Ginger Pork Stir Fry

Stir-fries are one of my favorite options for a weeknight meals. Healthy, quick, and flavorful – I usually find myself adding one to our menu weekly. They’re also great for a “clean out the fridge” kind of night. I had close to a whole pork tenderloin leftover that I used for this dish. I was worried that the pork would be overcooked after stir-frying. But, it was just as tender and juicy as it was the first night we enjoyed it.

But, if you didn’t have a cooked pork tenderloin hanging around (which, you totally should make that recipe. It’s pretty much amazing) – you could of course slice it thin, and then cook in the wok before the veggies. I added broccoli, red pepper, and water chestnuts for a crunchy kick. But mushrooms, carrots, or snow peas would be other great additions. That’s why I love stir-fries – they are pretty much good with anything you throw at it!

LumpiaI have many good memories associated with lumpia and football. A family friend always made them for the Super Bowl party we went to, year after year, and everyone always loved them. They were out of the kitchen as soon as they came out of the fryer!

Most of the ingredients are fairly easy to come by, even for a country mouse like myself. You may have a hard time finding spring roll wrappers. I know I did, for years. Until finally I realized that we have an Asian market here in Salisbury. Subconciously, I knew it was there. But, I’d always avoided it because the mini-strip mall that they call home looks kind of skeezy. A month or so ago, I finally ventured in, and am kicking myself for not going in sooner. Everything was clean, and well organized – and ingredients that I’d been searching years to find (black vinegar! good fish sauce!) were on the shelves in abundance. Was so happy to see that they had spring roll wrappers, so I purchased a couple packages to stick in the freezer. Then came home and set out to try making my own lumpia!

They come together fairly quickly, as you don’t pre-cook the filling. Just make sure to chop the carrots and cabbage very finely – as this helps to lighten the texture of the ground pork. Also, keep in mind that lumpia should be a good deal smaller than an egg roll – because they’re almost exclusively meat, as opposed to shredded vegetables. It’s easy to find yourself wanting to put more filling in before you roll them up – but, resist that urge. About one fingers width and length is the amount of filling you want in each roll.

If you’re still looking for Super Bowl munchie ideas, definitely consider this one. They can be fried in advance, then kept warm in the oven for an hour or so – without having the crispiness of the roll suffer.  Which leaves you plenty of time to mix up some Hurricanes before your guests arrive! Also, GO NINERS!

Indonesian Pork Tenderloin

Last week it was in the 60’s here, all week long (albeit raining). Then, on Thursday it got cold enough to get a little bit of snow. Enough for Andrew to have a little bit of fun in at least! And now, it’s REALLY cold. So, when I came across a recipe for this pork tenderloin I thought it looked great, something to transport me to a warm tropical beach – and away from the freezing tundras of coastal Maryland.

Super duper easy too. I just threw together a marinade, let the pork do it’s thing – and then used the method that I’ve used for pork tenderloins in the past; seared it off on the stove first, then finished cooking in the oven. Since I didn’t want to let all that delicious flavor in the marinade go to waste, I went ahead and brought it to a boil on the stove then served it as a sauce alongside the sliced tenderloin.

I love the flavor that the peanut butter and soy sauce lend, as well as the little kick of heat from the crushed red pepper. The original recipe called for mango chutney, which I didn’t have, so I just used some peach-hot pepper jelly that I’d gotten from TS Smith & Sons last year – and it turned out beautifully. But, orange marmalade or apricot preserves would be good too; just something that’s sweet, with a little bit of chunkiness to it.

I served it with garlic rice pilaf (recipe coming tomorrow) and sauteed snow peas – and everyone cleaned their plates. If you’re looking for a change of pace, or to bring some exotic new flavors to the dinner table – definitely mark this one down on your menu soon!

We have stir-fry. Alot. It’s such a quick and easy healthy weeknight meal, it’s rare we make it through one week without having one in one form, or another. That’s the wonderful thing about them, they’re so versatile. Chicken, beef, shrimp (whatever protein floats your boat) – any veggies you have hanging out in the fridge, and dinner is done in under 30 minutes.

One we hadn’t tried at home yet, but is a favorite of mine when we order take-out,  is Pepper Steak.  There’s something about those tender strips of beef, sweet sauteed peppers, in that rich brown sauce that I just love. Came across Martin Yan’s recipe for the dish (if Yan can cook – so can you!), and set to make it. I was super-stoked actually, because who doesn’t love Yan Can Cook? I vividly remember watching him on TV with his flaming wok when I was just a little girl, and always loved him.

The recipe was a winner, better than any version I’d had in a restaurant. And, as I mentioned before – took no time at all. Marinading the beef takes longer than it does to cook the dish. And, don’t be afraid of the heat. Bell peppers aren’t spicy at all, and the chile on top is optional. Although, I must admit – those zesty little bites of heat were just perfect sprinkled on top. Another one to add to the stir-fry rotation!