New Year’s Eve Stir-fry

from Jamie’s Food Revolution

Note before starting: Chop. Everything. You are working with a super hot pan, and you need to be able to just head, dump, and stir. 🙂 Also, have an extra bowl on hand and a slotted spoon/pasta server for the removal of the meat halfway through.

Yes, I’m boring—I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, but that’s OK! I like my own company. I decided to make Jamie Oliver’s Sweet and Sour Pork—it serves two (perfect for lunch tomorrow) and is fast, healthy, and easy. (I used low sodium soy sauce in this recipe.)

On an interesting note, I received a note from Phil today, who said that on New Year’s Eve in the novitiate, they eat Chinese (It’s a provincial tradition.) So, even though I had this planned before I got that note, I thought the coincidence was cool. 🙂

‘Ere we go…

Sweet and Sour Pork

Serves 2

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 c. long-grain, basmati or jasmine rice (I used jasmine)

1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4” pieces

1 sm. red onion

1 red or yellow pepper

thumb-size piece of fresh ginger (or 1 tbsp. powdered)

1/2-1 fresh red chile, to taste

a small bunch of fresh cilantro (3 stalks)

peanut or vegetable oil

1 heaped tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp. cornstarch

2-3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 8-oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits (I used a slightly bigger can, because I like pineapple)

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 sm. heart of romaine or 1/2 butter lettuce

2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

To prepare:

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and add the rice. Cook according to package instructions. Drain the rice in a strainer, put back into the pan and cover with lid or aluminum foil to keep warm. Halve the tenderloin, and cut into slices. Peel and halve the onion, then dice into 3/4-inch cubes. Halve the pepper, seed, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Peel and finely slice ginger and garlic. Finely slice the chile. Pick the cilantro leaves and put them aside. Finely chop the cilantro stalks.

To make the stir-fry:

Preheat a wok or large frying fan on high heat until it is wicked hot. Add a good lug of peanut or vegetable oil and swirl around. Add the pork and five-spice powder (be careful not to get hot oil on you!) and stir. Cook for a few minutes, until browned. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. Carefully give the pan a quick wipe with a ball of paper towels and return to heat. When it’s really hot, add 2 good lugs of oil and the chopped ingredients. Toss/stir everything together and cook for two minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Let everything cook for 30-40 seconds, then add the pineapple chunks with their juice, the browned pork, and the balsamic vinegar. Season with black pepper and more soy sauce, if needed. Break open a piece of pork, check it’s cooked through, then remove pan from heat. Reduce the sauce (if desired) by turning the heat to low and allowing the stir-fry to cook for a few more minutes.


Place rice in the bottom of a bowl, or on a plate. Add lettuce. Spoon the stir-fry ontop and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

Reverb10 Day 31: Core Story

Author: Molly O’Neill
Harper Collins Children’s 

Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

My life has definitely had a theme, if you want to put it that way (imagine Miss Shields from A Christmas Story saying that word. It’s funny.). I would probably call it stylish survival. 🙂

Sure, staying alive is a nice thing—I think I have more lives that the proverbial cat—but really, I think you have to do more than that. As Mother Superior in The Sound of Music says, “You have to live the life you were born to live.” And so, this is mine, and I might as well make the best of it!

I really do like my life. Some people might think I’m nuts for saying that, but I do! Sure, it’s been a wild ride at times, but there have been so many great moments that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Instead of merely surviving, you have to get out there and live. Or, as a quote on the inspiration board in my bedroom says, “get up there and let it rip!” (It’s talking about singing, but it applies generally.)

Make 2011 the year you decide to live. Get up there and let it rip! 🙂