Showing posts with label pig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pig. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


An apology to my healthy and/or vegetarian friends..... I go a little crazy this time of year for holiday gluttony. Of course, I still crave veg, fresh fruit, and simple soups, but every December I totally let loose cooking and gobbling up sweet treats, buttery polentas, creamy pastas, and beefy stews. I really can't help myself.

I've been itching to experiment with Bacon Candy ever since I saw a recipe in Canal House No. 1 and another one from Adrianna, who serves her candied bacon crumbled on top of ice cream - hell ya. I mean how can you go wrong serving up sweet, salty, crunchy bacon!

Want to have friends over for cocktails and a tasty nibble? This bacon could be your hero.  I imagine it would also make an awesome addition to a weekend brunch. It's outrageous. Don't you think you might just have to try bacon candy for yourself?

Friday, January 27, 2012


After the enthusiastic response to my post on Momofuku's Pulled Pork, I found that I am not alone in my love of pig. Pork fans, add this recipe to your porcine list. Take a little time this weekend to blister tomatillos and braise some pork, and your whole house will smell like Mexican comfort food.

I trust Rick Bayless. He has earned a good rep by making great food at Frontera Grill in Chicago (sadly a place I've never had the chance to eat.) Plus, he has a nice face... somehow that open smile makes me trust him even more.

As Californians, my little family eats a lot of Mexican food. When we go out to eat, 9 out of 10 times it's Mexican, though we don't cook much Mexican food at home. We do make tacos, and the occasional carnitas, but rarely more. A few weeks ago our neighbors loaned us a copy of Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen and I knew I needed to spend some time in my kitchen with Rick.

I was right to trust the guy - Bayless' recipe for Tomatillo Braised Pork was a total hit. Succulent pork, a spicy/sweet stew, oh yeah!

INGREDIENTS adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
(printable recipe)

for the sauce:
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • fresh Serrano chilies, stems removed and roughly chopped (Bayless calls for 5 chilies, I only used 2 and there still was a nice kick)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoon, plus more for seasoning the meat

for the stew:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds pork country ribs, or pork shoulder, cut into large chunks*
  • 2 small white onions, finely chopped, plus some round slices for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 medium boiling potatoes, quartered

*We've made this recipe with a few different cuts of meat. I preferred our batch that used pork country ribs and some pork belly. So rich and succulent.


Preheat your broiler. Husk and rinse your tomatillos, then scatter them on a broiling pan. Stick pan with the tomatillos a few inches under the hot broiler and cook for a few minutes until the skins are blistered. Then turn the tomatillos a bit to makes sure they are roasted on all sides and beginning to soften nicely.

Put the roasted tomatillos in a blender. Blend until smooth, then add cilantro leaves,  3/4 cup water,  and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend again. Your sauce is done!


Prep your pork, by cutting it into big chunks and seasoning all sides with salt. Leave the fatty bits on - they really make the flavor here.

In a large heavy bottomed pan, (I used my Le Creuset Dutch Oven), heat olive oil over a medium/high flame. Add the chunks of meat to the pan in a single layer and brown the meat on all sides. ( I needed to brown my meat in a couple of batches because I couldn't fit all the meat in the pan at once.) This whole process should take about 20 minutes.

Set aside browned meat.

Preheat oven to 325.

Pour out all but a thin coating of oil from your dutch oven. Heat over medium. Add onions and saute for about 4 minutes until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Pour the tomatillo sauce into the pot. Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a roiling boil. Add the pork. Stir. Cover the dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Cook for 45 minutes until the pork is just tender. Skim off any fat that has risen to the surface.

Add the chopped potatoes to the pot. Submerge the potatoes in the sauce. Return the whole thing to the oven and continue cooking for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Before serving, take the pork out of the stew. Remove any fatty bits and pull the meat apart into bite sized bits. Stick the meat back in the warm stew and serve.

Garnish with cilantro and round slices of raw onion. We served our stew with corn tortillas, guacamole, slices radishes, beans, and rice.


Serves 4-8. With just a simple side salad, the stew is a hearty meal for 4. If you serve this along with a bunch of nice side dishes, this can easily serve 8.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


For years, Abby has been telling me tales about a delicious fig salad she makes. Thanks to the hot and sunny weather we had through the month of October, our fig tree has been pumping out tons of juicy fruit. I get giddy when I can step out of my kitchen door to pick food for supper. Yippee!

This salad has that dreamy combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and peppery flavors.... a party in each bite. And there is a lot of room for playful substitutions here. You could try arugula or frisee instead of watercress. Blue cheese could stand in for the chevre, or you can skip the cheese all together. I also think roasted hazelnuts would be tasty. And Abs says that pomegranate seeds are a nice addition as well... yum!

