Tag Archives: pork

Gingered Pork Stir Fry

I know I speak about my grandmothers a lot here, and quite honestly I forget what I’ve said and what I haven’t said (and am entirely too lazy to go back and look).  But this recipe is another one courtesy of my mom’s mother, Grace.  And it serves as Cuizoo Arsenal meal #6.

Grace is an interesting woman.  Her father was an Irish Linen importer who valued education tremendously. Her mother was very musical and played the organ at Christmas time in the big department stores in New York City.  Grace went to college at a time when women rarely did; she was a nutrition major and did research on the benefits of breast milk in the 1930s; she traveled to China and Hong Kong with my uncle when he was traveling as an ethnomusicology professor; she painted (art, not walls); she played the piano; and she was a great writer and poet (all of which she still did up until just a few years ago when arthritis finally crippled her hands).  And of course, like many of us, she did this while raising three wonderful kids and keeping a home.  So, it’s not often (in the US, at least) when your best stir fry or spring roll recipe comes from your 97 year old grandmother.  But I’m lucky like that.

And this stir fry technique is my absolute favorite.  You cook marinated meat, remove it, and then steam the vegetables in a Sherry/Ginger/Garlic mixture, and add it all back together to make a deliciously fragrant sauce.  Unfortunately, take-out Chinese will be forever ruined for you once you taste it.  And it is the perfect arsenal meal because it uses a small amount of meat (or none at all, if you like) and a lot of vegetables, it is flexible — virtually any veggies or meat that you have will work, it is cheap, and you can easily have it cooked in 30 minutes.

Typical stir fry vegetables all work — think broccoli, peppers, onions, snow peas, green beans, bok choy, carrots, etc.  But don’t be afraid to add in others — edamame, mushrooms, corn, cabbage, and radishes all work too.  The protein can be pork, chicken, tofu, shrimp, steak, or simply a nice handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds on top.   The key is the marinating liquid and the steaming liquid.  They make the dish.  Feel free to serve over brown rice if you have time or white rice if you are rushed.  (Or no rice at all, which is what I just had for lunch.)

Gingered Pork Stir Fry

Serves 4-6

3/4 pound of pork tenderloin (or other cuts, or other proteins)
2 T, plus 1 T cornstarch
1/2 cup, plus 1/3 cup Sherry
1/3 cup soy sauce, plus extra for flavoring
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
4 large cloves of garlic
1 red pepper
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
1 small head of baby bok choy
1 1/2 cups of green or yellow beans (*I used frozen and thawed yellow beans from our summer CSA and they were great)
3 green onions
1/2 cup of water or broth
Salt and pepper
Steamed Rice

1.  Slice pork tenderloin into thin strips.  In a medium bowl, make the marinade by combining 2 T cornstarch, 1/3 cup Sherry, and 1/3 cup soy sauce.  Add pork to marinade, mix well, and set aside. (If you are serving this with rice, start it now.)

2.  Chop ginger and garlic finely and place in a small bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of sherry to that and set aside.

3.  Prepare vegetables by coring and slicing the red pepper, peeling and slicing the carrot, peeling and slicing the onion, chopping the bok choy into ribbons, stemming and chopping the green or yellow beans into bite sized pieces, and finely chopping the green onion.

4.  Mix 1/2 cup of water or broth with 1 T cornstarch and set aside.

5.  Heat wok or large saute pan over medium high heat and add about two or three tablespoons of mild flavored oil (light olive oil or vegetable oil).  Add meat, draining most of the marinade off as you add it to the pan, and cook for 3-5 minutes until almost done.   (It may stick a bit, but that’s OK.  Just try to let it get a good sear and stir fry, scraping up the bits as you go.)  Remove meat from pan and set aside.

6.  Add a bit more oil to the pan and add denser vegetables — in this case, carrots, onions, and green or yellow beans.  Stir fry for 3-5 minutes.  Add peppers and the entire bowl of Sherry/Ginger/Garlic.  Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cover and let steam for about 3 or 4 more minutes.

7. Remove lid and add the cooked pork or meat, the bok choy, green onions, and the water/broth and cornstarch mixture.  (Make sure you give the cornstarch mixture another stir before adding it b/c the cornstarch will have settled to the bottom).  Stir well to combine and cook for about 2 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and thickened.  Add soy sauce (and hot sauce if you like it spicy) and salt and pepper to taste and serve over steamed rice.

