Monday, September 8, 2008

10. Stir-Fried Pork, Eggplant and Onions with Garlic and Black Pepper

Date Cooked: September 2nd, 2008
Recipe: 10
Page: 471

I would like to apologize for the quality of the photo. I had just finished creating this masterpiece when I realized the camera was not in the house. So I had to scramble for any electronic device I could find with decent photo taking capability. Katt’s phone was at hand so I snapped a few photos as best I could.

I was really mixed about doing this dish. I’ve only had eggplant once before and was not a fan of its preparation back then. I found the texture questionable and the taste mild but not really pleasant. I wanted to give it another go plus I had this lone eggplant sitting in my fridge from my sister-in-laws last visit. I grabbed the new knives and set to work cubing the eggplant. I love my knives.

I grabbed the pork tenderloin from the freezer where it was having a nice little rest to firm up for slicing and I took the knife to it and sliced it into beautiful medallions. I love my knives. How did I ever function in a kitchen before? I think I know why I didn’t really cook previously. I had crappy tools.

The pork was first up as I fired it in a little oil for a few minutes to brown it up nicely. At this point I couldn’t help but steal a few pieces… you know, to ensure they were fully cooked. I put cooked pork aside (but still close by so I could ensure the little nuggets of pork goodness weren’t going bad with some frequent tasting) and dropped the eggplant into the pan with a little more oil. These bad boys started browning up nicely and took on a firmer texture. When the eggplant was done I set them aside with the pork. This was the final go/no-go point in the meal. If I didn’t want the eggplant I would have to jettison it now. The smells in the kitchen and the nice looking brown crisp they had started to form convinced me to give them a chance. Next up was the onions. I chose a sweet Vidalia onion for this since it was a main component of the dish. These were sautéed until tender and starting to caramelize.

Then came the fun. The recipe calls for something like nine cloves of garlic and two teaspoon of black pepper to be mixed together and then sautéed in the pan until fragrant. I was supposed to sauté until it was brown. It was black. How do you tell when a black paste has browned? Anyway when the kitchen smelled strongly of garlic and pepper I considered it done and then threw everything back into the pan with the sauce to coat. A few tosses of the ingredients and it was complete.

I served the stir-fry over some white rice and sprinkled it with some fresh cilantro. Ever since I have begun cooking rice on the stovetop in a frying pan, I have played with the amount of toasting I do to the rice before adding the water. This time I toasted it a little longer than called for and really liked it that way.

I was really surprised by this meal, both in how well everything came together, and the taste. The pork was succulent and the eggplant was actually pretty good, mild in flavor but definitely noticeable. I must remember to add less cilantro to my dish next time (or chop it finer) since I was not a fan of its texture difference from the rest of the dish (although I loved the fragrance it provided).

Recipe number 10... The book boasts 1000 recipes so I guess that would make me officially 1% complete.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really going to have to give that rice technique a try. I've used my rice cooker for so long that I'm almost afraid to try anything else.

    And I'm still jealous of your knives. I hope you love them enough.



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