My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


14 Comments

Phenomenal or Failure? It Depends On Who You Ask!

Last night, I experimented.  No, I didn’t create my own recipe, but I decided to make a new recipe which I found on the Internet last week while I was searching for dinner ideas.  It was super simple, and I had everything on hand.  It was easy to make, and I really liked it.

 

What’s the problem?  Only 2 out of the 5 people eating dinner considered it edible.  Not good… And it makes me wonder about my own taste level.  Do I like really weird or disgusting things?  I don’t think so, but OF COURSE I won’t think what I like is disgusting.

 

So I’m sharing this recipe with a warning.  I liked it, one of my sons liked it (he ate 3 pork chops!), but my husband and 2 of my sons thought it was inedible.  As much as I enjoyed it, I am not likely to make this dish again.

 

The not-so-popular with 3 family members pork chops.

The not-so-popular with 3 family members pork chops.

 

Balsamic Pork Chops

 

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Pork Chops or Pork Loin

 

Mix together equal parts of Balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Tenderize pork chops, if using.  If using pork loin, you can cut up the loin into “chops” or marinade the entire loin.  Let marinade for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chops, to taste.  Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through.

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.  But, remember, I warned you that this dish is not loved by all.

 

I started with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, putting 1/3 cup of each in a small pyrex casserole pan.

I started with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, putting 1/3 cup of each in a small pyrex casserole pan.

 

I used a whisk to combine the oil and vinegar.

I used a whisk to combine the oil and vinegar.

 

I cut up a pork loin into "chops," then I cut the fat on the edge to prevent the "chop" from curling as it was cooked.

I cut up a pork loin into “chops,” then I cut the fat on the edge to prevent the “chop” from curling as it was cooked.

 

I tenderized each "chop" and placed it in the marinade.

I tenderized each “chop” and placed it in the marinade.

 

After tenderizing the chops and placing them in the marinade, I let them sit for 30 minutes.  Then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the chops and preheated a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil on medium-high heat.

After tenderizing the chops and placing them in the marinade, I let them sit for 30 minutes. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the chops and preheated a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil on medium-high heat.

 

I placed the chops in the pan, ensuring there was enough space between them that they didn't steam.  I wanted a nice golden brown outside.

I placed the chops in the pan, ensuring there was enough space between them that they didn’t steam. I wanted a nice golden brown outside.

 

After a few minutes, I flipped the chops and let them cook on the other side until they were cooked through.

After a few minutes, I flipped the chops and let them cook on the other side until they were cooked through.

 

Then I served them with broccoli and jasmine rice.  I thought it was yummy.  My husband?  Not so much.

Then I served them with broccoli and jasmine rice. I thought it was yummy. My husband? Not so much.

 

There you have it.  Not quite an epic fail, but the best dinner experience for our family.  Oops!

 

Have you ever had a dinner like that?  Where some people loved dinner and other people hated it? 

I’d love it if you’d share your experiences with me!


16 Comments

It Only Took Me 23 Years To Make My Husband’s Favorite Childhood Dish

I love my husband, but, yes, it really took me 23 years of marriage to make my husband’s favorite childhood dish, Thịt Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs).

 

Vietnamese Braised Pork With Eggs

Vietnamese Braised Pork With Eggs

 

Poor man!  In my defense, it is a bit intimidating to make someone’s favorite dish, particularly when it is not the cuisine you grew up eating, and you have to match your husband’s mother’s recipe.  So waiting 23 years was to my advantage.  It had been so long since he’d had it, he couldn’t truly remember what his mother’s recipe tasted like!  I made it for the first time about a month ago, and it was a hit.

 

Seriously, this is an issue I struggle with a bit.  I can follow a recipe just fine, but I cannot taste Vietnamese cuisine and know what it’s missing like I can with the foods I ate growing up.  I’m learning, but I do much better when I have my husband home to do the final tasting and seasoning adjustments.

 

So, what does this have to do with food storage?  Well, it’s important not only to store food you’ll eat, it’s also important to know how to cook food you’ll eat.  Also, it is a much better value to make this at home than it is to eat this dish at a restaurant.  I might spend the same amount overall, but we get a lot more food if we cook this at home.   That saves me money and allows me to use the money I saved on extra food for my pantry!

 

LEARNING TO COOK is a very important food storage skill.  And you get to learn to make this dish right along with me.  Come on!

