Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Salad Daze

During the summer, Dr. C. and I tend to eat a bit lighter; with main course salads, and grilled entrees accompanied by a salad, it's easy to get into a rut, so I decided to try a recipe I'd seen for an Asian Pork Loin that sounded good, marinating for 2 days in Hoisin, and other goodies.  After 2 days, I put the pork into the slow cooker, and when it was tender, pulled all the meat, saving some for other dishes in the freezer, but tossing the pork with an Asian sesame dressing, and sturdy greens and topped it with some fried wonton strips.  It was a big hit, and I think you could use the same technique with chicken, but only marinate for about 6 hours, otherwise, the meat will begin to cook in the marinade. 

Asian Pork Loin
Serves 8

1 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
One 4 pound pork loin, tied at 1-inch intervals
2 large red onions, sliced
In a large mixing bowl, combine the Hoisin, soy, ketchup, garlic, ginger, canola and vinegar, whisking until blended.  Pour the mixture into a large zipper-top plastic bag.  Add the pork loin, seal the bag and refrigerate for up to 48 hours----turn the bag every once in a while when you open the fridge.  Remove the bag from the refrigerator and strain off the marinade into a small saucepan.  Bring the marinade to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.  Place the onions into the bottom of the slow cooker, and top with the pork loin.  Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.  Add the marinade to the slow cooker and cook for 5 more hours on high, until the loin is falling apart tender.  Remove the pork loin to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.  Pour the liquid from the pan into a fat separator and skim off the fat.  Remove any fat from the pork, and pull into pieces, as you would pulled pork.  You can serve the pork in the cooking liquid over rice, or you can serve the pork in flour tortillas, as you would soft tacos, or you can pull the meat, and store it in the liquid in the freezer for up to 2 months.  (I use the meat and liquid in Asian noodle soups, sesame noodle salads, or the salad that follows)

Pulled Pork Salad with Asian Sesame Dressing
Serves 6

For the Dressing
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon sesame oil
 In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until blended.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  

For the Salad

One small head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
One head romaine, thinly sliced
One European Cucumber, thinly sliced
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 o 3 cups pulled pork (recipe above)
Asian Sesame Dressing (recipe above)
Fried wonton strips
1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

In a large salad bowl, mix together the cabbage, romaine, cucumber, scallions and pork.  Toss with some of the dressing, and plate the salads.  Garnish each serving with wonton strips and sesame seeds.  

The news has been so miserable lately, I haven't felt like writing, especially thinking of all those in the horn Africa without any food, and the sacrifices they are making to try and get their families to safety, shelter,  and places where there might be nourishment to save them.  These are the faces of courage and sacrifice, and I am realizing my little part of the world is hardly touched by catastrophic events, and I'm very grateful for what I have.  Until next time, buona notte from San Diego. 

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