As you all probably know by now, I love vacations so much and the last few years I’ve really come to appreciate the extended weekend mini-break. While the 18 day mountain treks offer their own distinct adventure, the last five days of that are inevitable filled with sneaking thoughts of “it’s time to go home.”
Not so with the extended weekend, and more often than not I’m mumbling the opposite, wishing myself a few more days of a responsibility-less existence.
However the thing that I hate about either sort of vacation is that I feel so utterly discombobulated when I get home. The suitcase remains unpacked and vomiting clothes and all over the floor while the schedules and activities of life go on upon my return. Freezer food is the name of the game, if I had such foresight before I left. Otherwise, it’s apples and peanut butter, cheese and crackers and eggs for days on end until a grocery store trip happens.
As as to those lackluster no-cook post-vacation “meals,” shame on me. Let’s be real- you don’t want to see that and I really don’t want to eat them. A proper meal takes no time at all, and today’s is the reminder I needed to get myself cooking again, a pork stir-fry with lemongrass & rice noodle salad.
I first had this at a conference this past fall courtesy of Andrew Zimmerman, and it was so delicious that I’ve been looking for the perfect occasion to bust it out. Plus, with a little over two weeks until Christmas and many more parties on the horizon, I’m at severe risk of being fooded and drunk out. This lightens things up a bit.
I was in a slight haze shopping for this dish this morning thanks to Whiskey’s raging office party last night, so I forgot to buy…all of the vegetables. That’s an exaggeration, but a few I’ve added as “optional” to this recipe but really, they aren’t. Also, broccoli would be a nice addition, too.
For this, I tried Gourmet Garden’s lemongrass paste and it was perfecto in case you can’t find the real deal. I put both measurements in below.
- 8 ounces pad thai style rice noodles, cooked
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- 1 pound pork loin
- 2 TB fish sauce
- 1 TB brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
- 2 stalks lemongrass, minced (or 2 TB lemongrass paste)
- 2 TB vegetable oil
- 1 cup herbs: cilantro, mint, Thai basil
- 4 scallions, very thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned (optional)
- 1 English cucumber, sliced (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped, toasted peanuts
- 4 TB light brown sugar
- 3 TB fish sauce
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
- 1" fresh ginger, microplane
- 2 tsp red chili paste
- Assemble the sauce, veggies and noodles.
- Thinly slice the pork and marinate in fish sauce, garlic, sugar and lemongrass for 1 hour.
- Heat a wok or sauté pan over very high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the pork and the marinade. Cook, stirring constantly until the pork is all cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the noodle mixture and toss all to coat and mix well. Serve with extra herbs if desired, and top with crushed peanuts.
Written whilst still in my PJs.