I had todraw the line when the lady from the chinese restaurant, after hearing my voiceand my same-as-always-order, told me my address before I told it to her. Thatwas before she asked for my phone number.
I mean, I cook and bake and post in afood blog. What was going on in my kitchen? When did I stop cooking for myself?I guess somewhere along a furiously hectic and changing work weeks togetherwith my choice of baked goodies, which let’s face it, are what I choose giventhe chance.
I love to bake for pleasure but I mostly cook to eat. As in bakesweet or yeasty things vs. cook savory dishes to actually feed myself.
With thatclear I made a deal with myself to try to go back to the days when I decided tocook different recipes everyday, so that I would have new things to post whileeating and investigating new flavors. Or not so new: Let’s just say they arenew recipes, those forever in the to-try list.
I had along night, having gone to a dinner with all of my HS friends. We see eachother a lot, some more than others, but have consistently gotten together, all twenty or so of us, something like once a year in the last ten. We graduated a looooong time ago,and this are our moments to be all goofy and ourselves again. It’s interestinghow old friendships let you relax.
So I wokeup later than usual today, having gone to bed at 4am. With some glasses ofwine, caipiroskas (lime, ice, sugar and vodka) and great food still lingering in my system, I spent the morning running some errands and then got home a bit hungry. This pork recipe had been onmy mind for a week now, so it was time to ditch the chinese rice and preparesomething as good as the day promised to be. And the night had already been.
Well, itwas good, great really, but most things pale when compared to good friendships.
This is thekind of wok recipe that comes together fairly quickly, even though there ischopping and a reasonable list of ingredients involved. In my case I have all of themusually in my pantry and my fridge. While the rice was cooking I made the pork.And since recipes are at least for 2, I now have an effortless dinner at hand. Iwonder what the chinese restaurant will think of my absence. I’ll worry aboutit while enjoying this sweet and spicy szechuan pork and carrots.
CRUNCHYSZECHUAN PORK AND CARROTS
adaptedfrom 200 Recetas Para Wok, by Marina Filipelli
When using a wok always add oil orliquids around the egdes, so they reach the middle already hot.
Makes 2 servings
Vegetableor light olive oil
2 teaspoonsszechuan peppercorns
12 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into bitesize pieces
2 mediumcarrots, cut into sticks
1 smallleek, sliced
2 garliccloves, minced
1 Tbsminced fresh ginger
3 Tbs soysauce
2 Tbs honey
3 Tbsorange juice
3 Tbsmirin, cooking sake
Choppedgreen onions or chives, for garnish
2 cupscooked white rice, to serve
Heat a wokover low heat, add peppercorns and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.Transfer to a mortar, add salt to taste and mash until peppercorns are mixedwith the salt. Transfer to a medium bowl, add cornmeal and then add the porkpieces. Coat meat with the peppercorn mixture and reserve.
Heat thewok over high heat. Add 2 Tbs and cook carrots and leek until beginning tobrown, 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
Add a fewmore Tbs oil to the wok, add pork and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.Transfer to the plate with the carrots.
Add gingerand garlic to the wok, sauté 1 minute and add soy sauce, honey, orange juiceand mirin. Cook until sauce is somewhat syrupy. Add meat and vegetables andcook for 1 or 2 minutes.
Divide ricebetween two bowls or plates. Add pork mixture on top, dividing evenly.
Granishwith green onions and serve.