Grilled Dijon-Horseradish Pork Chops

This past weekend in the Sarcastic Cooking household had a very somber note to it. It was the official last weekend of my husband’s summer vacation, which also means summer mentality is over for me too.
Womp, womp.
We had planned to go to the zoo or maybe a new brewery in the city to cap the summer off on Friday. However, life had other plans. In between waiting for deliveries and hemming and hawing over driving into the city during rush hour, we kind of lost our ambition to do anything.
I am sure you all have had those days where you make big plans and nothing seems to go right, so you just give up. Isn’t there a saying about mice and men and best laid plans going astray? English major friends, help me out!
Anyway, before we just plain old gave up, put on sweats, started another season of Dexter, and ordered a pizza, we both threw the same idea out there. We just went to our favorite local beer garden—nice and shady with huge blowing fans to keep you cool, even on the hottest of days.
We enjoyed each other’s company and conversation over probably the last Summer Shandy’s we will drink this summer. We watched a little of the Olympics, then headed home. Not the excitement level we were looking for, but still a great night.
Saturday, we attended a friend’s wedding. Weddings are always a fun time and are always a staple of our summers. This one was even more fun because we got to spend time with a few of our dear friends who live kind of far away.  It’s nice to spend time with people that we don’t have the luxury of seeing all the time.
You all know how sometimes after a wedding and staying the night in a hotel you wake up the next morning and even a Gatorade and a cool shower won’t revive you? Well, we didn’t want that to affect our last day of summer vacation, so we were a bit worried. Luckily, we woke and felt great.
Not gonna lie, though.  A little fruit punch Gatorade never hurt anybody!
Sunday ended up being the perfect antithesis of summer all wrapped up in one day. We drank some lemonade and fired up the grill. Mike grilled my favorite Dijon-Horseradish Pork Chops. I made an heirloom tomato salad with fresh tomatoes from my parents’ garden. We sat outside and enjoyed a nice night going over all the highlights from our summer.
We stayed up so late Sunday night just talking. I guess it is that little kid mentality: “If I don’t go to bed, Monday won’t come.” Sadly, it did, and unfortunately, both of us were dragging our butts this morning.
We may have not got to do everything we wanted on our last weekend of summer, but it will still be remembered as all I wanted from that last sweet sip of my summer!
Ingredients (Serves 2 – 4)
4, Boneless Trimmed Pork Loin Chops
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
Combine the Dijon, horseradish, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Give the marinade a quick whisk to combine and then transfer the marinade to a large gallon size plastic storage bag or dish in which you want to marinade the pork chops in.
Make sure each pork chop is coated in a bit of marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to marinate.
When you are ready to eat, turn the grill to medium/high heat. Let the pork chops sit at room temperature while you allow the grill to heat up for a few minutes.
Place each pork chop on the hot oiled grill. Grill on each side for approximately six minutes. In between each flip, try and brush on a little more of the marinade.
Serve these chops right away with a nice summer salad or vegetable option. Pork chops will last wrapped in foil or in an air tight container for four days under refrigeration.

Slow Cooker Orange & Bourbon Glazed Ribs

Well, I hate to say it, but summer is almost over. Gasp! I’m sorry to state the obvious, but as my sister-in-law told me, we are in the midst of the Sunday of our weekend that was summer.
You see, to my educator sister-in-law, the summer is like a weekend.  June is Friday, July is Saturday, and August is Sunday.  We, my friends, are in the Sunday of our summer.
It’s not so bad, though. There are pluses to the fall.  For me, it’s boots, sweaters, and blazers. Everybody has something they love about autumn.
My brother Nick is already gearing up for football season. Yes, he is one of those Bears fanatics that are out there tailgating through rain or shine, or even snow for their home games.
I myself have only been to one pre-season Bears game ever. With a fanatic football fan for a brother, this is a fact I am ashamed to admit. So, Nick is already on my case about going to at least one game this season.
He has challenged me to come up with some tailgating food. “Come on Miss ‘I have a food blog’,” were his exact words to me. Challenge accepted!
So, mister soon to be dad who is trying to plan for a baby and tailgating at the same time, here you go!
Nick told me that ribs were kind of difficult to handle under the time constraints of tailgating. Naturally, as the jerk of an older sister that I am, I had to point out how he went wrong and then set out to do it better. It’s all a part of a good healthy sibling relationship.
This way of cooking ribs is so easy. All you have to do is put everything in the slow cooker the night before, cook on low for 12 hours, wake up, get your tailgating gear ready, and grab your still warm and perfectly tender ribs and head out the door.
See ya at the game, Niko! (As long as it isn’t sub-zero temperatures.) I’ll bring the ribs.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
2 ½ lbs. Pork Loin Baby Back Ribs
For the Rub:
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
For the Sauce:
1 Naval Orange, segmented and chopped
1 Shallot, minced
3 Tablespoons Bourbon
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Cups Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
Start off by cutting the rack of ribs into four or eight smaller portions.
Add the cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Rub the seasonings into both sides of each portion of the pork ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and then set the dish with the ribs in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to twelve hours.
When you are ready to start cooking the ribs, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to come up to room temperature while you prep the sauce.
Add the chopped orange, minced shallot, bourbon, honey, and BBQ sauce to the slow cooker. Whisk thoroughly to make sure it is evenly combined.
Add the ribs to the sauce. Set the cooker on low. Cook for 10 to 12 hours. I highly recommend starting this the night before you plan or eating them.
Serve the ribs with your favorite BBQ side dish. Make sure to add a little of the excess sauce to the top of the ribs before serving.
Ribs will last up to five days under refrigeration in an air-tight container. Reheat in the microwave or oven with a little extra sauce on top. If you are taking these to tailgate, wrap the ribs in foil and place in indirect heat for a few minutes to warm them up.

