Lemongrass Vietnamese Pork Chops with Spicy Maple-Ginger Roasted Acorn Squash, Leek, Beets + Thyme

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Welcome to the quintessential fall meal. Roasted squash, beautiful beets, rich and savory pork chops, fresh rain outside, snow up high, boots and sweaters and fires and hot tea. This time of year is so special. We visited the farmers market in Nevada City yesterday and found the market full of goodies, including peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, tons of strawberries. It was so lovely, sunny and warm, and then on the way back home the temperature dropped 30 degrees and snow fell. We cleaned up the garden today too, dug up many pounds of potatoes, hung herbs to dry, gave the turkeys and chickens tomatoes and lettuce the frost ruined. It feels good to bundle up and enjoy the act of roasting falls best vegetables.

Lemongrass Vietnamese Pork Chops with Spicy Maple-Ginger Roasted Acorn Squash, Leek, Beets + Thyme

2 pork chops (or more)

Marinade:
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small white onion or shallot
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 inches lemongrass stalk, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate jelly

Process all ingredients together in a food processor until sauce reaches a smooth texture. Coat the pork chops on both sides and allow to marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.

Roasted Vegetables
1 acorn squash, sliced vertical with seeds removed
1 chioga beet, cut in half, then sliced
1 red beet, cut in half, then sliced
1/2 leek, cut in half, sliced
1/2 lb green beans
1/2 white onion/shallot sliced
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 inches ginger, peeled and chopped
1 handful fresh thyme
Arugula for serving
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate for serving

Heat oven to 425.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, salt, and ginger and mix on medium heat just until the butter is melted. Pour the mix over the acorn squash, or dip the squash in the mix, then spread on a baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minute, flipping once or twice until browned.
Place the beets, green beans, onion, and leeks on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven after the squash have been roasting for about 20 minutes.
During the last 8 or so minutes of browning, add half of the fresh thyme to the beet vegetable mix, and roast until everything is fragrant and caramelized.

Cook the pork chops during the last 10 minutes of vegetable roasting. Heat a skillet to high. Add 1 tbsp of butter, then add the pork chops. Cook and blacken on each side for about three minutes. When both sides are done, add the remaining marinade and reduce it with the pork chops for another 5-8 minutes.

Serve the acorn squash, roasted vegetables, and pork chops on a bed of arugula, drizzle everything with the reduced marinade, sprinkle on pomegranate seeds and add the remaining fresh thyme.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower, Rainbow Carrots and Ground Pastured Pork with Rosemary + Basil

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Hooray for purple cauliflower and rainbow carrots from the Great Basin Community Co-op (this whole meal came from our lovely co-op). I eat these two things all the time in white and orange, and I far prefer the trippy royal color palate that summer brings. Be patient with this dish, roast it on high heat to get everything to caramelize and form that sweet crisp crust. The fresh herbs are essential, and I love my cast iron pizza pan. I cook everything on it and use it as my serving tray. We ate the veggies and pork wrapped up in the leaves of butter leaf lettuce with fresh avocado and basil layered on top.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower, Rainbow Carrots and Ground Pastured Pork
with Rosemary + Basil 

1/2 large purple cauliflower, chopped
1 small bunch baby rainbow carrots, halved with short stems left on
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stem removed, chopped
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 lb ground pastured pork
1 avocado
1/2 lemon- juice
2 tbsp or so butter
sea salt & pepper
1 small handful cherry tomatoes
6 big butter leaf lettuce leaves

Method:

Heat the oven to 450 and place the cast iron in the oven while it heats.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a skillet-until is smells slightly nutty, and then turn off the heat (you will use this skillet again later).

Take the roasting pan out of the oven and spread the carrots and cauliflower across the pan, pour the butter and squeeze the lemon juice over the vegetables. Toss with salt & pepper and place back in the oven. Roast for about 35-45 minutes, stirring twice or so.

Add the garlic and rosemary to the roasting pan, stir and place back in the oven.
Turn up or down the heat depending on the appearance of the veggies, they should start to be crisped and browned but still vibrant.

Heat the skillet you melted the butter in to medium high. Add the cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and cook for a few minutes, and then add the ground pork. Break apart the pork and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Add the pork and tomatoes to the roasting pan and place back in the oven. Roast for another 10 or so minutes. When everything looks a bit crisped, remove from the oven.

Finish the dish with the fresh, chopped basil, avocado, a sprinkle of salt and squeeze of lemon. Serve with large, un-chopped lettuce leaves.

Roasted Carrots with Beet Greens, Kale and Manchego

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 This simple dish is another successful use of excess carrots. It is so easy and uncomplicated and pretty–my favorite kind of mid-winter (that feels like summer) dish.

Roasted Carrots with Beet Greens, Kale and Manchego

 5-6 small carrots, halved vertically, and sliced at an angle
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Dried thyme
Handful of kale, chopped
Handful of beet greens
Manchego cheese, sliced
lemon juice

Oven 425. Roast the carrots with oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of thyme until they are browned and shrunken some in size. Stir them occasionally. When the carrots look like they are done, add the greens, drizzle with salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice, and bake for another few minutes. For the last bit of roasting, add the manchego and roast until the greens are crisp and the cheese has melted.