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Tales From The Pantry: Something Different

Larry Henderson for local2 sault ste. marie
March 7th, 2011 at 1:27pm



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

I remember a time when I wouldn’t even try scallops, shrimp, crab or lobster. Thank goodness I smartened up and today enjoy these delights from time to time.

A couple of years ago my wife introduced me to Thai food and today I even prepare some dishes myself. I don’t know if there is anything like it in the Sault but it is certainly a cuisine one should experience.

The other night we went for Cajun night at Cambrian College here in Sudbury. The meal was most enjoyable and for the first time in my life, I tried Okra. It was not an unpleasant gastronomic adventure and I would happily eat it again. I don’t know why I have always shunned unfamiliar foods. Even peppers were once on my “not to eat” list. Man, I have come a long way.

I would like to recommend a recipe found at About.com called Easy Thai Rice Noodles with Basil. Visit the site and give this dish a try. It is a quick fix for dinner that can be prepared in less than an hour even if you should decide to add meat to the recipe.
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We have enjoyed it as it appears on the site, with the addition of shredded carrots being the only change. The next time, I added some boneless pork which was quite tasty. Last week we changed it up a bit with the addition of a few shrimp which I would say is the best variation so far.

Using fresh garlic and Basil only makes this recipe that much better.

Today for dinner I prepared a new treat from a recipe my wife wanted to try. It was for spicy sweet and sour pork and turned out to be incredible. You never know how a recipe might taste until you give it a try. Something I am still learning about those foods I shunned all these years.

Ingredients:

¼ cup slivered almonds

1 pound pork cut into 3/4” cubes

2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

8 oz. can pineapple tidbits (drained)

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons hot chilli sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced ginger

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chopped green pepper

¼ cup slivered green onions

Place almonds on a baking sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for 4 minutes or until toasted. (Set aside.)

Mix one tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add the pork and toss to coat.

Drain pineapple. Mix juice with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 of cornstarch. Add the vinegar, ketchup, sugar and hot sauce.

In a large non-stick saucepan, heat vegetable oil to medium high.

Add the pork, browning about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook for another minute. Stir in the pineapple and pepper, cooking about three minutes stirring frequently. Add the vinegar mixture and bring to a boil.

Cook for one minute or until certain the pork is fully cooked.

This is great served over rice. White, brown or basmati are all good choices. You can experiment a bit, as noodles wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

Spoon the rice onto a dinner plate, topping with the pork/vegetable mixture. Garnish with slivered green onions and almonds.

Serve steaming to hungry guests.

For variation, chicken or other vegetables could be used. Perhaps snow peas, red pepper or carrot would enhance the recipe.

Most of all, I hope you give it a try and won’t be afraid of, “something different.”

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