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grilling cheese

*An update on my knee situation is at the bottom of the post. Many thanks for all of your emails, comments and texts of inquiry and concern. xoxo

As with anything new in life, there come new challenges, good or bad. The not too terrible challenge I have found with my new business, Harmony Boards, is having so much more cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables to keep track of and prevent from over-ripening or going completely south.

Such was the inspiration for this recipe. I stay on top of the meats and cheeses since they represent the largest expenses. When buying, I look at each “sell” or “use by” date and calculate how much I have on hand and do my best not to overbuy.

The fruits and veggies present issues all their own. We’ve all experienced the joy of buying lovely-looking raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries and the anguish of having them turn on you in a matter of days. Sometimes, literally the next day! I have become basically terrified of berries. With so much energy focused on them, I sometimes lose track of the other produce in my refrigerators. Such was the case last Sunday with two varieties of plums that got pushed to the bottom of the fruit drawer. They needed to be used now. Not tomorrow or the next day but TODAY! I had a family pack of pork chops in the freezer so grilled chops and plums were now on the menu.

While you might think I’d have no interest in purchasing a different cheese than what I use on Harmony Boards, you’d be wrong. I love Halloumi cheese and knew it would pair perfectly with the pork and plums.  Halloumi is a uniquely perfect cheese for grilling. It’s made with sheep’s milk on the Greek island of Cyprus. It has a high melting point so it can easily be fried or grilled. I went to my local grocery store in search of Halloumi but wound up with something else instead. I discovered a similar grilling cheese called Juusto. It is made in Wisconsin in the way that Juustoleipä, also known as bread cheese, has been made in Finland for more than 200 years.

Here is an article all about the cheeses from Bon Appétit to learn more.  I am also using crushed Aleppo peppers on my finished dish. If you missed my mention of them previously, HERE is a link to that.

Oh, I almost forgot, I use Mama Mai’s S&P to season everything in this recipe. Honestly, most of the time, I use it to season everything, but I end up just writing “Salt and freshly ground black pepper” in my recipes. It is easier and universal to write that, but now you know the truth … I use Tram’s mama’s seasoning because I love it!

Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Cheese and Plums

  • 6 to 8 bone-in pork chops
  • Mama Mai’s S&P
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 to 8 ounces Juusto or Halloumi grilling cheese, sliced into ½”-thick  slices
  • 6 ripe plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 lemons, halved and visible seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Crushed Aleppo pepper 

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Generously season the pork chops with Mama Mai’s S&P.

Combine honey and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large Ziploc. And add the seasoned pork chops. Close the bag and rub the pork chops to coat. Leave at room temperature while the grill heats, for at least 20 minutes.

Place the cheese slices, plums, and lemons on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, toss to coat. Season with Mama Mai’s S&P.

Grill chops, cheese slices, plums and lemons (cut side down) over medium-high, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a chop registers 130 degrees, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. Turn the plums at least once for nice grill marks. Keep a close eye on the cheese, it will brown and cook quicker than the rest, remove from the grill when browned, and then cut the cheese slices into chunks.

Transfer pork and fruit to a cutting board and let chops rest for 8 minutes.

Cut the pork away from the bones and then cut it into slices. Transfer the meat, cheese, and plums to a serving platter or dinner plates and squeeze juice from grilled lemon halves overall. Sprinkle with chives and crushed Aleppo pepper and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Mama Mai’s S&P
50% kosher salt
20% granulated garlic
20% granulated onion
10% freshly ground black pepper

Knee injury update: I had an MRI on Thursday, and it showed a strained ACL, torn meniscus, and a small fracture. I know, that sounds awful. But I then saw an orthopedist on Monday and no surgery is needed! I must wear a new super supportive brace while walking or standing for long periods, elevate and ice when resting, and do a battery of exercises. We’ll see where that leaves me in a month, hopefully, recovered and not in pain. Sounds good to me. Once again, thank you for your concern and support! xoxo

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1 Debbie Elder { 04.10.19 at 6:11 AM }

Nice idea to grill the plums!

2 Lisa { 04.10.19 at 6:45 AM }

I so thought this was going to be about sandwiches. I would have never known you could actually grill cheese!

3 Lina K. Austin { 04.10.19 at 7:57 AM }

This is making me crazy since I gave up cheese. Beautiful photos of mouthwatering meal.

4 Denise Serro { 04.10.19 at 8:07 AM }

I don’t like pork chops, but those look yummy! So glad you don’t have to have surgery. Great news!

5 Shelley { 04.10.19 at 10:40 AM }

So glad to hear that you don’t need surgery! I started physical therapy for my frozen shoulder today. Didn’t know that is a thing!
Get better soon!

6 Betsy { 04.10.19 at 10:49 AM }

so glad to hear you don’t need surgery– hope it heals quickly and that the pain subsides

7 Marilyn Harter { 04.10.19 at 11:42 AM }

Great news but trying to imagine you finding time to “rest and elevate “ made me chuckle! On a positive note you can always blog when you’re laying down! Take care of yourself!

8 Linda Hopkins { 04.10.19 at 2:02 PM }

Marilyn, Right!?! It made me laugh too, after a week of resting, icing and elevating and watching more TV than I’ve watched in years…. I’m over resting, icing and elevating! But if it means avoiding surgery, I guess I ‘ll continue to be friends with Netflix! xoxo

9 Nancy { 04.13.19 at 9:27 AM }

Looks great, I love stone fruit with pork.
Keep getting better!

10 Nancy { 04.13.19 at 9:28 AM }

I love stone fruit with pork!

11 Anne { 04.30.19 at 8:25 AM }

Ooooh thanks for sharing Mama Mai’s secret S&P recipe! Oh and I want you to feed me……

12 Shirley { 05.02.19 at 5:58 AM }

Thanks for sharing! You make everything looks so easy. I am going to try the secret S & P recipe.

13 Marilyn Harter { 05.02.19 at 5:01 PM }

Sounds and looks delicious! I’ve never grilled cheese but am going to look for this variety and try it – along with Mama Mai’s S&P!

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