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I’ve decided that brining is really essential for moist, flavorful pork and chicken. I used

a brine from Alton brown. It’s easy to put together, adds great flavor and keeps the chop juicy. This mustard is subtle, but good.



Alton Brown’s 2 hour mustard brine for pork chops.


Two bone in pork chops

Ingredients for the brine:
(scaled down for two pork chops)
1/2 cup of salt (a bit less if you want)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 T whole peppercorns
1/2 T ground mustard
1 cup of boiling hot apple cider vinegar
1/2 lb of ice cubes


In a plastic container put the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and mustard powder. Add the hot vinegar and swirl to dissolve. Let mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes to develop flavor. Add ice cubes and shake to melt most of the ice. Add chops and cover with brine. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Rinse chops and make sure they are patted really dry. After brining, I seared the chops on both sides for some color and popped them in to a 375 oven till done.



It’s a good thing the chops were so quick and easy, because the Giada’s mushroom and pea risotto took a lot of time, energy and patience. I think I stood at the stove for 45 minutes, stirring continuously. I thought it turned out really well, but this may have convinced me that risotto is best left for restaurants. This recipe makes a lot of risotto.




  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.



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November 2017


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