An intense, inexplicabel craving for pork chops overcame me recently. I rubbed these chops — sliced as thinly as pork cutlets — with a spice mixture of cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika, garam masala and black pepper, and then let them marinate in a bowl with lime juice, a bit of white wine, and some olive oil. I saved a bit of the marinade to reduce into a nice sauce, and served the chops — seared quickly on each side, just a few minutes altogether — with sauteed spinach and garlic, skillet cornbread, and spicy black beans. The leftover chops were amazing the next day, sliced into thin matchsticks and stuffed into a sandwich. (The leftover black beans were even better, refried and tucked underneath a fried egg for breakfast).
But I will say this: that’s the last time I make cornbread without having all of my ideal ingredients in stock (buttermilk, butter, grated cheddar, bacon). I had to spend some time sifting through cookbooks and internet before finding a recipe that accommodated my pantry (vegetable oil, skim milk, one desolate egg). I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when this version emerged from the oven, dry as a bone, and with about as much flavor. Next time, Lee Bros. cornbread or nothing at all.