Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Old Man Winter – get the heck out!!!

Yessir....the weather around here is a-changin’..... and I love it! I am not a winter person to begin with, and I tried very hard this winter to NOT complain about the cold and the snow. Every time the ground would get covered in white, I’d say, “It could be worse. At least we’re not having ice storms like back in ’06. I’ll take this ANY day over THAT.”

And every time I said it, I meant it a little bit less.

And then... we DID get an ice storm. Granted, we dodged a bullet and managed to keep our power on for the duration. But the ensuing snow, the ridiculous amounts of ice that just WOULD. NOT. MELT. And the cumulative total of nine, count ‘em, NINE snow days, was just more than this sunshine girl could handle.

I’m done. I’ve had enough.

And so, this weekend I joyously welcomed the first decent weather we’ve seen in months. I felt the first stirrings of spring fever. I recognized the subtle itch that always precedes the urge to start my spring cleaning. And. I fired up the grill.

In my world, there are two sure signs of spring. One being the first day I leave the house without socks. The other being the fiery baptism of a choice cut of meat out on the deck.

Well, I haven’t been brave enough to bare my tootsies as of yet, but as far as the grill goes.... let the flames begin!

And what was the inaugural dish this season, you ask? Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops.

As you may have noticed in a couple of recent posts here at The Seventh Level of Boredom, I have mentioned that there is a new store in my small town. A new store I have become quite enamored with. Let’s just call it a ‘shopping crush’. See, when you grow up with absolutely anything you could desire to shop for at your fingertips, and then move to a small town that has....well....WALMART, you gladly welcome any and all bright new opportunities that arrive on the scene. The Market on the Square is particularly near and dear to my heart because they only sell items made in Illinois, supporting the “shop local” movement; there are many crafty and foodie items, both of which hold a special place in my heart, being the crafty foodie that I am; oh, and of course, the fact that they sell wine. And very nice wine, at that. We’ll talk about that another day. Promise.

The lovely folks over at Market on the Square recently enthused over a recipe I posted here and then shared on their Facebook page, featuring an ingredient I purchased at their little shop. You know me... a little praise goes a long way. That and I’m just a food-junkie and I can’t help myself.

So I’m doing it again!

As a matter of fact, you might be seeing various new posts referring to the Market on the Square and their wares. I have designs on a recipe involving the “Dreamcatcher”, a fantastic little port-style wine from the Piasa winery. But I digress.

Today we’re talking about root beer. Its not just for drinking, you know. My favorite new store stocks a line of craft sodas made by Goose Island, including Chicago Style Root Beer, Ginger Soda, and Orange Cream Soda. I was first drawn in by the Ginger Soda, but when I went to the register to buy a bottle, the proprietor started to tell me how people have been raving about the Root Beer, becoming addicted and frequenting the store with the sole purpose of picking up another four-pack.

Well, you don’t have to threaten ME with a good time! You know I love me some Root Beer!

What to do, what to do, what to do...... well, it didn’t take me long to come up with an idea.

My mind quickly drifted to the butterflied pork chops I couldn’t resist picking up at the store over the weekend. When the weather started turning back to gorgeous, it all came together. Root Beer glazed pork chops, anyone? How about some nice grilled zucchini and yellow squash to go with it? I’ll even throw in a foil pack of potatoes for the hubs, just because I’m feeling generous. Nice weather does that to me.

After work last night, I hustled us home and got to work. First, of course, there was getting the grill set up. I brought a fresh bottle of propane home with me and hooked it up (yes, I know, I should grill with charcoal. I just don’t have time for that on an average night). While the grill was heating up, I reduced the sauce and got the veggies ready.

And what happened? See for yourself! Just look at this gorgeous platter.
The meat was tender and flavorful, and the glaze gave the meat a sweet and tangy taste. I make a similar dish with some of my Hot Apple Pie liqueur, and I think we love them both!

If you love the Goose Island Root Beer (or any root beer!) give this one a try when you get YOUR grill going this season!

OOOPS! I forgot to include the recipe!

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops
1 bottle Goose Island Root Beer
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp Sriracha (or more if you like spicy!)
1/3 cup brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until reduced by about half, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, but no longer.

Season your pork chops with salt and pepper and grill until cooked basting with the root beer sauce until you get a nice glaze.

***NOTES*** I had a hard time keeping my grill hot enough in the cool temps on my deck, so I didn't get a nice char on my chops, but you bet i will next time!

5 comments:

The Country Cook said...

MMMMMM those chops look delish!

I live in one of those small towns. We have Wal Mart and a mom and pop grocery and that is about it!

The look on the produce guys face when I asked if they carried Fennel...was priceless. hahaha.

I take periodic trips to the "big city" of Atlanta and shop at several of their farmer markets and specialty food stores..a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do !

Never tried this recipe, but am putting on the to try list.

Have a great day!

scrambledhenfruit said...

These root beer glazed pork chops look delicious! We haven't been grilling since it's gotten cold, but spring weather is right around the corner. :)

David said...

This looks so incredibly amazing!! Have you ever tried it baked?

Krista said...

Yummy!

Our snow all melted off last week...amazingly. After all, it's February in NE Ohio. Just as I was getting used to the heatwave...snow and ice again today. Ugh. I'm with you. I am so over this "winter wonderland".

Glad you got the chance to fire up your grill and I'm excited about the arrival of a foodie-friendly establishment in your town. Yay!

Ty'sMommy said...

CC - Oh, I feel your pain! I have to drive an hour to get to a store that has ingredients like that! I do have the local grocer getting a few things for me now though.

David - no, I haven't tried it that way. I have done it on the stove top, though, and I have to say it would not be worth doing again for the dishes to wash! That root beer cooks down and creates a thick sludge in the pan that was hell to get clean! I'd definitely go for the grill.

Krista - Sorry to hear you got more weather! Right now we are getting buckets of rain here but no snow, thankfully.