Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winter Lager, Chili Spiced Pork Loin, Beans and Kale

All I can say is, this was a very satisfying, chili and winter lager inspired meal. Even though there are three different components to this meal, the ingredients and prep done for completing one dish aids in the others.

The combination of winter lager, chili peppers, and maple syrup make a great base for the beans. I suppose you can also add tomatoes and mustard, but I left these out. I used the lager and peppers as poaching liquid for both the pork and kale which added both flavor and kick.

This is one recipe where you'll have to make best judgment on quantities of ingredients and cooking times. Key to the beans are their texture and thickness of the sauce, so I suggest checking it every five minutes once you are thirty minutes into the simmer. As for the pork, let a good thermometer do the work.


  • 3-4 lb pork loin
  • Mix of dried chili peppers, chili pepper powder, cumin seeds, coriander, garlic powder, salt.
  • Bunch of kale
  • Half a pound of dry pinto beans
  • Onion and garlic chopped
  • 3-4 bottles of Winter Lager (for cooking - more to drink!)
  • Ketchup
  • Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of butter and flour for gravy

Prep Work

First, start by getting the chili peppers ready by toasting and then soaking them for thirty minutes in hot water. Reserve the liquid which will be used later.

Second, create a spice rub of ground cumin, coriander, several ground chili peppers, garlic powder and salt, save a couple of tablespoons, and rub the rest on the meat. Allow this to sit wrapped in the fridge for at least six hours.

Finally, boil the beans for three minutes and then let them sit covered in the hot water for an hour. Drain the beans and let them sit at room temperature.

I did all of this in the morning and finished the meal in the afternoon.


Start with the beans. In a sauce pan, toast some cumin and then fry with onion and lots of garlic. Add in any remaining spice mixture from the pork and toss with the onions. Add beer, ketchup, maple syrup, and chili water to the pot until the beans are covered. Bring to a light boil and simmer for an hour. Beans should still have a bite and sauce should be thick.

To make the kale, toast more cumin seeds in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and bring to temperature, then add chopped kale. Toss until leaves begin to welt, then add a mix of chili water and winter lager until the bottom of the pan has liquid. Cover and steam at low heat for ten minutes. Plate the kale in a bowl and cover.

Preheat the oven onto 375. Heat the frying pan again with oil. Sear the pork on all sides 2-3 minutes. Add a mixture of beer and wine to the pan to fill the bottom and move the pan into the oven. Cook for about 30-40 minutes adding more liquid as needed. Cook until the pork's center reads 145F.

Remove the pork from the pan and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. If you have leftover juice in the pan, make a gravy by heating it and stirring in butter and flour.

For Technologists

This recipe requires balancing flavor and some planning so that you can complete them with minimal effort and mess. For those in IT, you know that "alignment" and balance between IT and Business responsibilities is difficult to achieve. In data science, there are additional challenges. My recent post on Balancing an Agile Data Organization speaks to efforts to align business and IT responsibilities to establish an agile data driven organization.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beef with Long Hot Peppers and Sticky Rice

Beef with Long Hot Peppers and Sticky Rice

This dish is a spin on a favorite from a Chinese restaurant near the office.  This restaurant has a dish called Chicken with Long Hot Peppers.  It’s simple and fantastic and I've gotten many others hooked on it over the years - I don’t even look at the menu when we go there, my order is automatic.

This dish is quick and easy to make at home when you have a craving for something satisfyingly hot and spicy – this time I did it with beef instead of chicken because that is what I had on hand.  I also cobbled together this marinade from several different recipes – so it’s an experiment that I think came out well – but don’t be afraid to tinker with it to your taste.


  •  1 1/2 lbs of thinly sliced beef *
  • 3-6 long hot peppers (I only had 3 on hand this time but definitely use more normally)
  • Marinade (see below)

 * The beef should be sliced very thin.  We have a slicer, so I pulled a bag of pre-sliced beef from the freezer to make this dish.  However, you can find thinly sliced beef in most supermarkets – but in our experience your best bet to find it thin is an Asian supermarket.

Note: If you are want to try it with chicken like the original dish then the chicken should be tenderized and cut into thin narrow strips.

  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chili infused sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 thinly sliced green onion
  • Several cranks of freshly coarse ground black pepper


Ideally, marinate the beef for a several hours, but in a pinch I've marinated for as little as 30 minutes and it still comes out great.

These are the guys you are looking for – they’re most 
often green but can be red as well.
Generally, the firmer they are the milder they are –
the  wrinkled ones usually pack more heat

For the sticky rice:
  1. Prepare rice per package directions – we use sticky sushi rice and make in a pressure cooker, but you can it on the stove top in a pot as well
For the peppers:
  1. Cut the stem ends off the peppers, cut in half longwise, remove the seeds and veins
  2. Chop in thin (~1/8 inch) strips - sideways, not longwise
  3. Toss into very hot non-stick skillet or wok
  4. Quickly hit them with vegetable oil non-stick spray, or mix in a tiny bit of oil to lightly coat
  5. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt
  6. Sauté on high heat for a few minutes, until they start to char slightly but are still crisp
  7. Transfer to a bowl and set aside
For beef:
  1. Drain the marinade off
  2. Toss into very hot non-stick skillet or wok
  3. Sauté on high heat for a few minutes
  4. When almost done, toss in the peppers and mix together, cook for another minute
 To serve:
  1. Place a mound of rice (~1 cup) on a plate
  2. Place some of the beef and pepper mixture around the rice
  3. Place a dollop of chili garlic sauce on top of the rice (you can find this in most supermarkets – I get it in Shoprite)

For Technologists

It’s a brand new year – traditionally a time for reflection and resolutions.  This dish is a favorite and reliably works for me.  Sticking with favorites is a good thing – “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – be it a technology, tool, technique, process or approach.  However, that should not stop us from experimenting and trying new riffs on familiar things.  Worst case, it may not work well but we learn something new.  Best case we may find new favorites – and more or better success.  This year, resolve to look at your “favorites” and look for opportunities to adjust and improve – be agile.