Yesterday was fairly shitty. I was off, all the way around. So today was kind of a re-do, and though I was a little worried about today – I missed a fairly important two-hour meeting and had a run-in with the Conficker worm – I was determined to do better, dinner-wise. When I got home, I realized that I had forgotten to marinate the pork, but I did prepare a nag list for Nick in advance, so at least the rice was on the way when I got here, and I remembered to pick up some gai lan so we’d have something green to eat to make up for last night’s grease fest.
I set a pot of water to simmering to warm the sake, threw together some gomae as an appetizer, and did a little bit of terrible dancing to the disco-stick song, which, BTW, will aid a super-quick day-before-disaster recovery. And now, it smells SO FREAKING GOOD IN HERE. The great thing about a tiny apartment is that it fills fairly quickly with good smells.
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 3 tbsp. tahini
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sambal oelek or sriracha
- 1 tbsp. sake
- 1 tsp. ground white pepper
- salt, to taste
Start by blanching your spinach. Probably what will happen is you will run around frantically trying to ensure you don’t eff yourself on the timing, while your version of Nick leaps back as you smack and curse and drop stuff and calls you a spaz and demands to know when the sake will be ready. Wring your blanched leaves out in a clean dishtowel, and put them into a mixing bowl.
In a ramekin or tiny little bowl, or maybe a medium-sized bowl, mix together the rest of your ingredients. Taste it. If it’s not salty enough, add salt. If you like it spicy, add more sambal or sriracha. When you’ve got it how you like it, pour the mixture over the spinach and mix it thoroughly. It’s just like dressing a salad, only tastier.
Divide the gomae between two to four plates, and sprinkle it with dried chilies. Or not. Whatever you like. Serve with hot sake. Procrastinate over the rest of dinner. Enjoy the compliments.
I had planned to marinade this all deliciously, but I forgot. But you know what’s so good? CHINESE FIVE-SPICE POWDER. Yeah. Used it instead, and it worked just as well. Not better; different.
- 1 pork tenderloin (1–1.5 lbs)
- 1/4 cup Chinese five-spice powder
- salt, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Rub the tenderloin with the spice blend. Throw it into a frying pan with a bit of oil (I used peanut oil, because it was what was on the counter), and brown on all sides. I used a pan with a lid, and moved the whole thing into the oven for about 30 minutes – you want the meat to reach about 155°F in the centre.
Once it’s out of the oven, let the meat rest covered for ten minutes while you prepare the rest of your meal.
Shrimp fried rice
- 1 1/2 tbsp. bacon fat (or butter, or oil … I keep a jar of rendered bacon fat in the fridge at all times, because I like it, and don’t care that someday I will be ginormous)
- 3 cups cooked rice (about one cup of rice cooked in 2 cups of chicken stock)
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 handful of shrimp
- 2 eggs
Heat the fat or butter or oil in a frying pan. Once it’s all bubbly, add the rice and fish sauce, and toss to coat. Then add the scallions and the shrimp, and the eggs. Fry together until the egg cooks.
Slice the pork tenderloin into sumptuous medallions, and serve the lot with steamed gai lan (which I didn’t feel you needed a recipe for, since it’s super easy, and also because there are lots of good recipes online, and also I am too lazy [read: drunk] to write more) drizzled with a bit of oyster or black bean sauce.
Um, delicious? Yeah. So good. I love me.