Today, I'm making the Char Siu Pork,
adapted from Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.
I'm using pork loin strips,
then roasted in a 475° oven,
and basted with the marinade every ten minutes
for about 35 - 40 minutes.
In authentic Char Siu,
the pork has a ruddy red color and a pinkish ring under the surface
which comes from red food coloring.
I can't do food coloring.
Ingredients for the marinade:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese Five-Spice Powder
3 TB Hoisin Sauce
2 TB honey
2 TB rice wine
2 TB Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 TB Tamari Sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix all together.
Ideally, one would use pork belly,
but I always use what I have in the freezer.
Take three slightly frozen pork loin chops.
Slice into strips.
Mix all marinade ingredients together.
This is Mr. Hawthorne's sourwood honey
from the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There's nothing like it.
Rice wine in.
Toasted sesame oil.
Add in pork strips, coating with marinade.
Cover and let marinate for at least 2 hours.
I went for overnight.
Remove pork from fridge 45 minutes before you're ready to cook
and arrange the strips on rack in a baking pan.
Spread a little marinade over top the strips.
The directions said to cook in the upper third of a 450 degree oven
and baste with the marinade every 10 minutes.
It said nothing about cooking the marinade.
I didn't like the idea of basting with a liquid
that had raw pork in it,
so I brought the marinade to a boil first,
I had to try a little fatty, charred morsel.
It fell off.
Really, it did.
I wish I could describe what the house smells like right now.
Even Middle Hawthorne came down
to see what that intoxicating aroma was.
I wanted a quick side dish -
I melted a tablespoon of butter
and added a tiny bit of sesame oil.
Add in the bok choy and ...
... onions and pepper.
Stir fry to wilt the bok choy.
Add freshly ground salt and pepper and sesame seeds.
The charred sweet glaze is quite nice.
Pretty glossy sheen.
Nice and tender inside.
You have little bits of fatty pork
along with lean pork
and it's crisp and dripping in caramelized juices.
The main course was Summer Mahi Napoleon.
mahi mahi filet
slice of tomato
slice fresh mozzarella
4 x 4 pastry square
Chef Smith partially cooked the fish filets, then spread the pesto over top and added a slice of tomato and the mozzarella. Then he wrapped the filets in the pastry. These went into a 380° convection oven. I kept waiting for him to take the filets out. He kept them in for 30 minutes. Granted, it's hard to cook in ovens one is not familiar with, but next time, bring a probe thermometer and cook it to around 140° internal temperature. (He forgot his thermometer.) Sorry, but 30 minutes was way too long. My fish was very dry and overcooked and, gasp!, tasted fishy.
I won't be making the Mahi Napoleon.
I don't care for the pastry.
But I love me some mahi mahi,
when it's cooked properly.
Also on the plate were roasted tomatoes.
Drizzle some olive oil on the pan,
coat the tomatoes, and sprinkle some
Herbes de Provence and freshly ground salt and pepper.
A crab meat orzo and mixed greens salad
with a balsamic vinaigrette rounded out our meal.
Orzo and Crab Meat
2 cups orzo
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 TB butter
1/4 pound crabmeat
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
freshly cracked pepper and salt
1 TB lemon juice
Cook pasta and drain.
Combine garlic, cream, butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice
and bring to a boil.
Pour over the orzo
and toss with Parmesan and crab meat.
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups honey Dijon
1/2 cup brown mustard
1 TB brown sugar
pinch garlic powder
pinch celery seed
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1/2 cup honey
I had to stop and say hello to Myrtle.
As always, the turtles were excited to see me.
If you're ever on the Outer Banks,
you owe it to yourself to check out the aquarium.