Hi ho, Mr. Minx here. My lovely wife thought it was high time I got into the act and talked about some of the meals that I put together during the week. Like many people, I tend to conceive and assemble dinner at the last minute using two basic criteria: does it sound appetizing and can it be made quickly. Most of the weekday meals that I make consist of adventurous riffs on leftovers from the weekend or soups and stews concocted from whatever is available in the refrigerator and pantry, but every so often, I like to make something special from scratch. That's how the meal below came to be.
Last Friday, I walked over to our neighborhood supermarket to pick up some lunch meat. After getting my usual turkey, I thought I would wander over to the reduced-price meat display to see what looked good. I know, marked-down meat sounds like a dodgy proposition, but I figured if I cooked it that evening, it would probably be okay. Although the Italian sausages looked tempting, I couldn't pass up a package of two boneless pork chops for only $2.42. Just enough protein for The Minx and I, and a perfect blank slate for whatever meal I could concoct.
As soon as I got home, I set about creating a marinade so the pork would have the maximum amount of time to develop flavor. I never measure anything, but I believe the marinade was something along the lines of:
1 tablespoon of sriracha hot sauce
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 chopped scallion
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
I placed the marinade and the pork chops into a plastic storage bag and put it in the refrigerator to wait until dinner time (about six hours away).
The marinade committed me to a Thai-style meal, so I decided to go with soba noodles and a salad, both flavored with dressings that would compliment the pork. For the soba noodles, I mixed together:
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce
the juice from half a lime
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (just because we had that much left in the fridge)
salt to taste
After the soba was cooked (it only takes about two minutes), I drained most of the water, retaining a couple tablespoons in the pan. Then I tossed the mixture in with the noodles until they were well coated.
I put together a standard salad of lettuce, carrots, tomato, and cucumber and dressed it with:
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
The juice from the other half of the lime
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of honey
salt and pepper to taste
Once The Minx was home from work, I cooked the pork chops by searing both sides in a pan on high heat, 1 minute per side. Then I turned the heat down to low and let them cook with the lid on, 4 minutes per side. After removing the pork chops from the pan, I poured the marinade into the pan and cranked it back up to high for a few minutes so the liquid would thicken into a sauce. Not only did the sauce add extra flavor to the already flavorful pork, it spiced up the soba noodles as well.
While the soups, stews, stir-fries, and pasta dishes are fine, every once in awhile, The Minx and I like to bite into a nice piece of meat. This meal fit the bill and was pretty economical to boot.