Salad with Earl Grey Pork Roast, Pears, Celery, Cabbage and Cherries

Earl Grey Pork Roast Salad with Pears, Cherries

I have some leftover Earl Grey’s Roast Pork in the fridge. Yes, I did roast pork despite the heat wave; I just got up at 5:30 A.M. yesterday and roasted it in the early morning while the world was cool. I was thinking of what to fix for lunch and thought that with all that flavor, it must be delicious in a salad. I started thinking of what might work with it and just pulled stuff from the fridge and started chopping. The result was delicious, so rich in flavor and fragrance and worthy of several remakes. In fact, when I finished, I thought about making it again right away.

  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Bosc pear, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1/2 cup of finely cut cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of celery, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup of Earl Grey’s pork roast, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

So, I started out chopping green onion, adding the pear, cabbage, celery and roast pork. I squeezed the juice from one lemon, stirred, added some salt and pepper and tasted. I thought it needed a bit more sweetness, the pear not strong enough to counter the lemon’s tartness. So I added some cherries. I tasted again and it was tasty, but thought just the little bit of rich fatty flavor from the feta would ground it so I sprinkled in some feta and a bit more salt and pepper. It was perfect.

The flavor and fragrance of Earl Grey is delicious and subtle. I was doubtful when I first tried roasting it and was amazed by how delicious it made the pork roast, tastier than any pork roast I have ever had. It seemed possible that it could work in a salad if there were enough subtly flavored ingredients (cabbage, celery, pears) to absorb and reflect the flavor of the tea.

That is what is so fun about cooking, taking an idea, running with it to see if it might work and then fine-tuning it to get a fabulous dish.

This made one serving. But it is so good, you will want to eat two, so consider doubling the recipe.

Sweet & Sour Pork With Couscous

Sweet & Sour Pork Couscous

This was very fast and easy to make.

First I boiled some water for couscous. I put 1/4 cup of couscous with 1/2 cup of boiling water in a bowl and put a lid on it to soak up the water while I cooked the rest.

Then I put 2 tsps of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of chopped onion and a small sliver of fresh ginger, some salt and pepper and cooked until tender. I cut a 3 oz. piece of boneless pork loin steak into small pieces and added them to the onions. Meanwhile, I pitted 6 fresh cherries and cut them in half and chopped up about 1/2 of fresh cilantro.

When the pork was done, I added the cherries and the couscous. I added two packets of sweet and sour sauce I had saved from a takeout from Panda Express. I don’t use many condiments except mayo and mustard. I don’t like ketchup and buying any condiments is just a waste, so I save a few from when I eat out. They come in handy as I didn’t want to make a batch of sweet and sour this size and probably won’t make something using sweet and sour sauce for months. So, I mixed in the two packets and added the cilantro at the end. This made one serving. It was flavorful, with sweetness from the cherries and tang from the ginger and onions and a nice freshness from the cilantro. The sweet and sour sauce could have been left out, it would still be good, but I liked how it married the flavors.

Dragon’s Breath Sweet & Sour Pork

S&S Pork

 

This is significantly tastier than dragon’s breath, but it will add a touch of fire to your day. I was hankering for some sweet and sour pork, but I also had some parboiled rutabaga left over from salad fixings and some pitted cherries left from a chutney I had made and it occurred to me that they could work in a sweet and sour pork. They would add compatible flavors, at least. However, there was nothing at least about this dish. It was by far the most delicious sweet and sour pork I have ever made.

So, to start it off. I chopped half an onion and minced an inch of ginger and 1 serrano chile. I sautéed them in olive oil on a medium low heat with some salt and pepper. Meanwhile I chopped up 1/2 a red pepper. I had cleaned and cut up the pineapple yesterday, so it was in a container in the fridge. I parboiled rutabagas for salad 2 days ago and they were also in the fridge in a container. I added a pork loin chop (about 6 ounces) and let it cook with the onions, ginger and chile and added some salt and pepper. When it was browned on one side, I added the red pepper. I let cook for about 5 minutes and added 1/4 cup cherries and 1/4 cup of pineapple chunks and 1/4 cup of rutabaga and season with salt and pepper. I let them cook until warm. Then I added 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of white vinegar and stirred. Added salt and pepper to taste.

Please note that when you add salt and pepper at ever step of cooking, you are adding much less at one time. Seasoning step by step means you will avoid over or under seasoning.

I served over plain rice. This had all that sweet and sour pungency of the traditional dish, but the rutabaga and cherries added an earthiness and umami that made it simply out of this world. Frankly, it would taste delicious without the pork for a vegetarian entree.

 

Asparagus Diablo

DSCN5474

I threw this together in just a few minutes and it was delicious. I decided to name it Asparagus Diablo after an alliance member in an MMO I play, but cherries do make it red, so it sort of fits.

I took 6 asparagus and sliced them vertically, then I sliced them horizontally in fourths. The bottom ends, I cut in half again so all the pieces were about the same size in order to cook evenly. I began heating water with a dash of salt. When it came to a rolling boil, I added the asparagus and let cook for 1 minute – just to parboil them. I did not want them softened and mushy, but retaining a bit of their texture. You could say they were al dente.

