When it comes to last minute food improv, I am the Queen.
It often seems to happen that my menu plans get changed for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes because I suffer from self induced, short term memory loss, and forget to grab an ingredient at the store.
(Wink, wink. Cough, cough.)
Sometimes it’s not my fault at all, and some natural occurrence like a thunderstorm tosses a monkey wrench in my wheel spokes. Can’t be helped, so if your meal plan was a beautiful “Low Country” Kabob, ya gotta change that shit up on the fly.
I had my entire week planned; meals, home projects, workouts. All of it.
I got up bright and early at 7:22AM on a Sunday, had my water and coffee, splashed my face, brushed my chops, and was out the door by 8:15ish to get the shopping done and get back for a video chat with a friend in another time zone.
It had already rained, so I was feeling iffy about the primarily grilled dinner I had planned.
I got most of the shopping done, and was home by 10:15.
Mid video chat, I heard the thunder in the background, and started obsessing about the dinner switch up, but I cut myself off fast and decided to make the readers decide for me.
Sunday is my lazy day. And that includes refraining from any overthinking. Its a non-negotiable. Sunday is my day of rest.
I chose the voting options according to my pre-planned menu for the week ahead, that included Mexican, Italian and Asian.
The votes came in fast, and it was decided that Asian was the theme. I had been dreaming up a Korean BBQ something, so I went to digging in the cupboard where I keep all my oils, vinegars and cooking wines.
The following inner conversation then happens.
Sesame oil? Yup.
Rice wine vinegar? Uh huh.
Enough olive oil for marinade, stir fried veggies and sauce? Yaasss, bitch. It’s all in there.
Oh, and what’s this tipped over little bottle of goodness?
Yikes!! Mongolian fire sauce.
Now, out loud to Mr. Wonderful, “Hey, do you remember that time I almost vaped our eyeballs, lungs and nostrils out with this fucking Mongolian Fire Oil?”
And then I erupt into laughter as his face takes on a skeptical expression.
He asks me apprehensively, “What are you planning to do with that?”
There’s a story.
A few years ago, I was making some homemade Mongolian Beef, so I’d purchased it with ZERO knowledge that it was incredibly strong oil, and that one is to add a few dribbles into a regular cooking oil, NOT use it as a stir fry oil undiluted.
Let me give a helpful tip to you. If an oil is sold in a small bottle, it’s probably highly concentrated (duh), so yeah, read up on it’s uses before diving in, or just follow a recipe. I’m a freestyle cooker, so I don’t often follow recipes, but I learned my lesson with this devil oil.
First of all, it is not a high heat oil, so it burns fast on its own, and when it does; the fumes set your face on fire.
I now know that only about 3 drops of this will add mega heat to your cooking oil. You can find it in the ethnic section of the stores. You’re welcome.
We have just finished this lovely meal and a big joint out on the back deck, and are currently watching yet another storm roll through, immensely enjoying the very loud, Earth rumbling thunders.
I’m thinking about ice cream from the stand down the road, but I’ll get some of this entry done first, I guess.
Staying with the lazy Sunday rule, I decided to make this without the hassle of cutting the meat into cubes or strips like I usually would, per the standard Asian style of cooking.
Instead, I’d sear marinated chops on cast iron, then transfer the meat and juices to the oven for tenderizing and creating their own pan sauce.
They could have been finished up right in the cast iron, but I had a few more to cook. This really locks in the flavor so the juice doesn’t run out while baking.
I suggest prepping everything ahead of time if you read my blog because you’re learning to cook.
For me, the “stress” of cooking is my relaxation. The planning and coordinating how every component of the meal can be done and served hot at the same time. It’s a game. But for some I know it’s not second nature, so heed my advice. The end game looks like this:
Hot rice hits plate. Perfectly cooked veggies pile on that. The chop lays atop the veggies. You smother with more veggies. You pour sauce on. Wave on the sesame seeds. Be strategic with your scallions.
Sorry. That’s the last pic of the plate, so it had to get dramatic. It was so damn pretty, though. Wish you could’ve tried it.
Are you thinking that if I’d STFU and wrote the recipe, you may indeed try it one of these days? Ok. I hear you.
What You Need:
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c liquid aminos or soy sauce
1/4 c honey
1/4 c seasoned rice vinegar
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
1/4 c chopped scallions
4-5 large and lean pork chops or 2.5 lbs.
