Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Experimental Cooking: Peachy Pork (and general caveats about my cooking)

I've been trying to expand my cooking repertoire and steering away from pre-packaged meals. I won't say everything has been an unqualified success, but I'm discovering that a little bit of experimental cooking can turn out pretty well. So I thought I'd try sharing a couple of recipes that have worked well for me.

A couple of caveats:
1) I don't really measure ingredients, especially spices. So if you're looking for precision, this is not the place to find it.
2) Even though I'm working towards less prepared foods, I use some because they're easier. So most of my spices come from jars, and I often use bottled marinades or whatever alcohol is on hand. It's the combination of ingredients, I hope, that will be of interest.
3) Our meals usually involve meat. If they don't involve meat, they involve cheese. I don't think I could get away with a vegan meal. :) But there may be some meals where you can make substitutions to fit your dietary preferences.
4) I can't always promise pictures. But I'm going to try to start taking some! :)

So, first up on the menu is:

Peachy Pork (serves 2-3)
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin (or another boneless cut)
  • 1 Fuzzy Navel wine cooler
  • ground ginger (or fresh)
  • garlic powder (or fresh)
  • 2 peaches, sliced thinly
  • brown sugar

Start by trimming the fat off the pork, if desired. Put it into a container that can be closed with a lid. Pour the wine cooler over the pork, and then sprinkle generously with ginger and lightly with garlic powder. The goal is to have ginger be the predominant flavor, with garlic just barely there. Marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably more like 12.

Heat up a large frying pan over medium-high heat. You shouldn't need any cooking oil. Just toss the pieces of pork into the frying pan and let them start cooking. I usually let the pork cook for a couple of minutes on the first side, flip it to the second side for a couple more minutes, flip it back to the first side for a couple more, and finally the second side for a couple more. Each side gets about 4-5 minutes of cooking, which makes it done, but not overly dry.

After each side has cooked for a couple of minutes, add the sliced peaches and a sprinkling of brown sugar (maybe around 1/8 cup). Let the brown sugar get on both the peaches and the pork. It will start caramelizing a little bit in the pan, so you may want to move things around to minimize that.

Serve with brown rice or another grain of choice, and some sort of green vegetable--we like steamed french cut green beans lately.

Commentary: My hubbie laughed at me when he found out that I used a wine cooler to marinate the meat. I marinate most of the meat we buy in some sort of alcohol, and at the time, the wine cooler was the only thing on hand that made sense. Fortuitously, the day I made this also happened to be the first day that peaches were available at the farmer's market near his office, so I sent him down to buy some. Worked out perfectly!

Variations: I'm planning on trying this again using a hard cider for the marinade and with apples or pears as the fruit. I will likely skip the garlic for that variation. I also think sprinkling some raisins across the top when it's done would be delicious for either version.

1 comment:

ceredwin said...

This sounds very yummy, and I've bookmarked it to try later.

I will note, though... as long as you have a decent idea of what tastes good together, experimental cooking usually works pretty well. And getting a sense of what tastes good together just requires paying attention when you're eating. :)