N's actually been gone from the isle all week long. She had a business trip over to American Samoa - Pagopago is the main city. Her trips are typically only one day, but a plane only flies into Samoa twice a week. So she left last Sunday and we are going to pick her up tomorrow morning at the lovely time of 5:30 AM. I will update people on Samoa once I know something.
Therefore, it's just been B and me all week. I think we did fine, though I did get super lazy and drove the car everywhere instead of riding the bike. Exercise Schmexercise. B and I created a little move together on Monday, but I've never gotten around to finishing it yet.
I did create a couple of made-up recipes this evening that came out pretty decently. We had:
Honey ginger porkchops
Gochu Wine mushrooms.
and umm crescent rolls, you know from the can that you roll up and stick in the oven.
Gochu Wine Mushrooms
I knew B had about a 1% chance of trying the mushrooms no matter how I prepped them, so I just got experimental. Here's the pseudo recipe, though I'm going to modify it a bit based on what I learned.
1 TB butter
1 standard 8 oz. package of white mushrooms
1/3 c. red wine (cabernet in this case)
1 tsp Thai fish sauce (it's kind of like a soy sauce)
2 tsp gochu jang paste
good bit of black pepper
good bit of garlic powder
a pinch of salt
I sliced my mushrooms into thirds and sauteed for a while in 2 TBs of butter. I stuck the butter in because my only other real mushroom recipe uses butter and cream and is yummy, but I think for this, just add enough to sauté a bit. I ended up with some oil floating on top that wasn't needed. I also think whole mushrooms would be better. More mushroom to the bite later, because the final sauce is strong. So in the end, my recommendation is to just wash and trim the stalks and then cook them for about 5 minutes in a bit of butter. Oh, do all this in a small sauce pan just big enough for the mushrooms, likely your smallest sauce pan. After a few minutes, you should have some liquid coming from the mushrooms. Next, add in the gochu jang paste. I've mentioned this stuff before back in my bi bim bap days; it's a Korean chili bean paste, rather spicy. So if you aren't into spice, go to 1 tsp. (I actually used a whole TB in mine, which is equivalent to 3 tsps, but that was a bit much.) Stir the paste around with the mushrooms. Add the wine and fish sauce. Add the spices. Bring to a boil and then let boil for a while to reduce the "broth" a fair bit. How long? About as long as it took for those canned rolls to bake -- about 15 minutes. Pour some, including broth in a little bowl for each diner. This was a pretty good dipping sauce for bread, too.
Those mushrooms were pretty decent. My guess is you don't need the gochu jang (I was deliberately experimenting because only I would need to eat the concoction), but it helped make the flavors a lot more interesting than just wine and spices. If you don't use the paste, sprinkle in a bit of Cayenne or Tony Chacheres (the latter is a reference for my Louisiana brethren)? Also, if you don't have Thai fish sauce, try regular old soy. Thai fish sauce is in a lot of recipes for Thai curries, so if you ever want to do those, just buy a small bottle. I imagine you could toss in a fair bit of parsley flakes too to fine effect.
Honey Ginger Porkchops
This was another one I wouldn't usually attempt when N is here because she basically despises sweet foods for meals. All sugar is to be isolated to dessert. And so Hawaii's love affair with making everything sweet is not in her interest. However, these actually came out well, not too sweet at all and even B was gobbling it up instead of his crescent roll. Again, this was a made-up recipe on the fly. I have a feeling it would be better to make a real glaze with these ingredients. Instead, I just tossed them all in the skillet at a good time and smeared them around. To get to business:
3 medium thick pork chops
3 TBs soy
1 TB lime juice
1 TB honey
paprika (sorry, I never measure spices; I only sometimes measure sauces)
Put a little oil in a skillet and cook your pork chops until about 3 minutes from being done. Assuming you are buying decent pork at the store, it's okay for it to be just slightly pink in the middle when done. You don't need to dry it out for it to be safe to eat. If your chop is relatively thin, then when it is decently cooked on both sides, it's probably close to sauce time. Sprinkle a good bit of ginger powder on there. Add in the soy, lime juice, and honey to the skillet, pouring on top, in the skillet itself, whatever. Cook your porkchops, pushing them around the pan so that all the sauces are mixing and bubbling together. Smear the meat in the yummy liquids. Flip and smear some more. Sprinkle pepper and parika on top and keep smearing. You can turn once more, but try to end up with a few spices still on the chops themselves. Cook until done. That's it. Eat. I actually added some lime juice first, then 1 TB of soy. Then when I saw it cooking away too quickly, I added more. I think adding it all at once will work, but you don't want a soup in there, so if you want to add half of the stuff, then the other half, that could be worth trying.
And that's all I got. For the record, while I did do the beef and broccoli the night before, I did get lazy and we went to a restaurant on Tuesday, and the night before that I had left over lasagna and B has his personally selected lunchable. I worry that perhaps his fave of all these meals was the lunchable.