 

First, here’s a link to the recipe.  Keep in mind, this is not a low-fat recipe.  In fact, my husband requested that I use a fattier cut of pork this time.  I’d used a relatively lean pork chop the first time, but he wanted a little more fat in the dish this time around.

 

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

 

 

First, I tenderized the meat.  While this is not called for in the recipe, I find it's a good idea to tenderize the meat.

First, I tenderized the meat. While this is not called for in the recipe, I find it’s a good idea to tenderize the meat.

 

Cut the meat into 1 inch (or a bit larger) pieces.

Cut the meat into 1 inch (or a bit larger) pieces.

 

See?  It's all cut up, and I put the bones in a bag which was placed in the freezer.  I'll use them later to make stock.

See? It’s all cut up, and I put the bones in a bag which was placed in the freezer. I’ll use them later to make stock.

 

I have water boiling ready for the pork.

I have water boiling ready for the pork.

 

Put the pork in the water for a couple of minutes.

Put the pork in the water for a couple of minutes.

 

Drain and add back to the pot.  I also added some sliced onion and garlic.

Drain and add back to the pot. I also added some sliced onion and garlic.

 

I added the coconut water, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, and enough water to cover.

I added the coconut water, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, and enough water to cover.

 

In the meantime, I boiled some eggs.  I doubled the amount of eggs called for in the recipe, because my hubby loves the eggs!

In the meantime, I boiled some eggs. I doubled the amount of eggs called for in the recipe, because my hubby loves the eggs!

 

I bought the meat mixture to a boil, and let it simmer on the stove.

I bought the meat mixture to a boil, and let it simmer on the stove.

 

While the eggs were boiling, I began a homemade caramel which will be added to the meat mixture later.

While the eggs were boiling, I began a homemade caramel which will be added to the meat mixture later.  Think making caramel is scary?  It’s actually super simple and was done in about 5 minutes. 

 

 

Turn on the heat, and stir the sugar.

Turn on the heat, and stir the sugar.

 

Continue stirring.  See?  It's starting to clump.  That's good.

Continue stirring. See? It’s starting to clump. That’s good.

 

And more clumping.  If you look, you can see that the sugar is beginning to melt.  It looks a little like drops of water or oil.

And more clumping. If you look, you can see that the sugar is beginning to melt. It looks a little like drops of water or oil.

 

It's getting there!

It’s getting there!

 

Almost all the sugar is melted.

Almost all the sugar is melted.

 

The sugar is melted.  Now I need to cook the sugar (caramel) mixture until it's a little darker.

The sugar is melted. Now I need to cook the sugar (caramel) mixture until it’s a little darker.

 

Like this.  It doesn't take very long.  Maybe 20-30 seconds to go from the color in the last picture to this color.

Like this. It doesn’t take very long. Maybe 20-30 seconds to go from the color in the last picture to this color.

 

Then I added water as per the instructions and stirred to dissolve the caramel into the water.

Then I added water as per the instructions and stirred to dissolve the caramel into the water.

 

And it's getting there.  Still a few clumps, so it needs to cook a little more.

And it’s getting there. Still a few clumps, so it needs to cook a little more.

 

Now it's ready.  I add it to the pot.

Now it’s ready. I add it to the meat mixture in my large pot.

 

And the sauce takes on a lovely caramel color.

And the sauce takes on a lovely caramel color.

 

The eggs are boiled, peeled, and ready, so I add them to the meat mixture.

The eggs are boiled, peeled, and ready, so I add them to the meat mixture.

 

Like this. Then I let it simmer for  30 - 60 minutes longer.

Like this.
Then I let it simmer for 30 – 60 minutes longer.

 

It's almost there!

It’s almost there!

 

And here it is!  Isn't that a beautiful dish?

And here it is! Isn’t that a beautiful dish?  Just serve it over rice and enjoy!

 

It turned out so well that my boys (who often turn their noses up at new dishes) wanted to try it.   So I saved money, my hubby and kids were happy, and I learned to make something new.  Win, Win, WIN!

 

Now it’s your turn.

Do you recreate restaurant recipes, so you can enjoy your favorites at home and save money?  If so, what’s your favorite?

If you have not yet taken the plunge into the restaurant knock-off recipe world, what do you love to eat out that you would like to make at home?