ELC Day #17- Grilled Pork Chops with Cucumber Dressing

Today I went school supply shopping. It’s been nearly 6 months since my last graduate coursework, and even longer since I put anything in a crayon box or a locker. Either way, back-to-school season still makes me smile. Fresh notebooks, folders with perfect corners, erasers just waiting to be used. I’m a school supply junkie. I left with a new planner, one pocket folder in each of the primary colors (fyi…I always used red for social studies and blue for math), and some fancy sticky notes. With all the changes in the past few weeks of work, tossed together with vacation and a recipe-a-day blogging project, I felt a re-organization was well-needed.

School supplies in the store do mean one less-than-exciting thing though. Summer is in the homestretch. August is cruising straight into Labor Day and cool September mornings. I left the store and went straight home to light the grill. Sticky notes or not, there’s plenty of time to throw on some local sausages, steaks, or my choice, a lean Fresh-Air pork chop from Grass Run Farms in Dorchester, Iowa.

Available in many of the Twin Cities area co-ops, Fresh-Air pork is raised without confinement or antibiotics on all-vegetarian feed. Grass Run Farms, is a local favorite for grass-fed, sustainably raised beef; their pork, ham and bacon is just as tasty.  When it comes to supporting a local producer, with ties to the community and an incentive to be kind to their animals and their environment, this is the way to go. Before the school supplies are replaced with Halloween costumes, give this recipe and your local sustainable pork producer a try.

Grilled Pork Chops with Cucumber Dressing 

Ingredients 

For the Dressing
1/4 C. plain non-fat yogurt Kalona Organics, Kalona IA
2 Tbsp. sour cream Westby Cooperative Creamery, Westby, WI
1/4 C. cucumber, coarsely shredded with peel left on Homegrown
2 green onions, chopped with the tops on Homegrown
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped Homegrown

For the Chops
4 bone-in pork chops Fresh-Air Pork, Grass Run Farms, Dorchester, IA
black pepper
chili powder
oregano

Instructions
1. Prepare and heat grill to medium-high.
2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until pork is finished grilling.
3. Season pork chops with pepper, chili powder and oregano to taste. Grill until pork reaches an internal temperature of 160°.  Turn once and seasoning the other side, total cooking time about 8-10 minutes.  Spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of chilled dressing over chop and garnish with fresh mint.

Minnesota Locavore has been nominated for the 2011 CBS Minnesota’s Most Valuable Blogger award in the Dining and Entertainment category. Voting runs through September 16. If you like what you read here, please cast your vote today! http://minnesota.blogger.cbslocal.com/most-valuable-blogger/vote/dining/

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