Meanwhile, I cut three paper-thin slices off a red onion and chopped them into small pieces. I heated 2 tsp of olive oil in a small pan and sautéed the onion. While the onion cooked, I pitted 10 cherries and cut them into quarters. When the onions were tender, I added the cherries and cooked on medium heat, smashing the cherries with my wooden spoon. When they were softened and liquefying, I added 1 tbsp  or so of balsamic vinegar and stirred it all together and let it cook for about 30 more seconds.

By now the asparagus was done, so I drained it and placed in a bowl. I poured the  cherry vinaigrette on top and added a dollop of goat cheese.

This made one serving. The asparagus tasted like spring. The cherries were a delicious mix of sweet, sour and tangy and the sweetness of the cheese balanced everything.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Cherry Salsa

Cherry Salsa on Bagel

I mixed the following ingredients together and put them in an airtight storage container. I let the salsa rest for a few hours, allowing the lime juice, onions and chile flavors to soak into the cherries. This made a quart of fresh salsa. Since it is fresh, not cooked, it will need to be consumed relatively quickly, though all the acid will slow spoilage.

1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of chopped red onion
3 limes, juiced
1 serrano chile, minced
1 quart of fresh cherries, pitteed and cut in half
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt
pepper

I served it with a turkey burger for supper and with a bagel for breakfast. I think it would be delicious on grilled chicken breast or pork chops, added to a burrito or on top of a salad.

Cherry Salsa on Turkey Burger

Chicken with Savory Cherry Sauce, Pierogies with Nectarine Fig Chutney and Kale Salad

Pierogies with sYs Chutney, Chicken Breast with Savory Cherry Sauce and Kale Salad

Saute the chicken breast in a small pan with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper. After it gets nicely browned on the outside, finish it by braising in Savory Cherry Sauce. I made this ahead and stored in the fridge.

The vinaigrette is made from 2 pounds of cherries cooked with one finely sliced and diced onion, a cup of white win, 2 tsp of tarragon and 2 tsp of dry mustard cooked together nicely with just a bit of balsamic vinegar added at the end to taste. i used about 2 TBSP.

Meanwhile bring 1/2 water to a boil, add a bit of chicken stock (1/4 cup) and cook from frozen pre-made pierogies. While that’s cooking, you can make the nectarine-fig chutney.

Finely chop 1/2 onion and saute until softened in 1 TBSP of olive oil. While it’s cooking, cut up two nectarines and 6 figs. Add to the onions and pour in a little white wine for them to cook in. Add salt and pepper and cook until they soften. Add 1 or 2 TBSP of Dijon Mustard (to taste).  Works beautifully on pork, pierogies, chicken.

The Kale Salad is made with

  • 1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed and chopped into small pieces.
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 cup of pecans

and the salad dresssing. Mix the following together before adding to the above.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP tamari
  • 2 TBSP vinegar
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Fennel & Red Cabbage Slaw and Watermelon Salad

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, Melon & Feta Salad

This was actually tossed together in minutes. I made the savory cherry sauce a few days earlier. The watermelon salad was all done ahead and I simply added the feta at the last minute. Likewise, the fennel-cabbage slaw was made ahead.

I heated a cast-iron skillet to medium high, tossed the pork chop on and let it cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes, then turned it and let if finish cooking, about another 4 minutes. The secret to good, juicy pork chops (or any meat, really) is to resist the temptation to press on it with the spatula and to let it just cook without a lot of flipping. My mom said meat lost 1/4 of its juiciness every time it was turned and I believe it.

 

Pierogies, Salad and Cherry Vinaigrette

Pierogies & Salad with Balsamic Cherry Vinaigrette

I had some leftover chicken stock from soup and I heated it up and cooked the pierogies in it. While the pierogies cooked, I made a simple salad with some cranberry beans I boiled and drained and cooled in the fridge earlier. I tore up some lettuce, tossed thinly sliced red onion and red cabbage in the mix with some cherry vinaigrette on top. I served the pierogies on the side with salt, pepper, dry dill weed and a dollop of sour cream

 

Cider-Braised Endive, Pierogies and Waldorf Salad

Cider-Braised Endive, Pierogies and Waldorf Salad

In a sauce, I melted 1 TBSP of butter, added 1 tsp of sugar and a little salt and swirled it around. I cut one endive in half and put the flat side down in the butter and left it on medium heat until it began to brown and began pitting a dozen cherries. After five minutes, I turned the endive over to brown the rounded side for three minutes. (Time to start the pierogies) Turning it back to flat side down, I tossed in the cherries and 1/3 cup of apple-cider vinegar. I let this simmer for about 12-15 minutes. This has a lovely sweet-sour flavor that is irresistible.

To start, I chopped up a slice of bacon into 1/2 pieces and tossed it in a skillet with 1 TBSP of melted butter on medium heat. I added about 1/4 of onion sliced pole to pole thinly, separating the slices so they can caramelize. I added the three pierogies and put a lid on the skillet. After 10 minutes, I turned the piergies and let them finish cooking. I used the lemon from the salad and squeezed a little more juice out to give it a bright freshness to complement the caramelized onions and the savory comfort flavor of the pierogies.

While these were finishing up, I sliced apple, added red flame grapes in an equal amount and tossed in a few pecans and mixed together. I added 1/4 cup of mayo and squeezed a fresh lemon over it and mixed well. I cut up a few leaves of romaine as a bed and served on top, mixing it in as I ate the salad. This makes 4 servings and by added the lettuce when you serve, it stays fresh longer.