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yes indeed it is spring

Recipe: teriyaki pork chops

The university is on spring break this week which means very little to Jeremy other than the fact that he gets a reprieve from teaching relativity (special and general) and cosmology. His trusty graduate students are still in town and working on their research (I’m going to send them some cookies because they are such sweet, hilarious, and conscientious students), and he still has unbelievable amounts of work to do… But since he doesn’t have to teach and his students are quite smart and self-motivated, he has opted to spend this week with me! What a champ he is. Our intention was to ski on Monday, but the winds were ridiculously insane. So he worked at home while I baked and baked. Then we planned to ski Tuesday, and the National Weather Service LIED about high winds and then decided to update and reduce the winds after it was too late to drive out to the big mountains. Again – more work for Jeremy and I can’t recall what the hell I did yesterday (more baking and cooking, I suppose and then we had dinner with Beth in Boulder).

But today, I said screw the National Weather Service and we’re going skiing. Which we did. We chose Breckenridge because Vail charges $20 for parking and A-basin doesn’t have express lifts and we like Breck (well, we like them ALL). It wasn’t crazy busy, but it was busy for a Wednesday because everyone else was also on Spring Break or Rich Person’s Vacay or whatever. No new snow, but lots of nice groomers and damn it if it wasn’t a roasting hot day (40s?!? that is insane!). See here… some of the nearby hills are melting out.

heartbreaking for some, like me

Jeremy let me instruct him on some drills I learned from my women’s tele program today. This is a rare thing, seeing as he likes to hot dog it and blow off things like Good Form or Proper Technique. In the afternoon I said we could play, which we did. The upper mountain called to us.

ahhh, an express lift to the top

it’s still skiable

At one point Jeremy said, “Let’s see what’s over here.” So we skied over to the edge and what I saw made me salivate.

nice terrain behind the ropes

let’s go!

And we crossed over to Peak 7 where there were some double blacks that I had never checked out before. Of course, it was mixed hard pack and tracked up powder – complete hard pack on the faces. While I was skiing down Art’s Bowl I heard Jeremy above me making strange scraping sounds and the next thing I knew he flew past me on his back and there was no way for him to stop as it was slick and steep. I skied down after him as he slid for a good 15 seconds over a lip trying to get his skis under him and his edges in – but to no avail. He finally slowed down as the face leveled a little. Scared the bejeezus out of me, but he immediately signaled that he was okay. Then we saw another dude yard sale it next to us and slide even further down the mountain since his alpine skis popped off about a hundred feet above where he stopped.

I dare say this may be my last tele day of the season seeing as my next round of chemo is tomorrow and by the time I’m feeling strong again, the ski hills will be closing shop for the season! But then we can switch to spring mountaineering and then summer hiking and oh, the possibilities are endless for a Colorado girl. Life is always Good if you make it so.

Once home, we were pooped, but in the good way. And I had already planned a super quick and easy meal in anticipation of our poopedness. Teriyaki pork chops – GRILLED! Even though it was 35F on the deck and a cold wind chilled our bones, we had a spring inauguration with the first grilling of the year.

fresh green onions, garlic, ginger

pork chops

I got this recipe in college from one of my apartment mates – a 5th generation Japanese from Seattle. Andy was like a goofy, sweet, and brilliant brother to me. He and Alex had just moved off campus and the first time they went grocery shopping they came home with bags and bags of junk food: chips, cookies, soda, ice cream. They gorged that evening while I ate some homestyle Chinese food I had made for my dinner. As they lay on the couches moaning and holding their tummies they declared, “That wasn’t a good idea.” So they started cooking for real and making some pretty nice meals (we agreed to cook separately for some reason, I can’t recall why – it may have had something to do with my sports practices). One day, Andy was on the phone with his dad for a teriyaki recipe and I asked if I could get a copy because it smelled terrific.

adding sugar to the marinade

placing the chops

It’s great to dump everything in a ziploc bag. Green onions, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and the pork chops. I also love to buy skinless, boneless chicken thighs and chop them up to skewer on the grill – delish. Andy’s recipe said to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. I go 24 hours. The doneness is up to you, but you should be aware of the dangers of undercooked pork. Still, I like my pork to be juicy and not leathery, so we typically shoot for an internal temperature of 160F and then off the grill we tent it and let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes. While we don’t *really* know what we’re doing, this is our general guideline and if you have better advice, then please hit me with it!

