This is akin to a stir-fry but with whole pork chops instead of strips. Buy quick-cooking skinny chops, no thicker than a 1/2 inch. For best flavour use fresh ginger instead of bottled—it’s worth the extra minute or so to grate it.
4 organic pork loin, double loin centre chops *
1 Tbsp (15 mL) five-spice powder **
1 tsp (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 plums, pitted and cut into wedges
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup (75 mL) dry sherry
1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
Rub chops with five-spice. Coat frying pan with oil and set over medium-high heat. Pan-fry chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to plate.
Add plums and ginger to pan. Stir-fry until plums start to break down, 1 minute. Remove chops from pan. Pour in sherry. Scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pan bottom.
Return chops to pan and add chard. Cover and simmer, occasionally turning chops over and stirring chard as best you can, until pork is cooked through and chard wilts, 3 to 5 minutes.
* Organic option
Buy certified organic pork—it’s free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals. As an added bonus, the animals are raised humanely.
You can easily substitute your choice of non-farmed white fish for the pork chops. Season fish steaks or fillets with five-spice and pan fry on each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until opaque colour turns white.
** Fantastic five-spice
Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices: star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and Szechwan pepper, usually in equal proportions. But the number reference goes deeper than that. Chinese medicine has long used five-spice to restore the balance of the five basic elements: earth, fire, water, air, and metal—in the chi, our bodily life force.
Similarly, the five spices play to the perfect balance of our palate—sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. To make your own blend, start with equal amounts of whole spices mentioned above and lightly toast, then blend in a coffee grinder.
Each serving contains: 375 calories; 37 g protein; 17 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 7 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 275 mg sodium
source: "Ready, Set...Cook Healthy!", alive #324, October 2009
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.