A prevalent pet peeve is how Facebook distorts reality. It’s far too easy to conclude that everyone except you is having SO much fun…because no one posts pics about staying home alone … or how it’s a bummer to see pics of parties to which you’re not invited… or, well, all that kind of stuff.
That got me thinking about recipe blog posts. It’s an apt corollary; the majority of recipe blog posts are about successes. Indeed, I do it too — to date, all my recipe blog posts have been about recipe successes.
So with this post I am bucking the trend. Because this post is about a lo-co cooking failure. And I think that it’s an important topic because cooking lo-co is tough enough without the false belief that everyone else’s dishes turn out well all the time. Because they do NOT.
Case in point: last week I tried a slow-cooker recipe for Char Siu Pork Roast that had huge promise, but that failed. Miserably. Actually, it was absolutely awful.
This dish was so appalling I threw it out and ate cereal for dinner. Worse, I could not get the stench of this dish out of my house fast enough (challenging when it’s sub-freezing outside, but open the windows I did!)
I was particularly disappointed in Char Siu Pork Roast because: a) the recipe was from Cooking Light, and I (now nearly) always have good luck with their dishes; b) it was listed in an article with the promissory title of, “100+ Slow-Cooker Favorites“; and c) there were 108 reviews and it got four stars. FOUR STARS. OUT OF FIVE. (I went back and looked to see if it was four starts out of ten, but nope, out of five).
I don’t know who these 108 people are, but man, they have different tastebuds than I do. Not only that, my easy-going husband didn’t like it either. The problems were many, IMHO. The 5 spice flavor was overwhelming; several ingredients seemed to flavor-fight with each other; and worst of all, it was dry dry dry. I guess I should have paid more attention to the several reviewers who panned this recipe; my POV was eerily similar.
So. A lo-co failure. I should have taken a photo, but basically could not throw out this food fast enough!
And then – another fail – I bought a pork tenderloin a few days later but accidentally grabbed one that was seasoned with pepper when what I wanted was plain.
Sigh. I am not a fan of peppercorn-marinaded anything.
But I didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good (though not my taste) pork tenderloin, so that inspired a search for a slow-cooker recipe that would mask the massive pepper. I readied the cereal boxes in case it was another failure… but was pleasantly surprised last night with “The Best Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin” dish. Especially since the recipe was from a site I’d never seen before (usually I only cook from Cooking Light or Epicurious).
The site WhiskingMama.com must have really great SEO — the only reason I clicked on this recipe is that it was the #1 result in search for ‘pork tenderloin crock-pot recipe.” I decided to try it because I already had the (wrong) tenderloin, these ingredients looked like they’d cover up the pepper, and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand (with a few substitutions: dijon for yellow mustard and garlic cloves instead of garlic powder).
I forgot to take a photo, but this dish was easy, quite tasty, and while it might not be the “best” crock pot pork tenderloin recipe ever (I mean, who’s to judge?), I’d make it again. We’re planning leftovers for dinner tonight, actually – so the cereal’s been put back in the pantry for breakfast.
Here’s the recipe for “The Best Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin” if you prefer a PDF to clicking on the link above. I made it with a 1 pound tenderloin instead of 2 pounds, and just read this morning in Sam Sifton’s A Simmer View of the Slower Cooker article that I should have cut the marinade in half. His quote refers to different recipe/ingredients but the basic tenet is the same:
“The most important thing is not to have too much liquid in the pot. For a small slow cooker, use a smaller cut of meat and a proportionately smaller amount of fish sauce, hoisin and water.”
I will make this Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin again, this time with regular rather than the despised peppered tenderloin, and will either cut the marinade in half OR will make it with 2 pounds of tenderloin because it was delicious enough to want leftovers.
So a recipe to avoid – and one to try! Feel free to send me your lo-co recipe failures or favorites!