Thursday, July 11, 2013

Peachy Pork Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Do most parents take great pleasure in messing with their kids?

Paul seems to relish pushing Matthew's buttons more than most. Sometimes it is amusing. Other times, especially when I am left consoling a very distraught Matthew after Paul has pushed his teasing a little too far, it is not so funny.

I know this story centers around Matthew, but lately he has been making the most ghoulish
faces when the camera is pointed at him, so pictures of the cute little sister will have to suffice!

On Sunday night, Paul and I were exhausted from a day full of blueberry picking and outdoor play with Matthew and Emma. Paul took Matthew upstairs to read him a story and tuck him into bed while I gently rocked Emma to sleep. Finding ourselves finally alone in a quiet house, we decided to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck as the sun slowly set. While we were sitting there sipping our wine, we noticed the light to Matthew's bedroom suddenly snap on. This could mean only one thing: he was happily playing with his train set instead of sleeping. Paul decided to take a little plastic basketball and throw it against Matthew's window in an attempt to catch his attention. After a couple misses (accuracy is not Paul's forte), the ball finally smacked against the window pane.

No response from Matthew.

Paul threw the ball again and managed to smack the window once more.

Still nothing.

Once more, the ball was thrown against the window.

Suddenly, the distinct wailing of a frightened child could be heard from within the room.

"Now you've done it Paul! You've scared him to death!" I said while smacking the-Father-of-the-Year's shoulder.

Paul ran inside to intercept a very frightened Matthew who had bolted out of his bedroom, into the hallway, and down the stairs. "I scared of the bug! The bug on the window! The BIG BUG!" he sobbed into his Daddy's arms, unaware that he was in fact hugging his tormentor.

Matthew was pretty inconsolable, so to add to the other high marks for fatherly excellence he had earned in the past ten minutes, Paul handed Matthew his wine glass: "Have a sip of juice, buddy!"


"What? It'll relax him. Help him get to sleep."

In fact, it did take quite a bit of convincing to explain to Matthew that "the bug" was in fact only a basketball. We had to demonstrate what had happened over and over until he finally smiled and understood. Even still, after I had re-tucked him into bed, he whispered: "I scared of the bee, Mommy. I scream, Mommy."

Geez Paul, I hope you did not give our kid a complex!

In other news, we are continuing to overindulge in the bounty of produce the warm summer months continue to offer. I have been absolutely obsessed with the sweet corn around here. So beautiful and delicious straight off the cob! Not to mention the fresh-picked peaches, blueberries, and nectarines have been amazing this year. Last year, the crops were kind of disappointing so we have been taking full advantage of their juicy goodness this year! This of course means that we have been eating lots and LOTS of salad. At least I'll use the fresh produce as my main excuse ... not wanting to turn on the oven when it's 90 degrees outside might be the more honest explanation. Anyway, we had some pork in the freezer to use up so we quickly seasoned and cooked it up in a skillet and then threw it on top of some mixed greens tossed with fresh peaches, crumbled feta, and a light balsamic vinaigrette. Done! And it was delicious. It's no secret that pairing fruit with pork helps bring out the sweet notes in the meat and I have to say that peaches pair much better with pork than the traditionally-used apples.

Peachy Pork Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Nistler Family Original

For the Pork:
2-3 center cut pork chops, bone-in, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
Couple large pinches of sugar

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated red onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Ground Pepper to Taste
3/4 cup canola oil

For the Salad:
5 cups Mixed Salad Greens
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh sliced, ripe peaches
Crumbled Feta Cheese

First, make the vinaigrette. Throw everything except the oil into a blender and mix together. With the blender running on low speed, stream in the oil and let mix until slightly thick and emulsified. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. This will make enough for about a week's worth of salad.

Pat pork dry with paper towels. Rub each chop with a tiny bit of oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one side of pork with sugar (try to avoid the bone!). Turn a stove burner to medium heat.

Place chops sugar side down in a cold skillet, pressing them down firmly with your hands. Place skillet onto burner and let chops cook until lightly browned, about 4-9 minutes. The chops should be sizzling after 2 minutes. Flip chops, turn heat down to low, cover skillet and let cook for 3-6 minutes or until the chops are 140 degrees in the center. Remove chops to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss salad greens, onion, and peaches with vinaigrette to taste. Arrange on a platter, topping with more sliced peaches, Thinly slice the rested pork and arrange on top of the salad. Sprinkle with feta, a generous sprinkling of cracked black pepper and serve!

1 comment:

  1. I just laughed so very hard at this post and had to read it to my husband saying, "I can totally see this being us one day" Also, that salad look delicious!