Have you ever read Donna Hay Magazine? It is drool worthy. Worth the ten or twelve dollars it will cost you in the US to purchase it. The photos are always so clean and gorgeous. The recipes are approachable and totally doable for the family dinner sort of life that I find myself immersed in these days. Much like the packed lunch dilemma I have been finding myself in, making a hot and nutritious dinner every single night for our two children is not as glamorous as it once seemed. Sometimes I wonder why this is as I love cooking so much. I think I’ve settled on the idea that the after school hours are so rushed with snacks, homework for two elementary school kids (when did first graders start getting so much homework?!), playtime, mandatory 15 minutes of reading each (which, even my daft math brain equates with 30 minutes sucked out of our afternoon), breaking up numerous bickering sessions, sight word practice, dinner prep and taking care of the dog..who generally is fairly self sufficient until she sees the children getting attention. Keep in mind that all of this needs to happen in 2 hours so that they can get the required ten to eleven hours of sleep that is suggested they need each night and do the entire bedtime routine beforehand. And while I (sometimes) need to complain about it, there are the times that we sit down to dinner and our littlest one says “mommy your dinners are so delicious I don’t just like them I LOVE them!” – and that does make it all worth while.
Having a plan on Sunday for the week also helps. So sometimes, on Sunday mornings I let the kids watch a movie (often for the eighth viewing as they are doing this morning with Hotel Transylvania) and I get to sit down with my giant box of cut out magazine recipes that I have been trying to sort through and organize into my own favorites binder for easy go to recipes and find some dinner inspirations for the week ahead. Last week I saw the most gorgeous photo of a halved pork loin set atop some pears with a drizzle of maple syrup on top. It was really the perfect dinner idea for these windy, cold nights we have been having here. Just looking at it made me feel like one taste would warm our insides and provide all the fall flavors that we love.
The star of this dinner is the glaze. 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (use the good stuff…it does make a difference), 2 teaspoons of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and add the pork (we used four boneless chops) and sliced pear and toss to coat. Using a hot pan, cook the pork for two minutes each side to brown it. Line a shallow baking tray with parchment and set the pear down the center. Top with the pork and then spoon the remaining glaze over.
Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the glaze is beginning to caramelize. The pear was a welcome change from our go to apple selection and the maple / mustard flavor was rich and warm. A little note for next time…I will make double the glaze. It was really good. We all wished there was more.