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My Great American Road Trip – Indiana

July 26, 2020

Hoosier daddy? Or, better question, hoosier cardiologist?

I don’t know anything about Indiana. When I did a google search I got like ten results for Indiana Jones before I got a result for the state. I think my first awareness of Indiana was the late 70s bicycle film Breaking Away, which also solidified my love of the underdog and an inspirational training montage. I’ve also seen Hoosiers (underdog story), Rudy (underdog story),  A Christmas Story  (underdogs who’ll shoot their eye out) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (underdogs and aliens),  but thus ends my knowledge of Indiana. Indiana Jones – not an underdog. Indiana – definitely an underdog!

And no wonder by the way they eat. Lots of beef, noodles, chili, and something called Hoosier pie, which is a sugar cream pie. But, so the internet tells me, nothing is more Indiana than a pork tenderloin sandwich.

Step one, get a pork loin and cut it lengthwise, but stop about an inch before you cut all the way through. Open it like a book and pound it til it is about 1/4 inch thick. I very much enjoyed this step.

When it’s all pounded out, you soak it in a bath of buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic, and, I added a cayenne. You leave it there for about 4 hours. While that was soaking, I prepared my french fries. You cut potatoes into thin strips and soak those in water for about 3 hours. With several hours to kill, I went to Flamingo Park with friend Jack. We bemoaned our lack of a blanket, beers, and board games and made a plan to do better the next day.

Back at home, I pulled my very relaxed pork from its milk bath. Unknown-3.jpeg

The breading step required smashed saltines, which I happened to have on hand, because of my father’s wise warning that you would never stave as long as there were saltines and peanut butter around.

The pork gets dredged in flour, then back into the butter milk, dredged in the saltine powder and then you fry them up in hot peanut oil. I used the last of the peanut oil I’d picked up on a trip to a windmill outside of Amsterdam with my friend Gene. That was also the trip where I realized that windmills are not just decorative, they mill things using wind power. Like peanuts for oil! I’m certain you all knew that, but I did not.

(I know it’s a shock, but in this one instance, I did not buy the shoes!)

While the pork is cooking (a few minutes on each side), I prepared the bun – it should have mayo, yellow mustard, a slice of yellow onion, a slice of tomato, then you place the cooked pork and top with dill pickles and some iceberg. The key to this sandwich is that the bun should look dwarfed by the meat. Unknown-1.jpeg

But, we’re not done yet. This must be served with french fries. I did the pork first, because there was no way I was going to cook two thing simultaneously, and I figured cold pork was less egregious than cold fries.

So the fries come out of the water, pat dry and go into a couple inches of oil (I used canola, cause that’s what I had that wasn’t olive). The oil should be about 300 degrees, but since I don’t have a thermometer, it was just a medium high setting. You just leave them in until they translucent and then you take them out, pat them dry and turn the oil up to 400 (or high in my case). Then you put them back into the oil so they get golden brown. Unknown-2

It is a very stressful process, but in the end – I made PERFECT french fries. Onto the plate they go, and voila, an Indiana heart attack!

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It was a ridiculous thing to eat, but each component was tasty enough. It is unlikely I’ll make the pork again, although the saltines and peanut oil made a delicious crust. But those fries – they were fabulous!

 

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3 Comments
  1. Anita permalink

    Wonderful. Just watched “Breaking Away” , one of my all time favorite movies!!

  2. inacity permalink

    The pork certainly does look relaxed. And those fries look positively professional! What did you do with all of that oil afterwards though?

    • so, so much oil. I remember my mom just to drain it into a coffee can that she had by the stove. I do not have a coffee can, so I just waited til it cooled and dumped it in my trash bag, which I then immediately took to the dumpster. It is not an ideal solution. Open to suggestions about what one does do with oil.

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