grill to a proper internal temperature

Because I have to be careful about certain raw foods – particularly leafy vegetables and knobbly berries and because vegetables wreak havoc on me for a good amount of time during my treatment, I have been craving salads and veggies like nobody’s business. But today, today I am in tiptop shape (which is why they hit me with the treatment tomorrow), and we grilled asparagus and had Japanese cucumber salad with the chops.

spring IS beautiful

I know folks think skinny asparagus is all the rage, and I used to prefer skinny to fat asparagus spears… until I had fat spears picked not more than an hour earlier from a professor’s garden in graduate school. Heavenly. I mean, sweet beyond compare and crisp and juicy and I was sold! I’d like to point out that skinny isn’t always good. Some of them are stuck up, stupid, and they have no muscles. Oh wait, I was talking about asparagus, right? ;)

a great topper to the day

Teriyaki Pork Chops
[print recipe]
from a college apartment mate

4 pork chops (or a pound of chicken thigh meat – boneless, skinless and chopped into pieces)
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsps sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar (or more if you like)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks green onion, minced
2 tbsps ginger root, minced

Mix all of this into a ziploc bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes, but I prefer overnight with occasional flipping for even marinate. Grill to appropriate internal temperature (we do 160F and then off the grill we tent the chops with foil and rest fo 5 minutes). To grill the chicken, we skewer the pieces and grill on medium high for 5 minutes and flip and grill for another 5 minutes. Take remaining marinade and boil in a pan. Strain the sauce and thicken with cornstarch to serve with pork chops or chicken skewers. * I like to use chicken thigh meat because I think it has better flavor and is juicier than breast meat.

28 nibbles at “yes indeed it is spring”

  1. manggy says:

    While I was reading your description of the slopes, my nose fell off. Of course, it was because I had little idea about what some of the terms meant (“double blacks?” “hard pack?”) that I thought it meant you had hard-packed snow in your face and it sent a chill down my spine. Oops :p I will try to keep up. I will miss the ski stories, but I am looking forward to pics of spring trails and such. Here flowers, if present, are so tiny and often colorless even if the plants are evergreen because of the harsh sun (flowers imported from cooler regions here are so ephemeral). I’m so jealous.

    This is an uncommon recipe– teriyaki glaze without mirin! Very friendly if you want teriyaki on a whim, so thanks :)

    By the way, I just realized that it’s not so bad to send packages from here– my package to Graeme took a week. But a package from New Mexico took 5 weeks to arrive. Lazy bastards at the local post office and customs.

    Good luck on your upcoming treatment! I hope you rebound very quickly!

  2. peabody says:

    Well Spring doesn’t know that it is here yet…we had snow.
    Your pork chops look and sound wonderful…and yes, Spring is pretty.

  3. Peter says:

    Oooh, I’m liking your marinade for the chops…why not add some sugar and salt and make it a brine too? Props also go to whoever did the grilling, nice marks.

  4. kathryn says:

    ok. frankly, your skiing adventures TERRIFY me. Not sure when I turned into such a pansy, but man, I just don’t think I could do it!!!

    Totally just demolished almost an entire dish of that mac and cheese you made a few weeks ago.


    Good luck tomorrow. You are in our thoughts.


  5. Christine says:

    Jen – How nice to get a last run at Breckenridge before the season ends. When I looked at the photo showing the elevation, it was a bit scary — I’ve never been that high up, let alone ski from that elevation. I think the Michigan bumps we ski are maybe 500 ft. Hilarious to you, I’m sure.

    I still can’t get over how you grill in 35F – you guys really rock.

    And yes, skinny is not always good. I’d rather be buff and happy than skinny and lame.

  6. KatieC says:

    Yeah, I hate those skinny asparagus bitches, too.

    Wishing you lots of strength for today.

  7. Chuck says:

    I love your ski stories. They always make me want to carve a few turns. Fat asparagus is way better than skinny, no question. Funny, I just wrote down a potential post idea yesterday… “Asparagus – fatty vs skinny?”, after eating some fat ones.

