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Exploring cuisine that's organized by theme

The Baltimore Sun

The Best of Gourmet

Sixty-Five Years, Sixty-Five Favorite Recipes

Good Food for Good Times

By Jamie Gwen with Lana Sills

Powerline Publishing / 2007 / $24.95

This homespun book from Los Angeles-based chef Jamie Gwen, who has appeared on the Home Shopping Network and written two other cookbooks, is organized around celebration menus - sort of.

Some of them, like the Birthday Bash Brunch - with gazpacho, ginger pancakes, the "Very Best Dutch Baby," a decadent strata and an olive oil cake - sound well-rounded and doable. Other chapters aren't so much menus as recipes on a theme. Would you really throw an "A Friend Caught-a-Fish Dinner" with roasted salmon, prosciutto-wrapped halibut, Chinese steamed fish, oven-roasted crab and lobster salad?

Taken separately, though, plenty of the book's more than 100 recipes looked enticing. From the menu for a Grand Graduation Party I enjoyed the Double-Lemon Bars. If you like your lemon bars more lemony than sweet, as I do, keep the powdered-sugar topping scant, and store the bars in the fridge.

Grilled Breaded Pork Chops

Serves 8

4 cups fine fresh bread crumbs (from 10 slices firm white sandwich bread)

3/4 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ( 2/3 cup)

rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

8 ( 3/4 - to 1-inch thick) bone-in center-cut pork chops (4 1/2 pounds)

1 cup olive oil

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread crumbs in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until dry but not golden, 7 to 10 minutes

Cool bread crumbs completely, then stir together with the cheese, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or a 9-inch pie plate. Lightly season chops with additional salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put olive oil in another shallow bowl or 9-inch pie plate. Dip each chop in oil, letting the excess drip off, then dredge both sides of chop in bread-crumb mixture, pressing gently to help crumbs adhere, and transfer to baking sheet.

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas). Grill chops on well-oiled grill rack, covered only if using gas grill, turning over once or twice, until pork is cooked through and crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Or, broil the chops on the lightly oiled rack of a broiler pan in 2 batches, 4 to 6 inches from preheated broiler, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes per batch.

From "The Best of Gourmet"

Per serving: 636 calories, 36 grams protein, 40 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 97 milligrams cholesterol, 655 milligrams sodium

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