Our one year anniversary is quickly approaching here at Food Safety News, and despite the fact that we’ve only met in person twice during the last year we’ve held 2 successful virtual picnics–one on Memorial Day and one on the 4th of July.  As summer comes to a close, we’re hosting another virtual picnic. 

This Labor Day we’re pleased to introduce our new managing editor, Mary Rothschild, who is bringing one main course–crab cakes.  We’re thrilled to have Mary join us.

In addition to Mary’s crab cakes, Suzanne is bringing another main course–pork chops. For sides, Michelle is bringing a roasted beet and goat cheese salad and Denis is bringing deviled eggs.  Helena is bringing a fruit crumble for dessert.  Dan is bringing the beverage, or in his words, “The best whiskey on Earth.”

We’re sharing our recipes here, so you can join in our virtual potluck or use them at your next one.

The Food Safety News team.


Suzanne’s Favorite Pork Chops

suz-pork-chops1-featured.jpgI discovered the inspiration for this recipe last summer, when I had more basil than I knew what to do with and wanted to serve pork chops for dinner.  It’s simple, can be done on the grill, stove, or in the oven.  Because summer seems to be mostly over here in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll probably be using a stovetop/oven combo when I make these pork chops for our virtual picnic.


– olive oil
– 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
– 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 4 bone-in pork chops, 1 – 1 12 inch thick
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
– 1/2 pint red grape tomatoes, halved
– 2 c. grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half (I use grape or heirloom cherry tomatoes)
– 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
– balsamic vinegar
– 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
– cast iron skillet or other pan that can go from stovetop to oven


– Heat your oven to 300 F.

– Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, and just before it’s golden brown add the chopped garlic.  Set this mixture aside.

– In the same skillet you browned the onions in, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  While the oil is heating, season the pork chops with salt and fresh ground pepper, if desired.  Brown one side of the pork chops.

– Flip the pork chops.  Cover them with the onions and cherry tomatoes and move the pan from stovetop to oven.  Cook in 300 degree oven until the pork chops reach 160 degrees, as measured with a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

– Remove the pork chops from the oven.  Arrange on plates with tomatoes and onions, then sprinkle fresh basil and 1/2 to 1 oz. of feta cheese on each plate.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over everything. (Adapted from an AllRecipes.com recipe)