This concludes my week-long attempt to use up two jars of kimchi that were languishing in the pantry. In my imagination, everywhere but Portland (and the storm-ravaged Midwest) is awash in sunny grilling weather right now, so if that is indeed you, by all means break out the grill for this dish. I had to resort to the broiler. The spiciness of the pork and contrast with the apples will depend on how spicy your kimchi is, but even if it’s mild, this is a highly flavorful and quick (after letting the pork marinate overnight) weeknight meal.
It makes about 2 servings. (With thanks, again, to Debbie Lee’s “Seoultown Kitchen,” which saved my butt this week.) A barbecue, grill pan, or George Foreman grill works best for this; we happen to have a stainless-steel skewer frame set designed for broiler use. If you’re not using metal skewers, be sure to soak wooden ones for 30 minutes.
-Marinate pork overnight
-Soak skewers if using wooden ones
• 8 oz. pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes (if you live near a Winco, pork loin is ALWAYS less than $2 a pound): 85 cents
• 2 apples (I used Fuji, but any kind would be fine), peeled, cored and cut into quarters: $1
• 1 tsp sugar: 3 cents
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon: 3 cents
• 1/4 cup kimchi: 5 cents
• 1/4 cup soy sauce: 25 cents
• 2 T rice vinegar: 6 cents
2 T orange juice: 10 cents
• 1/4 cup sesame oil: $1
• Chopped mint leaves for garnish (garden): $0
TOTAL: $3.37/2 = $1.68/serving
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade except the sesame oil in a small food processor. Blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame oil a little bit at a time to emulsify, blending all the while. (If you don’t have a pour-through top on your machine, you’ll have to add a little, replace the lid, blend, and repeat.) In a medium nonreactive bowl, pour marinade over the pork cubes and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a cookie sheet with butter. Sprinkle the apple quarters with the cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until apples are slightly softened but still firm. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
Alternate cubes of apples with cubes of pork on skewers.
Preheat the grill, grill pan, George Foreman grill, or broiler. Grill/broil for about 4 minutes on each side, or until the pork just loses its pink color inside (use a thin-bladed knife to check). To serve, remove pork and apples from the skewers and garnish with chopped mint.