Adobo Pork

I know I may start a lot of my posts with this question, but, did you ever just have one of those days?

Well, I had one yesterday. I woke up early with all the intentions of putting together one of my favorite slow-cooker meals. I hit the snooze button a few too many times. This now left me with an hour to shower, put the adobo pork together, get ready for work, walk Weezer, and get to work.
Very ambitious, I know. I rushed around and got out the door in fifty minutes. Ten minutes to make it to work, which is forty minutes away. Hmmm…. Oh well. I accepted defeat and realized all my rushing was for nothing because I was going to be late anyways.
I walk out to my car and get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I reach for my car door. It doesn’t unlock, which means I do not have my keys on me.
Ugggghhhhhhh!!!! Seriously?!?  I had locked myself out.
So I get started on figuring out a way to break into my own house, thanking God for all those episodes of It Takes a Thief I watched on the Discovery Channel. There is a window which does not have a screen and can easily slide open from the outside; unfortunately, it is about seven feet off the ground.

I pulled a chair from our deck over to the window. I cautiously stood on the metal parts, because I know that if I step on the fabric part of the chair it will rip and I don’t think my ego could handle breaking a chair on top of all of this running late for work crap. The windowsill is still like half a pull up away from me getting into it.
I gently slid the window up, pulled up the shades, and move my nightstand out of the way. I then start to psych myself up to get ready for pulling myself up and into this window.
What happens next is not pretty or graceful at all!
I stood on the shaky arm rests of the chair and jumped up. My rib cage slammed into the window sill, my legs still dangling half out the window. At this point, I noticed I had an audience. A few of my neighbors from across the street stopped their cars to watch me dangling from my window. All I could think was that I hoped they recognized me and didn’t call the cops.
As I swung my leg up to the window sill, I cursed the extra winter weight I am still packing and my grandma for pointing it out at Easter. I could feel that, as I started to get a leg through the window, my jeans were sliding down. So now, not only was I the crazy-possible-burglar-dangling-from-a-window, I was the crazy-possible-burglar-dangling-from-a-window rocking a plumber’s crack!
Needless to say, I got in, got my keys, put the window back in place, and made it to work a half an hour late.

You better believe I was so happy to have this no fuss meal waiting for me when I got home. Oh and lots and lots of wine. Just one of those days!
Ingredients (Serves Four to Five)
2 lb. Boneless Skinless Pork Ribs
2 Jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
½ Red Onion, roughly chopped
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Coriander
½ Teaspoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Adobo (The liquid from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce).
1/3 Cup Tomato Paste
1, 12oz. Light Colored Beer (I used Corona).
Season the pork ribs with all the dry seasonings. Use your hands to massage the spices into the pork. Quickly sear them in a large heavy bottomed skillet over high heat for about two minutes on each side. Add the seasoned seared pork, jalapenos, onion, tomato paste, adobo, and beer to the crock pot. Set the crock pot on low and cook for eight hours.
After eight hours, remove the pork. Place the pork on a large plate or in a large Pyrex dish. Roughly chunk off bits of the pork using two forks. Discard any fatty pieces.
Before returning the pork to the crock pot, whisk the sauce together to make sure all the seasonings and tomato paste have been distributed. Add the roughly shredded pork back to the crock pot. Cook on low for an additional hour without the lid on.

Serve pork on some grilled corn tortillas with a little bit of smashed avocado and chopped cilantro.

Mexican Pork Stew

I was reading this post by A Cozy Kitchen and it got me thinking about what I would want if I could get my way all the time in life.
First off, I would get to work on making one of those shower/bathroom set-ups from the Jetson’s. You know what I’m talking about. You step on a conveyor belt all groggy. The machine then strips you down, bathes you, dries you off, brushes your teeth, does your hair and makeup, picks out a sweet futuristic outfit for you and dresses you. Then at the end of the conveyor belt the machine hands you a cup of coffee! You come out the other end in five minutes ready for life!
I would also make it so you could eat copious amounts of bacon and pork related products and not gain an ounce of weight or have a cholesterol problem. In fact, I am pretty sure I would just go ahead and make the pig itself a part of the vegetable food group.
Initiative three: let’s just go ahead and add cheese and wine to the vegetable food group as well.
I would also like to know what weird voo-doo Tom Cruise is practicing besides Scientology, because seriously, the man does not age! Tom, bottle it up or start a cult or something (if you haven’t already), because you could make even more millions!
I feel really good getting a lot of these things out there. In fact, looking over what I just stated, I think I have a pretty good platform to run for President. I mean, what I have stated isn’t crazier than what these hopefuls have been saying, right? Of course I would also promise to alleviate the debt, lower gas prices, mansions on moon colonies for all, etc. etc.

