My birthday is coming up, so as part of my birthday present, my wife found a parent-child cooking class through one of the local parks and recreation departments and reserved places in it for me and my older boy (who is 4.5). We told him that he was taking me to the class as his birthday present to me.
When I got there, the class instructor was shocked and joyed to have a "daddy" there. Seems men at these classes are a rare and wonderful thing. Out of 9 parents there, I was the only man, and my son was one of two boys out of ten kids. We had some food related games and then the kids helped spread pepperoni and cheese on a class pizza to eat there, then used various items to turn two pieces of naan into "pizza faces" while the class pizza cooked. We took the pizza faces home and cooked them for lunch afterward.
They put out chopped red cabbage for hair, but they also put out big leaves of basil for ears. I borrowed a knife from the instructor's assistant and cut some basil into strips to use as hair. Much cooler... and more flavorful.
Tonight, I defrosted some pork chops and let my son help me do some of the prep work. They're the super-thick chops you get at Costco, so I butterflied them into a more manageable thickness, then he helped me scoop spices to make a dry rub.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 rounded tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
I sprinkled the rub onto the chops to make sure he didn't spill it all over or dump half the mix on one chop, but he helped me pat it into the meat. Then we washed our hands, covered the plate with plastic wrap, and let the rub do its magic in the fridge for 45 minutes.
I fried the chops in just enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. I saw a thing on "America's Test Kitchen" where they said the secret to juicy pork chops it to cook them over lower heat. Bringing them up to the doneness you desire more slowly wrings less of the natural moisture out of them. I've found it works.
And doing it with my rub and some butter leaves this mixture of butter, sugar, pork fat, and just a little bit of pork juices in the pan that's a perfect medium for cooking up a couple of sliced onions while you let the chops rest. I defrosted and drained some frozen chopped spinach, then threw it in with the onions at the end to warm.
Served the chops on a bed of the onion/spinach mixture with a squeeze of lime. Mmmm. This is the second time I've done this rub on pork chops and my wife tells me it's a keeper. The boy likes it too and he likes being a part of the process.