The term “pairing” we use in the world of wine also applies in the kitchen. Pairing is like a marriage. When we say, “they’re made for each other,” the same happens with the ingredients we combine in the kitchen. It means two "parts" create a whole when united. If you mix the right ones, both complement each other, and it becomes a memorable experience in your mouth.
We are what we eat. But in these times we are living in, we want to feel healthy but also happy and alive. Flavor has the power to reach our souls and leave us in good spirits. Fresh ingredients and the act of cooking not only have energy, they have the power to bring back great memories. We want to add love and good vibes to the time we spend in the kitchen, and thus, food becomes our best therapy and medicine. This has been my mission since I started my campaign with "The Kitchen Doesn't Bite.”
When I thought of all of these things, I ended up making a Quinoa pork bowl with mango and cilantro. I did this for several reasons:
• The acidity of the dressing and the sweetness of the mango pairs with the fat in the pork, despite the fact that the loin is the “leanest” cut of all (similar to chicken breast).
• Quinoa is a “super food” and if it’s heirloom, even better. White (pearl) quinoa cooks in about 14 minutes and heirloom quinoa in 17. You can make a large amount at the beginning of the week, and then re-invent new recipes with it.
• Pork loin is affordable, it cooks easily, quickly and if you don't overcook it, it will Be extremely flavorful.
• Avocado and cilantro are two of my favorite ingredients and the mango brings me a lot of childhood memories, so I couldn't leave them out of quarantine!
Enjoy! We will toast together very soon!
Quinoa Pork Bowl with Mango & Cilantro
2 portions, 15 min.
For the pork:
1-pound pork loin chops, (1-2)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to tasteGarlic and/or chili powder (optional)
What you need for the salad:
1/2 cup of quinoa, cooked al dente
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 fresh mango, ripe and cut into cubes
1/2 Hass avocado
1/2 cup lettuce, arugula, alfalfa and/or watercress
1/4 cup radishes, carrots and/or hearts of palm
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (1 orange or 1 tbsp. Sherry vinegar)
Pinch of fresh cilantro
In a pan at medium high temperature, add the oil and loin. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side. You want it very juicy and not overcooked. Meanwhile, prepare the bowl. You can use the ingredients above or use whatever you like or have available. Just make sure you always add different textures to a salad. You want something sweet, creamy, refreshing and crispy in every single bite.Remove the loin, let it rest for 3 minutes, cut it into cubes, and then add it to the salad bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, toss it all and serve.