Growing up in Cooperstown my Dad and I played the "license plate game" every year. During the summer months (a.k.a. tourist season) we would regularly walk along Main Street with a small map of the US. When we spotted a license plate from a new state we would mark our map, tallying up the total at the end of year. Some years we recorded cars from all 50 states, but it was usually more like 48. Most Hawaiians and Alaskans do not choose to drive to central New York for vacation; they fly instead.
It is a safe assumption that most tourists visiting Cooperstown come for either the Baseball Hall of Fame, the art museums, or the world-renowned opera. However, as a native Cooperstonian, I would like to point out that there is much more to our little town than just sports and art. There is a whole county of idyllic farm land, micro-breweries and artisanal food lines. In fact, the foodie culture is nearly as relevant as baseball these days. Today I am going to tell you about one of my most favorite Cooperstown-grown businesses, my friend Wendy's all-natural gourmet food company, SchoolHouse Kitchen.
Wendy's mother, Patsy, started SchoolHouse Kitchen in Cooperstown in 2005. It all began when Patsy inherited a chutney recipe from a loved one, who made her promise she could only use it for charitable purposes. With her good heart and work ethic, Patsy did just that. She started selling her chutney, mustard and vinaigrette, and donating the profits to education. Remarkably, in a few short years their ever-expanding line of products have garnered several impressive awards, achieved local and national distribution, and become a favorite of many restaurants. To accommodate their growing production needs their headquarters are now located in Brooklyn, and Wendy has been brought in to helm the business.
I have been a fan of SchoolHouse Kitchen products since day one. Their unique flavors always add a delicious twist to whatever I cook. In fact, I recently developed some recipes for them, which will be available on their site soon. In the mean time, I am going to share one of my favorites with you, Black Pepper Pork Chops with Squadrilla Chutney glaze. Per the request of my husband I made it for Father's Day earlier this month, it is one of his favorite meals. We both love the way the flavors of the spicy pepper and orange-chili chutney play off each other. It is the ultimate savory and sweet combination, and is not for the faint of heart.
This meal requires very little preparation during naptime, the only thing I do is set the chops in the marinade and leave them, covered, in the refrigerator. Then, at dinnertime, I simply coat the chops with black pepper and set them in the skillet to cook. Since the seasonings are so strong we prefer the mild pork chop, however, you can easily make this with beef. In addition, we are limited to using the skillet or grill-pan in our apartment, but you could always cook these on an outdoor grill. I am sure it would only add to the flavor. I guarantee that I will be cooking more with SchoolHouse Kitchen products in the future. If they are available near you I highly suggest you purchase some for yourself, and see what recipes you come up with. And, if you need a vacation this summer, I advise booking a trip to Cooperstown. I will gladly be your guide.
Black Pepper Pork Chops with Squadrilla Chutney Glaze
inspired by SchoolHouse Kitchen products
4 large pork chops
1 10 oz jar. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. Kosher salt
1 10oz. jar SchoolHouse Kitchen Squadrilla Chutney
3 T. Olive Oil Kosher Salt
Yields 4 servings, double or triple recipe for more
1. First, remove pork chops from packaging and pat dry. In a shallow baking dish place pork chops and pour Worcestershire sauce over them, making sure they are fully coated on both sides. Allow pork to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix salt and black pepper together in a bowl. Then pour it onto a flat surface like dinner plate or cutting board. Then, add olive oil into a wide, shallow skillet and place over medium heat.
3. After the marinating is complete, dip each pork chop in black pepper and salt mixture, making sure both sides are totally coated. Place pork chops in prepared skillet and cook 5 minutes per side, or until meat is cooked through.
4. Warm Squadrilla chutney in a shallow saucepan, or in the microwave.
5. Plate cooked meat and pour warm chutney over each pork chop. Serve immediately.
Naptime Recipe Props: Black Pepper is a classic way to coat meat, and it works very well for these pork chops. The Squadrilla Chutney glaze really adds to the dish, giving it the perfect amount of sweet to offset the spicy pepper. If you prefer beef you can also swap out steak for the pork.
Naptime Stopwatch: This recipe is a snap to prepare, marinating the meat only takes 30 minutes, and then it is a brief 5 minutes per side and dinner is served!
Naptime Recipe Props: The black pepper is still too spicy for my daughter, but she likes the chutney. She dips toast in it!