I’m tired of sweets and cookies. Unfortunately, they seem to be one of the few things that lend themselves to shooting in the few decent hours of daylight that I get this time of year.
So, I threw caution to the wind and photographed my dinner concoction the other night under the kitchen table light while it was pitch black outside.
Wild and crazy, I know. That’s how I roll peoples… that. is. how. I roll.
The great thing about stir fry is, you can put pretty much anything in it and not screw it up. If you are a nervous, newbie chef, make a stirfry. And they’re fast. And, they’re a great way to use up meat that might otherwise be a bit tough if cooked in bigger pieces.
So that was my plan, I had two leftover pork chops from a bulk batch I bought a while ago that all proved to be pretty tough. I figured I’d slice these babies up thin and make me a stir fry with a ton of other bits n pieces I wanted to rid my fridge of.
Brussel sprouts in a stir fry? Why not?? The last little bitty pieces of leafy lettuce? Sure!!
So, here is the recipe which was very much a toss together job by yours truly. Feel free to adapt and experiment on your own.
Orange Ginger Pork Stir Fry
2 uncooked thick boneless pork chops, sliced in 1/4 inch strips (tip: slicing meat when it’s not entirely thawed is much easier!)
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 of a large naval orange or a whole small orange)
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp well packed brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp sweet thai chili sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
Vegetables: this is what I used because it’s what I was trying to use up but you may add whatever your heart desires: yellow onion, all kinds of peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, asian vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, green beans… whatever tickles your fancy.
6 cooked Brussel sprouts sliced
1 green onion sliced on the diagonal
6 baby lettuce leaves
Mix together broth and cornstarch and then add orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, chili sauce, garlic in a bowl and set aside.
In a large wok or non stick frying pan, heat oil on medium high. Add pork strips and and stir until pork starts to brown (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add any vegetables that require more cooking (like yellow onion, carrots, peppers, etc) and stir fry for another few minutes till they are tender crisp.
Stir in broth mixture and stir until just starting to bubble. Let simmer until sauce thickens and then add your more tender veggies like the green onion and lettuce leaves. Stir quickly just until the colour of these veggies becomes brighter and then remove from heat
Serve over rice or noodles.
Photo 1: 50mm, f2.8, 1/15th (shot on a tripod), ISO400, +2/3 exposure compensation. This was heavily cropped from the original which was shot vertically.
Photo 2: 50mm, f3.5, 1/8th (also shot on a tripod), ISO400, +2/3 exposure compensation.
Post processing was the same on both photos: to combat the orange overhead dining room light, I changed my White Balance in Camera RAW to Tungsten on both of these photos. This is one of the benefits of shooting RAW. But, it’s something I really should have done in camera – no excuse for not trying it. (and no, my dining room light is not tungsten but it never hurts to experiment if you’re unhappy with the situation.)
I did a few tweaks with saturation and luminosity on the oranges, greens and aquas – very minor ones. I also did some cross processing – upping the orange on highlights and the blue on shadows. These were all done to try and combat the effect of the poor artificial light.
This is a good example of where a diffuser overhead would have helped cut down the harsh glare from the overhead light. I was rushing and didn’t think to try it while shooting. However… the glare did help the glaze of the stir fry sauce be more apparent. I’d liked to have found a nice happy medium between the two.
Total post processing time: About 5 minutes to do both photos.