Where have you been?
Taking a breath. We are doing all the things we have been putting off. The house is getting cleaner with every day. We order out less and cook more. We have even gotten out of the house. Did you know you can go to this place called a restaurant, where you sit down at the table, and chat while people bring you delicious food, and then you don’t even have to do the dishes? Wild.
This weekend we went to New Braunfels, which is a hilariously German town in the middle of Texas. We hit up the farmers market, which had zero produce for some reason but lots of cute dogs. Although I did score a bottle of peach balsamic vinegar. I made pork tenderloin with it. Fun fact, which most of you probably knew, but I discovered only a couple of years ago – USDA decided that we no longer have to cook pork until it turns into a hockey puck.
Pork tenderloin is fast, on the cheaper side, and super easy to make. I bought mine at Sams and marinaded in soy sauce, peach balsamic vinegar, a bit of sugar, crushed garlic, ginger, and some mirin. I just kind of went with 2 part soy sauce, 1 part everything else, 3 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of Fire and Flavor Asian Rub, and a tablespoon of sugar. Not too precise there.
Pork marinates very quickly, so I cooked it five hours later in a 400 F oven with meat thermometer inserted. I don’t like very rare pork, so I cooked it to 150 F, and then tented it with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
I served it with stuffing, sweet sauce – basically remade the marinade and cooked it a bit with cornstarch, a salad, and corn on the cob. Then the next day Gordon had it with baked beans. Once in a while my husband demands what he calls Hobo beans, which is not the actual hobo beans recipe, but Bush’s baked beans with whatever leftover meat we have and some sort of bread. This time it was pork tenderloin and biscuits.
Speaking of eating in a restaurant, our outing to New Braunfels was a mixed success. We stopped to have lunch at a highly rated place. Gordon ordered a burger and I ordered blackened fish with broccolini. Now when I see fish with vegetable on the menu, especially blackened fish, I assume this would be a healthier kind of entry.
The fish arrives, and it is swimming in butter. It’s drowned. There is so much butter, it’s rolling around on the plate. And the butter is super salty to the point where it was borderline inedible. I was starving by that point and ended up eating the broccolini but cutting it into pieces and tapping each one on the plate to shake the butter off because it just didn’t taste good. Like what gives with the butter?
Let’s see, what else I wanted to tell you. Oh my tteokbokki fail. Tteokbokki is a spicy dish of Korean rice cakes, which is very delicious and uses gochujang, red pepper paste. Here is a good recipe. Our local Korean place makes it, and I can’t eat it. It’s so spicy. Like your eyes water, and you start making gasping noises spicy. I can do Texas spicy but that’s on another level. So I decided to try making my own.
My apologies to Korean chefs as I detail my butchery of this delicious dish.
I needed gochujang, rice cakes, and fish cake for my tteokbokki, so I enlisted the kids and we made a drive down to San Antonio to an Asian food store. I found ribeye cut up for bulgogi – and it was great – and rice cakes, and boba in every flavor. Did not find eomuk. I went step by step through the frozen section. They had one log-looking batch of fish cake, and it was expensive and kind of looked questionable.
So I am out on the fish cake. But I did find mushrooms of every size and flavor. You see where this is headed, right?
As we stood in the check out line, a couple came out of the side of the store loudly arguing. Asian markets in US tend to be kind of quiet, and everyone keeps to themselves, and this was clearly an aberration. The entire store ignored them.
We went through the check outline and Kid 2 left to grab an extra cart. She came back from the parking lot and informed us that the man punched the woman in the face, they were now physically fighting, and words “9 millimeter” were shouted out. The store security guard was making a beeline for them when Kid 2 came inside. We doubletimed it out of the store to determine if we needed to call 911 and put some distance between us and the gun, if there was one, but the couple had taken off. We went home, and Kid 1 promised to take us to H-mart, which is a big Asian grocer a couple of hours away. Hopefully nobody will be punching anyone in the face there.
So back to tteokbokki. I ended up giving up and made gochujang flavored fish stew. I threw some shrimp, some scallops, and my assorted mushrooms into a wok, stir-fried it a bit, added chicken broth, the rice cakes, about a tablespoon of gochujang, some gochugaru (flaked red pepper), a bit of sugar, and let everything cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce cooked down. It was delicious, sweet and slightly spicy, just like I wanted, but not really traditional tteokbokki.
The next day I still had leftover mushrooms. I told this to Jeaniene Frost, and she was like, “Pizza!” So I made homemade pizza. That bread machine was such a good purchase. Gordon deserves all the credit.
I took a picture of the pizza and sent it to Jeaniene with words, “I blame you.” She said that she takes the blame because it looked delicious.
::insert smiley face::