An open letter to summer:
As a proud Canadian, I suffer each winter with the stoic grace and “game face” of a true northerner (translation: I half run from place to place with bright red cheeks on blue tinted skin and a trail of snot running from my nose because it’s too damn cold to remove a mitten and find a Kleenex in the abyss that is my purse). For what is at least 5 months of the year, we put up with the polar vortex that envelopes this great land with little complaint (ok – a lot of complaint) – but what keeps us from saying “f*&% you, Canada” and packing ourselves off to Florida is the knowledge that even though we are freezing our asses off now, summer WILL come again. It WILL.
So now, after what can only be described as the most insanely long and cold winter in my 31 years of life, I have to ask: Summer – where the hell are you??
Well despite the apparent absence of the summer season (marked by the fact that I have had to sport a very fall-esque sweater on my walk to work the past two weeks), there is another season that HAS managed to make an appearance: peach season! Oh yes, the snot running down my face has been replaced by the glorious, sweet juice from my favourite fruit. I love peaches in everything – oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, pie – and believe it or not, one of my favourite ways to enjoy peaches is grilled on the BBQ. Which brings me to today’s recipe: Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches and Curry Quinoa.
My family comes from a long line of farmers and livestock traders. So while to other children pigs were adorable, to me they were something else: delicious (this opinion does not make me very popular with PETA). And they are particularly delicious with grilled peaches on a bed of spice infused quinoa – with aromatic ginger, cinnamon and curry complementing the sweetness in the peaches perfectly (if I do say so myself).
Lucky for me, peaches aren’t just delicious but also have some fantastic health benefits. They are high in immune boosting (and skin revitalizing!) vitamin A and C, and actually have natural calming properties, helping to reduce stress and anxiety (particularly when writing angry letters to absentee seasons). Plus, they’re great for weight loss, with one small peach containing only 50 calories. Not sure if this means you can justify that second slice of peach pie, but hey, it’s worth a shot.
Say – you know what else goes well with peaches? 90s nostalgia! And obviously there is no better 90s classic to go with this recipe than the kitschy, totally-get-stuck-in-your-head song by a little band called the Presidents of the United States of America appropriately titled “Peaches”.
Oh, and summer? Pull another stunt like this and I just may be eating my peaches with a side of Florida oranges.
The Natural Blonde
p.s. fall is my favourite season anyway.
Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches and Curried Quinoa
For the Pork Chops:
- 4 ½-inch thick pork chops (approx. 3-4 oz each)
- 4 ripe peaches, quartered
For the quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa (I like to mix half red quinoa and half white since it looks really pretty on the plate)
- zest and juice of one lime
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. mild curry powder
- ½ tsp. dried ginger
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (extra points if it’s cold pressed)
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Place the quinoa in a large pot with two cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down, cover the pot, and let simmer for 15 minutes. When finished, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Next, in a small bowl or mason jar (this makes mixing up the dressing easy – just shake it!), combine the lime zest and juice, curry powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and oil. Put a small amount aside to use on the pork and pour the rest over the quinoa, making sure it’s evenly coated.
Now the pork! Start by brushing one side of your pork chops with a little olive oil. Place them oil side down on a heated, oiled grill and barbecue with the lid open for 3-4 minutes. Flip the pork and brush the other side with some of the dressing you set aside. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes (or until no pink remains). Remove from the grill and brush one more time with the dressing.
Lastly, place the peaches on the grill for 1 minute per side. You should have nice black grill marks.
Now you’re ready to assemble! Fluff the quinoa one more time and place on a plate (about ½- ¾ cup per plate). Next, place a pork chop on top of each serving of quinoa, and then place the peaches around the pork and quinoa. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
This also makes an awesome lunch as leftovers. Ask Trevor.