September 2, 2014

Spicy Pork

Each time I was pregnant, Husband not only had sympathy pains (really, he did, it was touching that we were so connected but even more amazing because he hurt too – mwahahahaaaaa sucka, feel the pain!) but he had sympathy cravings too.

I’m so not making this up. He once looked at me at 9:30 at night and said, “Oh my God, are you craving chocolate cake?” I was. After a while he grabbed his keys, headed for the door and said, “I’m going to the grocery store for chocolate cake. I can’t take this.” Haha!

Husband is not a big eater. And he never goes anywhere once we've settled in for the evening. So for him to load up and go off in search of cake on a Tuesday night is pretty hilarious.

The night Brutus was born, we were just getting settled into the recovery room (or whatever they call the room you stay in until they send you home) and he says, “I want Spicy Pork so bad.” Which was exactly what I was craving. So he left the hospital and drove all the way downtown to the little Korean place that sells the best spicy pork ever.

Don't pass over this recipe if you:
A) don’t usually cook Asian food because of the typical 947 ingredients required
B) have never heard of this so you’re not sure if you’ll like it
C) aren't a huge fan of Korean food, or
D) think you can’t recreate amazing takeout favorites

Erase ALL of those thoughts from your mind because:
A) this only has a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have
D) oh, yes you can! If I can, so can you!

We rarely go out to eat. And when we do, we always have the onions with us so the hip little Korean place downtown just off campus isn't exactly where we’d go anymore. And that’s the only place around here you can get spicy pork (at least like they make it).

I was just curious to see if it was something I could even attempt to make so I searched online for recipes. There are plenty out there but most of them require way too many ingredients I don’t keep on-hand. And I just don’t want to spend a fortune on ingredients I’m not likely to use again. So, I kept digging and reading and finally hashed out a recipe I thought would work. I knew it wouldn't be exactly like the real deal but I hoped it would be close enough.

And y’all. Y’ALL! I really can’t even begin to tell you how good this is! We ate ALL. OF. IT. Aside from the small serving I gave AB, Husband and I devoured an entire 1.33-lb. pork tenderloin in one setting and were looking for more. I will absolutely double this next time. Which will likely be tomorrow. Because I want more already!

As the name implies, this is spicy. I didn't give any to Brutus because he was already turning his nose up at it. I gave AB a little so she could try it and expected her to find it too spicy but she didn't. She gobbled hers all up too. The only thing she said about it was that you better have something to drink with you when you eat it!

Spicy Pork
1 small pork tenderloin (approximately 1.2-1.4 pounds)
1 tablespoon sriracha (red chili pepper sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 green onions
Vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cut tenderloin in half lengthwise (to make 2 long strips). Cut each strip as thinly as you can so that you end up with thin little pieces of pork. Add pieces to a medium bowl; set aside.

Chop green onions into 2-inch pieces, reserving ends to be chopped as garnish later. Add onion pieces, 1 tablespoon each sriracha and soy sauce, pepper and salt to pork and stir to combine. Marinate pork and onions for 2-8 hours.

Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients and stir well; set aside.

Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of a very large non-stick skillet or wok and heat over high heat. Once skillet is hot, add half of the pork and onions in a single layer (cook in batches to ensure the pork cooks correctly). Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until pieces are nicely browned and starting to crisp. Remove to a bowl or plate and continue cooking the rest of the pork and onions. Once all the pork is browned, return to skillet, reduce heat to medium, add the sauce and stir to coat. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Serve with white rice and garnish with chopped green onions. This cooks quickly so make sure your rice is done or almost done before you start cooking the pork.

Consider doubling the sauce recipe if you like a lot of sauce or plan on having this over rice.

I think this would also be amazeballs in lettuce wraps!

While sharing links to South Your Mouth © 2011 is welcomed and encouraged (please and thank you!), do not copy/paste full recipes to any social media (Facebook, etc.), blogs or websites without express written consent. Unauthorized use of content and photos from South Your Mouth © 2011 is a violation of both the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and copyright law.


