Dinner Tonight

Grilled pork chops with garlic cilantro sauce and warm black bean salad.

I am a magazine junkie. I subscribe to no less than 4 food publications. Well, 3. One was a gift from my future sister in law, although it was a subscription extension. Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Saveur. There are also newsletters and quarterly journals from Slow Food, and my complimentary professional subscription to Food Arts (best covers ever). Possibly because I taste each recipe in my head, reading just one can take more than an hour. I am not disciplined enough to read them on a regular basis, so they build up in the mail pile that I move from the coffee table, to the desk, to the floor, under the futon and back. Nor can I part with them. Someday I may need it. You never know. So this morning while actually organizing the tower into spiffy red magazine holders from IKEA, one of them fell down and landed on a page with Cuban pork chops with cilantro vinaigrette. Eureka! Quick, flavorful, and would go nicely with the Friday margarita I was planning for the captive husband.

I recalled Daisy Martinez's method for mojo (I think) where she put raw garlic and onion in a blender with some vinegar. She heated oil and added it to the blender. This both enhances and tames the garlic kick. A quick Google revealed she doesn't publish many of her recipes online in an attempt to get you to buy her book. How I forget no everyone has money rolling in everytime someone says, "Bam!" on any continent like Emeril. So, I improvised. I only wanted enough sauce for this meal so I chopped 4 big cloves of garlic and put them in my mortar. I smashed with a little salt and heated some canola oil until quite hot but not smoking. When I added the hot oil to the mortar the smell was divine. The texture was similar to babaghanouj. Yes, I'm assuming you know what babghanouj is. Google it. I took a shortcut with the cilantro. I found the flavor tubes of herbs in the produce section and promptly returned the very sandy bunch of fresh cilantro. Plus, for the amount I use, I'd end up throwing the rest of that bunch away in a week. Squeezed some into the mortar, added a splash of vinegar and some more salt - complete! Exceptional! Potent, but manageable as long as both members of the couple are eating garlic, they cancel each other out.

After seasoning some pork loin chops I let them hang out in the grill pan while I cut the kernels from an ear of corn and put them to saute. Added some diced red onion and drained and rinsed canned black beans. After seasoning, the juice of a lime bought it all to life. I could have added some diced avocado but the captive husband isn't a fan. I eat avocados in secret. In the plating, I wish I'd put the sauce in a little puddle between the chops. Since it's thick it ended up looking like cat vomit in the photo. Sorry!

Overall, it was ready in a half hour and accompanied the margaritas nicely.

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