Stuff for the Teen Age
Cooking from the Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List: Orange-Molasses Sticky Pork with Blasted String Beans
Last night I made Orange-Molasses Sticky Pork with Blasted String Beans from Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs. Naturally, I was intrigued by the word blasted. Blasted is nothing but roasted, it turns out. They say even bad advertising works, and the proof is that I still made this dish.
I used salmon instead of pork -- anything that tastes good on pork also tastes good on salmon, friends. See also -- teriyaki, barbecue sauce, any kind of fruit glaze. This might have only to do with the sugar in all those sauces, but it's still an oddly accurate rule of thumb. Moving on...
Another thing -- make sure you have a younger brother/sister around to snap the ends off all those string beans. It's the only really boring part of cooking this, and doing work that's below your talents is exactly what a younger sib was born for. Just make sure the little urchin washes his/her hands first. With soap. Then take those snapped beans, toss them in a splash of olive oil, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast, I mean, BLAST, them for 15 minutes.
The recipe says to soak the pork in a molasses, OJ, ginger, garlic, vinegar mixture for two to four hours! Two to four hours?!? 30 minutes tops is all it needs and 15-20 is fine. Seriously. Especially if you use fish, which marinates in a jiff and will actually cook (in acid -- another story) if you leave it in marinade too long. So unless you want to eat this meal at 11 pm, don't worry about that two to four hour thing. Mix the molasses etc. together, stick the fish/pork in there, cover it and refrigerate. By the time the green beans are done blasting you're almost good to go.
Molasses is very strange stuff. It's sweet, sure, but also tastes very subtly of licorice. And do you know what licorice was originally made with? Yes! Molasses. You can still get this kind of licorice in some health food stores in bulk. It is also practically black. The sauce in the picture looks shiny and brown and lovely. In real life (you cook the above marinade in the pan the fish was in for 2 minutes) it looks almost exactly like wet tar. And, I have to say, tastes a little like it too. Or what you might think tar would taste like -- very, very intense but not altogether unpleasant. It looks kind of freaky drizzled over the pink salmon and green beans too. The other eater in my house loved it, though, so I strongly recommend you try this and decide for yourself. The marinated fish tasted great plain with a little hot sauce, so maybe taste the sauce before you slather it all over the food. And wear something black. Molasses stains.