There are some weeks that just feel all – weekly. You know the ones – those weeks that have so many parts to them that it’s impossible to determine if they’ve sped by or crawled past. Those weeks that are all rollercoaster and calm, full of twists and turns. Those weeks that seem to blaze like fire.
This week has been one of those weeks.
- After 2-1/2 years of diligence and amazing character in the midst of difficult times, my husband was offered a wonderful, could-only-be-crafted-by-God job. (cue Snoopy dancing)
- The hubby and I also received a special invitation to travel back to Russia. Seriously. Wow. (cue Snoopy cossack dancing)
- One of my dearest friends came to play. We’ve been through enough life together for at least four friendships, and this weekend we’re giving thanks with some good, old-fashioned, much-needed girl time. (cue relaxing spa music)
- I watched election returns, and celebrated both the good and the troubling of our political process. Then I cleaned my closet – or I should say, my closet cleaned me. Or at least it tidied up my heart and reminded me of what true liberty is. (cue Hallelujah chorus)
- My list of things to do didn’t shrink. At all. Well, except for maybe the closet. (cue moment of silence)
When weeks blaze, I want to play with fire – at least in the kitchen. Simple roasted veggies fill the plate. Candles fill the air with loveliness. And there’s always something on the grill. This week, it was coffee-rubbed pork loin chops. Good gravy, they are good. And preparing them is incredibly easy – just like those veggies. Easy.
When weeks blaze, easy is beautiful. When weeks blaze, fire is good. This week when its time for kitchen therapy, play with fire.
Brown Sugar Coffee Rub (enough for 4 chops or steaks)
• 1/4 cup ancho chili powder (this provides spice without a lot of heat)
• 1/4 cup finely ground espresso (you can grind the beans at the store if you can’t find it already ground)
• 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
• 3 tablespoons light brown sugar (add 2 tablespoons more for pork)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• Canola or olive oil
• Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Rub steaks with the oil, then sprinkle the rub onto both sides of the steaks or chops and rub into the meat. Allow the rub to rest for 30 minutes, and then grill. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
Simple Roasted Veggies
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare your vegetables and cut into bite-sized portions. Toss vegetables with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. If you’d like to spruce things up even more, experiment with seasonings – my favorites are garlic, rosemary, honey, lemon, balsamic vinegar, Herbs de Provence, or nutmeg (nutmeg on potatoes or cauliflower is amazing).
Be sure to stir veggies every 15 minutes or so as they roast to make sure they are cooking evenly. Serve immediately.
Potatoes – 1-1/2 hours
Cauliflower – one hour
Brussels sprouts – 45 minutes
Sweet potatoes – 40 minutes (par-boil for 20 minutes first to help tenderize)
Broccoli – 30 minutes
Broccoli rabe & asparagus – 20 minutes
Tomatoes – 20 minutes