Asian Pork and Sweet Corn Hash

Why is it that every stage of parenthood just seems to get harder?  Once they sleep through the night, they begin to move and roll and fall off things.  Once they don’t need to eat every two hours, they start protesting solid foods and stop eating altogether.  Once they can dress themselves, they start talking back.  Once you get used to one baby, you go and have another one and wonder how you ever thought one child was hard.  There is a constant game of “one-upmanship” going on — and somewhere in their cute little faces they are saying, “You fool, I’m going to make you realize how easy you had it back then.”

And so it goes with older children and activities.  You thought your time demands were rough with babies?  Just wait until they have school, and homework, and soccer, and t-ball, and dance, and piano lessons.  I can hear you now, “I am not going to be that parent.  I am going to let each child have one activity at a time and we will not cater to their every extra-curricular desire.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  Ha. Ha. Ha.       Ha.

And you thought it was under your control.  Here’s the deal:  even if each child does one thing, you have to do them all.  Get it?  And in our house, we definitely don’t over commit, but once you get multiple schools and multiple activities, it adds up to some sort of clusterfuck matrix of driving and practices and games and crying over homework and going to plays/parties/cultural celebrations and making quiches (don’t ask about that one) and writing checks and buying snacks (because you can’t have an activity without a damn snack).

It is the reason my right eye keeps twitching.  Plain and simple, we are on overload.

Hence the reason you need quick and easy dinners in your arsenal.  And I call it an “arsenal” very purposefully.  (An aside and a funny thing:  In the food blog world, there is constant conversation about the danger of people like Sandra Lee or those who are proponents of things called “30 minute meals.”  The danger, in the words of some, is that people aren’t really learning to cook and appreciate real food.  The opposing viewpoint is that any cooking is better than none.  Now, you know I am the biggest proponent of cooking real food — but these conversations fail to recognize the point that most of us in this stage of life don’t have a choice related to how much time we spend on food preparation.  On many nights, I’d love to linger over a glass of wine while making Boeuf Bourguignon.  But shit, it’s soccer night.  Get it?)

So, I guess what I’m hoping is that on the nights you can cook, you do.  And on the nights you cannot, you try to do something like this rather than ordering a pizza.  Be smart when you cook and make sure there are leftovers.  Because you can do an infinite amount of things with a little leftover meat, some veggies, and some eggs.  This recipe (when prepared with leftovers) can be done in 15 or 20 minutes and is much more healthy and delicious than some frozen chicken nuggets.

And next up?  Teenage Angst.  Fantastic.

Asian Pork and Sweet Corn Hash

Serves 4-6

1/2 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large leek (white part only), cleaned and chopped
2-3 leftover baked potatoes (2-3 cups), cut into small cubes
1/2 of a cooked pork tenderloin (about 1/2 lb. of protein: can be chicken, beef, or beans too), chopped
1 cup of frozen corn (or fresh if you have it)
4-6 eggs
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 T soy sauce
1 T water
Chopped fresh herbs, such as chives or parsley

1.  Heat 1-2 T of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saute pan.  Saute garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes.  Add leeks and saute for 1-2 minutes more.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

2.  Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and add potato cubes and cook for about 5 minutes (stirring frequently so they don’t stick), or until they begin to brown slightly.

3.  Add 1 T of water and 2 T of soy sauce and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add pork or protein and corn.  Stir to combine.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through.

4.  Meanwhile, fry eggs to desired doneness (we like ours over-light and nice and runny).  To serve, place hash on plate.  Top with fried eggs and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.

Sprouted Wheat “Enchiladas”

This meal was one of those “fly by the seat of my pants” moments.  I have many of those.  

It highlights one of those go-to ingredients that allow you to have a quick and easy family dinner:  tortillas or wraps.  With a few leftovers and a few simple ingredients, you are on your way to dinner in about 45 minutes.  This recipe is inspired by the old enchilada casserole recipes that I remember having years ago (and yes, I realize that enchiladas are only made with corn tortillas — I’m taking some crazed mother latitude here).  

