Hot Sauce Marinated Peachy Pork Stir Fry

My former colleague Melissa recently brought me a sweet and spicy gift from South Carolina: a bottle of Vidalia Onion and Carolina Peach Hot Sauce, from Spring Farms Peach Stand (did you know that South Carolina produces more peaches annually than Georgia?). I’ve been pondering how best to enjoy it for a few weeks now, and I had some kind of marinade in mind. So when Eric brought home some pork chops this week, it all came together.

Vaguely Chinese-inspired, this is a pretty straightforward stir fry. I was really pleased with the way the marinated pork turned out: just a little sweet, and quite juicy and tender. The combination of the other flavors resulted in a nicely spicy dinner, the kind of hotness that slowly creeps up on you with each bite. You could of course add any other vegetables you have on hand, too. I’d quite liked to have added some peas, but I didn’t have any.

I think I might already be addicted to this hot sauce. It’s amazing. Luckily, you can order a variety of sauces, marinades, salsas, etc., from their web site! And I bet we make something similar around here, too. I’m going to be on the lookout for fresh peach hot sauce—any recommendations?

1/2 lb. pork chop, fairly thinly sliced (~1/4″ thickness)
3 oz. peach and onion hot sauce, halved
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups cremini and/or button mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
splash sesame oil
1/2 lb. dry rice noodles
splash wheat-free tamari
2 raw jalapeños, finely sliced

1. At least two hours in advance of cooking (preferably six): in a large easy-seal bag or sealed container, shake pork slices and half the hot sauce so that all pieces of meat are thoroughly covered in sauce. Refrigerate.

2. In a large sauce pan, sink rice noodles in room temperature water. Let them sit for about fifteen minutes. They will slowly soften. Keep an eye on them; they may need to sit longer, but if they’re left too long, they will become mushy. The key is to take them out when they are just al dente, and ready to be added to the stir fry.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onions and stir frequently for about three minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Throw in garlic, continuing to stir. Add pork and red pepper flakes. Continue to stir often as pork cooks. Once it is about half done—only about two or three minutes—deglaze with the red wine, then add mushrooms. Stir fry for a further few minutes until mushrooms are just done—tenderized but still firm, and not burned. Add splash of sesame oil and stir thoroughly.

4. Once they are near-cooked-through, add the rice noodles to the skillet. Pour in the remaining hot sauce, and then stir gently but well, so that all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Continue to stir for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are done, with an eye on the noodles. If unsure, taste one to see if it’s done! Again, be careful not to overcook, or they will go mushy. Add one final splash of tamari, to taste.

5. Carefully slide the servings out into bowls; you may have to cut a few noodles! Top with freshly sliced, raw jalapeño, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Reheats surprisingly well, as well.


Stella’s Green Beef Curry

My stepmother has been eating gluten-free for the past ten months, and reports a real turnaround in the way she feels. Meanwhile, my best friend was recently diagnosed with a medical condition that may be treatable with a gluten-free diet, so she’s also eating that way. And, though no one told me when I was diagnosed six and a half years ago, apparently gluten-free is the way to go for those of us suffering from Hashimoto’s Disease (the auto-immune form of hypothyroidism, suffered by about one in every thousand people, mostly women).  So I’ve been trying to cut back lately, too.  Not because it’s a trend, but because I want to achieve optimum health.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to crave bright, fresh flavors in the summer: lemon, lime, pistachio, berries, gelato, sorbet, and fresh herbs from the garden.  And we’ve been on a real cilantro and lime kick at our house.  So I decided to try my hand at a Thai-inspired green curry.  Since I had a whole pound of fresh ground beef from Wheatsville on hand, that’s what I made, and the result was luxurious.

This one’s actually pretty darn easy; so if you like the flavors like I do, and you’ve never tried to make a curry at home, this is a great place to start.  Using coconut oil and coconut milk infuses this dish with that unmistakeble, creamy flavor, and blending in practically a whole armful of fresh cilantro results in a refreshing and aromatic curry.

If you like these flavors, you might also try my popular Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream and Cilantro Sauce.  And check back next week for another lime-doused, cilantro-sprinkled meal for summer.  August may well prove to be the Month of Green.