2 Tbsp cooking oil (olive or peanut)
2-3 drops of each sesame and fire oil
Stir Fried Veggies:
2 green peppers
1 large sweet onion
2 cans water chestnuts
1 pkg mushroom slices or 2 cans
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2-3 drops sesame oil
1-2 drops Mongolian fire oil
1 c liquid aminos or soy sauce
2/3 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp water
4 tsp corn starch
2 packages frozen microwaveable rice with broccoli, peas and carrots (Bird’s Eye™️)
1/2 c water chestnuts
1/2 c fine diced onions
What You Do:
I’m going to walk you through this the way I should have done it. Not the way I did it.
No matter what, this recipe has a lot going on. Prepping all the vegetables, making marinade, waiting for meat to marinade, searing meat, baking meat, stir frying vegetables, making rice, making sauce, plating it all. Keeping the damn kitchen clean while you do all this. Blah blah blahze splee.
Make the marinade, and get the meat soaking in it.
In a medium glass bowl, combine all marinade ingredients.
Place pork chops in a gallon zip bag.
Pour marinade over meat, and seal the bag tightly, making sure to press out excess air.
Put bag in a glass dish and refrigerate, making sure to turn it over a few times.
Now get out the cutting boards, your favorite chef knife and some bowls.
Clean and prep the onions and green peppers, I julienned these thin, and threw them in a bowl.
Reserve a 1/2 c of the onion for the rice, and dice it fine, if desired.
Drain and chop the water chestnuts. You can buy them pre sliced, but I like mine in quarters, so I buy them whole and cut them. It’s about the textures, people. It is everything in fooding.
Also reserve 1/2 c water chestnuts for rice, if desired.
Clean mushrooms and cut in slices or quarters. Drain if using canned.
Set all this business aside and maybe a little clean up is in order before going into the next phase.
Take the meat from refrigerator.
Get all your pans ready. You’ll need a medium saucepan for BBQ, a skillet for searing chops, an oiled glass cake pan for baking chops, and a sauté pan or wok for veggies. It’s a lot.
Plus, if you’re making your own rice, there’s that, which is why I opted for a frozen rice and veggie blend that can be micro steamed in its bag. Trust me on this one, my friends, and if you insist on doing your own; I commend you.
In the saucepan, whisk together all of the BBQ sauce ingredients except the water and cornstarch. Set this aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 2 Tbsp cooking oil, along with the sesame and Mongolian Fire Oil.
Add 2-3 chops to the skillet, cook 3 minutes per side, then transfer to baking pan.
When all chops have been seared and moved to baking pan, pour the juices from the skillet over the meat, cover pan with foil and bake 45 to 60 minutes.
After 30 minutes, uncover and flip the chops over.
The last 30 minutes of the meat baking is “Go” time.
Heat the butter and olive oil for the vegetable stir fry. When butter is melted and bubbling, add garlic.
Heat until golden, then add onion and green peppers.
As soon as these are starting to soften, add mushrooms and water chestnuts.
Stir in honey, ginger, sesame and fire oils.
Cook until tender, but not soft.
Remove from heat and set aside.
While the vegetables are working, you’ll want to get the sauce going on a medium burner.
Whisk it regularly letting it heat until it is at a low boil.
Once sauce is boiling, mix the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl making sure it is dissolved.
Gradually pour cornstarch blend into sauce while whisking.
Bring back to a simmer, and allow to cook 7-11 minutes. 7-11 is the tried and true lucky sauce timing. Believe it, or bite it.
Now you’ll want to wipe your sweaty ass brow, and get the rice and veg mix out of the freezer and into the microwave.
Whisk your sauce.
Cook that rice according to package directions, then in a large glass bowl, toss it with the onions and water chestnuts you held back.
Whisk your sauce.
Cover this with plastic wrap or a lid to keep hot.
Whisk your sauce, and turn it off. It should be thickened.
Turn the oven off and remove chops.
Plate it however you want. I like to stack and pile my grub. I like the food to all meld and play together, and I don’t mind saying, you folks that freak about food touching after 5 years old are just fucking weird.
I plated it as follows: rice down, stir fry veggies on that, pork chop, more veggies, sauce on it all, sesame seeds, scallions. Oh. Then my fork and face jumped in that pool of delight. No. Knife. Needed.
Of course I have a “first bite” image…
I know this was a long ass blog, but that old saying about the devil being in the details is true. Especially in cooking.
There is a lot of action from start to finish, so I hope these directions are easy to follow, and this dish is a huge success at your dinner table.
All the love, Cookers.
©️2019 cHELLe ON WHEELS
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission by the owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts or links may be used, provided that full credit is given to M.L. Clement or cHELLe ON WHEELS, LLC. with appropriate and specific direction to original content. In other words; if you steal my shit, I’ll call you out.