About Laura

Grilled Pork Chops w/ Blueberry-Chipotle SauceA few weeks ago, the good folks at D’Artagnan sent me another box of goodies to do some recipe development with. I always look forward to their little “care packages”, as I have a hard time finding good quality butchered meats here on the Shore. So when I received these gorgeous Berkshire bone-in porkchops, I was ecstatic. I’d never worked with chops that were so gorgeous before!

Needless to say, I wanted to “do them up” right. I seasoned them simply with salt and pepper and grilled them. I wanted a little fruity kick to pair with them, so I made a simple sauce out of fresh blueberries, brown sugar, and some chipotle peppers.

The sweet and spicy combo was the perfect accent for the meaty chops. I served it all over a bed of cinnamon-spiked mashed sweet potatoes, which is something that one of my favorite restaurants (Bill’s, for you locals) on the island serves with their pork chops…and again, it was the perfect compliment to the other flavors.

With a fresh green veggie on the side, it’s a great hearty summer meal – lighter than your traditional meat and potatoes. Easy, yet certainly impressive enough to serve to company.

Big thanks to D’Artagnan for the hookup! The chops were so tender, juicy, and flavorful. If you too have a problem finding quality meats in your area, head over and check out the selection they have available for delivery. I’ve really been impressed with every single item I’ve tried so far!

Pork Chops with Blueberry-Chipotle Sauce

4 bone-in (1-inch thick) pork chops
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

For the Blueberry-Chipotle sauce:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo, chopped

For the Cinnamon-Spiked Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp half & half
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
kosher salt

Add the quartered sweet potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender – about 15 minutes. Drain, and place back in the pot. Add the butter, brown sugar, half & half, and cinnamon. Mash until smooth and well combined. Season to taste with salt. Cover and set aside.

Prepare the sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once blueberries begin to soften and burst, reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer until it’s reduced by about half.

While sauce is reducing, grill the chops. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper well on both sides. Grill chops for about 3 minutes on each side, internal temperature should reach 140. Remove to a platter and tent with aluminum foil.

To serve, lay down a bed of the sweet potatoes. Followed by a chop. Then spoon over some of the blueberry-chipotle sauce. Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at D’Artagnan. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Blackberry Basil Vinaigrette

Have you guys taken note of all of the gorgeous berries in stores right now? I’ve been enjoying all of them, but hard pressed – I’d say juicy, plump blackberries are my favorite. And, they’ve been REALLY good this year. So when Driscoll’s reached out to me and ask me to come up with blackberry recipe to share with you guys, how could I say no?

While I’ve had my usual fun baking with them, I thought a more savory application would be a fun twist. In an effort to shed a few pounds before sandbar season, I’ve been trying to eat more salads. I always make my own dressings, but have never made one with a fruit puree as the base before. Wow, I’ve really been missing out!

I added a handful of fresh basil to the blackberries before I pureed them, which added a wonderful aroma and freshness. The thick puree acts as a wonderful emulsifier, and the sweetness from the berries really rounds out the flavor. I also used champagne vinegar, for it’s subtle flavor…to really let the blackberry and basil shine. But, white wine vinegar would be an excellent substitute.

I like to serve it over a bed of mixed greens with some candied walnuts, herbed goat cheese, and plenty of fresh blackberries. Makes the perfect simple salad for these warmer days we’ve been having! Would also be wonderful to use as a marinade for chicken or pork. I’ll definitely be trying that in the very near future!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Driscoll’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monterey Chicken Sandwich

Life has been crazy around here lately. First off, our school day has been extended through the remainder of the year to make up for lost time for all the snow/fog days we had. So, our 1st grader goes in at 8:15 AM – and doesn’t get home until around 4:45.

Then factor in homework, Cub Scouts, and baseball practices/games into our schedule…and it doesn’t leave much time for a good, home-cooked meal around the dinner table. This chicken sandwich is an answered prayer on those evenings!

A chicken cutlet cooks up quickly on the grill or in a skillet, brushed with a flavorful barbecue sauce, then piled with bacon and melted cheese. Throw it on a bun, and dinner is done! They’re even great wrapped up and taken “to-go”, to later be enjoyed at the game (or on the beach!).

I added a slice of tomato and onion for a little extra flavor and crunch, and I thought it worked nicely with the other components. I served alongside some sweet potato chips and a pickle, for a quick dinner.

Another great, quick recipe to have under my belt for those nights when life is just – crazy!

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Buttercream

There are few flavor combinations that I love more than lemon and blueberry. The sunny bright flavor from the lemon, and the subtle sweetness and gorgeous hue from the berries. I baked these lovely cupcakes for a Relay for Life radio auction here on the lower Shore, but I managed to keep a few to enjoy and take a few pictures of so I could share the recipe with you guys!

As always, I used my favorite vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream recipe, then glammed it up a bit. Some lemon zest and lemon extract in the cake batter gives it that lemony punch that I was looking for. For the frosting, I cooked fresh blueberries down a bit with some sugar to soften up, then pureed and added to the buttercream. It creates a gorgeous color, that just screams “spring”!

Garnish with a single, fresh blueberry – and you’ve got yourself one delicious cupcake. This makes a large batch too, usually for me it ends up being around 30 cupcakes. I never have a problem getting folks to take them off my hands though, I’m sure you won’t either! Take advantage of all the delicious berries popping up in stores right now, and make these cupcakes soon.