The meat and veg
1 heaping Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium head of broccoli, washed and chopped
1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and chopped
1 cup cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 lb. ground beef
fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, to taste

For the curry
~2 cups of cilantro, washed and chopped
12 oz. coconut milk (one standard can)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp green Thai curry paste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
~2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
lime wedges for garnish

1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion and sauté for about five minutes, until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add broccoli and cauliflower (you can used frozen veggies, but thaw them first). Cook for another ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for about two minutes, just until they begin to soften.

2. Add beef, breaking it up with your spatula. Stir thoroughly and allow to cook for about ten minutes, turning the meat and veggies over a couple of times.

3. Meanwhile, add all the curry ingredients to a blender and liquefy. Taste the curry, and adjust seasonings to suit. Set aside.

4. Once beef is cooked through, pour curry into skillet and mix well. Reduce heat to low, and allow to warm thoroughly (about ten minutes), stirring occasionally.

5. Spoon out mixture into bowls and serve topped with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Squeeze the lime juice over the bowl before digging in!

Serves 4.

Chicken Salad on Challah

This isn’t really a recipe, more of a quick pic to file under This Week’s Eats. But it’s pretty simple, so here it is, in case you want to try it yourself!

Take some pre-cooked or leftover chicken and shred it into bite sized pieces; I used some chicken breasts that had been baked with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin. In a mixing bowl, stir it up with equal parts mayonnaise and Hal’s Hot Love. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes (the longer the better, though, up to 24 hours), then spread on freshly sliced challah with a couple of pieces of raw onion and enjoy!

Stella’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I eat a lot of eggs.  I have two or three eggs for breakfast at least five days a week.  Most of the time, I have a couple of rashers of crispy bacon; sometimes I have salsa, herbs, migas, cheese, and/or breakfast sausage.  Over the past few months, I’ve really perfected my scrambled eggs recipe.  They turn out light, fluffy, rich, and delicious.  The secret is in the pre-scrambling, and to cook over low heat.

Next time you’re hungry for some eggs—for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—give these a try!  This recipe is for a single serving.  Double for two people, etc.

Three large eggs
1 Tbsp softened butter, halved
2 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Medium mixing bowl
Small to medium skillet
Flat spatula

1. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.

2. Using the end of the whisk, break up the yolks with light pressure.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs until just well mixed.

4. Add salt and pepper; slowly pour in cream while continuing to whisk lightly.

5. Let eggs sit for a few minutes at room temperature.

6. Meanwhile, melt butter in the skillet over low heat.

7. Pour eggs into skillet, and stir lightly with spatula.

8. Allow to cook over low heat for a couple of minutes, until the eggs are partially set, then stir, using the spatula to scrape up the cooked egg from the bottom of the pan. Stir well and allow to cook for another minute or two.

8. Increase heat to medium low. Turn eggs over constantly, but gently, with the spatula until well done and fully firm. Fold, don’t stir.

9. Slide eggs out of skillet and onto a plate using the spatula. Garnish with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves one.

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

To jazz up these basic scrambled eggs, consider:

  • adding some minced garlic to the melting butter (or garlic powder to the egg mix);
  • folding in some grated cheese at the end of the cooking;
  • including finely diced onions or chile peppers;
  • garnishing with fresh herbs or salsa.

Zucchini and Feta Frittata

1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely diced
1 small zucchini, chopped into matchsticks
4-5 cremini mushrooms, stems removed, finely sliced
3 tablespoons butter
10 eggs
1/3 cup cream
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

2. In a large non-stick skillet (I use cast iron), melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add zucchini and mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until done (about five minutes).

2. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, crack all eggs. Add salt and pepper, and whisk lightly. Drizzle in cream, continue to whisk for about 30 seconds.

3. Pour beaten eggs into pan over vegetables and cook until they just start to set (about 8-10 minutes). Add feta, distributing it evenly across the pan.

4. Remove from heat and turn of burner. Bake entire pan in the preheated oven for about five minutes, or until the frittata is golden brown and firm.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then slice and serve. Garnish with additional feta, hot sauce, or sundried tomatoes.

Serves 4. Can be refrigerated for eating later, either cold or reheated.