  8. Food Rockz Man says:

    Great ski pics . . . making me daydream about spring tele turns in the Northern Rockies. Best of luck with this round of treatment. May you spring back like the season that’s upon us!

  9. Nicisme says:

    Oh you are such a meanie posting all those fabulous ski photos, I am so jealous.
    And great foodie photos as usual.

  10. cindy says:

    Yummy skiing! That’s what I hate about those hard-packed groomer: the big slide. Last year I went down 2/3 of East Face at Sugarbowl before I stopped. Thank goodness I had my cleanup crew skiing behind me. I was uninjured, but my stomach muscles hurt from laughing so hard. We’ve got a 4-day trip scheduled next week, and it might be the last for us as well. Not that there’s nothing to do in the summer, but . . . you know.

    I made your pot roast the other night. It was great (and–yep–super easy), but I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking you were in my kitchen.

    Just saw two of my favorite words at the produce market the other day: California asparagus. I like the fat ones too because I think the best way to cook them is to toss in a little olive oil and garlic and roast in the oven. The skinny ones can’t hack it.

  11. Annemarie says:

    This all looks oh so very good – I’m a sucker for teriyaki anything and think it goes really well with simple veg. Glad you got to enjoy this while in tip top shape, and hope the treatment goes smoothly.

  12. Kevin says:

    Teriyaki pork chops and asparagus is so simple and yet so good!

  13. Maja says:

    Wow, another must try recipe! :D I only had teriyaki chicken in subway sandwiches, i think it’s time to try it at home! :) I’m glad to hear Jeremy’s all right after the fall, just reading about it scared the shit out of me. Good luck tomorrow with your treatment, big hug, Maja

  14. Maya says:

    A must try when the weather smartens up here in NY ( they are calling for rain, sleet and snow today).
    Good luck with your treatment.

  15. Shoshanna says:

    It’s still snowing in Vancouver, Canada (on the west coast near Seattle). My fiance and I have night skiing passes except the local mountains have closed night skiing since normally, we don’t have that much snow in late March. But low and behold, it’s snowing today! You should really come out to Vancouver and visit; whistler is quite beautiful and we were thinking about heading up to do some boarding in the next few weeks!

    The pork chops and cookies look yummy! Your dog is too cute beyond words and your photographs are so beautiful that they make me feel like I’m in Colorado rather than holed up inside doing homework… :P

  16. Susan at Stickygooeycreamychewy says:

    I guess Spring really is busting out all over! This week I’ve been seeing a lot of gorgeous Spring dishes. Those asparagus look wonderful! I like the fat ones best too. And the chops rock!

    I hope that everything went well with your treatment. Stay strong!

  17. Anna says:

    Hey there,
    New reader (and professional chef) here. LOVE the blog. LOVE the presentation. I just wanted give you a quick pork tip: The dangerous bug you’re trying to kill in pork is called trichinella, and it dies at 137 degrees. I was taught in culinary school to cook pork to 145 degrees to be safe, but I generally cook to 140 and let it rest out to 145. I know you have to be careful with your immune system, but 160 is overkill.
    Also, fun fact: trichinella hardly exists anymore. It was a big, big danger way back when and that’s why our Grandmas freak out about pink pork. It’s really not that big of a deal. Cook to 145 and you’re golden.
    thanks for the great posts!

  18. Jesse says:

    Dear Jen,
    I love teriyaki pork chops.
    I love chubby asparagus sticks.
    I love yewwww.
    Please marry me.

    Hugs and slobbery kisses,
    A besotted girl.

  19. RecipeGirl says:

    I sooooooo miss Breck. The melting snow pics are heartbreaking.

    Your meal looks FAB.

  20. White On Rice Couple says:

    $20 for parking? Geez, how much was the lift? One thing we always say for when we win the lottery is to …ski more, play more billiards and start golfing.
    We’re happy that Spring has arrived for you!

  21. Tarah says:

    Oh, I love skiing. So much fun. Looks like you had fun. And love the pork chop. Especially the fatty asparagus. Hehe.

