crippity crop

I apologize in advance for my mood. Feel free to skip directly to the recipe.


Every cloud has a silver lining, so they say.

I say “they” can go suck an egg. Because I am in a STATE right now, and am having a good deal of trouble finding the silver lining in Bipolar and anxiety disorders.

Well, it is fairly easy to acquire a prescription for Valium, so I guess there’s that, but that doesn’t seem glittery enough for my taste. Valium is only fun if you don’t NEED it, and is considerably less fun when one is in a STATE. When you need prescription medication to get over crippling anxiety at the very idea of making dinner, the silver lining, she is invisible.


Frankly, I’m quite irritated that I should be in a STATE at all, what with all the Abilification and Lamictalizing and Paxilization to which my chemically addled brain is subject on a daily basis. If I can do all that and still be subject to a STATE? I AM TRULY INSANE. You should probably keep your distance. IT MIGHT BE CATCHING.

Luckily I have a Brian, who does useful things like prod me to get off my crazy ass and cook instead of sitting on the couch stewing, as is my wont. Thus, STATE be damned, five-spice pork chops with a hoisin-tangerine glaze were still produced and consumed, and with a minimum of melodrama on my part.


My original idea was to crust a pork tenderloin in Chinese five-spice powder, sear it off on the stove and finish it with glaze in the oven. Quick, easy, perfect for two! That was before I had a brain fart and purchased THREE POUNDS worth of pork loin, which is a bit much for two, even when the two in question are Brian and me.

Instead, I cut a few chops off my pork log, crusted them in five-spice and cooked them on the stovetop. Once the glaze (hoisin, tangerine juice, chili-garlic paste, brown sugar) went on, they took a quick trip under the broiler to caramelize.

I plated them on a bed of greens dressed only with fresh tangerine juice, and voila! I made it all the way through meal preparation without bursting into tears! Send in the clowns! Or don’t, because I find clowns frightening.


I even managed to sit and eat my entire meal and converse about my day like a seemingly normal person, so clearly the Valium is kicking in.

This is a simple, fast and flavor-packed dinner. The glaze would be equally as good on chicken, or even a burger. The warmth of the five-spice plays off the sweetness of the tangerine and hoisin, while little pinpricks of heat slowly build from the chili-garlic paste, eventually blooming full-grown and cutting through what could be a cloying dish.

Look at how well I’ve managed to disguise being crazy in the last couple of paragraphs! You’d hardly think you were dealing with a madwoman who was, only an hour or two ago, paralyzed by pork. So really, I didn’t have to tell you about my STATE at all, but you know I can’t keep anything from you.

Five Spice Pork with Hoisin-Tangerine Glaze
2 pork loin chops
2 tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 tbsp. veg oil
1/3 c. hoisin sauce
juice of 1 tangerine
1/2 tsp. chili-garlic paste
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and crust them all over with the five-spice powder.

Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Turn your broiler to high.

When the oil is hot, add the pork chops. Sear 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 130 (they’ll come up the rest of the way under the broiler and as they rest).

While the pork is cooking, whisk together the hoisin, tangerine juice, chili-garlic paste and sugar.

Once the pork is seared on both sides, liberally spoon the glaze over the pork and run under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until the glaze is caramelized and bubbly. Let the pork rest for a few minutes, then serve.