Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Almond-Crusted Pork and a Chinese Rub-Down

I got a massage on Sunday.  My in-laws got me a gift certificate to Red Door for my birthday and I was PSYCHED!  Red Door is the best massage in the history of the world and honestly is the only place that doesn't inflict serious pain on me.  Aside from my few experiences with Red Door blissfulness, I've had some pretty scarring massage experiences as well, the most recent of which occurred in Hong Kong.

Last year, I had the privilege of spending 10 days in Hong Kong on a business trip.  There are a lot of things about my old profession that I don't miss at all (the long hours, the stress, the occasional weekly nervous breakdown), but the one thing that I do miss is the travel.  Working in corporate retail gave me the chance to see parts of the world that I would never get to experience otherwise, specifically Germany, Japan, and China.  I'll tell ya - its pretty special to travel halfway across the world on the company dime!  Anywho, when I was in Hong Kong, we stayed in a fairly westernized hotel that had a fancy schmancy spa that boasted amazing massage services.  And let me tell you - after 7 long days traveling to factories and negotiating over pennies off the cost of a audio cable, I was ready for a nice relaxing spa experience.  One of the local Hong Kong business partners we were working with heard me talking about wanting a massage and she insisted that the hotel spa was overpriced and that I could get a great massage at the place she goes for half the price.  I was skeptical, but both my curiosity and my love of a good deal go the best of me.  So off we went! 

Now, if you've ever gotten a massage, you know three things for sure.  One is that you get your massage in a private room, free of other customers and random spa workers.  The second is that, because you are not really wearing any clothes, there is a sheet/blanket on the massage table so you can cover up your....bits.  The third is that the massage therapist will perform said massage while standing on the floor, not standing on your back.  This place?  Not so much on any count.  Getting a massage in the same room as another customer with only a curtain separating you is a bit awkward.  Know what else is awkward?  The fact that instead of an actual sheet or blanket to maintain some modesty, this place gives you a tiny square of fabric approximately the size of a washcloth.  I do understand that I'm bigger than the average woman in Hong Kong, but really?  That's not even going to cover...anything!  Eek!  Even more awkward?  The fact that this little tiny woman is actually walking across my back instead of, like, massaging it.  And it kind of hurt.  What also hurt was when she dug her fingers in between my muscles.  That hurt too.  Oh, and my pride.  My pride hurt when I realized that the tiny little washcloth wasn't going to cover much and this poor little lady got quite the view.

Anyway, I'll be sticking with Red Door from now on, thanks.

And honestly, that story has absolutely nothing to do with food or cooking besides the fact that my Red Door massage happened on the same day that I cooked something.  And that something was almond crusted pork and roasted brussels sprouts.  It was yummy.

The brussels sprouts recipe is courtesy of my friend Whitney.  She cooks some pretty delicious stuff, too, and if she's nice maybe I'll let her be a guest blogger one day.  But in the meantime, you just cut the sprouts in half, sprinkle some salt on them, and put them in a pan with pecans (I  used pine nuts because I didn't have pecans).  Roast at 400 degrees until they get brown and then toss it all together with melted butter.  Can't beat that!

Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
Source: Adapted from Eating Well

For the pork
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 large egg white, beaten
1 pound trimmed pork tenderloin, sliced diagonally into 1/2" thick slices (I just kept it whole)

For the dipping sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a food processor, add panko, almonds, garlic powder, salt and pepper - pulse until almonds are coarsely chopped. Place mixture into a shallow dish.

In another shallow dish, add beaten egg white.

Dip pork into the egg white, then evenly coat with the almond mixture. Place the pork onto a wire rack coated with olive oil spray and set on a baking sheet. Set filled baking sheet into the refrigerator and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and coat both sides of pork with olive oil spray. Place into the oven and bake until the pork is golden and has a slight pink hue to the center, about 12 to 16 minutes (this was more like 30 minutes since I kept my tenderloin whole)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, and mustard. Serve pork with the dipping sauce.

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