Dinner and an Album: Chili-Glazed Pork and Destroyer’s Kaputt

Posted by: on Feb 16, 2011 | No Comments

I consider myself a fan and connoisseur of pork in just about any formation, be it loins, ribs, roast, chops, or the king of pork products, BACON, so it’s always fun to try out a new approach to cooking this most appetizing of meats. This recipe for chili-glazed pork was relatively simple, and goes exceedingly well with the side dish of savory sweet potato hash.

You can do a lot of things with pork tenderloin since its shape gives it a propensity for being stuffed with any number of hearty delectables, but in this case we’re taking the easy route by simply coating the outside with salt, pepper, olive oil, chili powder and maple syrup. (Who wants to bother with kitchen twine anyway?) Admittedly, I did go a bit heavier on the “glazed” part of this recipe than the “chili” part, but the proportions are pretty malleable depending on your preference for spiciness/sweetness. The end result is an aromatic, mouthwatering main course that is also quick and filling.

If the pork is the famous, high-paid star of this dinner production, the hash is the underrated character actor who ultimately steals the show. Deepak Chopra has this thing about “the flavors of life,” which describes the benefits of a diet that includes a wide range of color and texture. This idea appeals to both the artist and foodie in me, and the dark oranges and greens of the potato hash are definitely as attractive as they are delicious. Though the ingredients may seem sparse (it’s literally sweet potatoes, shallots and spinach), the mélange is comforting and savory and packs a nutritional punch to boot. Let’s hear it for unintentionally eating healthy!

Jump over to Another Freaking Cooking Blog for both recipes.

Kaputt is the ninth studio album from Destroyer, a Canadian band fronted by singer Dan Bejar. Destroyer has been recording and performing for the last ten years, and has been compared to artists like David Bowie and Pavement. Bejar describes Destroyer’s sound as “European Blues”, which, though apt, seems a less applicable classification for Kaputt than previous albums. Kaputt feels less bluesy and more like romantic pop meets 80s synth meets smooth jazz meets beat poetry. How’s that for categorization?

Bejar’s lyrics are something die-hard Destroyer aficionados take great pride in dissecting and analyzing, and Kaputt does not disappoint in this regard. As a big Kara Walker fan, I was delighted to learn of her lyrical collaboration with Bejar. The beginning of “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker” is moody and atmospheric, but soon launches into a patchwork of free-form images and ideas which feels at times like listening to a smoothly crafted word association game. Lines like “Flesh and blood, my death close at hand! Sister, this is not about me and it’s not about you, I swear!” seem like private glimpses into how intimate their collaboration must have been.

That Kaputt’s overall sound works so well is surprising to me, given the unusual mixture of synthesizers, New Order-esque basslines, and soft horns. Working in the sax or trumpet when your sound is neither funk nor soul can be a tricky proposition, yet here it’s done delicately and thoughtfully, never lapsing into a place that sounds inauthentic or overly produced. Trying to imagine this album without them is impossible since they’ve been so carefully woven into the texture of tracks such as “Song for America” and “Chinatown”.

One last bit to mention is that the backup vocals on this album are astounding. They’re provided by singer Sibel Thrasher, who, like the aforementioned sweet potato hash, manages to steal the show on songs like “Downtown” and “Blue Eyes”.

Check out the official video for “Kaputt” below: