Steamy Kitchen Recipes | RSS Feed Steamy Kitchen Food Blog: fast recipes, simple recipes, with fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:57:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce Sat, 12 Feb 2011 15:12:50 +0000 Recipe for Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce with step by step photos by cookbook author Jaden Hair.

The post Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.


I seem to have an massive, endless pantry, not that the actual dimensions of the kitchen closet are even that impressive, but I seem to have a knack for utilizing every single itty bitty breathable space in there…my friends can all attest to that…they don’t dare open the pantry door by themselves. And when I go into the pantry, they instinctively back away 3 feet in case the tower of foodstuffs come tumbling down.

I love buying food. It bugs me to no end not having an ingredient when I’m in spontaneous recipe creation mode.

Hello, my name is Jaden and I’m a pantry-hoard-and-binger.

Once I reach my comfort level of too much food in pantry, out comes the large boxes for donation for the good stuff, garbage bags for the expired stuff and a small bin for the precious stuff.

Sometimes I do this at midnight in my pajamas with fierce determination and don’t re-emerge until early morning.

Yes, I know. I have issues.

During the last binge episode, I found an unopened jar of dried apricots, which I bought a few months ago for a recipe that I don’t remember. Obviously, I didn’t make it. After checking its lifespan, I was good to go and paired it with pork chops, ground ginger, ground cumin and lots of brandy.

Brandy and apricots? I’ll take this pair along with me in any dish, anytime. Together forever.

Also, below the recipe is information about Cumin from McCormick Chief Spice Buyer, Al Geotze. In the next couple of weeks, watch out for the SPICIEST giveaway that I’ll be hosting – I want to replace someone’s spice cabinet. The ENTIRE spice cabinet with 48 of McCormick Gourmet spices. Enough spices to give pork chops wet dreams. Coming soon.


Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce Recipe Step-by-Step

The apricots take a nice little bath in brandy (or your booze of choice: cognac, white wine) and the pork chops are gently scored on one side. The scoring prevents the chops from curling up when you cook them.

Ground ginger, ground cumin, salt and pepper are mixed together and then sprinkled on the pork chops on both sides.

In a large frying pan (I like my large cast iron pan) – sear the pork chops both sides, and remove them when they are almost, but not quite cooked through. We’ll finish cooking them in separate step. Careful not to use too high of heat – you want a good sear, but you can do this on medium-high heat.

To the pan, add the onions and let them cook until they start to soften. Then add the apricots only (reserve the booze) and let the apricots caramelize a bit.

Booze time! Add the brandy and let the whole thing simmer for just a bit.

Next add the chicken stock and HEY, WHERE’S MY LAST PHOTO?! uh…errr….snuggle all of the pork chops back in the pan, cover and let cook until pork chops are cooked through. yeah. that’s it (nice Photoshop job, eh!?) Oh one more thing – don’t overcook the chops. Barely blush-pink on the inside is perfect.



Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 Cook Time: 20

The pork chops are lightly scored on one side to prevent them from curling during cooking (helps with even cooking, plus it looks prettier than curled up chops). For a non-booze version of this recipe, use apple juice instead.


Handful of dried apricots, halved
1/3 cup brandy (or cognac)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I used McCormick Gourmet Roasted Cumin)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ginger)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-cut pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup chicken broth


1. Soak the apricots in brandy in a small bowl. Combine the cumin, ginger salt and pepper. Lightly score pork chops on one side with sharp knife.. Rub evenly on both sides of pork chops.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, cook 3 minutes each side until browned and mostly cooked all the way through. Remove pork chops to plate (we'll finish cooking the chops in later step).

3. Return skillet to medium-low heat and add the butter and onions. Gently saute onions for 5 minutes. Make sure they do not burn. Add the dried apricots (try not to add the brandy just yet) and saute another minute. Turn heat to medium-high and pour in the brandy that the apricots were soaked in. Let simmer for 1 minute.

4. Pour in chicken broth. Return the pork chops back into the pan, snuggling them in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the inside of pork chop is barely blush-pink.


About Cumin

From McCormick Spice Field Report by Al Goetze, McCormick Gourmet Chief Spice Buyer

What is it about cumin that makes this spice so unique? Its very distinctive flavor is described as slightly bitter and warm, with strong, earthy notes. A quick whiff of cumin and you instantly know its identity. But, did you know that cumin is among the top 10 selling spices in the U.S?