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Atlantic Beach Pie

I think I have pie lust. Or had it. No, that’s not right because I’m still lusting over it so... yep, I have pie lust.

I’m a big nerd. I read every chance I get. When I’m goofing off online, it’s usually on a news site. And I listen to NPR every time I’m alone in the car.

So when I came across an article on NPR’s website about this pie it was a double-whammy. Two of my favorite things in one… a nerdy website and a beautiful pie! Oh, hello, beautiful!

I’d never heard of it but evidently, Atlantic Beach Pie is a North Carolina coast specialty. And just the thought of it had my mouth watering.

A creamy, tart lemon filling in a crunchy, thick saltine cracker crust topped with whipped cream and sea salt? Shut up! Is your mouth not watering right now?

Once I put the crust together I didn't think it would ever fit in a little 8-inch pie plate. I thought surely that was a mistake. But I kept smooshing and mashing and, sure enough, it fit. And I wanted to add more butter because it’s awfully crumbly but I was already at the max end of the butter range (recipe reads 1/3 to 1/2 cup and I used 1/2 cup) so I didn't. Don’t tell anybody but as I was making this pie I was calling it ‘effin crumbs everywhere’ pie because… well, you’ll see when you make it.

And then I thought it would be too much crust – that the filling wouldn't stand up to it. Wrong. I was wrong. Again. It’s perfect. It’s the perfect sturdy, crunchy, salty balance to the sweet, tangy, creamy filling.

I have a feeling the original pie had meringue on it. Because let me tell you something about Southerners… we ain't wasting nothing. If a pie has four egg yolks in it, that sucker’s going to get topped with meringue.

I was going to make meringue (as a matter of fact, those four egg whites are still in my fridge) but I decided to put this together at my in-laws. I didn't want to have to make meringue at their house so I cheated and went with whipped cream. In a can. Don’t judge me! You don’t go around whipping cream or meringue at other people’s houses either. Side note on canned whipped cream: did you know they actually have real whipped cream in cans now? I had no idea! I’d never bought the canned stuff so I was scoping the selection and they had one that was REAL whipping cream in a can. It’s the little things that make me happy, folks. The little things.

This pie is like a taste of the beach. Seriously. If you could put salt and sun and sand in a pie, it would taste like this.

My only regret is that I didn't make two!

Atlantic Beach Pie
Recipe adapted from Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, NC
1 1/2 sleeves regular saltine crackers (not unsalted, whole wheat, etc.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice
Whipped cream (or meringue - see option below)
Coarse-grain sea salt

In a large bowl, crush crackers with your hands just until all crumbs are pea-sized or smaller (you want a chunky meal, not a fine crumb). Add sugar and butter and knead with your hands until crumbs begin to stick together. Things will be crumbly. It’s OK.

Press crust on the bottom, up the sides and onto the rim of an 8-inch pie plate. Carefully place the crust in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes then immediately bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven.

Once the crust is out of the oven, make the filling (not sooner as it will begin to set once you mix it up).

To make the filling, combine egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice and mix until well combined and smooth. You can do this by hand with a large whisk or use an electric mixer on medium speed. Don’t mix more than two minutes total or the filling will be too thick to pour.

Spread filling into crust (crust does not have to be cooled) then bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until set.

Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature then refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until pie is completely cold. Serve with whipped cream sprinkled with coarse-grain sea salt.

Meringue Option:
If you’d like to use meringue instead of whipped cream, top filling with meringue before baking then sprinkle with sea salt when serving.

4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed with an electric mixer (whisk attachment preferred) for 1-2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spoon meringue onto filling and spread to edge of crust to seal well and prevent meringue from shrinking. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until meringue is set and peaks are golden brown.

Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature then refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until pie is completely cold. Sprinkle with coarse-grain sea salt to serve.

While sharing links to South Your Mouth © 2011 is welcomed and encouraged (please and thank you!), do not copy/paste full recipes to any social media (Facebook, etc.), blogs or websites without express written consent. Unauthorized use of content and photos from South Your Mouth © 2011 is a violation of both the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and copyright law.


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