Cedar Planked Pork Chops and Vegetables

This recipe was a bit of an experiment, as we had the cedar planks left from an earlier cooking adventure, and it felt like the right time to break them out.  Most directions recommend soaking them for at least an hour, but we only soaked them 30 minutes and lived to tell the tale.

You’ll need:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 2 cedar planks
  • roughly 1 cup chopped of each:
    • mushrooms
    • red onion
    • broccoli
  • tbsp olive oil/coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp Koops Horseradish Mustard
While the planks soaked in the sink, we placed the pork chops in a bag with the mustard to marinate.  We probably used 2-3 tablespoons, but feel free to add/subtract to your liking of mustard.  We cooked the chops at 350ºF, so if you’d also like to preheat your oven now, that’s not a bad thing.
If you don’t already have an egg slicer, do get one.  I’m pretty sure I got mine at the dollar store.  They’re great for the obvious slicing of eggs for salads and the like, but also amazing for mushrooms, as you can see.  More uniform cuts, less fuss, less muss.  Ok.  Informercial done.

Once your oven is ready to go, place the planks in a baking dish (or create a pseudo-baking dish with foil on a cookie sheet), and add on the chops and assorted vegetables.  We then drizzled the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt.  

And into the oven they went for 30 minutes.

Afterwards they looked great.

And tasted greater.

On an unrelated note, we will be doing our FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY next week, so keep your eyes here (or on twitter and facebook) to get more details.  Sorry for the ambiguity and build up, but I can’t help it!

Broccoli-Mushroom Sauté

Yesterday we completed our first Spartan race: The Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan 2012. It was 8 miles with over 75 obstacles (that’s a world record!), and we loved it. We’re both a bit sore and we have some scraps and bruises, but we feel great. We finished in under three hours and next year, we’re determined to do it in less than two. 😉

Anyways, to celebrate, we got nice New York Strip steaks for dinner tonight. We enjoyed these delicious cuts of meat from Whole Foods with a side dish that Brent dreamed up while we were wandering through the Costco.

While he grilled the steaks, I created this simple, sweet and savory sauté per his suggestion. (Woo, check out that little bit of alliteration! …sorry, word nerd alert, haha.) We hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli-Mushroom Sauté
Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion (about two slices from a large red onion, quartered)
  • Sprinkle of homemade rosemary-salt (essentially, equal parts dried rosemary and sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Method

1. Melt oil over medium heat.

2. Sauté broccoli for one minute.

3. Add mushrooms, onion, and a sprinkle of rosemary salt.

4. Sauté for 4 minutes.


5. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for about 2 minutes.

6. Serve next to your favorite steak and dig in!

Coconut-Dill Veggie Dip



Yesterday we hosted our first BBQ since moving into our new home. We love entertaining and it’s so great to have a huge backyard and a full-sized grill. Plus, our new house is plenty big and not all of our “living space” furniture is crammed into one room anymore! I think last night’s BBQ was a great success–everyone seemed to really enjoy the food, beverages and conversation. YAY! 


We had burgers, brats, a veggie platter, a fruit platter, and our friends each brought a little something to share. There were crackers and olives stuffed with anchovies and wine and these OMG-to-die-for-sweet potato fries baked with pumpkin pie spices (Thanks, Nicole and Brian–you two are brilliant!). Are you drooling yet? Well, if not, I think you will be soon because I’m finally going to get the point of this post…


Coconut-Dill Veggie Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon yellow mustard seed, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill (fresh is best, but dried dill weed will work just fine)
  • top half of a 15 ounce can of coconut cream (make sure you don’t shake it up before opening; you want to use the top half of the can b/c that’s where the most fat/cream/pulp has settled–if you use too much of the liquid below it, the dip will be too runny to dip veggies into)
Method
  1. Combine spices in a mini bowl.
  2. Scoop out of the can into a small bowl the top half of the coconut cream. 
  3. Blend the spices into the coconut cream.
  4. Chill for about 5 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
As you can see from the picture, I served my dip with baby carrots, broccoli, celery sticks and radishes. The dip was sweet and creamy up front, savory in the middle, and finished with a tiny bite in the back. It went well with all of the veggies! 

Honestly, this was completely a last-minute experiment. (By last-minute, I mean it–I started putting this together at 4 p.m., exactly when the party was supposed to start, haha. Lucky for me, the first fashionably-late friend didn’t arrive until 4:45 p.m.) My goal was to make a Paleo-friendly ranch dip for our veggies; I had even purchased a ranch flavor packet earlier that day just in case my efforts failed. But I really didn’t want to use that packet because it was littered with preservatives and such. 

I was nervous. I tried to look up recipes for making ranch dip from scratch. All of them were different and called for things like mayo and sour cream. But I got a vague idea of what spices to use. I threw caution to the wind and mixed a few spices together. That’s when I started to get excited. After I tasted the final product, I was thrilled!

I think if I had had the time to add some paleo-mayo (freshly made with egg, lemon juice, mustard seed and coconut oil), it might have had that tangy, ranch taste. However, I love this recipe just as it is. I love the sweet coconut, the savory dill with onion and garlic, and the little kick at the end from the yellow mustard seed and black pepper.

And the best part: Everyone loved it.

I hope you will, too. 🙂