This dinner was inspired by the humongous head of broccoli that had been sitting in the basement refrigerator since last week. I can’t even remember why I purchased this giant size head of broccoli, or how many mouths I had intended to feed with it, especially considering the fact that one of our mouths around here was guaranteed to eat one floret, if she was in the mood and the moon was in the second house. That said, it was cook it or watch it turn the corner into mushy, smelly florets.
In my aimless shop on Monday in Trader Joe’s I picked up a pork tenderloin since it’s such, a nice, easy, quick cooking, tender cut of meat. There would be no problem turning it into some kind of quick dinner. Pork tenderloin is a perfectly adaptable basic grocery item for when you don’t have a menu plan. Except Louisa has now grown tired of pork. And each time she sees it on the menu asks “why do you always cook pork, mom?” The answer is simply explained in the first few sentences of this paragraph. And I don’t always cook pork – maybe one time each week. And Italians like pork in general. You know, you can never go wrong with bacon’s first cousin. The bigger question is why is Louisa always unhappy with dinner these days? She was much easier to feed in grade school. I believe we’ve gone backwards. All I can do is shrug it off or threaten food she might dislike even more.
Yes, despite the initial complaint, she ended up enjoying this dinner. Because it was good. Full of flavor, and cooked just right. It’s nothing fancy. Nothing too special. But another tasty, quick, toss together for a night I don’t have a plan.
Here’s the grandma recipe for this dish.
Mince 4 large cloves of garlic, and a teaspoon of fresh ginger and add to a heated frying pan with tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Saute a minute until ingredients begin to soften. Add to frying pan 1 pound of sliced pork tenderloin and cook until pork begins to brown slightly, turning once. Remove pork from pan into a bowl and set aside. Add another tablespoon vegetable oil and toss in one diced small onion, 4 cups (more or less) of broccoli florets and sauté for 2 minutes. Add approximately 4 tablespoons of water to pan and cover. Allow to simmer for a few minutes until broccoli becomes tender. Remove cover and add back the pork, 1/8 cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Mix and stir until pork is cooked through. Serve over prepared white rice.
By the way, if I had cooked this recipe with a plan, instead of a last minute scrounge for ingredients, I would have wanted to add something crunchy too such as toasted cashews or water chestnuts. Next time.
By the way, what do you think of these grandma recipes? This is the way my grandma shared her dishes with me, and they leave plenty of room for adaptation in both ingredient volumes, as well as cook times based on your stove and oven. Of course these wouldn’t work as well with a recipe that involves chemistry, like a CAKE, duh, but for a simple stir fry, you don’t need an understanding of rocket science to put a good dinner on the table.