Small Time Cooks: May 3, 2005

The air was cooling down outside, so Maria and I wanted to spice things up. We defied the wind and decided to grill with some friends. I had just nabbed a few crooks on the North Side after staking them out all week. Their hangout of choice was across the street from this Mexican place, and the food was good enough to keep me on the case, even if the pay wasn’t. I suggested to Maria that we stuff some peppers and grill them, and I picked up a few pork chops to marinate and grill for my friends. Makes about 4 servings each.

Grilled Stuffed Peppers

2 cups cooked Spanish rice

1 cup black beans, slightly mashed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts,


1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons diced green olive

2 Tablespoons fresh mozzarella, cut into


1 Tablespoon minced garlic

4 peppers (Poblano or red or yellow bell


First, cut off the tops of the peppers and scoop out the seeds. Wash the insides well and save the tops. Lightly salt the insides of the peppers. Mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon the mix into the peppers and place the caps back on. Now, either skewer the peppers through their caps all the way down, or wrap them completely in aluminum foil. Cook over a grill for about 20 minutes or until the pepper is soft and edible.

Grilled Pork Chops

4 pork chops, preferably butterfly

1 1/2 cups white wine

1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

olive oil

4 buns

I like to use butterfly chops because they’re thin and cook fast. You can toss them on a hot grill and don’t have to worry about them burning. You should marinate the chops at least three hours before you want to grill. Wash and pat the chops dry, then sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides. Rub on the mustard. Put into a plastic bag and add in the honey, wine, and paprika. Mix together very well and put into another bag to seal. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to grill them. Brush some olive oil on the buns, and grill those for about 30 seconds to a minute to toast. Grill the chops for about eight minutes per side (if they’re thin). If they’re well done, the inside won’t have any pink. If they’re thicker chops, you’ll want probably 20 minutes per side, preferably with the lid on the grill and the chops just off direct heat.