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Ginger Sesame Pork, Hot and Sour Soup, Scallion Pancakes and Pork Bundles

hot and sour soup with scallion pancakesWith International Pot Luck Lunch at work combined with Chinese New Year’s, I wanted to make something that could be turned into several dishes to last over the course of a few days. Second consideration was how could I incorporate products from my farmers market … pork, onion, eggs, scallions and bok choy.

My first plan was hot and sour soup. I love this soup. Especially during the cold and flu season. Nothing clears my sinuses better. I always thought it was the “heat” that helped, but doing research I learned that one of the medicinal qualities of ginger is helping the micro-circulatory channels that flare up.

Traditionally, hot and sour soup is filled with reconstituted dried mushrooms, like wood ears, bamboo shoots, either finely julienned pork or pork sausage and cornstarch. I went in a slightly different direction.

The zodiac symbol this year is the horse, whose characteristics include vitality, loyalty, steadfastness and a sense of adventure. I used these traits when planning the menu (and hopes it helps with hubby’s horse racing picks).

Vitality: Switching up the julienned pork for gingered shredded pork to bring a lively, more energetic quality to the protein. Sriracha sauce would add a nice kick.

Loyalty: This is where the tofu came in. While it’s a staple of hot and sour soup, I wasn’t sure how hubby would like it. He’s eaten before, mostly without knowing.

Steadfastness: Holding true to ancient beliefs, this is where ginger comes in. It’s a staple in many Asian dishes. The benefits and healing properties of ginger are many.

Sense of adventure: Eggs. I’m not certain if the hot and sour soup that you find traditionally in Chinese restaurants includes eggs. I thought it might be a better thickening agent vs. cornstarch. Why is it adventurous? Chinese tradition uses the egg as a symbol of fertility. I’m over the age of having children, it should no longer be a medical possibility, but there’s always that one-in-a-number chance…

The gingered pork was the first dish. I slow cooked a 3-lb pork butt to shred; this gave me enough pork for the soup, for gingered pork bundles, and for a stir fry with bok choy. The last dish is coming later – I’m picking up bok choy from the market tomorrow. Can I bundle stir-fried pork and bok choy and wrap them in lettuce? Is that like wrapping sausage in bacon?

Slow-Cooked Ginger Sesame Pork

What you need:

• 1 lg onion, chopped
• 2 c organic chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 3 lb pork loin roast
• 1/2 c soy sauce (I used Tamari gluten-free, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acid is a good sub too)
• 4 tbs sesame oil (I use Devo Olive Oil Japanese Sesame Oil)
• 4 tbs honey
• 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 3 tbs fresh grated ginger
• 1/2 c thinly sliced green onions
• 1/4 c sesame seeds
• Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

• Place onions on bottom of slow cooker.
• Add chicken broth.
• Season pork with salt and pepper.
• Place in slow cooker.
• In bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic and ginger.
• Pour sauce over roast.
• Cook on low heat 7 hours.
• Turn roast over and cook for another 2 hours.
• Be patient …
• Shred pork in slow cooker.
• Add green onions and sesame seeds.

Hot and Sour Soup
Serves 4-8, depending on serving size

What you need:

• 1 c chopped baby bella mushrooms
• 2 tbs sesame oil, divided (I use Devo Olive Oil Japanese Sesame Oil)
• 4 c organic chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 lb tofu, cubed into 1/2″ pcs (I used silken, even though most recipes recommend soft or firm.)
• 1 tsp pure cane sugar
• 2/3 c Devo Olive Oil Jalapeno White Balsamic (sub with rice vinegar)
• 4 tbs soy sauce (I used Tamari gluten-free, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acid is a good sub too)
• 2-3 tbs Sriracha sauce (add slowly to find your heat comfort level)
• 2 fresh eggs
• Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper (I don’t have white pepper in my pantry.)
• 4-8 tsp chopped scallion, for garnish

What you do:

• Sauté mushrooms in 1 tbs sesame oil.
• Remove from heat.
• Add stock to lg saucepan and bring to simmer.
• Add remaining sesame oil, mushrooms, tofu, sugar, balsamic and soy sauce.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Add Sriracha, about 1 tsp at time; continue adding until your desired heat level is reached.
• In sm bowl whisk eggs until blended.
• Slowly whisk in eggs to form “threads.”
• Bring soup back to low rolling boil.
• Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and black pepper.

Scallion Pancakes

scallion pancakesOne of my favorite items to order out is scallion pancakes. They make great appetizers or edible spoons for moo shu pork. They’re not the type of pancake we think of when whipping up a batch for breakfast. They’re not like the “Green Pancakes” I made a few weeks back – those are more like traditional pancake batter. Scallion pancakes are more like bread without yeast, which is why they’re flat. But the rolling technique is what gives scallion pancakes the flaky layers.

Most of the recipes I found seemed simple enough, though I didn’t quite understand directions with “twisting and/or spiraling.” The dough is basically flour and water. The majority of recipes called for a 2:1 ratio of flour to water. Depending on climate, you may need more flour, if the dough is too moist, or more water if the dough is too dry. In retrospect, I think I could have used a bit more water. The cold temperatures outside, the warmth from the wood stove and heat inside dried out any moisture in the air.

Now that I’ve made these once, I can say they’re super easy to make and don’t take much time. The hardest part is letting the dough 30 minutes before rolling out.

This recipe yields 4 pancakes; I cut each into at least 6 wedges.

What you need:

• 1+ c water
• 3 c flour
• 3 tbs sesame oil (I use Devo Olive Oil Japanese Sesame Oil)
• 4-5 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
• Freshly ground sea salt

What you do:

• In sm saucepan, boil water.
• Remove from heat.
• In mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment add flour.
• Turn on low speed and slowly add water until a thin, workable batter. Add additional water or flour until a workable batter is reached.
• Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface.
• Knead until smooth.
• Form into ball and coat with about 1 tbs oil.
• Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.
• Divide dough into 4 smaller balls.
• Form one into log shape and then roll to 1/4″ thickness to form a rectangle.
• Brush some oil on top of round and sprinkle with salt.
• Sprinkle with 1/4 of scallions.
• Roll up on long side, to form a “jelly roll.”
• Form a tight spiral.
• Roll out to 1/4″ thickness to form a 5-6” round.
• Heat 1 tbs sesame oil in skillet.
• Cook pancake until golden, about 3 min, flip and cook 2-3 min. If pancake puffs, press down.
• Transfer to plate, cover, and repeat with remaining batter.
• Cut into wedges and serve with ginger soy sauce and chili sauce, if desired.

Gingered Pork Bundles

In an effort to eat less carbs, balancing the number of scallion pancakes consumed … I simply took aquaponic butter lettuce, topped with about 1 tbs ginger pork, rolled up and tied with a long scallion slice. Serve with ginger soy sauce for dipping.

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