Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spanish Pork with Apple-Citrus Salsa, plus a delicious salad

I'm not even sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but man, it was awesome. I'm copy-pasting it in case the link stops working someday, because it is that good, and because I made some modifications (minor ones).


The Pork
1 1-pound pork tenderloin
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all the seasonings in a wee bowl. Rinse your pork (boyfriend always does this and now I do too) and pat it dry. Lovingly rub the olive oil all over it, then the spices, making sure its evenly coated with the mixture. Set on a plate.

Then, get to work on the apple salsa. Which just involves mixing all of the following together:

3-4 apples (preferably something tart, but one semi-tart is also fine. I had 2 green apples and one honey crisp), cored and diced (no need to peel)
2 tbs apple juice (I got the Simply Apple - you don't want one that's super sugary)
zest of one lime
juice of 1/2 lime
chopped cilantro (the original recipe called for 2 tbs, I probably did more like 4?)
1/4 of a sweet white onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno papper, finely diced

The longer it sits, the better it will taste, is the thing.

Turn the oven on to 350. Sear the pork on all sides in a cast iron pan. Stick a meat thermometer in it. Curse your meat thermometer for apparently having stubborn pre-set temperature ratings, such that you can't actually set it to 145. Settle for the lowest setting, 158. Put pork in the oven. Remove it after what seems like 3 minutes? Seriously? Because your meat thermometer says it has reached a temperature of 158. Let it sit for half an hour because you have timed your dinner prep terribly. Or, you know, time your dinner better, and have a better method of roasting a pork loin properly (though mine did come out perfect, albeit room temperature).

Slice, and top with the apple salsa. Seriously fantastic.

But wait! you say. What is that gorgeous looking pile of salad? 
Funny you should ask. It happens to be the perfect accompaniment to this pork, and totally delicious in its own right. Kind of a pain the butt to make, and you end up with A LOT of it, so this might be a potluck/bbq/dinner party type thing, but I have to give you the recipe, because it's soooo awesome.

You need:

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tbs tamari (probably regular soy sauce would be ok too, but we happened to have tamari anyhow)
1/4 olive oil (use the good stuff)
1 tbs grated lemon zest (it's gonna take a whole lemon)
1/4 cup lemon juice (also a whole lemon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oranges
1 one-and-a-half-pound head of red cabbage, cored and finely sliced
2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup hemp seeds
~1 bunch cilantro (get a large bunch and use some for your apple salsa)

Here's where it gets to be a pain in the butt.

Preheat your oven to 350. Spread the pepitas across a foil-lined baking sheet (I needed two. I didn't line it with foil and man was it a pain to clean). Roast for about 6 minutes, then take out, toss with the tamari, and put back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, set aside.
Whisk the lemon juice and zest with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. No idea why the recipe felt it was necessary to do this in advance but sure.
Now you need to dice all cabbage, which is a pain. And the fennel. And, the most annoying part to me, pick all the cilantro leaves off the stem. SO TEDIOUS. Anyways, put all that in a very large bowl with the hemp seeds and about 2/3 of the pumpkin seeds. Or all of em, but honestly, it's a lot, and they make for a nice snack so hey. Peel the oranges, or ask your boyfriend to do it for you because your pork loin has already been out of the oven for 20 minutes at this point, and it's almost 12:30am and you're both really hungry. Once he's peeled them, use a sharp knife to slice the spines off each wedge (you know what I mean?) and maybe cut the backs off and basically try to get little chunks of orange without all the connecting tissue. Hurry up, I'm hungry. Throw that in the bowl, pour the dressing over the top, and mix it all together. It's a lovely blend of colors and flavor, and also a delightful combination of textures. From the Food and Wine Cookbook of 2013 (or maybe 2012?)? Which we've been using a lot lately and enjoying.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ton Katsudon

Boyfriend, Harold, and I went to Oiistar for dinner on Sunday night, and while much of the meal was not that exciting,* the buns were pretty great, particularly the tonkatsu bun.** I was trying to come up with something quick and tasty to make Boyfriend when he got home from work last night (he usually returns around 11pm) and remembered that tasty pork. A little googling later, I had a plan - a combination of this and this recipe, which culminated in a totally delicious dinner.

You need:

for the tonkatsu:
pork (I bought two thinly cut pork cutlets, because that's what Dill Pickle had, and I felt like buying local, humanely raised, hormone free, etc etc)
panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil
salt and pepper
worcestershire sauce
1 egg

make it don!
1 small onion
2 eggs
1 green onion
dashi broth (I made some - 1 wee piece of kombu and a handful of bonito)
soy sauce

If you're using dashi broth, get that started - put a wee piece of kombu into about 1 cup of water. Let it sit. After half an hour, put it on heat until almost boiling. Then remove from heat, add a handful of bonito flakes, let sit.

Now, make your pork.  Beat an egg in a wide, shallow bowl. Shake some panko crumbs onto a plate. Add some salt and pepper to it. Trim the pork chops so that you're not getting sudden bites of nasty (ie gristle). Dip the pork chop into the egg, then roll thoroughly in panko. Carefully lay on a plate. Note that most recipes would tell you to dip in flour first, but the flour was hiding in the back of the pantry so I left that part out. And it turned out ok. Anyways, pour a whole bunch of oil into a pan - 1/2 inch or more. Crank the heat. When it's hot hot hot, grab some tongs (kitchen life is SO much easier with tongs. I never used them before, but they are great) and carefully slide the pork into the oil. When the bread crumbs turn a nice golden brown, flip it. When its browned all over (mine took about 4 minutes?), remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Clean your pan.

Make rice! Rinse 1 cup rice in a pot. Sprinkle salt over it. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to as low as it'll go, cover, and cook until done - about 20 minutes.

Strain your dashi broth (I use a coffee filter). Put it in a bowl with a tablespoon of mirin and a tablespoon of soy sauce.

When your pork is cooled, slice into strips. Sprinkle worcestershire over it.

Chop the onion into thin-ish slices. Fry over medium-low heat until they start to soften. Meanwhile, finely chop your green onion. Pour the dashi combination over the sauteed onions and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, quickly beat two more eggs into that bowl. When most of the liquid is gone from the onions, pour the egg over it (you're supposed to put the pork on there too. I couldn't bring myself to do it - not my beautifully crisped pork! so the end result was that my pork was only room temperature, which is maybe not ideal, but it was not soggy and covered in egg, so hey). Shake it around the pan, and when its most set, flip it (you can break it into smaller chunks to do that; its fine). Sprinkle about half of your green onions over the top and kinda push em in, so they wilt a wee bit.

Now, you're ready to assemble. Pack some rice into a bowl. Put a layer of onion-egg over it. Top with a few strips of pork. Garnish with some more green onion. Serve with sriracha, for those who want to kick it up a notch.


One of the best meals I've made in a long time. And really quite easy!


*Avoid the tuna carpaccio. It's just not very good. The chicken wings are excellent, and the ramen and green beans were both very pleasant. I'm not sure why I left with such a meh impression of the place, actually - most of what we ate was quite tasty. It's just that we paid more than I'd have liked, and it seemed like everything had an egg on it.

** Both the tempura shrimp and the duck breast were also awesome; the chicken was so-so; the pork shoulder was dry and flavorless.