That’s not so surprising if you think about how important cumin is to some of our favorite flavors, like taco seasoning, chili powder and other Mexican and Southwest-inspired dishes. Cumin is also an essential ingredient in virtually every global cuisine, particularly the more trendy foods of North Africa, India and the Middle East.

Cumin seed has an extensive history and the foods that it is used to flavor today actually traces its fascinating past. Earliest records of cumin date back more than 4,000 years to its farming in the Nile River Valley and cultivation by the Egyptians. From there the seeds were bartered through overland camel trading routes crossing Northern Africa to the west and Asia to the east. As trade expanded, cumin was carried north into Europe via Morocco and Venice.

Cumin reached the New World, with the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico. Each stop along the way, the local population became intrigued with cumin’s flavor, and found ways to incorporate the spice into their dishes.

These photos were taken by Al Goetze on a trip to northwest India to the states, Gujarat and Rajasthan to see cumin production first hand.

Cumin grows in the mild winter months, as the moisture and cool temperatures are ideal. The harvest takes place from March to May. It is critical that the weather becomes dry at harvest time. Hard rains can cause seeds to fall to the ground or turn black in color, resulting in a lower quality crop.

Cuminum cyminum is a delicate-looking annual, with slender, branched stems. It is a small, fast growing plant seldom reaching higher than three feet. Tiny white flowers will yield cumin seeds, which range in color from pale brown to khaki.

Cumin seeds are similar in appearance to caraway seeds, averaging about ¼ inch in length. It grows in temperate climates and is harvested just four months after planting. It’s amazing that such an unassuming plant produces a seed so packed with flavor and aroma.

The farmers manually harvest the seeds by pulling the whole plant out of the ground and thrashing the seeds off of the plant onto a cover. Then, they are sun-dried and hand-sifted over a screen to separate out stems and twigs.

Most seeds are taken to a small town called Unjha which has a famous open air market, where merchants sell small lots of several hundred pounds of cumin seeds, one lot at a time. Even in the spring months here, the weather can get very warm, so the market closes for two hours mid-day.

For more information on spices, see McCormick Spice 101 and a handy code-checker to see if your spices are past their prime.

This is me and Al – I took a trip to McCormick HQ in Maryland earlier this year to meet him and get schooled on spice!

I’m part of McCormick Gourmet team of bloggers developing recipes featuring their spices and I also on the chef panel to develop McCormick 2011 Flavor Forecast prediecting upcoming flavor trends.

Who else makes Pork Chops and Apricots?

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops – Our Life in the Kitchen

Apricot Curry Glazed Pork Chops – Cooking by the Seat of My Pants

Pan-Fried and Roasted Pork Chops with Apricot-Dijon Sauce – Kalyn’s Kitchen

Pork Chops with Apricot-Brandy Glaze – Fancy Toast

Grilled Pork Chops with Apricot Onion – Rookie Cookie

The post Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy Sauce appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.

]]> 15
Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce Thu, 21 Aug 2008 06:08:58 +0000 The ebony-blue, bursty blackberry fruit was just too pretty to pass up at the market the other day, so I picked up 2 pints to experiment with. I was thinking: Sauce. Brandy. Salmon....

The post Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

The ebony-blue, bursty blackberry fruit was just too pretty to pass up at the market the other day, so I picked up 2 pints, one for breakfast (plain yogurt with a generous drizzle of honey and then topped with the berries) and the other pint to experiment with. I was thinking: Sauce. Brandy. Salmon.

But that night, disaster. Three times I had failed to concoct a stellar sauce. First, too candy sweet, then too annoyingly seedy and the last attempt, I had accidentally added brandy in twice, way too boozy. With no more blackberries to play with, what’s a defeated cook to do, but collapse in a pathetic, wilted heap on the kitchen floor and slam shots of the last tragedy. I gave up.

“Ay ya…young grasshoppa, learn from your mistakes, you will.” Okay, so sure, that voice sounded more Yoda than Confucious, but I really did stop and think about what is that one thing that makes someone a great cook. Because it’s not culinary education (Me ain’t got none), experience in a restaurant (never worked at one before), nor is it the ability to follow recipes to the “T” (can barely color inside the lines, much less follow instructions.)

