Monday, March 5, 2012

Mustard Maple Pork Chops

I worked bright and early last Friday- 5am early. Typically I come home from work and take a nice little siesta on the couch. But this particular Friday was BEAUTIFUL. The sun was bright, the sky was blue with fluffy clouds scattered here and there, and the breeze wasn't too hot or too cold.

I skipped my nap, politely excitedly (I may or may not have gotten a running start from the doorway and launched myself into the bed like a small child on Christmas morning trying to wake up Mom & Dad...) woke up Jon and  requested a trip to the beach.

We had a little picnic at our favorite beach spot. We had some cute company too.

Cute little squirrel eating  Nacho flavored Bugels
This was number two of three- He enjoyed some of the bread from Jon's sandwich.

The maple trees are heavy with red buds. Some of the other trees have already unfurled their new bright green leaves. It's one of my favorite colors- but it's so fleeting. (And, it always reminds me of my mom, it's one of her favs too.)

Who remembers this sign? The one Jon and I never believe....

Well, it turns out....

Well, huh. I guess there are gators in the pond....

No swimming in the pond please!  

Gators weren't the only thing in the little pond. There were at least 4 different species of turtles swimming around and sunning themselves.

After our picnic and wild life adventure, we finally made our way down the ocean. Jon prefers to hang in his beach chair up in the sand. As for me, I like to go mingle with the water.

Spending some very important time healing and chatting with my Creator.
Diggin' a hole
After about an hour of playing in the water, I decided to go gather up my beach chair and sit at the edge of the water line. The tide was creeping back in so I would sit a few feet from the waves, dig a hole with my foot and wait for the tide to fill the hole with water. Then, I would back up a few feet and do it again. Yes, it's the simple things in life. :)

While I was digging holes, Jon was making friends with seagulls-

Seagull! Jon gave them names, they had a back story. It was all very entertaining.
After our fun day of sun and surf we were hungry! Lucky for us, I make a menu for the week so we had options that didn't include a bad fast food decision.

We had mustard maple pork chops and twice baked potatoes. The pork chops were just the right amount of tang and sweet. And the potatoes were the perfect accompaniment. I made them according to the recipe but omitted the ground beef since we were having them as a side.

We had a delightful day and a lovely dinner. I love having spur of the moment days with the love of my life.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Mustard Maple Pork Chops
Makes 4 servings

3 TBS coarse ground mustard, divided
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pound boneless pork chops
2 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 TBS maple syrup*

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine 1 TBS mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl; rub all over pork.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.

Line a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Transfer to oven and roast the meat until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Place the skillet over medium-high heat, add vinegar, and boil, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, about 30 seconds. Whisk in maple syrup and the remaining 2 TBS mustard; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add chops and any accumulated juices to the sauce. Serve the pork topped with the sauce.

* If you use pancake syrup instead of pure maple syrup, you will need closer to 1/4 cup of syrup to achieve a good balance of tang and sweet.

1 comment:

  1. "No swimming in the pond please!"

    I thought that's what the "No Feeding Alligators" sign meant....