Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pintester Movement -- My Lackluster Pork Experience


This is not only the tale of how I stepped into the Pintester's shoes for a day, but of how I found myself face-down in spilled pork juice product while trying to salvage the remnants of an experiment gone horribly awry. enjoy!


When Sonja Foust, of Pintester.com, announced the Pintester Movement Challenge, I knew I had to join up. I read many, many blogs on a daily basis, but only a few bloggers qualify as a "Blog Hero" to me. Sonja is one of those people. She takes the Pinterest Pins we all see everywhere ("Easy!" "Three ingredients!" "Do it yourself!") and shows us how "easy" they really are--usually, she ends up with results that are a far cry from the pretty pictures we keep re-pinning. And with the snark and humor (and endless supply of penis-shaped crafts), it makes for one of the most entertaining reads you'll find on the internet.

The Challenge: Recreate one of the pins that Sonja has already tested. Because food is kinda my thing, obviously I was going to recreate one of her Food & Drink pintests. I needed something fairly cheap, easy, and that wouldn't totally go to waste. For whatever reason, I decided on Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Pork Loin.

Original Pin Pic from Here

This is weird, because I don't really like pork. I enjoy bacon, as does everyone, and pulled pork with BBQ is one of my favorite things. But ham? Gross. Pig Roasts? Like watching a horror movie. Ground pork? What would you even USE ground up little pig bits FOR, anyway? (oh, right, meatballs, but still!) Pork loin? Eh... I really want to like pork loin. I do! But each time I make it or get it somewhere, it's just disappointing. Dry, bland, meh. So, why I chose this pin is anyone's guess.

In true Pintester fashion, I cheated at the directions a little bit. Discovering that a pork loin was a whopping $11--too rich for my budget-blood--I opted for this pork steak type situation instead, which was Buy 1 get TWO free at the local grocery store. Why buy MORE pork when I'm ambivalent about it? I have no idea. I was caught up in the spirit of the Pintester Movement, I guess. And stupid tricks of advertising.

And, in what I feel is probably also Pintester fashion, I totally forgot about the deadline and ended up having to do this in a hurry. So, I woke up early that morning, pulled the ingredients from the fridge, made enough noise to thoroughly piss off my downstairs neighbors who already think I'm too noisy, and rushed the process. Upon returning home from work, a friend had promised me a Girls' Night of wine and movies and I was rushing to get the pork thing done and plated and photographed before I missed the boat on a night of wine. And, if you know me, you know I'm not one to pass up on wine.

When you're dealing with a fruit fly invasion,
a sippy cup is the safest place for your wine.

Sonja's review of the finished recipe stated that the pork was too bland, despite the apples and cinnamon. I decided to try and rectify this in my edits. If pork with apples is too bland, what would make it not so bland? I decided stuffing some cheese in there was a good start, and that brie with apples and cinnamon would be amazing. I threw in some other additions to try to jazz it up a bit as well.

"This will be DELICIOUS!" I said, cackling to myself. I imagined the Pintester herself giving me kudos for a job well done. My delusions of grandeur know no bounds. I am a Millennial, after all.

Pintester's original "results" From Pintester.com
The Testing:
Original Pin Source
Pintester's Test
Pintester Movement Page

Ingredients Suggested in Original Pin:
  • 3 pounds porkloin
  • 3 red delicious apples, sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced

Ingredients I used
  • 2 pork steaks (no idea what cut it was, sorry)
  • 2 golden apples
  • 4 slices of brie
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine

I took the pork meat and sliced it in half, butterfly style. Next, I used a meat mallet to pound them down to a half inch thickness.


I placed four apple slices, a few onion slices, and two brie slices in each pork flap, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar, and rolled them up. To ensure they would not unravel in the slow cooker, I used toothpicks to seal them closed. I think Sonja would make a penis joke here. Here, let me try...

I tried to make stuffed pork loin and instead made Pinhead's Penis.
Ehh?

Anyway... I sprinkled them with more cinnamon and sugar, then put in the pot with the remaining ingredients. The wine was an afterthought--I knew that slow cookers relied on liquid to cook the food, and I doubted the apples would provide enough, so I threw in the wine and some water. In retrospect, something sweeter (juice, applesauce) would have been a better option. Then I set the slow cooker to low, and went to work for the day, to return 8 hours later to a pork dinner that would change my feelings forever about "the other white meat"!


But when I came home and peeked inside my 80s-era crockpot that my mom had let me borrow and I've refused to return (because it is AWESOME), I discovered that the pork had adhered itself into this pork ball thing. Assuming this meant it wasn't done, I turned the entire mass over, put the crock on high and waited one more hour.

This time when I attempted to remove the pork from the slow cooker, it fell apart. The cooker was filled with what looked like soup, and the smell was not very appetizing. I hoped it tasted better than it looked.

Pork. Mess.

...it didn't. The pork had dried out too much--possibly because of that extra hour on high--there was far too much liquid, and the brie had melted into oblivion. I had a passing thought that the watery mess in the crock pot could be reduced to a sauce, but the unappetizing smell convinced me this was not going to happen. I whipped up a quick salad (roasted golden beets over field greens with goat cheese and strawberry balsamic dressing) so that dinner wouldn't be a total waste, and went to take pictures of the mess anyway. I discovered that if I ate the dry meat with a bit of the salad dressing and the brie, it was edible. Also pairing it with a big glass of gin punch didn't hurt.

Toothpicks and pork--the meat that bites back.