  22. Amy says:

    It snowed here two days ago. A real “wtf” moment for Seattle. I’m still in the skinny asparagus camp but I bet that’s because I haven’t had freshly picked fat asparagus. I need to hit up a farmers market in the morning.

  23. jenyu says:

    Mark – you tropical folk really crack me up! :) double blacks are double black diamond runs (rated by difficulty: green runs are easy, blue runs are intermediate, black runs are advanced, double black runs are expert). the face I refer to is the face of the bowl we skied down. one day we’ll kidnap you and strap you to some boards and take you skiing! how reliably can a package get to you from here? hmmm…

    Peabody – that’s what my friend in Seattle told me! but you guys will have a lovely spring. the PNW is so gorgeous.

    Peter – grill props go to the man (Jeremy)!

    Kathryn – trust me, I don’t take crazy risks :) Thanks for the thoughts, hon.

    Christine – it’s fun when you are at altitude because everything is a little harder to do and think about :) But since we live at 8500, it’s not nearly as bad as if we were coming from sea-level. One day we’ll take you around to the lovely mountains – summer or winter, they are both gorgeous. And you will NEVER be lame, okay? That just cannot be.

    KatieC – thanks sweetie!

    Chuck – You should totally write a post on fat vs. skinny asparagus! Even though I have skinny in the picture (hey, it’s what they had at the store) I am a huuuuuge fan of fat asparagus. They just taste better :)

    FRM – you’re such a sweetheart. Thanks for the good wishes, I am feeling much better now. You have got to get out of DC and free that heel, man!

    Nicisme – thanks :)

    Cindy – yup, The Big Ride as we call it borders on hilarious and “shit pants” ;) Have a great time on your trip and I hope you catch some pow or at least carve a la Righteous Babe. And yes, that was me in your kitchen in the middle of the night… I have teleportation abilities.

    Annemarie – thanks for your kind wishes! xxoo

    Kevin – bingo!

    Maja – you’re gonna love this version of teriyaki. It’s really simple without all of the heavy “saucing” that you get in so many restaurants. Thanks – Jeremy is fine (perhaps a bruised ego and bruised bum) and I’m rebounding from the chemo again – so things are looking up! :) xxoo

    Maya – poo. I know that rain, sleet, snow forecast well (I lived in Ithaca for 6 years). I hope spring gets to you quickly! Thanks for your kind thoughts.

    Shoshanna – you know, I have never been night skiing before (well – backcountry, yes, but not at a resort). I’ve been to Whistler last summer… gorgeous. There is amazing backcountry there and I’m sure the skiing is phenomenal (hello? winter olympics?!!) I just love BC in general – you are lucky to live there! The pup is good at looking cute, until she gets into something she’s not supposed to ;)

    Susan – thanks love. You always brighten my day :)

    Anna – sweet! Thanks for the tips on pork temps! You rock!!

    Jesse – ha, you are a riot, lady :) Hugs and slobberies right back at ya. xxoo

    RecipeGirl – still getting snow! :) come out and play in CO!!

    WoRC – No no no, you don’t have to win the lottery, guys! You just have to Move To Colorado :) Repeat after me: Move to Colorado… As a resident we get some super sweet deals on season passes. We ski Vail for free (well – $379 for unlimited Breckenridge, Keystone, A-basin, and 10 trips between Vail and Beaver Creek – BARGAIN!). But yeah, $20 for parking is only worth it if the powder is deeeeeep :)

    Tarah – it was great. I’m keeping fingers crossed for a few more days ;)

    Amy – yes, you need to abduct a farmer with fat asparagus and give it a try. They are amazing (and cook them right away because they lose their sugar with every passing minute!). I think you’ll enjoy the flavor more than those skinny ones :)

  24. Nina says:

    This is my first visit to your blog and I’ve gained a few pounds and I am just on the first page….I’ll be back.

  25. jenyu says:

    Nina – ha ha, thanks!

  26. Shoshanna says:

    I made this last week and it was oh so good! I’m not a fan of pork (yeah, I know, being chinese and all) and neither is my fiance. So we were so happy to have tested this recipe! w00tw00t!

  27. jenyu says:

    Shoshanna – great! You guys can also try it with chicken (it’s equally delicious).

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