Is there no limit to the number of unassociated definitions a single word can carry? Apparently not. Take the word hack. A very topical word these days, and like so many of our words and expressions, it has multiple meanings. As a noun hack means a worn out horse; a type of carriage; a drudge, menial or flunky; a political nobody; and a writer or journalist of uninspired, routine material. Hack as a verb, however, truly spreads its wings to give us: to chop, slash or lacerate; to gain illegal computer access; to tolerate; to cough; and finally to cope. To cope is the instance that we’re taking up today, and the usage here is to provide quick solutions to everyday problems. Like getting a nutritious, appetizing dinner on the table that looks and tastes like more effort than it took.
We have talked in these pages about short cuts or hacks several times. One of the hands down favorites among these is the use of jellies, jams and preserves to flavor dishes. First, the flavors have already been blended. Second, it’s on the shelf in your pantry. And third, there are more flavor and spice combinations than there are kitchens. Okay, that last one is an exaggeration. Nonetheless, the choices are myriad. The most common and best known of these would include Roast Lamb with Mint Jelly, or Cranberry Sauce with Turkey and Stuffing. Why keep a good thing for use only for once or twice a year? Nor is it necessary to roast something big enough for a crowd. A duck breast or two will do perfectly, as will a couple of pork, lamb or veal chops. There is a sage jelly that will turn a simple roast hen into an elegant dinner. If you preserve your own fruit – great. Otherwise take advantage of the many jellies, jams and preserves available in the market that include: Pear Ginger, Red Pepper, Pear Cranberry, Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Wild Blueberry among many. As you can see, sophisticated adult tastes are evident in the selection. So leave the PB&J for the tots
We have offered recipes in the past that qualify for this category including: Black Lacquered Duck Breasts, Endive Stuffed with Hot Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese and Roasted Pork Loin with Cardamom Currant Jelly which are available on the website. Today we’re featuring Grilled Pork Chops with Apricot Honey Jam The chops are quickly brined and tenderized, then grilled and slathered with jam. This same recipe works beautifully with Ginger Spiced Pear Jelly. Actually, just pick your favorite jelly, jam or preserve and give it a try. It doesn’t get much easier nor more delicious.