Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cooking Again

Now that my daughter is back home in her apartment (she's doing so well she'll return to work next Friday), I can get back to cooking things that require recipes. For several weeks we've been keeping it pretty simple and I haven't cooked much, or I've cooked things that I've already posted about.

Tonight I adapted a Rachel Ray recipe and came up with a wonderfully spicy-sweet dish. The original recipe, Apricot Chicken, was basically a sweet dish, but I wanted to spice mine up a bit. I also used pork instead of chicken, and thickened the sauce with cornstarch and water.

Every couple of months the Vons supermarket in Yucaipa puts pork sirloins on sale, and I stock up. This meat is like beef sirloin in that it's very tender, and cooks up better than boneless pork chops (which I also use a lot of). Pork sirloins are wonderful for grilling, and I use them for Schwenkbraten and my own Lemon-Garlic Schwenks. Instead of getting tough during grilling, like the boneless chops, this meat gets tender. You should try it sometime with your choice of marinade. Tonight I used it in this recipe:

Spicy Apricot Pork

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pork sirloins (about 12 oz.), cut in bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 T cider or white vinegar
4 dried apricots, diced (it doesn't look like enough, but they expand while cooking)
1 c chicken stock
1/2 c apricot all-fruit spread
1-2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh red chile paste) (I used 2, and it was really spicy-so if you want it milder, just use 1)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. cold water

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add meat and season with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides; add onion. Cook 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the skillet, and when it evaporates, add the apricots and chicken stock. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the apricot fruit spread and the sambal oelek; stir to combine. Cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer 10-12 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, add cornstarch-water mixture, and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over hot rice. Makes 3 servings (or 1 normal serving for you and 1 large serving for your hungry spouse!)

PRODUCT REVIEW-Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - Brown Rice

I saw this at the store last time I bought groceries, and since I absolutely CANNOT cook brown rice without burning it, I decided to give it a try. This bag has 2 servings of brown rice in it, and the directions call for you to microwave it on high for 90 seconds. I was pleasantly surprised to see that that's all it took. Perfectly-cooked brown rice. Since I normally cook for two, I plan to stock up on these. 90 seconds to perfect brown rice is worth the extra cost to me.


James said...

I made your spicy apricot pork over the wekend and it was superb thanks for the recipe i will be making it more often thanks for the recipe.

vlb5757 said...

Cyndi, I finally broke down and bought myself a real Japanese rice cooker. I don't burn rice anymore. I hate waiting 30-40 minutes to cook brown rice on the stove, only to come back and see it's burned on the bottom. Really kills the mood for dinner.

Erin S. said...

This looks yummy--I love fruit with my pork.

sher said...

The pork looks fabulous. This would be a perfect dish for me and my husband. We both prefer pork to beef--and enjoy fruit in our savory dishes. Good to know about the rice too!

Peggy said...

That recipe looks great - spicy-sweet is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Also, thanks for the tip about Vons. I'm going to keep my eye out for pork sirloin on sale.