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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Citrusy pork chops have Cajun accent

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Today's recipe for Cajun Orange Mopped Chops was created by Pat Harmon for a cooking contest.

"It didn't win, but I like the recipe, so I thought I'd send it to you," she said.

We're glad she did, since we like both of the main ingredients -- pork and orange marmalade. After broiling, the chops were juicy with a hint of orange, despite the short marinating time.

However, we couldn't detect any Cajun flavor. If you're looking for a spicy taste, increase the Cajun seasoning.

Pat is a determined contest entrant. She's been a Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist twice and won $5,000 from Reddi-wip for her Very Berry Rhubarb Cobbler.

Other contests include Campbell's Soup, Paul Newman's, Quaker Oats and Better Homes & Gardens (her recipe was in the January 2001 issue), to name a few.

In April, it's off to Sacramento and the National Chicken Cooking Contest. Pat was chosen the Pennsylvania finalist.

Today's Countdown recipe was made on a Weber grill -- which she won in a contest

"My life is a contest," the Economy Borough resident said. "My husband, Paul, is my guinea pig. Thank God he eats everything."

Well, not quite "everything." Desserts are tasted and then given away.

"I enjoy testing dessert recipes but not keeping the results around," said the mother of three (grandmother of five).

"I used to take them to work, which everyone liked (she's retired from the treasurer's office at the Beaver County Courthouse), but now I give them to Meals-On-Wheels."

Crafts are her second passion. She exhibits at local shows and occasionally makes dog biscuits to sell at her booth.

Paul, retired from Armco Steel, enjoys traveling as much as she does. Both are looking forward to "the nice little trip to Sacramento."

We're rooting for you Pat, and hope you have more recipes to share with Countdown.

Cajun Orange Mopped Chops

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped green onions with tops
4 boneless loin pork chops

Combine ingredients for marinade and pour over pork chops in shallow glass dish. Marinate 10 or 15 minutes while heating grill or broiler to high.

Reduce heat to medium. Place marinated pork chops on grill or under broiler for 7 to 10 minutes per side (ours were only 1/2 inch thick so we did 5 minutes per side), brushing marinade on chops as they are turned (see note). Be careful not to overcook. Serve with rice or potatoes and a vegetable or salad. Makes 4 servings.

Tester's note: We poured the remaining marinade into a small saucepan, brought it to a boil, simmered for a few minutes and poured over the finished chops for an added orange kick.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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