Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes
This summer my boyfriend and I made the big decision to move in together. After fourteen years in my condo uptown, I gave up my childhood neighbourhood and moved into his condo in downtown Toronto. While there was a small part of me that felt a little sad and nostalgic, I was excited to start this new chapter of my life with him and leave the past behind. Not in a regretful way, but tucking all the good and bad memories away in my mind for future reminiscing. While I have always worked downtown, I quickly felt at home in my new neighbourhood. I walked to work for the first time in my career, biked everywhere, hung out in the local park, and explored all the cute, artisan shops. I was particularly excited to have an organic butcher close by, and on one sunny weekend afternoon my boyfriend and I went for a walk to pick up some fresh cuts of meat – much more fun than grocery shopping at the big chain store! We admired all the cured meats hanging in the back – many were tagged with the names of restaurants we knew. We had a nice chat with the butcher and eventually decided on some capicola pork chops – the cut is pretty much the same as a regular pork chop but is closer to the capicola and is supposed to have more flavour.
When we returned home, I decided to pair the pork chops with some creamer potatoes, which we have recently discovered and are completed addicted to! Easy to make, soft & creamy with salty, crispy skins these potatoes are an easy addition to dinner or for a breakfast hash. I had some homemade canned pumpkin and freshly picked McIntosh apples which inspired me to do a spin on the apple sauce side that is often served with pork chops. I seasoned the pork chops with sweet and floral spices to compliment the puree. Overall this comforting dish balances the sweet and the salty, uses local, seasonal ingredients and is perfect for a weeknight dinner in the fall.
I love being able to come home from work in the summer and head out for an evening run. The warm air along the lake cools to the perfect temperature as the sun sets on the horizon. I return home feeling so relaxed…and ravenous for dinner! On a night like this, I don’t have the patience for a complicated dish. This shrimp fried quinoa is one of my go-to post run meals, as I often have leftover quinoa in the fridge, and some frozen shrimp or scallops in the freezer. I like to add a lot of ginger to this dish because ginger is really good for muscle recovery, as it helps to reduce inflammation and is a natural muscle relaxant, as is lavender. I had some lavender salt from Prince Edward County Lavender, and sprinkled a bit at the end to finish off the dish as the mild floral infusion along with the thyme compliments the seafood nicely. Packed with protein and classic Asian flavor combinations, this shrimp fried quinoa is completely addictive. You’ll need to go for another run just so you can finish off this tasty dish!