Today I turn LC over to one of the smartest bloggers out there. Jessie from The Happiness in Health is freshly back from an amazing stint studying at Peking University, a trip that took her to Beijing, China and Hong Kong. She chronicled her awesome trip on her blog, sharing with us the sights, sounds and most importantly the tastes she experienced. The Happiness in Health is exactly what the name says, a health conscious blog with great food and sharp, witty writing.
Also contributing to this blog is Jessie's husband Peter, AKA the MacGyver of the Kitchen. Do not take my word for it, check out his DIY Sous-Vide Cooker.
Please check out The Happiness in Health one of the blogs on my weekly reading list.
Welcome to Guest Post Spotlight Thursday
Hello, Lazaro Cooks! readers! Jessie from The Happiness in Health here! As I’m relatively new in the blogging world, I suppose I should introduce myself by describing myself in one sentence. Well, here goes:
Omnivorous girl living minimal lifestyle who nevertheless struggles to close fridge door due to massive numbers of specialty food products and husband-cooked items; also: CHEESE.
Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Lazaro for asking me to guest post. I am honored :)
For those of you who have read my blog, you’ll know that I recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to Beijing, China and Hong Kong. While I was abroad for 6 weeks, I tasted anything I could get my hands on (I was also studying at Peking University, but that experience pales in comparison to REAL CHINESE FOOD). Since my return to the U.S., I’ve been attempting to recreate my favorite Chinese dishes at home, such as this “cafeteria-style” hand-shaved noodle dish.
Another favorite dish I enjoyed in a Hong Kong dim sum restaurant was pork with fermented tofu sauce. Ladies and gents, the original:
Like many Asian dishes, this pork dish contained a higher ratio of bones-to-other stuff than I prefer. Keeping this preference in mind, could I make this dish better? Why yes, yes I can.
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about fermented tofu.
Also known as fermented bean curd, fermented tofu is preserved in vinegar, rice wine, and salt and has a pungent, slightly spicy flavor. The tofu is often used on its own to flavor rice and other bland foods. When cooked into other dishes, such as this pork dish, other ingredients are used sparingly so as to highlight the tofu’s flavor. You can find fermented tofu at your nearest Asian grocery store. If you’ve never set foot in an Asian grocery, I invite you to expand your food boundaries by checking out one. Not only is much of the food super cheap, the new, exotic flavors will be sure to inspire you!
Now, for the recipe: if you’ve checked out the recipes at my blog, you’ll notice I have a fondness for wacky awesomely creative recipe names, such as Salmon Swims Through Pineapple-Tomato Chutney and No One Messes with Triple P! (Protein-Packed Pesto). Why break the pattern now?
Red-Scented Pork Delights With Unexpected Flavor From … Tofu??
And for those who prefer a more traditional recipe name:
Pork Tenderloin in Fermented Tofu Sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
1.5 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into medallions (no bones allowed!)
¼ cup sherry
¼ cup Asian wine vinegar (another excuse to check out the Asian grocery)
3 cubes red fermented tofu
2 ¼-inch disks peeled ginger
½ cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
Note: Since tenderloin is a lean cut of pork, I decided to braise the medallions in order to retain their juiciness. If you use a fattier pork cut, feel free to try baking, broiling, or frying.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat canola oil in heavy, oven-proof saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear pork medallions on both sides for about 30 seconds per side.
Add sherry and wine vinegar to pork, cover, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until center of medallions reach 160°F. Alternatively, cut a few medallions open to make sure they’re cooked through.
Remove saucepan from oven and return to burner. Take out pork with tongs or slotted spoon to a waiting plate. Heat saucepan on low heat and add chicken broth, ginger, and soy sauce. Use your stirring spoon to “smoosh” the red tofu into the sauce until the sauce is smooth. The sauce should be thin. If you prefer a thicker sauce, let the sauce cook down before placing your pork back in the saucepan and letting all the flavors mingle. Serve with your favorite rice. Mine happens to be a combination of brown rice and black forbidden rice (also conveniently found in your local Asian grocery store).
The finished dish, with a side of cruciferous-ly delicious steamed cauliflower.
Thanks again, Lazaro!
For more, please check out Jessie's fantastic blog The Happiness in Health.