I usually have sprouted wheat wraps on hand and in the freezer.  If you haven’t heard much about sprouted grains, here’s the lowdown… they tend to have better vitamin and nutrient content because the grains are whole and sprouted.  In addition, they are digested more like a vegetable than a starch and have a lower glycemic index.  The sprouted wraps tend to be tougher than a typical white flour wrap or burrito, but in this recipe they are baked in sauce and some cheese so they become very soft.

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As with most leftover inspired meals, use what you have on hand and think of this more as a technique, rather than a recipe.  

Sprouted Wheat “Enchiladas”

Serves 4 adults, or 4-6 with kids

4-6 oz. of leftover protein (we used pork, but chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc. would be great —  or skip it and up the amount of black beans)
1/2 cup of leftover sauteed greens (we used collards, but try spinach, kale, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped 
3/4 cup of cooked or canned black beans
3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for the top
1/2 t smoked paprika (or chipotle powder if you want to make it spicy)
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
Zest of one lime
16 oz. jar of good quality salsa
1 cup of sour cream (or try yogurt if you like)
4 – 8 inch sprouted wheat tortillas (or white, or whole wheat, your choice … if you are using corn tortillas, you will need a lot more than 4, b/c they are usually much smaller)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Lightly oil an 8 inch casserole pan.  

2.   Shred or chop pork/meat and place in medium bowl.  Mix with chopped leftover greens, chopped onion, black beans, grated cheese, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and lime zest. (Other mix in ideas:  corn, cilantro, peppers, etc.)

3.  Mix together salsa and sour cream.  

4.  Spread a 1/2 cup of salsa/sour cream mixture onto bottom of casserole dish.

5.  Lay out one tortilla and spread 1/4 of the pork mixture in the middle.  Roll up and place in casserole.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  

6.  When all tortillas are filled and in dish, cover with remaining salsa/sour cream mixture and sprinkle with additional grated cheddar cheese if you like.

7.  Bake at 375 F for about 35 minutes until bubbly and browned.  Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.  Use a long spatula to serve one whole wrap, or cut into portions for the kids.  

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Make Your Own Asian Noodle Bowl

 “Make Your Own” anything is always a popular choice with kids.  And in my family of control freaks (the males) and perfectionists (the females), it is especially popular. (I should add that I am a perfectionist because a control freak sounds too negative.  Shut up.  I know they are essentially the same thing).  

Anyway, last night was a “Farmer’s Market” night as Tuesday is our CSA pickup day.  I basically figure out what we are having on the way home from our CSA.  The choices are getting a little more plentiful — radishes (both regular and daikon), greens, spinach, and herbs.  Soon there will be more than I know what to do with.  And because it was so cold here yesterday (we drove home in snow!), I was leaning toward soup.  I had leftover chicken broth and the daikon radishes were making me think about something Asian.  

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I came up with this noodle bowl and the kids really loved choosing their own garnishes.  I forced a few choices by putting the onions and spinach in for everyone — but you certainly don’t have to.  And it was a great, light and easy dinner that warmed up a family of Type A’s on a snowy April day.  

Make Your Own Asian Noodle Bowl

Serves 4-6

  • 1 pork tenderloin, sliced very thinly (or protein of your choice:  tofu, shrimp, chicken, etc.)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (homemade is pretty essential, but experiment if you like)
  • 2 cups of water (or more broth if you have it)
  • 1/2 cup of sherry
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped into thin shreds
  • 6 oz. pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti, but soba or rice noodles would be great)
  • 1 t salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
Garnishes
  • Thinly sliced cabbage
  • Carrots, in ribbons (use your peeler to make ribbons)
  • Sliced or grated daikon radish
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Sliced Fried Egg 
  • Chile Garlic Sauce/Spicy Asian Sauces
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
Prep
  1. Slice pork thinly.  Chop ginger and garlic.  Wash and chop vegetables/garnishes.
  2. Bring broth, water, sherry, soy, ginger, and garlic to a simmer in a stock pot over low heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Cooking
  1. Increase heat on broth to medium and add in pork slices to cook (or other protein — if using shrimp, however, save those until the end and cook until just done).
  2. After 2 or 3 minutes, add in pasta.
  3. When pasta and pork are done, reduce heat and add in chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper and more soy sauce if needed.
To Serve

Arrange garnishes on plate and put on table with sauces or condiments.  Ladle out a bowl full of noodles, pork, and soup for everyone and allow them to add the garnishes that they enjoy.

