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Locally Yours: Barbecue fruit to bring out flavor

By: Carol Arnold
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If you’re like me, this long and gentle spring has been a blessing. Cool nights, less-than-hot days, and not too much in the way of extreme wind and rain has made our little corner of paradise just that. As I write this though, we are staring straight ahead into triple digits. Technically it’s still spring, but summer is waiting to pounce.

Still, the coming heat isn’t all bad (I say this through clenched teeth). Many of the fruits and vegetables we love best at the market need our summer heat to give their full flavors. We all start showing up at the markets earlier in the morning, both to beat the heat and also to get the best selection. We start to see more farmers, too, as the harvest really starts to move into high gear.

Many of us relish the move outdoors to the barbecue grill. We may have been grilling all winter anyway, wearing coats, holding umbrellas and turning on the lights, but real barbecue season means shorts,T-shirts and daylight till after 8 pm.
We all grill meat, most grill vegetables and bread, and a growing minority throws some fruit in the barbecue mix, too. A little heat and char can em-phasize the sweetness of an apricot; later, when peaches come in, they will also benefit from a little flame time.

This week’s menu is simple, quick and tasty. Done completely on the grill or in the kitchen, the results are sure to please without melting the cook’s composure. The recipe was created by our beloved Courtney Mc-Donald, in-house chef and assistant general manager. She was kind enough to create a recipe as I head off to the University of California, San Diego, to celebrate Amelia’s college graduation. Seems like I just wrote a column about her going off to school…

Look for other recipes and the current market schedule at www.foothillfarmersmarket.com. See you at the market!

Carol Arnold is general manager of the Foothill Farmers Market Association. Reach her at foothillfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

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Pork chops with grilled apricots with lemon thyme and honey

Serves six

Ingredients
Six small apricots, washed, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

Four sprigs lemon thyme or regular thyme

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and pepper, to taste

Six loin pork chops, bone in, ½-inch thick

Apricots
Preheat grill. In a small bowl, mix the honey, thyme sprigs, melted butter, salt and pepper. Set aside. Brush the apricot halves with the olive oil and grill, cut side down, until they are just softened and have caramelized grill marks, about three minutes. (Leave the grill on and grill the chops while the apricots are marinating.) Immediately toss into the bowl with the honey, thyme and butter and let marinate at room temperature until ready to serve.

Pork chops
Salt and pepper the chops.  Grill on medium-high heat for five minutes on each side. When juices run clear, or the chops are firm to the touch, remove the chops from the grill and allow to rest for five to 10 minutes. To serve, place a chop on each plate and add two apricots with some of the apricot marinade to each serving.