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From the food editor: Tips for dining outdoors this Fourth of July

Pork Chops With Collard Greens


Pork Chops With Collard Greens

Regardless of your plans this Fourth of July weekend, it's likely you'll be eating outdoors at some point, in the presence of a picnic blanket or a smoking grill.

In our cover story on Pages 4E-5E, we offer ideas for side items to accompany a traditional Fourth of July feast. Specifically, those "salads" that usually get placed on red-and-white checkered tablecloths: potato, fruit and pasta. Sometimes, these mayo-based salads are left to fester in the sun, untouched; hopefully these spins on the classics will go over better with your guests.

Here are some other tips for making the most of dining outside.

Set the table: Don't have a suitable outdoor tablecloth? Buy a roll of brown craft paper and spread it across your table. It will absorb any spilled liquids or grease, plus it makes for easy cleanup. When you're done eating, simply fold it up and throw it away.

Keep bugs away: By turning a mesh colander upside down so it forms a dome, you can create a bug-free tent over your food.

Stick 'em: Differentiate between rare and medium-well burgers, or other kinds of grillables that look the same, by inserting toothpicks or Popsicle sticks into the foods that need to stand apart.

Perfect burgers: An easy thing to remember about grilling hamburgers is that they mostly want to be left alone. That means don't overmix the raw meat, or add too many additional things to it. Simply season the meat with salt and pepper, then form it into patties. Press down in the middle of each patty with your thumb, then cook them on a hot grill and let them be. Don't smoosh them down with your spatula, or cut them open to check for doneness. When they're cooked, let them rest for a few minutes before chowing down.

More than meat: While the grill is hot, think outside of the box and prepare items other than meat for the grate. Some unexpected (yet delicious) options include: artichokes, peaches and watermelon. (For more ideas, see the story on Page 4E.)

Cool down: Identify some picnic/cookout items that freeze well and throw those in the freezer the night before your event. Things like grapes or other fruits, juices and bottles of water can then sit out in the sun and stay relatively chilled, and they won't take up precious space in your cooler.

Contact Michelle Stark at or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.


Pork Chops With Collard Greens

Pork Chops With Collard Greens


  • 4 small Yukon potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups collard greens
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream


  1. Wash and dry all produce. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into ½-inch cubes. Toss them on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Halve, peel and finely dice the onion. Remove the stems and ribs from the collard greens and roughly chop the leaves.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, tossing for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened.
  4. Add the collard greens to the pan and toss to coat. Add ¼ cup water to the pan, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, then toss until the liquid has evaporated and the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the greens from the pan and set aside.
  5. Set aside 1 teaspoon flour for the gravy. Toss the remaining flour and paprika, garlic and cayenne pepper in a zip-top bag. Heat a large drizzle of olive oil in the same large pan over medium heat. Add the pork chops to the bag and shake to coat with the flour mixture on both sides. Remove from the bag, shake off any excess coating and add the pork to the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked to desired doneness. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Once the pork has been removed, wipe out any black bits from the pan. Next, add a drizzle of olive oil and the reserved flour to the pan over medium heat. Cook, tossing for 1 minute. Whisk 1/3 cup water into the pan and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Salt generously. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Season to taste, with pepper and perhaps more salt.
  7. Serve pork chops over a bed of the collard greens, then top with gravy. Serve with potatoes on the side. Serves 2.
Source: Adapted from Hello Fresh

From the food editor: Tips for dining outdoors this Fourth of July 06/27/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2016 10:57am]
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