And this is where I fell square on my face and hard onto my right leg. While transporting the pork mess to my dining room to photograph, apparently some of the soup-juice-runoff had fallen off the plate and my tread-bare sandals slipped out from under me and I fell face-first into my floor. I pulled myself up, amid some colorful language, and photographed my sad creation.

So, despite my best efforts, this pin-test was a fail on multiple fronts. I think I need to give up on pork loin and accept that some pins simply cannot be saved, despite your best intentions.

Overall, it actually was a fun challenge and I'm glad I participated, despite the large bruise slowly growing on my keecap. I hope to do another one in the future, though this time I might try a baked good instead, and I (probably) won't make the mistake of rushing it again!

28 comments:

  1. So you slipped on kind of hot ham water? :-) Almost seems like you bought boneless pork chops but yeah not sure. Good for you for taking the challenge and having the guts to taste dry pork!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This made me LOL---hot ham water! My life is clearly just an episode of Arrested Development.

      Although it was like, Winey Hot Ham Water... so, Lucille would approve.

      Delete
  2. This was pretty funny to read. Laughing at your expense -- sorry, not sorry. My friend had a super pinterety wedding shower and while everything tasted good nothing was as "easy" as the pins exclaimed them to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My friends show me pins all the time of recipes I should try. After lecturing them about how they need to check to make sure the pin doesn't plagiarize an entire recipe (a lot do! and the bloggers lose money because no one clicks through to visit the blog!), I then get scared that they think I could actually make things that look as good as they do on Pinterest. EEEP.

      Delete
  3. Even I was like you & I hated Pork. Ever since I have tried Pork here in singapore I ahve slowly developed a taste for this. Your pork dish looks lovely. I make this garlic Pork ribs which is heavnly. You must try this if you are still ok trying out Pork dishes. You can check the recipe here . Hope you have a great girl wine dine out:)http://www.korporate2kitchen.com/2012/05/stewed-pork-ribs-in-garlic-sauce.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also forgot the deadline and had to rush like hell!!! And failed my pin!!! *high-five*

    I'm sorry your pork was less than divine, but that tiny salad looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm checking them all out and haven't gotten to yours yet--cannot wait to see! :)

      The tiny salad will be in an upcoming blog post for the recipe for the dressing (so check back! hehe), since I was super impressed with my awesome improvisation skills even during a possible concussion.

      Delete
  5. My favorite part is the wine in a sippy cup. I need that for when I'm cooking & crafting. The salad looks delicious - nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The salad was great, gave me something to get rid of the weird pork flavor.

      Delete
  6. Ashley - very good indeed! I love the substitutions, always the best part about Pintester. Ethne @ Wom-Mom

    ReplyDelete
  7. The way you prepared it pre-death by crock pot made it sound almost appetizing (I'm a little skeptical about fruit and meat combined). Too bad it didn't come out as good as that last photo looks. Also great use of The Pintester Spirit by changing the pin to fit your needs. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did a similar thing with pears and gorgonzola in a Dutch oven a few months ago and it was perfect--this was just overcooked. I bet the flavors would go well together if it was done properly ;)

      Delete
  8. On the plus side, your salad looks delicious! :-) That's funny that we both tried the same recipe and got such different results. I do have to agree that the juice (way too thin to be called a sauce) was weird-looking with all that cinnamon floating around in it. I couldn't do anything with it either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The salad ensured that I actually ate that night. And you followed the recipe far better than I, so that's probably why! hehe ;)

      Delete
  9. So sad it didn't turn out, but you got some great stories out of it. :) I am a millennial line was probably my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Hehe, a bit tongue-in-cheek, since I am so OVER the media being all "Millennial have such a sense of ENTITLEMENT!" Um, sorry, I just feel entitled to not being filled to the brim with stupid debt with no options to lower it and a hazy job market... bleh! I won't rant any further though ;)

      Delete
  10. Oh dear! Sorry your pork wasn't very fulfilling... hahahaha. (That was a penis joke.) And I hope your injury heals soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm about to go camping in the woods, the injuries will multiply but hopefully the food will be better. And yay, penis joke!

      Delete
  11. I think of all the times I've made pork, I've enjoyed it once. I feel your pork pain, I've given up on the other white meat. I wouldn't judge if you did too. I hope your knee feels better soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pork pain sounds vaguely suggestive, Sonja would approve.

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry to say that the part about you falling on your face is my favorite....mostly because I do it on a regular basis. Why do we put slippery surfaces in an area where wet stuff falls all over it?? Haha, sorry that it didn't turn out but at least it was a good story in true Pintester fashion!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh god! Can not un-see Pinhead's penis! *barf*

    Hahahahaha I feel so bad for laughing so hard at this fail. I'm totally certain that I would have failed fantastically at this (or any cooking pintest) too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. hahaha love it...I've had enough experience with slow cooker pork every which way you can think of that I'll probably forever stay away from it. Hence my 2 ingredient pancake test lol

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Ashley: you crack me up. Your poor pork!!! and your KNEE!!! I think the only way to eat a pork loin is by tossing it into the crock pot with an entire bottle of barbecue sauce. Cook it all day on low, and then SHRED THE STUFF. For those of us that DONT LIKE PORK, you can't taste it through the barbecue, and hello? leftovers. For my army of 6-9 people, you can never go wrong with those.

    I'm so so so sorry your experiment was not only unsuccessful, but painful as well. i really dig your salad, on the other hand, much like everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Awww I hate pinterest fails! Especially once that literally took all day. At least your salad is pretty!

    ReplyDelete