Fall Preview: Grilled pork, carmelized parsnips, roasted beet salad.

This is a fall meal, right?  I worked on my syllabus for my fall class today, and there were the first parsnips of the year at the market, so that’s where my brain was leaning.

First, I roasted some beets and then cooled them and peeled off their skins. This is a giant pain in the ass, so I tend to roast several meals worth of beets at one time and refrigerate the extras to use later.

Then I made a citrus-y vinaigrette:

  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • a splash of orange juice

I tossed 2 sliced beets and some baby red lettuce with 1/2 the dressing and set them aside.  I then scooped a good heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard into the remaining vinaigrette and rubbed the mixture all over the pork chop and let it sit for a while.  Then I peeled and chopped 2 parsnips, 2 shallots, and 4 thin slices from a ginger root.

I heated a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and threw in the parsnips, ginger, and shallots, tossing them frequently and letting them carmelize.  I heated a grill pan very hot and grilled the pork  chop for about 4 minutes on each side and then covered it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.  I crumbled a little Billy Blue goat cheese over the salad.

And then I ate it up.

I was raised on really great food.  We got our meat from a butcher.  We got our milk from the dairy.  We grew our own vegetables, something that I’d maybe like to take up as an adult but I remember how much I dreaded and whined about weeding as a kid, so I’m in no hurry.  My parents weren’t what I’d call adventurous cooks, but they cooked great ingredients very simply, and in summer we’d eat meat cooked on the grill, some rice or pasta or other starchy side dish,  and whatever the garden yielded that week.  They fed a family of five VERY well and very economically.

As an adult I am trying to experiment and vary my diet, but my definition of comfort food will almost always come back to this formula:  A piece of meat, marinated in something and then grilled or roasted + something starchy on the side (like mmmmmmmm mac & cheeeeeeeeeese, but in tonight’s case, parsnips) + something green. In my belly.

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2 responses to “Fall Preview: Grilled pork, carmelized parsnips, roasted beet salad.

  1. This blog is ama-zing. See, I have no idea how to cook . Therefore, we only — and I mean only — eat processed food. I’m run down, gross, and blech and was just telling my husband that we’ve got to overhaul this, but eating fresh and healthy is so overwhelming when you’ve never done it.

    Anyway I didn’t realize HOW horribly we eat until I perused through this. I’m amazed at how awesome everything looks. Wish I could do the same but wouldn’t even know where to begin. Because not only do I eat like crap, I was raised waayy Southern fried/starch…wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for different types of things that I might like.

    So, kudos. This is amazing.

    • Thanks, lady, I’m glad you like it.

      Cooking can be overwhelming at first – it is expensive to acquire some of the raw materials, and it’s time-consuming before you know the techniques. I learned little by little in college on a 2-burner stove that plugged into the wall and one pot and one skillet.

      I’ve been slowly changing my diet over the past 2 years and finally this summer decided to become a nerd about it. I’m an ingredients-snob, so the recipes tend to be pretty simple because you don’t have to do too much to great food to make it good.

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