I really don’t like Rachel Ray. I don’t know what it is about her that bugs me. Maybe it’s her perpetual cutesyness - the way she uses words like “stoup” and “sammy” and “yumm-o,” or just the fact that she is everywhere – on t.v., in magazines, in Dunkin’ Donuts ads. But I acknowledge that being able to make a decent meal in 30 minutes is an important thing. So on Tuesday night, Chris and I played “30-minute Gourmet.” Our menu was: grilled center-cut pork chops in a balsamic glaze with smashed potatoes and carrots-and-onions. While Chris chopped the carrots and prepped the grill, I chopped one large shallot and one small onion. I put the onion in a small saucepan with the carrots, and Chris set those going on medium heat with a tablespoon each of butter and sugar and a tight lid. Chris scored the fat on the pork chops while I halved the potatoes and put them in a pot to boil. I put a little bit of olive oil in a small frying pan and added the shallots for the base of my sauce. As the shallots cooked, I seasoned the chops with plenty of salt and pepper. Chris put the chops on a medium/high grill while I added ½ cup of balsamic vinegar and a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the shallots and let it reduce to a syrupy glaze. We let the stovetop and grill do their thing for about five minutes and then flipped the chops. The carrots-and-onions needed a couple of minutes. The potatoes, however, were soft, so I drained them, added some milk, butter, salt and white pepper, and smashed them up. By the time I was done with those, Chris had finished up on the grill, the carrots-and-onions were done, and the glaze was at the perfect consistency. We plated our masterpiece dinner and enjoyed it with a bottle of Syrah. It was a restaurant-worthy meal made in 30 minutes with four hands. It can be done!
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