bands call up their friends and local talent to jam and have fun with the music and the crowd. This is the best part of the show.
3. Talk to the people at the tables around you, tell them where you’re from and I guarantee you’ll have a better time.  You will go back home with great  stories about warm, quirky and welcoming Chicago natives
4. Buy CD’s directly from the musicians, they will be pleased to give you an autograph. (Bring a felt tipped pen). You can’t buy a better souvenir at the  airport or Navy Pier.
5. Bring your camera or camera phone; if you just bought a CD they will be very happy to pose for pictures.
6.  Arrange for a cab or limo to take you back to your  hotel.
You don’t want a DUI ticket to ruin you vacation and possibly your life.
And you don’t want to get lost; Chicago’s a big, spread out town.
7. Stop at an all night diner on the way back for some really great food and more low cost entertainment

For specific information about club locations and places to eat, send me an email at porkchop@chicagobluescookbook.com<img src="https://pennyskitchen.wordpress.com

Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Hot Dogs Chicago Style

food so good it's criminal

food so good it's criminal

In the Ghettos of Chicago (yes, plural there’s more than one ghetto in Chicago) fast food tradition follows these rules:

1. bars on the windows and doors

2. bullet proof windows for cash only transactions

3. hot dog stand means just that. You can’t dine in, just take your food and eat standing up, maybe the hood of your car could be a table.

4. painted loud taxi cab yellow with red trim

5. well lighted and open late

6. menu includes Maxwell Street Polish in addition to Italian Beef, Gyros, Fish and cheese fries, Extra cheese? Extra charge!

So imagine my shock when I got off the Eisenhower and turned on to Western and saw the cinder block bunker of a hot dog stand that had been glowing neon yellow for years painted gray. The same gray as the stairs to the basement and the back porches of three flats. What could this mean?

I am so very curious, so everyday I swing by Jackson and Western to see what’s up.

It’s a sunny Tuesday and there is a Mexican guy with paints sketching on the front of the building. Graffiti artist?  Muralist?  Oh, sign painter…..he paints big sad eyes on the little hot dogs behind bars wearing prison stripes…IT’S FELONY FRANKS…Food so good, it’s criminal.felony franks, Chicago

More weeks go by and they are not open yet.  I wonder what’s happening.  Johnny B is on the radio and he is interviewing the guy who’s trying to open this place.  He is planning  to hire ex convicts to work there.  There seems to be some trouble with the alderman about getting a permit for his sign.  I think I understand why the local politicians are worried. If these guys get jobs, who will deal are drugs and who will run our gangs, and who will pimp for our girls. Jay Leno quips on the Tonight Show that he can hire some of our ex governors.  And maybe he can hire a few of our ex alderman too.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Chicago’s Back Porch

The back porch is where we store the evidence of the dirty side of life.

It’s where you sit next to the wet mop, crack open a can of beer and wait for the floor to dry. It’s where you shake out that dirty rug or smoke a cigarette.

The Westside is Chicago’s back porch. The Westside is home to the working poor. It’s the part of the city that you leave, if you can afford to go somewhere else.  You go to places with grocery stores and big box retailers.  The Irish came and went to the suburbs.  Blacks migrated from the south and moved on up to the Southside.  Guys lucky enough to get into a union moved their families to suburbs with better schools. The Westside is where taxi drivers, musicians, drug dealers, and housekeepers live.

You don’t see much in the news about the Westside, unless there’s a murder or a fire.  Just like no one talks about the back porch and the wet mop and that old chair that you just leave out there because you don’t care if anyone steals it.

Prostitution and open air drug markets flourish on this side of town.  If we were Amsterdam, these activities would be on Michigan Avenue.   However, we Chicagoans store the evidence of the dirty side of life on the back porch, the Westside.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Chicago Divided

Chicago is divided.  If you ask a Chicagoan where he’s from he has the option to answer in many ways.  If the, “Where are you from?” comes from someone from another state he’ll just answer, “Chicago.” Actually, I’ve heard people from far away suburbs claim to be from Chicago, even when there town resembles Chicago less than Decatur.   If the query comes from someone from Chicago, he answers with the side of town; North side, Southside, Westside.  If the question comes from someone from the same side, he may answer which side of the train tracks or viaduct, unless it’s a Catholic from the same side of the city who is asking, then he will answer with his parish.  If it’s a political gathering the correct answer is your ward number and your precinct number. If it’s a community police meeting, then we identify ourselves by area number and beat number.

