Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops, Balsamic Roasted Farm Stand Vegetables, and Parmesan Orzo

The Grandparents are coming! The Grandparents are coming! Actually they have come and gone by now. We spent a couple days with the Grandparents over the weekend. That means I spent a little time trying to plan the meals for their 24 hour visit. Pumpkin Pound Cake, Caramelized Onion Dip and Kettle Chips, Fiery Carrot Dip with Multi Grain Crackers, and the above mentioned dinner menu (I'm putting up the recipes for the dinner. If you want the other recipes, send me a comment and I'll either post them or email them to you).

Our weekends are usually booked. I'm not complaining and it is not any different than most families. A couple softball games and a football game on Saturday sandwiched around watching the Illini beat up their latest opponent on Saturday. Then off the the Jersey Shore for a couple days. 85 degree weather and no wind made for some great beach days. I actually had to convince My Oldest to join us. She now has a social life. The beach won out in the end. Who would turn down the beach?

As my days are filled, I tried to make recipes that were quick to prepare but had great flavor. I have realized that making a few items ahead of time (the dips were made on Friday) saves me loads of time. I can go off and play and not worry about slaving in the kitchen all day.

The dinner menu took about and hour and a half to prepare. You can cut down on that time if you don't brine the chops. Brining them makes them really juicy. Don't skip it. A bunch of vegetables are roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes. The orzo is cooked and seasoned. Voila! Dinner is served. This menu makes enough for about 8 people with good appetites.

Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops

1 pork roast - about 2 - 3 pounds - cut into inch thick chops - about 8
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tb red wine vinegar
1 tb soy sauce
dash sesame oil
dash red pepper flakes

1 and 1/2 quarts water
3 tb sugar
3 tb salt

Combine the water, salt and sugar for the brine. Place the chops in a glass dish and pour brine over. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small pan combine garlic, hoisin sauce, chicken broth, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. After the hour, remove chops from the brine. On a hot grill, cook the chops for about 3 minutes per side. Brush the hoisin glaze on the chops but watch for flare ups.

Balsamic Roasted Farm Stand Vegetables

1 eggplant
2 red peppers
1 zucchini
2 portebello mushrooms
1 vidalia onion
olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the vegetables into large chunks - about 1 inch dice. Spread on a large baking sheet and toss with a good drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper. bake for about 40 minutes (stir after 20 minutes).

Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. When vegetable come out of the oven, generous drizzle with the balsamic mixture. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Parmesan Orzo

1 pound orzo, cooked and drained
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tb olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

While the orzo is still warm, toss with the cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve warm.

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