I love to cook and I love the whole concept of food.  The cooking, the gathering, the laughing and the comfort that comes with everything to do with food.   Unfortunately, there is no time for the cooking or the gathering, especially during the week.  For quite  a while I’ve needed some inspiration for my weekly meals.  I seem to do the same thing and I’m bored, but the things that I’m cooking are healthy and the key word here – fast.  Grilled chicken, salad and potatoe wedges, omelettes, veggie burgers,pasta – all good but I’m bored and there are times the thought of another piece of grilled chicken makes me want to scream.  Last week I was shopping at Costco when I came upon a cookbook.  I  gave up on cookbooks a long time ago, I don’t buy them because they just get stored on a shelf  and collect dust while I take to the internet for my recipes.  The chef is pictured on the cover of the book and having seen the chef on the food network made me stop and take a browse.  “Chef Michael Smith’s 110 simple speedy recipes, fast flavours.”  In a word  – awesome!  The ingredients are simple, the meals are quick and nutritious.    The average time for a recipe is 25 minutes and the results are delicious.  I’m going to include one recipe here, but you’ve got to go out and buy the book.  For all you busy moms or dads you will feel inspired and refreshed in your cooking.

Pork Chops with balsamic cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon or so of beget                                          2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

4 bone-in pork chops                                                    1 teaspoon (5ml) of dried oregano

1 onion finely chopped                                                  1 teaspoon of salt

4 cloves of garlic, chopped                                            Lots of freshly ground pepper

1 pint(500 ml) of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Step 1 – Match your favourite large skillet with a tight fitting lid and set it over medium high heat.  Splash and swirl in enough vegetable oil to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot, add the pork chops.  Sear the first side until it’s golden brown and crusty, 2 or three minutes or so.  Keep an eye on the pan’s heat and adjust as needed, high enough to keep the chops sizzling but not so high that the oil smokes.

Flip over the pork chops and give the other sides the royal treatment too, until equally golden brown and delicious looking.  Add a splash more oil if you think the pan needs it.  The goal here is not to fully cook the meat but just to add lots of brown flavour to the works while the pan temperature is high.

Step 2 – Reduce the heat to medium.  Stack the pork chops on a plate and cover loosely with foil.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan.  Saute, stirring, sizzling and jumping the flavours for  a few moments.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Adjust the heat much lower, just enough to maintain  a slow, steady simmer.

Return the chops to the pan along with every drop of their juices, nestling the meat into the stew.  Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is cooked through and the tomatoes are stewed.  5 minutes or so.   Place the chops on plates.  Spoon on the delicious balsamic stewed tomatoes.  Serve and share.

Tip from  chef Michael:  “Liquid is a much better conductor of heat than air alone.  The combination of the pan’s heat, a tight lid, and the internal moisture dramatically speeds up the cooking time for the pork chops.  Best of all, any juices released from the meat blend into the pan stew.  Not a precious drop is lost…”

Tip from chef moi:  I cooked a few extra chops and the next night I cut all the meat off the bone in a shredded style with the stewed tomatoes and sauce. I then heated the meat in a frying pan with barbecue sauce – I warmed up some corn tortillas and layered the tortillas with meat, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream – very good – check the pic below!

If you enjoy this recipes – I guarantee you will love this recipe book – great flavours, simple ingredients and best of all fast and delicious!   If you don’t find the book – double click on “Chef Michael Smith’s Website”