Racing Rachael: Great Indoor Grilling

As the stores are packed with back-to-school goodies, I am trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer by ignoring the blistering heat and getting my fill of grilled goodies. So, although this meal was entitled "Great Indoor Grilling," I, as always, chose the outdoor grill over the indoor grill pan. There's nothing better than the smell of meat as it gets that delicious char on the grill.

I was skeptical of several aspects of this meal. First, would the 15-minute marinade used in this recipe impart enough flavor to make it worth making? Second, sun-dried tomatoes being boiled with potatoes? What? And finally, fresh orange slices with oregano, red onions and a simple vinaigrette sounds like a desperate, but disgusting attempt to be creative in the kitchen.

The food: Citrus and Rosemary Grilled Pork with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Potatoes and Orange and Oregano Salad. This marinade, made of molasses, rosemary, orange zest, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, takes only as long as chopping the rosemary. Since the "sprigs" I had looked like small branches from a coniferous tree, I measured the rosemary. The two tablespoons called for gave enough of the rosemary flavor without being overwhelming.

The bright, fresh flavor of the orange zest balanced nicely with the sweet, caramelized flavor of the molasses. Despite the short marinating time, the pork chops had good, albeit not strong, taste. Allowing the chops to linger longer in that blend would certainly yield a more boldly flavored entrée.

The sun-dried tomatoes and potatoes was a strange side dish. Boiling the potatoes with the sun-dried tomatoes and then adding broccoli, resulted in the sun-dried tomato taste overriding all other flavors. And, is it just me, or does parsley sort of taste like eating fresh cut grass?

The hidden gem in this meal was the orange and oregano salad. Since my husband is not a big fan of raw onion, I went easy and sliced it very thin. The various flavors and textures, sweet, tangy, bitter, crunchy and juicy, were a party in the mouth. Not only was this tasty, but it makes a beautiful presentation.

The time: 35 minutes.

The verdict: The chops had a nice balance of flavors, but could certainly benefit from a longer marinating time. Sun-dried tomatoes and potatoes will not be making its way to our table again. The recipe wasn't terrible, but I'd have been happier with red potatoes rolled in some butter, salt and pepper. Let's not bother with the sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli. Starch is starch, and we should just enjoy it without trying to add health benefits. You want healthy? Eat a little of that orange salad.

Ways to beat the clock: The secret to staying close to 30 minutes is the order in which you make this meal. Make the marinade, boil potatoes, throw chops on the grill, and then make the salad. And if you can find a peon to do some chopping for you, you'll be in great shape.

Happy speedy cooking!

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