An Asian-inspired Labor Day Feast

Labor day weekend is one of the most celebrated of the summer as people take advantage of warm weather and easier schedules. The last hurrah before the arrival of fall will see plenty of burgers and steaks hit the grill – plenty of potato salad and corn – but if you’re barbecued out and are looking for some more unique dinner ideas, Martha has a pretty divine Asian-inspired feast in the September issue of Living.

Although I’m always inspired by new recipe ideas, I sometimes need help pulling together an entire menu. The folks at Martha Stewart Living have done this here, coordinating ginger-soy pork chops (which you could, by the way, toss on the grill) with fresh herb and spring onion-spiked rice, chile, garlic and ginger baby bok choy and an easy refreshing brûléed mango for dessert. I love that so many of these are vegetarian/vegan options, gluten free and dairy free for anyone who has dietary restrictions. This is a lovely, healthy, interesting meal that’s perfect for entertaining, or even a family meal at home. And it fits with the Labor Day theme: the less labor this long weekend, the better.

Soy and Ginger Marinated Pork Chops

Active Time 15 min.
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 4

A brief stint in the refrigerator with a soy-and-ginger marinade gives the pork flavor while tenderizing the meat.

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1 scallion, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (8 ounces each; ¾ inch thick)
Garnish: 1 scallion, thinly sliced

1. Whisk together soy sauce, 3 tablespoons oil, the ginger, sugar, chopped scallion, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

2. Arrange pork chops in a 9-by-13-inch nonreactive baking dish. Reserve 3 tablespoons marinade, and pour remainder over pork chops. Marinate, covered with plastic wrap, flipping chops halfway through, for 45 minutes.

3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove pork chops from marinade, and sear for 3 ½ to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Flip chops, and sear until just cooked through, 3Ë™ to 4 minutes more. Transfer chops to a board or platter. Let rest for 5 minutes.

4. Add reserved 3 tablespoons marinade to skillet. Simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 30 seconds. Spoon sauce over chops. Garnish with thinly sliced scallion.

Cooking the rice in a puree of fresh cilantro, mint, and scallions adds a little zest and a vibrant green hue. Grab the recipe!

Steaming baby bok choy with chile, garlic, and ginger spices up its otherwise subtle essence. Grab the recipe!

Brûléed ripe mango is about as easy -and healthy- as it gets. Grab the recipe!

A big thanks to the Martha Stewart Living crew for sharing their recipe ideas and stunning photos!

Photos by Andrew Purcell. Copyright © 2011, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine.

 

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