AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Imperfect Inspiration (Recipe: Spice Rubbed Pork with Pineapple Salsa) DATE: 11/23/2009 05:38:00 AM ----- BODY:

Joan Gussow, author of This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader, hasn’t bought a vegetable in 15 years. Everything she cooks at home has been grown in her backyard in Suburban New York. I listened to her speak about the importance of land sustainability and the health of our planet at the Slow Money Conference this past September. She acknowledges that people have fewer choices when eating purely local. But the rewards are insurmountable.

The audience was rapt, and all I could think about were lemons. Whether I could grow enough vegetables in my garden to sustain me year-round is questionable at best. But what I would really miss the most are lemons and limes… and for sure, I would not be able to grow them here in zone 6 without a greenhouse (as a reference, most of California and Florida are zone 9 or 10). They make so many of my recipes pop with flavor. They give a dish that je nais se quoi, a brightness that can’t be achieved through salt, sugar or butter.

Now that things in my garden are quieting down, I’m buying more and more from the supermarket. And farther away from Joan’s idyllic word.

This dish couldn’t be farther away from local… the ingredients, the flavor profile. The only thing sustainable in this dish were the scallions and jalapenos from my garden. Hey, we can’t be perfect all of the time.

From the garden: scallions and chilies.

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Coconut Sauce and Pineapple Sauce
adapted from Jean Georges Vongerichten 

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
2 pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons water
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 Thai green chile, minced
1 lime juiced

1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
2 scallions, cut into rounds
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro

1. In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of the sugar with the coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Season the pork with salt and rub the spices over it.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the water and bring to a boil. Add the garlic and lemon grass.  Simmer until an amber caramel forms, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, pour in the coconut milk and stir until the caramel dissolves. Add the fish sauce and chile, then let stand for 5 minutes. Strain the sauce and season with salt.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the pineapple, red pepper, scallions and lime juice with a pinch each of salt and cayenne.

4. Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add a tablespoon of plain oil.  Brown the pork on all sides, and finish cooking in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes or cooked to your desired doneness.

Serve Pork Medallions with Sauce and Pineapple Salsa.  Jasmine Rice is a wonderful accompaniment.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:11/23/2009 11:30:00 AM It's a tough transition this time of year. I have enough stocked in the freezer to probably take me into December, but after that it will likely be back to the supermarket for most things. Fortunately, my CSA experience has altered my shopping habits, so I will be buying different things during the interim. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Melissa DATE:11/24/2009 03:16:00 PM At least you do what you can. Most people never even give it a thought. We're so immersed in our food obsessed lives, along with others who think the same way, that I think we often forget how much in the minority we are. So hey, you can't be perfect every day, but at least you're not unaware.

I love this pork too. With the flavors you used, I obviously would. ;) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger foodbin DATE:11/25/2009 02:21:00 AM a great and healthy dish ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Pam DATE:11/25/2009 09:03:00 AM Very Nice Blog and Congrats on the foodie blogroll!

Enjoy! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Simply Life DATE:11/25/2009 04:00:00 PM I LOVE pineapple salsa but have never actually made it - this sounds great! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Chow and Chatter DATE:11/25/2009 09:14:00 PM oh wow what a wonderful tropical dish once in a while is ok to get non local
Happy thanksgiving ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Kitchen Butterfly DATE:11/26/2009 12:27:00 AM I'm really learning to cook pork. Apark from bacon....I haven't cooked it a lot! This looks nice, especially with the asian flavours...and the lime. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lori Lynn DATE:11/28/2009 08:55:00 PM The pork sounds lovely.

I have 3 citrus trees. Mexican Lime, Yuzu, and Citrus Salad. Just planted a year ago, limes are the only fruit harvested so far.

I have room for one more tree, but haven't decided what to plant.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.
LL ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Psychgrad DATE:12/01/2009 12:07:00 AM I just learned that I'm in zone 5...not sure what that means. I can't wait to attempt a garden next summer. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:12/02/2009 08:09:00 AM T.W. -- Good for you! I'm glad the CSA has had such a positive impact for you.

Melissa -- Thanks for understanding ;)

foodbin -- you could use lite coconut milk to make it healthier.

Pam -- thanks for visiting.

Simply Life -- this is pretty simple too, especially if you can find fresh pre-cut pineapple.

Chow and Chatter -- i agree!

Kitchen butterfly -- this is also great with chicken.

Lori Lynn -- I vote for kaffir lime. Lucky you!!

Pyschgrad -- It means you're in an even colder climate than Boston! So happy for you that you can have a garden in the new house! ----- --------