February 22, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
I overslept today and had to rush out the door to make it to a new exercise class at my gym: Body Balance, a combo yoga/Pilates with lots of stretching. Thinking this would be a great way to get my belated day started, I decided to forego breakfast to make it by noon. Big mistake. As someone who is prone to fainting, I probably did not need to be balancing on one foot with my head hanging down to the floor on an empty stomach. But I survived and came home to an awesome lunch of last night’s leftovers.
Every once in a while you try out a recipe on a whim, not knowing what to expect, and you find a gem. I found today’s diamond in the rough a few years back in Cooking Light Magazine. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but had all the ingredients on hand, including some almond butter that I had picked up from Trader Joe’s and didn’t really know what else to use for. So why not give it a go? This noodle dish turned out to be almost Pad Thai-esque with its nuttiness. And it has such a great balance of salt, sweet, tang, and spice. Over the last few years this has become one of my favorite meals to make “take out” at home.
I start by roasting up a pork tenderloin cut into three pieces for quicker, even cooking. And it makes shredding it a bit easier. I usually have a pork tenderloin on hand because they are often sold two to a pack, so I cook one and freeze one. Disclaimer: I have been freaking myself out watching The Following with Kevin Bacon lately, so I realize this might sound crazy, but have you ever thought about what weapon you’d use to protect yourself in the event of an intruder? A frozen pork tenderloin has always been an emergency plan of mine. I imagine it would make quite a hefty club. I’m just saying.
While the pork bakes I mix together the sauce, using almond butter (brought back from my stateside Trader Joe’s shopping spree), soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, ginger, and what should have been chili garlic paste. In a classic can’t-find-the-ingredients-I-want-in-London moment I went with this chili bean paste, hoping it would be a fine substitute. It was not. Not horrible, but definitely not the same. Get the good stuff.
Shred your pork and toss together with the sauce and classic Thai rice noodles. Then I usually serve the noodles with a green vegetable, in this case tender-stem broccoli sautéed with garlic, sesame seeds, and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil.
Rice Noodles with Pork and Almond Sauce
*adapted from Cooking Light
1 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 3 pieces
12 oz. flat rice noodles
2/3 cup almond butter
5 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 cup scallion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
3 tsp chili garlic paste
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
In a small baking dish, toss the pork pieces in oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until the pork has an internal temperature of 155˚F. Let rest for 10 minutes, then shred.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to the package. (I usually place them in a shallow baking dish, cover with boiling water, and let stand for 15 minutes. Check to make sure they are softened, then drain and rinse.)
Make the sauce by mixing together the almond butter, soy sauce, vinegar, scallions (reserving 1 Tbs for garnish), ginger, and chili paste.
Toss together the pork, noodles, and sauce to evenly coat. Serve garnished with scallions.