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Grilled Pork, Mashed Potatoes with Chervil, Applesauce, and Sauteed Collards

My intent with the “Farmer’s Market Dinner” category is to highlight a meal made almost entirely with local ingredients.  Clearly this is a not a 100% promise, but more of an intent to use as many local ingredients as possible.  Tonight’s meal was made from local pork tenderloin sourced at my winter’s farmers market, mashed potatoes and chervil from my CSA, applesauce from CSA with both local apples and honey, and collard greens from the CSA as well.  I am not churning my own butter or pressing my own olive oil (yet…. ; ) ) so there are still quite a few grocery store ingredients.

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If you are in a colder climate and don’t have access to a winter CSA or market, this is definitely more difficult this time of year, but you might be surprised.  Search your area on localharvest.org for access to all sorts of local food opportunities — you might be shocked at what you actually have available to you.

The other thing to mention about these meals is that they are more procedures than recipes.  Try to be creative with what you have available to you and go from there.

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Grilled Pork, Mashed Potatoes with Chervil, Homemade Applesauce, and Sauteed Collard Greens

The Pork:
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of any silver skin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
1 t salt
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh rosemary (if you have it)

The Potatoes:
4-6 medium potatoes
Fresh chervil (or other herbs, or skip it)
Milk
Butter

The Applesauce:
6 apples (any kind will do, or a variety is even better)
Cinnamon Stick (or ground cinnamon)
Pinch of salt
2 T water
1 T honey
1 T butter

The Greens:
Large Bunch of Collard Greens (other greens such as spinach, kale, or chard would work nicely too)
1 t chopped garlic
1 t honey
2 t olive oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Prep:

1.  Make a marinade for pork with 1/2 cup olive oil, chopped garlic, zest of one lemon, rosemary, and salt and pepper.  Place pork in marinade and set aside.  (Preheat grill or start charcoal)

2.  Peel potatoes, cut into chunks, and place in large saucepan with plenty of cold water and a healthy pinch of salt.

3.  Peel, core, and chunk apples and place in medium saucepan with salt, cinammon stick, water, and  honey.

4.  Wash and stem greens (you will want to remove all of the stem from these more hearty greens).  Smoosh them all into a big ball or roll them up and chop into shreds.

Method

Pork:  When grill is ready (we grill using charcoal with indirect heat, if using gas I’m thinking about medium heat and away from flames), cook pork for about 20 minutes until done — but not overcooked!  Since we use local, organic pork and trust our farmers, we feel fine cooking it until about 145 degrees and letting it rest while it comes up a few degrees.  This keeps it moist, but certainly not rare at all.  But, cook it to your desired temperature based on your pork and your preferences.  You can also just bake this in the oven for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees if you like.   

Potatoes:  When you put pork on the grill, turn on potatoes and water to high heat so they come to a boil.  Reduce heat on potatoes to medium and cook for 15 minutes until very soft, but not completely falling apart.  Drain water from potatoes and throw in a healthy pour of milk (start with 1/2 cup and add more as needed to make a nice, creamy mash) and a couple of tablespoons of butter.  Mash and season with salt and pepper.  When ready to serve, stir in chopped chervil or other herbs.  Just taste them to make sure they are good — a little extra salt, milk, and butter usually is the key to tasty mashed potatoes.  And you can also use cream if you like…

Apples:   When you put pork on grill, turn on apples to medium heat until apples begin to simmer.  Reduce apples to low heat and cook for 15-20 minutes until very soft.  Stir to break up large apple pieces until desired consistency (could puree if you like, but I can’t be bothered).  Keep warm until pork is ready.  Remove cinnamon stick.

Collards:  When pork is about half way done, in a saute pan over medium heat add a splash of olive oil and chopped garlic for greens.  Add greens and saute until wilted and tender (about ten minutes).  You may need to add a little water if the greens stick.  Season with salt, pepper, and honey and taste to be sure.  If your greens are extra bitter, you may need a little extra honey.