Stefanie for prez in 2012: There will liberty, justice, and lots of Mexican pork stew for all!!!
Ingredients
1 ½ Boneless Pork Loin Roast
½ Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
15oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
2 Cups of Canned Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon of Adobo Sauce (The liquid from a can of chipotle peppers.)
1/2 Cup of Tequila
The Juice of Half a Lime
8oz. Chorizo
1 Can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
½ Red Onion, diced
1OrangeBell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 Garlic Cloves, grated
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
¼ Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Teaspoon of Onion Powder
½ Teaspoon of Cumin
½ Teaspoon of Coriander
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Yes, the list of ingredients seems long. But the glory of this recipe is that all you do is maybe twenty minutes of prep work and then let the slow cooker take care of the rest!
Season the pork loin with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the pork loin, fattiest side down first. Sear the loin for five minutes on each side. My particular piece of pork had a lot of fat and skin still remaining on one side, so I seared it a bit longer.

Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and chipotle in adobo sauce to the crock pot. Program the crock pot to low and set the timer for ten hours. Let the tomato base heat slightly before adding in the chorizo, vegetables, and the secret ingredient….TEQUILA!

Add the tequila, lime juice, garlic, and all the dry seasonings to the crock pot. Stir to evenly distribute all the seasonings. Then add in the kidney beans and chorizo. Break apart the chorizo using a rubber spatula. You don’t have to break it down completely because as the chorizo cooks it will basically melt into the soup.
Drop in all the veggies. Stir the stew then add the pork loin. Cover and cook.

After eight hours, remove the pork loin and place it in a dish. Using two forks shred the pork loin and remove any fat. Then place the shredded pork back into the pot and cook for the remaining two hours.

At the last second stir in the fresh cilantro. Let the stew cool slightly for about ten minutes before serving. Top with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and some freshly sliced jalapenos.
This is my second soup entry in SoupaPalooza. If you are interested come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset. If I can win something in SoupaPalooza, then for sure it is on to the White House! ; )

Simple Sunday Supper: Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin with Kale and Potatoes

When I was younger, I hated Sundays. I spent the whole day being grouchy about the return to school the next day 
I would begrudgingly get in my pajamas and lay in bed. My mom came in to read me a good night story.

On a normal night, my mom would read me one chapter, then I would sail away to dream land.  On Sunday nights, I sat there with my eyes open but heavy, asking for chapter after chapter. If there was a moment of weakness where I started to drift off to sleep, my mom would stop reading. I would sense the change and wake back up and ask for another chapter and tell her I wasn’t tired. 
I kept thinking there was some way to delay the inevitable. 
Now that I am an adult, I love Sundays. I have accepted that the work week is around the corner and am ok with it. 
I don’t want to ruin my entire day by worrying about the next one. Because no matter what it is coming. 
What I didn’t notice when I was younger was the quiet peaceful feel of a Sunday.
Now I love the slow cooked Sunday supper. I love the smell of a roast cooking away all day.

I love the quiet walk to and from church. I love the peace of mind I get on a Sunday. There isn’t anything you can do to stop the work week from coming, so you might as well enjoy what you have in Sunday. 
Ingredients (serves 4)
2lb. Boneless Pork Loin Roast
2 Garlic Cloves, grated
1 Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
3 Slices of Prosciutto
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Shallots, sliced
2 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1 Cup of White Wine
4 Russet Potatoes, halved
1lb. of Kale, stems removed
¼ Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes  
Preheat the oven to 325. 
Combine the grated garlic with the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the garlic, salt, and pepper mixture all over the pork loin. 
Lay the two sprigs of rosemary length-wise on top of the loin. Cover the sprigs with the prosciutto. Using kitchen string, securely tie the prosciutto in place. 
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the pork loin to the Dutch oven. Sear the bottom of the loin for three minutes. Remove the loin from the pot.
Add the shallots to the Dutch oven. Cook them for a minute or two. Pour in the white wine and chicken stock. Use a rubber spatula and deglaze the pan.

Place the potatoes and pork loin back to the Dutch oven and then place it in the oven.
Cook the roast for two and a half hours. 
After two and a half hours, remove the Dutch oven. Add the kale and red pepper flakes to the pot and return it to the oven with the lid on for another half an hour. 
When the roast is done, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. Cut a tiny slit in the crispy prosciutto crust and slide out the sprigs of rosemary.
This is a super easy meal to make that just so happens to look impressive. It is great for a slow Sunday supper or for a holiday dinner. 
Sit back and enjoy your dinner, because tomorrow it is back to the grind.
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