How much more fun is there than going into your kitchen, putting a CD into your player, grabbing a glass of wine, and rockin’ and two-steppin’ around the island? Oh, wait, this is a cookbook and I’m supposed to be making dinner. Nevertheless, I’m doing both because I’m about to start cooking from Ruby’s Juke Joint: Americana Cookbook as I’m listening to the companion music CD provided with it. You see, there is more to Ruby Dee, she’s not only a fantastic cook but she’s also part of the music scene known as Grammy-nominated “Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers,” though not to be confused with the Grammy and Emmy winning actress of the same name.
For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. For the first recipe, I made “Blue Cheese, Pecan, Apple-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops.” I took two butterfly chops and seared them on both sides; then I stuffed them with a combination of blue cheese, pecans and apples. I wrapped the stuffed chops with a slice of bacon and placed in pan. While baking in the oven I deglazed the pan with wine and then added broth and butter. Oh my, the end result was very tasty and the chops were fork tender.
Ruby suggested serving the chops with “Potato Pancakes” so this ended up being my second test recipe. It has been a long time since I’ve made potato pancakes so I was eager to try Ruby’s recipe. Using a food processor, I grated the potatoes and then added the remaining ingredients of onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. There was also an addition of a pinch of baking powder which was different from the recipe I used before. The pancakes ended up being crispy and yummy. They certainly did go well with the stuffed pork chops.