What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Vietnamese seduction"

That's what my recipe book, Basic Asian, calls it. And, I'll give 'em credit... I've definitely been wooed into wanting to try more Vietnamese cuisine!

It all started at the commissary this afternoon... with discount pork. Normally, that would dissuade a person. "Discount" and "pork" should not be used together in the same sentence. Bad things can happen. But I trust my commissary, so when I see "fajita strips" for less than 2 bucks a pound, I pounce.

But I also know I should cook them up right away.

I quickly decided against fajitas. I'm fresh out of corn tortillas, not in the mood to make some myself, and... it just wasn't that vibe tonight.

So... stir-fry. I consulted my go-to Asian cookbook. Rice Noodles with Spicy Pork. I followed the recipe as best I could, but... didn't have all the stuff needed, and can't follow a recipe anyway.

So, here's what I made and it was really, really tasty.

About 1 pound dark and light meat pork strips
1/8 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup sake
3/4 cup fresh mint sprigs
3/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
(3/4 cup fresh basil sprigs were in the recipe, too, but I didn't have any)
1 incredibly huge cucumber
rice vinegar
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 Mystery Hot Pepper (do jalapenos ever get red?)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 T tamari
2 T fish sauce (we agreed this was a bit much)
3 T fresh key lime juice
Noodles of your choosing, I used Tinkyada, of course

Mix pork with sugar and fish sauce. Add sake and stir to coat. Stick in the fridge while you do everything else.
Pick leaves off herbs, cut up if you want (I sliced the mint because it was so big). Set aside.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon, and slice into thin sticks. Put in a largish bowl. Sprinkle with rice vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste. Eat all of them while cooking, making loud munching noises. Revel in crunchy sour saltiness. *

For the dip/sauce: chop the Mystery Pepper finely, being careful to remove the scary seeds and membranes. Embrace your Yankee Gringo spice-fearing glory. Mix together the chile pepper, garlic, tamari, fish sauce, and key lime juice. Distribute in 4 small bowls.
Heat oil in a large pan or wok, over pretty darn high heat (I think I used "7"), and cook onion and bell pepper until beginning to soften. Drain as much of the sake off the pork as you can. Add half the pork (so you don't crowd the pan), and cook a few minutes, until done. Remove all that from the pan, add the rest of the pork and cook it. Toss it all back in to reheat a minute, add a splash of tamari if you just can't resist.
Serve everything kind of on it's own on the plate, so people can mix together at their whim. After we tasted every possible combination, we decided to mix it all together in a big pile. It was nummy.

* Apparently, the plain, un-vinegared cucumber sticks were supposed to be served alongside the noodles and pork. Hmph. There were also supposed to be bean sprouts, green onions, and salty peanuts. Oh, well.

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About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.