Life: Ever have one of those klutzy days? Me… Yeah, last Monday.
It’s Monday morning, and we make it out the door to swim lessons just a few minutes late. We get through the locker room getting everyone showered, swim suited up, etc., just in time to get the kids to class. I walk the kids to their swim teachers, and I’m carrying our bags. One bag is filled with towels and a second bag with our dry clothes, my phone, wallet, keys, that kind of thing.
I drop A with his teacher. On the way to T’s teacher I start to slip on a wet area beside the pool. T is holding my hand and I’m scared for a minute I might make him slip too. I catch my balance and neither I, nor T fall. (Thank goodness!) But… that second bag, the one full of all our dry clothes, my car keys, and my cell phone; well that goes right over the edge into the pool.
Lucky for me the bag floats, and I can see the pocket with my cell phone in it sitting just above the water line. Not so lucky for me, the bag is immediately sweapt up by the pool’s current and floats away into the lazy river.
I drop the other bag with the towels, and make sure T is safe and away from the edge of the pool. I speed walk my way down the steps into the water and manage to chase the bag down. Again lucky for me, I’m already in my swimsuit because I was planning on swimming laps during the kids lessons. I actually catch the bag, and get out of the pool. Amazingly, while the back of the bag is good and wet, our clothes are dry, and there isn’t a single drop of water on my cell phone or wallet. Really, all things considered, not so bad right?
Cut to a few hours later. I’ve been cleaning up the kitchen. I’m finishing up unloading the dishwasher and about to put the last item in the cabinet: a brand new stemless wine glass. Like, seriously I had bought it like two days before.
I open the cabinet to put the glass away, and BAM, I smash the top of the glass into the bottom of the cabinet door. Glass goes flying everywhere. :::sigh:::
Later that evening, I’m back in the kitchen. The glass from earlier had been all cleaned up. In fact I’ve sweapt, vacuumed, and mopped the entire kitchen. I’ve just about finished cooking dinner and I open the fridge looking for sour cream. I don’t see any so I start to pick up the LARGE container of yougrt to look behind it. Somehow, the container slopes from my hand and…
You guessed it, lands in the floor, the lid pops off, and an industrial sized container of yougrt has splooshed it’s way all across my kitchen floor, refigerator, legs, face… Yeah.
Charlie graciously hands me a wad of paper towels for my legs, kicks me out of the kitchen, and cleans up the whole darn mess. Eventually, we eat dinner and get through the rest of the evening routine without and more messes. I go to bed trying to touch as little as possible on my way in hopes that the klutzy won’t catch up with me again.
Thank goodness, when I wake up Tuesday morning and the klutziness seems to have resolved itself.
But I’m telling you, those klutzy days really kill me. Plus, have you noticed it’s always on a Monday?
Food: So, time for another quick dinner recipe, inspired by my lack of time lately! I’ve been finding that grilling is a great way to cook a quick summery dinner. (I love my swimming and the swim lessons for the kids, but it really is crazy how much time it ends up eating out of the day.)
This time I decided to give grilling pork chops a go, and I turned to an old issue of Fine Cooking (sorry I don’t remember which issue. I have a photocopy of this one recipe… but no date info!) which had a really good Medeteranean-eqsue dry rub made with paprika and fennel. The flavors in the rub are big and bold without being overly spicy, which I love because not only did the grow ups at our house appreciate the pork chops, but so did the kids. I barely messed with the original dry rub recipe because the flavor was just so good as is!
The recipe also called for a Med inspired ‘salsa’ to top the chops with. I ended up adapting that some, based quite a bit on the ingredients I had on hand. I also found myself playing with proportions quite a bit; I feel like because of that I ended up with more of a tapenade then a salsa, but regardless it worked perfectly for topping the chops.
I love the way the flavors come together with the chops and tapenade together. The chops are smokey from the paprika and of course the grilling, and have that assertive taste of fennel. The tapenade is a touch salty, but not quite briney. Hints of lemon and vinegar from the pickled onion give the dish just the right amount of acidity. And the yellow cherry tomatoes give a nice pop of swert. This dish has a little bit of every flavor, but manages to pull them together oh so well.
And, as I implied earlier, it’s pretty quick to make. Chopping for the tapenade is pretty minimal and quick (chop coarsely and don’t get fussy!), and pork chops grill so fast. Pair with your favorite whole grain and a side of veggies and you’re set.
Grilled Pork Chops With Medeteranean Inspired Tapenade– Yeilds 8 pork chops. Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine & William Sonoma.
- 8 thick cut pork chops (think 3/4-1 inch thick if possible)
- 4 teaspoons trubino sugar
- 4 teaspoons dried fennel seeds
- 3 teaspoons smokey paprika
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons black pepper, or multi colored pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat grill according to manufactures directions. While preheating mix together all spices and sugar in the bowl of a mortar and pedestal. Blend the spices together, being sure to crushing the fennel seeds, and sugar. Liberally rub both sides of the pork chops with the spice rub. You may have a little bit of leftover spices depending on the size of the pork chops, but most of the mixture should be used.
- When the grill is pre heated reduce the temperature to medium-low (Aim for the grill temperature to be 350*-375*). Place the pork chops on the grill over direct heat, avoiding any hot spots. Sear the chops until you get nice grill marks, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and repeat for the second side. Watch closely to avoid any flair ups burning the chops.
- Transfer the chops to the top rack (indirect heat) and continue cooking until the internal temperature has reached 145* when checked with a meat thermometer. The chops will be a slightly firm to the touch at this point. Cooking time will varry depending on the size on the chops, but should take no more then 15 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the chops as they will become tough and chewy.
- When the chops have reached 145* remove from the grill and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- about 1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/8 cup pickled red onions, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of capers, drained
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon herbs de Provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Mix gently to combine. Let the tapenade stand while cooking the pork chops. Add salt and pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste before serving. Serve heaping spoonfuls over grilled pork chops.