And then it came to me after trickling down the last bit of blackberry sauce. The element that I was missing was that sour tang, a bright note to cut the sweetness in the sauce and tame the saltiness of the fish. “Ah-ha, grasshoppa! Balance flavors, you must.” The reason why Thai and Vietnamese food is so appealing is that every single dish is a harmonious balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, or as it’s known and easy to remember, the “four S’s”

I grabbed the kids and took off to the market to buy more blackberries, returned home and tried again. Pachinko! Sauce, splendidly harmonized in my Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce.

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

I like to stir in the fresh blackberries last, to prevent the delicate but seedy fruit from breaking up in the Blackberry Brandy Sauce. This is also a great sauce for pork chops, or if you’re vegetarian, try this over thick slices of cauliflower “steak.” Slice a head of cauliflower into 3/4 inch thick slices, so that they resemble big, thick, roundish slabs. 1 slab per person. Season and pan fry each side for 2 minutes (you might have to use 2 frying pans) in a bit of olive oil until golden brown. Bake at 250F for 10 minutes until the center can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove, tent and continue on with recipe below to make the Blackberry Brandy Sauce.

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

4 salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick and 6 ounces each
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
3 tablespoons brandy
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Lightly season the salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. In a frying pan over high heat, add the cooking oil. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, not touching. Fry for 2 minutes, flip the salmon, turn the heat to medium, cover and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the salmon is just slightly rare in the middle. Cook an additional minute if you like your salmon cooked all the way through. Remember the residual heat will continue to cook the salmon further after you remove from heat. With a spatula, remove the salmon to a plate and tent loosely with tin foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Return the same frying pan on medium heat (you should have some juicy bits and oil still clinging to the pan) whisk together the mustard, chili powder, water, vinegar and blackberry preserves. When the sauce is bubbling nicely, pour in the brandy and whisk. Simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the blackberries and the butter. Stir to melt and incorporate the butter. Taste the sauce, you may want to season with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt if you are using unsalted butter. You can also an additional 1/2 teaspoon blackberry preserves if the blackberries are puckery tart. Too sweet? Add another 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Pour over the salmon and serve.

Serves 4

The post Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.

]]> 44
Garlic-Brandy Prawns Sun, 18 Mar 2007 03:48:13 +0000 This is my favorite way to eat prawns! It only takes 15 minutes to make and the brandy adds unexpected sweetness and depth of flavor. By the way, prawn and shrimp are one and the same. Mom taught me how to make this. Prawns vs. Shrimp: Its the same thing. No difference. I just like calling big shrimp "prawns" - just a fancier word for $4 more a pound...

The post Garlic-Brandy Prawns appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.

Garlic Brandy Prawns Recipe

This is my favorite way to eat prawns! It only takes 15 minutes to make and the brandy adds unexpected sweetness and depth of flavor. By the way, prawn and shrimp are one and the same. Mom taught me how to make this. Prawns vs. Shrimp: Its the same thing. No difference. I just like calling big shrimp “prawns” – just a fancier word for $4 more a pound.


Garlic Brandy Prawns

Servings: Serves 4 as part of multi-course meal. Prep Time: Cook Time:


1 lb tail-on shrimp/prawns, deveined
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbl butter
2 stalks green onion, cut into 2” pieces
1 tbl brandy
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbl cooking oil


Rinse prawns, pat completely dry and marinate in cornstarch and 1/2 tsp kosher salt for 5 minutes. Heat your wok or large skillet over high heat. When wok is hot, add 2 tbl cooking oil. When oil is hot and just starting to smoke, add prawns. Fry until they are half-done, approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove from wok, leaving the oil in the wok.

Turn heat to medium-high. Add the garlic, fry for 10 seconds. Add the brandy, salt, sugar, butter. Cook sauce for 1 minute to thicken slightly. Add the half-cooked prawns and green onion. Fry until prawns are cooked through, about 2 minutes (depends on size of your prawns)

The post Garlic-Brandy Prawns appeared first on Steamy Kitchen Recipes.

]]> 17