 

Slice pork into medallions and serve with mashed potatoes, applesauce, and sauteed greens.

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Sauteed Pork Tenderloin with Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

This dinner was inspired by our winter farmer’s market.  It was made of entirely local ingredients in the middle of winter in Pennsylvania.  Many communities obviously don’t have winter markets, but I am fortunate enough to have both a winter farm share and a weekly winter market.  The choices are more limited — but I can pretty much always count on getting local, pasture-raised meats, potatoes, root vegetables, brussel sprouts or cabbages, apples, and more.  It certainly is difficult to make local ingredients the basis of every meal during a northeast winter, but it definitely feels good when you can.  And it makes me long for summer when nearly every dinner is local.

And before you shrug this off and say… “Brussel sprouts?  My kids would never eat them!”, let me introduce you to a great method that my kids (and many other brussel sprout haters) not only tolerate, but enjoy. And like many of these types of meals, this is more method than recipe, use what you have and get creative.dsc_5154

The Potatoes
I used fingerlings and small sweet potatoes, but any kind will do — takes about 5o minutes, so start this first.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Wash the potatoes and either slice in half and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch chunks.
  2. Line a metal roasting pan with parchment paper so they won’t stick. Add potatoes — don’t overload the pan or they won’t brown.
  3. Toss the potatoes with several tablespoons of olive oil, a hefty pinch of salt, and freshly ground pepper.  I usually add chopped fresh rosemary, but dried woul be fine also.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until they are brown and crispy.  It may take more or less time depending on how hot your oven actually is and how many potatoes are in the pan.  Stir every 10-15 minutes to make sure they brown evenly.  Toss with a little extra sea salt before serving.  BTW, if the rest of your meal isn’t ready, just turn the oven off, let it cool a few minutes, and put the potatoes back in to keep warm.

The Pork
I usually do two pork tenderloins for our family of four — takes about fifteen minutes, so start this when potatoes have about that much time left.

  1. Remove pork from packaging and cut off any visible silver skin.
  2. Slice horizontally into 1 1/2 to 2 inch medallions (think mini filet mignons)
  3. Flatten slightly.
  4. In a bowl, mix a cup of flour and a bit of salt and pepper.  Dredge each medallion into the flour mixture and shake off excess.
  5. Melt a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.  (If the meat starts to stick or it looks like there isn’t enough fat in there, just add a bit more).
  6. Add pork to saute pan and let brown for a few minutes on the first side.  It should be golden and release easily.  (if it sticks a lot, it probably isn’t done).  Flip all the pieces over and saute for a few minutes on the other side.
  7. Remove pork to plate and deglaze saute pan with about one cup of sherry or marsala and scrape up any browned bits.
  8. Add pork back to pan, cover, and simmer for about 7-10 more minutes until pork is done (flipping the pieces over halfway to utilize the browned flour on the exterior to thicken the sauce).  You’re at home, so feel free to cut into a piece to see if it’s done.  We feel pretty confident leaving our pork a bit pink in the middle because we know our farmers — your choice, but don’t cook it to death or it will be dry and tough.
  9. Serve with a bit of the sauce ladled over the pork.  If you want to make this a little more special, you can add a few tablespoons of cream to the sauce.

The Brussel Sprouts
I cooked about two pints for our family of four — takes only 5-7 minutes, so do this last while pork is simmering.

  1. Wash them and remove any dark or discolored leaves.  Trim the stem end.
  2. This is a great task for a food processor if you have one.  But I’ve done it with a knife — it just takes more time.  If using a processor, put your slicing disk in place, turn it on, and start putting the brussel sprouts in the feed tube.  They will all be sliced in minutes flat, leaving you extra time to clean the damn thing.  If using a knife, just thinly slice the sprouts into shreds.
  3. Melt some butter (about 1/2 tablespoon, more or less based on how many sprouts you have) in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute the brussel sprouts for a few minutes until they start to wilt.
  4. I like to add a bit of lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, a bit more butter, and salt and pepper.  Cook a few more minutes until just tender.  Don’t overcook them!  This is one of those dishes that you just need to taste and season until it’s good.  Actually that’s the secret of a lot of cooking!