The Lark Inn was dark on Monday.  Partially for preparation of the coming week but primarily so that Pat could have dinner with his single daughter one last time.  A time to share and encourage and be encouraged.

 Kris’ mom and sister Kelli flew in this morning.  Later, her brother Kevin, his wife Heather and kids, Treavor, Billy and Richard flew into LAX.  This gave Pat one more opportunity to reconnect with his 8 gazillion friends he made on the San Diego Freeway when he was doing his commute years ago.  The traffic cooperated; although, all flights were delayed so Kevin and the little boys and Pat had coffee at the international terminal and made up stories about the various people we saw.  What a great place for people watching and . . . if you are going to people watch, Kevin, the consummate story teller is a world-class people watcher!!

 Number of Guests                   15


Veggies with Dipping Sauce

Apple Smoked Pork Chops

Smashed Potatoes

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

Rice Salad

Angel Food Cake with California Strawberries ala mode

Veggies with Tomato Basil Dipping Sauce


Shopping List:

1 Assorted Fresh Veggie Tray with Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cherry Tomatoes

1  Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

½ Cup Sour Cream

½ Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon  grated Lemon Rind

 Stir together last 5 ingredients.  Cover and Chill for at least 1 hour.  After Chilling out under a blanket, cover and chill the dipping sauce for at least 1 hour up to 2 days.  Serve with your veggies . . . now than you have chilled out!

 Apple Smoked Pork Chops:

  Shopping List:

2 Packages of 10 Center Cut Pork Chops

Fred’s Rub

Season the pork chops heavily on one side with “Fred’s Rub”*

Cover and put the seasoned chops in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

 Start smoker with apple wood in the smoke chamber and crank the heat up to high.  On my Treagor electric smoker, that is about 425 to 450°.

 Once smoker has reached at least 425° put the chops on the grate, seasoned side down.

Cook for about five minutes and turn.

Continue to cook until temperature in the middle of the chop is 145° and remove and cover in foil.

Let stand for at least 10 Minutes before serving.

 Alternate cooking method:

Because of the small size of my smoker and the large number of guests for dinner I also fired up my gas grill on high.

I put half of the pork chops on the smoker, seasoned side down and the other half on the grill, seasoned side down.

I cooked them for about five minutes, turned them and cooked them for another 5 minutes or so.

Then, I switched; moved the chops from the smoker on to the grill and those from the grill on to the smoker. 

 Tip:  You might want to use a tray to put one of the groups of chops on to make room for the other set of chops . . . otherwise you could become trapped in a terminal do-loop of making room on the grill for the smoked chops . . . but there isn’t room  . . . I better move them . . . but there isn’t room . . . so I better move them . . . we don’t want to have to send someone over to rescue you.  If you think this may be a problem . . . you should probably not cook pork chops alone!  This is especially dangerous if alcohol is involved.

 Once you have finally navigated the switching process, cook them for another 5 or so minutes on each side until the internal temp reaches 145°.

Remove, cover with foil and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

*Fred’s Rub

 Fred’s Rub was created by Pat’s dad; Fred Larkin who, perfected the art of steak grilling on his “Hastybake” charcoal grill.  At one such time, over a half a century ago Fred was paid a visit by the Grilling Gods!  They took him into their landing craft and while rocketing through the galaxies, performed horrible experiments on Fred.  Being the powerful and courageous man that he was, he fought them all off and commandeered their ship, flying it back to planet earth.  Though he was free in body, he was still theirs in his mind . . . all he could think of was seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper . . . seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper . . . seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper .  Then it came to him; he was supposed to put the concoction on his steaks and then grill them . . . FRED’S RUB WAS BORN!!!  Fred’s Rub is  only available through the Lark Inn and is about a zillion dollars a bottle.  But, if you want to make it, here is the top secret recipe:

 1-1/2 Parts Seasoned Salt

1 Part Garlic Powder

¼ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper for each ½ cup of rub

 Please remember; if you divulge this top secret recipe . . . the Grilling god’s may pay YOU a visit!!!

Smashed Potatoes


Shopping List:

5 – 7 lbs. of Yukon Gold Potatoes* (About 3 per guest)

Fred’s Rub

 * Tip: for you Californians or other folks not from the south or the Midwest; “New” Potatoes are the same as red potatoes.  New potatoes will have a more “earthy” (no it’s not just from the dirt) flavor and the Yukon Gold will tend to be a bit sweeter.

 Select however many potatoes you want (for tonight’s group of 15 we used 40 – 45).  Wash the potatoes and boil them until they are about 90% done.

While the potatoes are boiling, start your oven set to Broil at 450°.

Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray.

Once the potatoes are finished boiling, drain them and let cool for a few minutes.

For smashing the potatoes you will want to find either a spatula (egg turner) or a solid faced potato masher and spray the face with olive oil.

One at a time, place the potatoes on the cookie sheet and smash them just until they break open . . . . sort of like a tomato.  They will look like a little split open bulb.

Spray (or drizzle) olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with Fred’s Rub.

 Hint: use the Fred’s Rub sparingly on potatoes and vegetables as it has quite a bit of salt in it.

 Put the cookie sheet with your potatoes in the oven with the rack in the top position.

Allow to broil for about 10 minutes, until they reach your desired amount of golden crispiness.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

 Shopping List:

3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans

4 Cloves of Garlic

Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.

 Hint:  Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!).  If they only bend, they are too ripe.

 Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)

Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.

When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente

 Tip:  For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente.  This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy.  You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”

 When finished, remove from the skillet and serve


We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction.  I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . this is a simple one for you!


With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette, either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.

Angel Food Cake with California Strawberries ala mode


Shopping List:

          3 Sugar Free Angel Food Cakes (if not available, regular will do)

          3 Pints of FreshCaliforniaStrawberries

          1 Qt. Light Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Slice the cake into ¾ inch wide slices and place in a small bowl.

Wash, cap and slice the strawberries and pour over the cake.

Scoop out a large tablespoon of ice cream and put on the top of everything.

 Tip:  For an delightful variation of this, heat your grill to high heat.  Be sure that your grates are oiled with canola oil to reduce sticking.  After you slice the angel food cake just put on the grill for about 20 seconds per side . . . I think you will like the results.

 For information about cooking classes with Kris Larkin go to:


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