Made With Love

I wonder if Olympic athletes ever had trouble making fig preserves

I have always wanted to attend the opening or closing ceremonies of an Olympics. Alas, it has never worked out so that I could.

The next best thing to traveling to Rio this year, though, was to watch as much of the summer Olympics as I could. I chose the athletes I wished to cheer for and I made an effort to learn as much as I could about them and about the country they represented.

I’m not athletic, but I have tried swimming and tennis. I discovered I am much more suited to walking, and I enjoy as many walks as I can. I could never imagine having to train long hours as Olympic athletes must.

When I watch the Olympics, I like to hear the stories. I like hearing the details of training and about the athletes’ families. It’s always a reminder of the importance of setting goals and planning.

I’ve often heard the phrase “this is not a sprint, but a marathon.” This reminds me of when I broke my ankle in 2006. I was told to be patient while I healed. Like is just like that. There must always be patience if you want to win a race.

This same thing is true in cooking. For instance, in the making of preserves.

I eagerly awaited the fig crop this year, and was disappointed to find out that there was none to be had. My fruit supplier also told me to plan on finding an alternative for pears, as well, as the squirrels have prevented a good crop. I had bought jars for canning and lids and bands. I had even set aside time to can and jar preserves during the Olympics. Like athletes, I was prepared.

While I did end up finding a source for pears and will make preserves this week, I still feel let down. I really looked forward to make fig preserves. If I have learned anything over the past 17 days of the summer Olympics it’s that one must carry on through the disappointments.

This week, I share with you dishes straight from my recipe box.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.

Stewed Tomatoes

4 cups tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 cup minced celery

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon minced onion flakes

2 teaspoons margarine

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Cover and cook over medium-low. Heat until celery is tender, stirring frequently while cooking. Cooking time should be 10 minutes.

Rice Casserole

1/4 cup margarine

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1 8-ounce can mushroom pieces, drained

2 packets instant beef-flavored broth mix

2 tablespoons minced onion flakes

2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine in a 1 1/2-quart ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat. Stir in rice. Cook while stirring, until rice is lightly browned. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and bake for 1 hour, stirring once after 45 minutes of cooking.

Baked Pork Chops

4 lean center-cut pork chops

1 egg white

1 cup evaporated skim milk

1 cup cornflake crumbs

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim all fat from pork chops. Beat egg white with evaporated skim milk. Place pork chops in milk mixture; let stand 5 minutes, turning pork chops once. Meanwhile, mix together cornflake crumbs, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Remove pork chops from milk mixture. Coat with crumb mixture. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place pork chops in pan, bake for 20 minutes. Turn pork chops. Bake 15 minutes longer or until no pink remains.