So. After yesterday's post, in which I extolled the virtues of healthy eating, I'm going to tell you about the pork chops I had for lunch today. The pork chops that I braised in, of all things, sodie pop.

    I'm not sure who first got the idea to cook meat in coke, but it's something you run across from time to time in cooking blogs and magazines. That's why, when they were giving away free sodas at work the other day, I took one home with me instead of just explaining that I don't drink soda. Sure, it seems a little crazy to use a sugary, carbonated, artificially orange-flavored beverage as a cooking liquid. But crazy in the kind of way that juuust miiiight wooork...not "Lucy Ricardo" crazy, but rather, "Jack Sparrow" crazy. My hunch was that if I used orange soda to braise pork chops, the results would be either great or inedible, but certainly not boring. Whether I would eat them or toss them in the garbage was hard to predict, but one thing I knew for sure: for good or for bad, I was making the pork chops.

    The pork chops were not inedible, and they definitely didn't end up in the trash. They were sublime, smothered in their sweet and spicy sauce atop a mound of steaming rice. My one caution is that if you don't like spicy foods, you probably won't like these pork chops. I love spicy foods, so I devoured these babies.

*serves 1

2 boneless pork chops
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red chili pepper, sliced in thin cross-sections with the seeds removed
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 cup orange soda
1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 tsp soy sauce
rice for serving
chopped green onion to garnish

    Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a medium nonstick skillet until it spreads to coat the pan. Add the pork chops-they should sizzle on contact-and let them sit for 3-5 minutes on one side without stirring or moving them, until they are slightly browned. Turn the chops over, and sear them for 3-5 minutes on the other side. Remove the chops from the skillet and keep them on a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add the ginger, garlic, red pepper, and coriander to the pan, and cook for several minutes, until the red pepper has softened. Add the tomatoes, orange soda, and soy sauce to the pan, and bring to a boil. Add the chops and any juices they have released back into the pan, and simmer, covered, over medium low heat for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. The pork is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F or the meat is white all the way through. Serve over rice, and garnish with chopped green onions.