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Archive for the ‘pork’ Category

this is what i had for easter dinner. i ended up buying a ham at the last minute, but i was alone so i still have a ridiculous amount left in the fridge, even though i managed to give some away. i bought some split peas to make soup… maybe tomorrow. i had purchased a ham through the mail from harrington, but i think this was the first time i had bought one on impulse from a grocer. this ham was smothered in sugar and it was spiral cut… which for some reason took me by surprise. i can see how it allows the sugar better access to a greater surface area of the meat, but it was weird. i put a chunk of ham slices in a pan, poured maple syrup on it, and put it in a preheated 325 degree oven until it was hot. then i put it under the broiler until it was gooey and brown, but before it caught fire.

for the salad, i sauteed crimini mushrooms in olive oil until they were cooked and brown. i tossed the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. i added more fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the mushrooms and dumped it on top of the arugula. usually i would shave some reggiano on top, but i had a chunk of gorgonzola instead– which went pretty nicely with the sweet ham.

then i called my ex husband and asked him to drop off my daughter– i missed her too much…

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BRAISED PORK

are you german? this is very straight- forward, nothing fancy.

i made this in december for a party. because i got distracted, there is no plated photo.
it was served with spatzle [see recipe below]. this is a simple version of family dish that was served fairly regularly. it’s great in cold weather, so hurry up before it gets warm. here in portland, you have until about june. the traditional version adds drained and rinsed sauerkraut and fennel seed; it’s fantastic that way as well. make a lot, it reheats well. we serve it with applesauce and call it the “beige” meal.

in a huge, heavy baking dish, brown the country ribs in vegetable oil. you can buy them with or without the bone, but buy them with the bone if you can, they are better. brown them on both sides, a few at a time so they do not touch. remove them and deglaze the pan with water or stock.

season the meat with salt and pepper and distribute in pan. add chunks of yellow onion; add a lot, this is your ‘vegetable’ of the meal. if you want to add sauerkraut and fennel seed, do it now. distribute the sauerkraut so it’s throughout the meat layers. i did about three layers of ribs. add fresh sprigs of thyme. add a bay leaf or two, and more liquid if needed. you don’t need to fill it to the top with liquid, maybe just half way. roast in a preheated 325 degree oven for a couple of hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. it’s hard to overcook the meat here, although the onions will get ultra- soft. if you want to cook it for longer, just turn down the temperature to 300. i take it out after about an hour and just rearrange things a bit so that it cooks evenly in the juices.

SPATZLE

this recipe is from the joy of cooking and is the only one i ever use. i make these after the pork is finished roasting, just leave the lid on, it will stay hot.

beat 2 eggs. mix well with 1 1/2 c flour, 1/2 c water or milk, 1/2 t sea salt, 1/4 t of double- acting baking powder. i whip it all together with a fork. instead of pushing the dough through a sieve or colander [a traditional method], i use two large spoons. collect a spoonful of dough in one spoon, and scrape off quarter- sized chunks into boiling, salted water. i put a dish in the oven on low with a few tablespoons of butter in it. as i make the spatzle, i collect them with a slotted spoon and throw them in the dish with butter. just give them a quick stir each time you add some.

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a “frenched” or “french cut” chop is a rib chop that comes from the lean, loin area of the pig and is trimmed so that the chop remains on a rib bone; not unlike a lamb chop from a rack of lamb. in fact, you can ask your butcher to do a whole rack of pork rib roast [you would be hard pressed to just stumble across one in the store prepared this way]. because this cut is so lean, it is great grilled hot and fast, and not overcooked. the interior temperature should be 160 degrees to be safe. the alternative is to braise this cut in the oven in liquid until it is well cooked, soft, and practically falling off the bone. always use a piece of meat with the bone in if you can, it takes longer to cook [if you are grilling or pan- frying], but has much more flavor.

brown the chops on high heat in vegetable oil in a heavy, oven- proof pan; i really like the enameled steel, like le creuset. a couple tips for browning: heat the skillet before you add oil, let the oil heat well before adding the meat, have the meat at room temperature if possible, and don’t let the chops touch in the pan.

once the chops are well browned on both sides, add stock enough to come to the top of the chops. many people completely drown the meat in liquid, which is fine, but i like the brown, rich finish the meat has when it’s not totally immersed; there is plenty of liquid in the pot to braise it until tender.

season with salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and thyme. i added dried, pitted cherries and about 2 T of a very syrupy balsamic vinegar. put the lid on and cook in a preheated 325 degree oven until tender. don’t even crack the lid until it’s been at least an hour or an hour and a half. you can do it longer at 300 degrees, also, if you have the time; the slower the better.

serve the chop with the liquid and cherries spooned over the top. you could reduce or thicken the liquid, but i don’t like thickened pork gravy. i don’t know why.

red quinoa is gorgeous and has a rich, lentil- like flavor. it’s so good with meat.

saute a large, minced shallot in about 2 T of olive oil. when the shallot starts to become translucent, add a cup of the red quinoa. stir it for a few minutes so it gets toasty. add 2 cups of stock [or water], salt, and pepper [unless the stock is well- seasoned] and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. leave the lid on for another few minutes to allow the excess water to be absorbed.

add 1 T of butter and 1/2 cup chopped italian, flat leaf parsley.

quinoa has a very high protein content, is high in fiber, and is easily digested. for more about quinoa:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

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this is great for cold weather, and is a nice alternative to beef stew. it’s slightly spicy and would be great with tortillas. i served mine with cornbread.

sort then soak a bag of dried baby lima beans overnight. i think i had to officially say that, but i put them in the microwave with water that covers them plus a couple of inches, and i put the microwave on low for about 20 minutes. throw in a couple cloves of garlic. either way, rinse well.

cube about 2 pounds of pork and brown it in canola or safflower oil. don’t use olive oil, it smokes at high temperatures. brown the pork a little at a time, ensuring that the pieces are not touching one another, or they will steam rather than brown. move browned pieces to the side of the pot and continue to add more pork.

when the pork is browned, add chopped onion, celery, and carrot and mix it around a bit. i like the vegetables to take on a bit of that caramelized flavor at the bottom of the pot. add some pepper, a little cumin to taste, and a little salt, then dump in your soaked lima beans. stir around for a few minutes, coating the beans in the yummy brown flavor.

add chicken stock and water to cover beans by a couple inches. i just check the liquid level periodically and add more water if necessary to ensure the beans get cooked, and that the soup is the consistency i like. add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and a small can of chopped green chiles. trader joes has a can of tomatoes with chiles. you can also use just the tomatoes, and a half can of  ancho chiles instead, which gives it a smokey flavor, but also turns up the heat.

make a bouquet garni: in cheesecloth or large tea ball combine parsley stems, a couple of bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, and if you like, fresh thyme. sink the bouquet garni deep into the soup.

when the beans are tender check the consistency and add more water if necessary. i don’t like mine too thick. if you like it a bit creamier, take a couple of cups of the soup (no pork) and puree in a food processor, then add back in to soup. season as desired.

i serve my chili with chopped italian parsley or cilantro, diced avocado, and grated monterey jack or crumbled mexican queso fresca cheese.

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i love, but get so burned out on, regular barbeque sauce. this recipe [thrown together, not sure you could call it a ‘recipe’] combines some indian flavors with thai flavors and is really good and totally easy.

trim as much membrane and fat off of two or three racks of ribs. put in a roasting pan with sliced ginger and lemons and about an inch of water and bake them at 350 for about 45 minutes. meanwhile, make the sauce…

in a blender or food processor combine:

i jar of masala sauce [i get mine at trader joes, although you could make your own]
1/2 can of coconut milk
1T tamarind paste
about 2 inches of ginger root peeled and diced
lemon juice
1T worcheshire  sauce
salt and pepper to taste
puree until smooth 

when the ribs are done, smother them with the sauce and let them marinate for a while, refrigerated. grill slowly on low heat, basting with the sauce until they are all brown and gooey. garnish with a chiffonade of basil. great with grilled white corn, marinated green bean salad and sliced cucumber. make a dip for meat and cukes out of plain yogurt, chopped garlic, chopped parsley, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.

ribs_rawribs_cooked

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i made it last night in the crock-pot and it was fantastic!

put in crock-pot:
one 2lb piece of beef or pork, cut into 4 pieces and browned
1 qt. chicken stock (1st deglaze pan from browning meat)
1 lg can mild green chiles (leave whole)
1 can hominy
cumin, s+p and oregano, few bay leaves

 

TORTILLAS

i should have served it with cilantro, shredded jack and avocado, but only had lime. homemade tortillas a la diana kennedy were SO easy:
2 C flour, 1/4 c room temp veg shortening, 1 t salt dissolved in 3/4- 1 c warm water.
blend fat + flour, add water until you have a soft dough and knead for about 4 min. make little balls (8-ish). let rest 15 min. roll. cook in iron skillet on med heat until brown spots appear. EAT!!

UPDATE: i made this again but added a can of chipotle peppers. they imparted an amazing, smoky flavor.

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