smile around the face

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this simple summer meal had four parts, each of which shone in their own unique way. it is partly cobbled together ingredients from my fridge and partly farmers market purchases, and all of it was extremely fresh, healthy and delicious. each dish was equally easy to make, as the intensity and freshness of the ingredients  necessitated minimal cooking time.

oh, and: eating pork chops fresh off of the grill is my new raison d’être.

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the first stages of grilling (plus shot of  my new beloved rachel comey sandals, natch). you can really see how verdant the (slightly bastardized) chimichurri sauce is. it was so simple to make: 3 cups of cilantro, packed (including stems) + 3 cloves garlic + the juice of 3 limes + salt + black pepper + cayenne pepper. gave that a few pulses and drizzed in about 3 tsp good olive oil until the sauce formed. the milky-green marinade had a consistency of a semi-runny pesto and smelled FANTASTIC. don’t be put off by how acidic the marinade tastes raw. that’s how you know you did it right. the chimichurri flavors really mellow out on the grill, and the pork can stand up to the acids like the trooper it is.

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when the asparagus came off of the grill, the butter and natural sugar in the stalks had caramelized to delicious effect. after only a few minutes, the char from the grill created unspeakably succulent flavor & they weren’t overdone at all. salt and black pepper was all these little guys needed. we chomped on these as an appetizer while the rest of the food finished.

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check out those (haphazardly placed) grill marks! this little grill gets realllllly hot so everything was cooked entirely on the perimeters of the bbq. these were probably on the grill for 15-18 minutes, or until the internal registers at about 160 degrees.

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i remembered to take a photo of my plate when i was halfway done eating, oops. i just have to stress how unbelievably juicy the chops stay. pork chops have a tendency to dry out in the oven or on your skillet, but this created an awesomely juicy center and crispy, charred crust. highly recommended.

as for the swiss chard, i sliced it into supple ribbons and threw it in a very hot iron skillet with 1 red onion, diced. i left the ribs of the chard in – their shockingly magenta color and crunchy texture make them just as appealing as their leafy counterparts. after a few minutes of high heat stirring, i dumped in about 2 heaping tbsps of apple cider vinegar, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, and lots of freshly cracked salt and pepper. i let it cook down (another 5 minutes or so) and then stirred in 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic. so healthy it hurts.

the pesto was homemade from garden trimmings and frozen over the winter. after a simply dethawing, we threw in 1 lb of rotini pasta and combined when done.

and that’s it! probably the most perfect summer dinner, ever — especially when enjoyed with a chilled, very good bottle of chardonnay from penguin bay from an earlier weekend excursion. eaten on a blanket in the grass outside admist the catepillars and 2 very energetic retrievers made for a pleasant evening indeed.

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