And Chicago is divided in many other ways. Do you love Gertie’s or Margies? Are you a Cubs fan or a Sox fan?   Anyone who professes to be both a Cubs fan and a Sox fan is considered a weenie.

Now, weenies, that’s another way that we are divided.  Hot Doug’s or Fat Johnnies?

Thick or Thin Pizza? Now the real infighting begins.  Chicago has the best pizza every in every category. It’s the one food that we can all agree on.  And it‘s a food everyone can disagree on.  The main argument falls into categories ‘THIN VERSUS THICK”   Every neighborhood has their favorite joint.

If you love thin and you’re from the Southside, your heart probably belongs to Vito and Nick’s.  If you don’t know pizza from corned beef and cabbage you probably like Fox’s.

Everyone can love Uno’s and Due’s thick stuffed pizzas because they are really not in anybody’s neighborhood.  It used to be easy to love Lou Malnati’s but now they have grown to resemble a chain restaurant.  Nobody from Chicago admits to loving a chain restaurant, even if they have really good pizza.

After we are finished dividing ourselves up by sides, parishes, areas, beats, wards, sports clubs, fast food favorites, and pizza joints then we segregate ourselves by race. I wonder if those other people have anything good to eat in their neighborhood?

Big Legged Mama’s Red Hot Sauce



1. 2 fire roasted red peppers
2. 2 tablespoons habenero pepper mash
3. 1 cup tomato juice
4. 1 tablespoon garlic powder
5. 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
6. 1 tablespoon cayenne powder
7. ¼ teaspoon salt
Roast the red peppers directly over open flame on stove top or on the BBQ grill
When the skin on the peppers is black, remove from flame and put in a paper bag for
ten to fifteen minutes.

let pepper steam in bag

Remove peppers from bag and scrape off the black skin and remove the veins and seeds

Next, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.
Puree hot sauce ingredients

Simmer puree in small sauce pan for about five minutes. Pour the hot sauce into the bottle

Boy, that was easy. Put your sauce in the bottle sauce. This recipe makes enough for one small bottle of hot sauce.

You can eat it right away but it will get better in a few days. Store in refrigerator.

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Penny’s Egg Bread

Penny’s Egg Bread

This rich egg bread recipe makes the best bread.  It is irresistible when it’s fresh out of the oven and it freezes well.  It makes the best french toast and awesome bread pudding. It also makes great stuffing for your turkey, or chicken or even a thick cut pork chop.  Five loaves of bread is a lot of loaves.  I usually slice up two of the loaves and put them in ziplock bags in the freezer. If you cut the bread by hand, the slices are thick, almost too thick for a sandwich.  But this problem solves itself when you make a cheese sandwich and press it in a pannini grill.


4 ounces dry yeast

1 quart cream

1 pound butter

6 eggs

5 lbs flour

2 oz salt

8 oz sugar


  • Take the eggs and butter out of the refrigerator and let them come up to room temperature.
  • Warm the cream in a microwave or in a pan on the stove top.  It should be warm (not hot) If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast.  Think of the yeast as a little baby and make sure it is kept warm. Dissolve the yeast in the warm cream and add sugar.  Let this mixture stand until a foam forms on the top.
  • When the yeast is foamy, add eggs and butter and beat, slowly add in the flour and salt.  Knead for ten minutes.  The dough should be sticky.  Put the       dough in a bowl and cover with a towel.  Put it in a warm place for about 1 hour   or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  • Next, punch the dough down and knead again for another 10 minutes.  It should rise faster this time, if you have kept it warm.
  • Divide into 5 loaves.  Each loaf will be about 2 pounds.
  • Knead for the last time and form into loaves.  Put each dough ball into a loaf pan and score the top of each loaf with a sharp knife.  Set aside and let dough rise until it is about double in size.

Carefully place the loaves in the center of oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees. Bake the bread for about 40 minutes.

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,