The Hungover Gourmet


Goin' Whole Hog on the Fourth of July

It's Fouth of July weekend, so you're probably figuring I'm gonna do some column on burger safety or gourmet hot dogs. Well, you'd be wrong. Leave that safety shit to Al Gore...did you see that wooden load checking his meat with a thermometer. And this is the man Democrats want to lead the free world into the next century?

Politics aside, I said I was gonna share my Martini Pork Chops recipe this week, and I'm nothing if not a man of my word.

Now, I know what you're thinking. It's the celebration of American independence, the birth of our great nation, and I'm making a recipe with ingredients that were -- allegedly -- concocted by some Kraut living in Frogland. Well, again you'd be wrong. Sure, popular legend has it that The Martini was originated by German-born composer JPA Schwarzendorf who later changed his name to JPA Martini when a friend suggested that he might fare better as an Italian composer. Krauts, Ginnies...whatever.

A Pig with a TwistOf course, since this was the 1700s there weren't the ingredients we know in today's classic martini -- gin and vermouth. Instead, his version was made with 2 oz. genievre, 1 oz. dry white wine, and pinch of ground cinnamon. While it doesn't sound that bad, it's hardly the tongue-loosening concoction I crave after a hard day of, uh, whatever it is that I do.

There's a bunch of other myths, legends, stories, and tall tales regarding the creation of the martini, including Italian vermouth merchants, an American bartender in Paris (now that sounds more like it!), and a hotel in the UK. But, I ain't buying any of 'em. Nope, I'm goin' with my man Ed McMahon and the legend he relates in Ed McMahon's Barside Companion:

Before bridges spanned the [San Francisco] bay, a ferry ran across to the Oakland side, and to the town of Martinez. This one fellow used to stop in at the Ferry Building bar and order his favorite drink, gin and vermouth, chilled and strained into a big wine glass. "Quick!" he'd say. "I gotta get to Martinez." Other customers tried it and liked it. "Just time for a Martinez," they'd say, and the drink became known as a Martinez cocktail. Somewhere along the line singular became martini and plural martinis.

Not just a drink anymore, martini ingredients can also be used to spice up your favorite cut of meat. We made this recipe and cooked it up on our stovetop grill pan and served it with Roasted Potato Salad (both recipes are shown below). Until next week, cheers!

Martini Pork Chops

4 center cut boneless pork chops
4 jiggers of gin
2 jiggers of vermouth
1 each medium red, yellow, and green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Place chops in a deep dish and rub with the olive oil. Place diced peppers and sliced onion in dish, heaping them on top of chops. Pour in gin and vermouth, and stir. Cover chops and refrigerate overnight, turning chops over and mixing liquid and veggies every 4-6 hours.

When you're ready to cook, oil your grill pan (or prepare your barbecue grill like normal). Reseason chops with salt and fresh ground pepper, and place in grill pan. Sear both sides and then cook each side for about five minutes. Place reserved peppers and onion mixture in pan and grill along with chops. Serve chops with grilled veggies on top.

Serves 4.

Roasted Potato Salad

2 lbs. potatoes
1 med. yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried parsley (or 1 tbsp. fresh)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. light mayo
1 tbsp. dijon mustard

Peel and cut potatoes into quarters and parboil in salted water for three minutes, then drain. Mix the remaining ingredients, except for the lemon rind and juice, in a large bowl. Butter a baking dish and preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes with herbs and stuff and add to the baking dish. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes -- sprinkle grated lemon rind on top and return to oven for five minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned and tender. Remove dish from oven and allow potatoes to cool. Cut potatoes into 1" chunks and toss in a bowl with 2 tbsp. light mayo and 1 tbsp. dijon mustard. Cover and chill in fridge, garnish with chopped dried or fresh parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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