The house is quiet. Yes the children are all tucked into bed. Sleep will wait for me. I just had to give you a quick invitation to join us as we enjoy dinner with the Lehman family.
Everyone in our church has a special place in our hearts; the Lehmans are no exception. The Nathan Lehman family shares our vision of reaching out to troubled children. In fact, they have a beautiful family of four children by adoption.
A couple months ago, when Daniel and Nathan had been cutting up meat in our annual hog butchering, they came up with the idea of our two families getting together for a dinner of choice cuts of pork. Now, Mr. Lehman is a griller at heart, and with his wife by his side as an outstanding cook, they make a fantastic team. We knew without a doubt that they would produce the most amazing tenderloin and pork chops.
Tonight was the night. It so happened that with Daniel’s parents being here from Danville, Ohio, we got the special bonus of taking them with us. Nathan’s wife, Barbara, had kindly insisted on making the entire meal on her own. “You just bring your family,” she told me. As we neared the front porch, we were greeted with the incredible aroma as Nathan fired up the grill. Meanwhile, in the house, the fragrance of other spices was the telltale that, indeed, Barbara had also been busy preparing tasty dishes for their guests.
A short time later, we had all gathered in their kitchen for a word of thanks and blessing on the food as Grandpa led in prayer. So here we were, with fresh pork chops and tenderloin perfectly seasoned straight from the grill, as well as sweet potatoes along with a spaghetti casserole and a tossed salad, not to mention the custard and Jello Barbara had prepared for dessert.
“Go ahead and get the children’s plates first,” they told us. That’s what we did. Now if you know anything about 1- and 2-year-old children eating anywhere besides the high chair they’re used to, you can at least begin imagining the scene. Nathan’s description of our family popped in my head; only a week before he labeled portions of our days as happy chaos. “Yes, this is happy chaos.” I told myself, “Let’s keep the happy part in.” As Jesse kept removing his bib, Rayni declared she didn’t want her sweet potatoes, and Elijah kept reaching for food, yet didn’t want to take another bite. Meanwhile, Austin had completed the first course, all but the peelings of his sweet potatoes, and was requesting dessert.
All the while, we all kept oohing and awing over this most amazing grilled meat. “I’ll have to write about this to my column friends,” I declared. “But how will you be able to tell them just how good it is?” Dad Yoder asked.
“That’s just it. I’ll tell them that the dilemma at hand is not being able to describe how tasty and juicy it really is!” Seriously, it was really the best pork steak I ever had. I used to think it’s always like dry and chewy. This was a different story; even the children thought it was delicious and kept asking for more. The salad topped with homemade sweet and sour dressing perfectly complemented the hot dishes.
As for the children’s dinner, it kept going from one to the next; they were completely intrigued with the Lehman’s sipper cups and kept asking for more and even more water. I sincerely hoped no one was keeping a count of the many times I stood from my chair to aid the darlings I loved so dearly. I began wondering if perhaps we hadn’t taught them as many table manners as I thought we had. Finally, I came up with a different idea, “I’ll wait to eat until you’re done and watch the children in the meanwhile. Then I could take a turn eating after that,” I suggested to Daniel. All is well that ends well. We were blessed with rich fellowship and one of the tastiest grilled suppers I remember having. If only I could reach you with a plate. How about trying their pork chop recipe? We’ll save the sweet potato recipe until this fall, so be sure to watch out for it.
The house is still perfectly quiet besides the ticking of the clock. I’d better scurry off to bed and get some needed rest so our darlings won’t have a grouchy mama in the morning. If you’re like me, you may have some moments awake in bed. If so, perhaps you can join a friend and reader, Ms. Mead, from Dayton. She recently wrote how she just talks to God. There you go, no fancy prayers needed, just old fashioned conversations with him! So, goodnight and sweet dreams, and if the dreams don’t come, sweet conversations with your Maker!
AMAZING PORK CHOPS
4 cups cold water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 quart ice cubes
6 bone-in loin pork chops,(about 3/4-inch thick or 6 ounces each)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar and salt and whisk over medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and stir in bay leaves and pepper. Add ice cubes and stir a few times to cool water. Submerge pork chops in the brine, topping with a plate if needed to keep them submerged. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or 2 hours in a refrigerator.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard and pepper. Lift pork chops from the brine, pat both sides with a paper towel and then discard brine. Brush the chops on both sides with a mustard mixture. Grill over direct medium heat with the lid closed until meat is slightly pink in the center, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once after 3 minutes. Remove from grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.