Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: January 7, 2014

Since I had bought all that pork at Costco, I had several different packets of marinating meat for easy dinner making.  The idea was to simply come home from work or the gym and toss them into a pan.  Somehow, being prepared seems to backfire more often than it should.  I was going to make the pork marinated in bbq sauce on our grill pan, but Nick had texted me while I was leaving the office that he wanted junk food. He was running and errand after work so I told him not to pick up food because I was planning to cook.  He requested that if we were cooking to have something fried. To satisfy his craving without going to Taco Bell (my junk food nemesis), I readjusted our menu to make tempura vegetables and deep fried pork steaks.  I like to think of it as a happy medium even if our apartment stinks of oil now. We generally don't fry food.  I don't care how many people say that if you fry at a high enough temperature it's not that bad for you, you're still cooking your food in a pot of oil.  This was a "treat" per se.

I'm not very well versed in frying, but have done it a few times before in my Dutch oven when I was really into making empanadas.  So delicious, but so bad.  I was also a lot younger and less health conscious back then. Now that Nick and I are approaching our 30s, I'm trying to change our eating habits so that when we get up to our 60s we won't be in shock when the doctors tell us to use less salt and eat less fat.  I'm sure that eating out will be a problem for us.  I do actually have a deep fryer that a friend gave me several years ago, but I've been avoiding it for obvious reasons.

Tonight I ventured into tempura making.  I don't enjoy tempura myself, but Nick really likes it. I found a shrimp tempura recipe that got good reviews and I had all the ingredients on hand so I tried it out.  Nick and I thought that it turned out pretty well.  Apparently traditional tempura batter calls for carbonated water, which we have from the soda stream, but this recipe just called for cold water and baking powder.  I think the idea of the soda water is to make it light and fluffy.  I had prepared mushrooms, onion rings, broccoli, and carrots, but only made the mushroom, broccoli, and a little bit of onion.  There was just too much food. We put the extra onions and carrots in the vegetable bag for the curry pork that we are making for Wednesday night.

In addition to tempura veggies, I still wanted to use the boneless pork loin chops that I bought. I pulled out the two pieces that was being marinated in a mixture of bbq sauce and water.  I sliced the pork into 1/4 inch slices and threw them back in the bag to coat in the sauce and marinate a little longer. I then found a recipe for deep fried pork that did not call for a batter, but for a flour based mixture. I tossed the pork into a gallon ziptop bag and shook the heck out of it.  There were a lot of different seasonings in the flour that I was a little apprehensive about, but it turned out very tasty.

Tempura mushrooms

Tempura broccoli

Tempura broccoli and onion rings

I like to keep fried food warm and crispy by putting it on a
cooling rack in a warm oven.  Any excess oil or crumbs fall
onto my lined baking sheet and the heat keeps it crisp.  I use
this method for my chicken katsu.

Fried pork with onion rings and broccoli.  Nick also made a dipping sauce
for his tempura.  I just had a little bit of the pork with left over alfredo and
noodles.  By the time I was done frying, I was so tired of the smell that I didn't
want to eat it. 

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