  • 4 fresh figs
  • 4 slices of bacon or pancetta
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 tablespoons chevre
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • optional: toasted hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds 

Wash and thoroughly dry watercress. Scatter leaves, with some stems left on, over 4 salad plates.

Slice figs and nestle them into the watercress.

Crumble chevre over each plate.

Cook bacon until crispy. (I suggest cooking the bacon at the last minute so that it's warm going into the salad. It really makes a difference.)

While bacon is cooking, take a jar (that has a lid), pour in balsamic and salt. Give them a stir to blend a bit. Add the olive oil. Put lid on jar, and shake it like crazy. My kids love to do this part. Take off lid and you've got emulsified dressing ready to go.

Crumble warm bacon onto the salad. Lightly dress each plate with a spoonful or two of dressing. (You will have dressing left over to stick in the fridge for your next salad....never a bad thing.)

Eat and enjoy!

serves 4


Monday, October 17, 2011


PULLED PORK...when those two words are uttered in our house, my family starts to chant, cheer, and drool.

That's right.

Now, I try not to be too bossy, but I can't help myself this time. (Sorry my vegetarian and kosher friends.) The rest of you must try this recipe! It is that easy. That good. And I'm making some right now.

This recipe comes from David Chang (of beloved Momofuku) and his new magazine Lucky Peach. This is the pulled pork Chang sticks in Momofuku's pork buns, bowls of ramen, etc..

We've made this recipe a half dozen times since we discovered it a couple of months ago. We scarf the crispy, juicy, salty pork on its own (with maybe a veggie or two along side just to make us feel healthy.) Pulled pork tacos with radish slices and guacamole have also proved a popular variation on this piggy theme. And if there are ever any leftovers, a sandwich with pork slathered with BBQ sauce is our favorite option.

Now that we are hooked on this pulled pork, I'd love any other ideas you guys might have for ways to eat it. Suggestions, anyone?

Be sure to take into consideration that the pork needs to sit overnight in the fridge with its salt/sugar rub, and it does need to roast for 6 hours in the oven. Be patient. It's worth it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Vegetarians, you might want to close your eyes. Pork-lovers out there, read on...

We have been eating like royalty here in Bali. Fresh fruit juices, garlic prawns, pungent sauces, candlelit dinners while reclining on batik cushions......ahhhhhhhh. This has been a decadent beginning to our trip. We realize that things won't always be so plush so we are soaking it all in with great appreciation.

Our lunch at Ibu Oka was by no means fancy, but this was a meal I had to share with you. As many of you know, my family loves pork. Give us carnitas, ribs, bacon, any tasty, salty pig, and we are happy. Hearing of the famous suckling pig at Ibu Oka, we knew this was the place for us.

As we entered the warung, we saw piles of juicy roasted pork. At lightning speed, the meat was being put onto plates or scooped into paper cones for take away. These quick-to-assemble travel containers are one of my favorite food tricks here in Bali.  A folded piece of paper - so simple, green, and quite cute.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Roasted Pork Loin with Rosemary, Garlic and Fennel

We are a family of pork lovers... give us pork any which way and we are happy. At least once a month we roast a pork loin and we gobble it up. Rubbed with a blend of rosemary, garlic, and crushed fennel seeds, the roast is simple, fast, and delectable. For months I have wanted to share this family favorite with you, but every time we make it, we eat before I can take a photo.

  • 1 1/4 pound pork loin
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped/pressed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

About 30-45 minutes before cooking, remove pork from the refrigerator.  Pat dry, salt the loin generously, and set aside.

Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Add rosemary leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Integrate ingredients and you've got your rub. Transfer mixture to a low bowl big enough to hold the pork loin.

Here's Otis prepping the rosemary. He knows the drill...

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll the loin in the fennel/garlic/rosemary mixture and coat all sides thoroughly.

Put a medium cast iron pan on the stove top over medium-high heat.

Brown all sides of the loin in the hot cast iron.

Place cast iron pan with the roast in the hot oven.

Roast for 25-35 minutes. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer - it should read 135-140 degrees when the pork is finished. Keep a close eye on the roast: it can go from undercooked to overcooked very quickly.

Let the roast rest for 10 minutes or so before slicing and serving. Cooked this way, the pork loin is juicy and slightly pink in the center.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mustard Greens wrapped in Prosciutto

Honestly, I am kinda lazy when it comes to appetizers. When friends come for dinner, roasted nuts, olives, and maybe a raw veggie or two are our standard finger foods. I decided to try something new and thanks (once again) to Alice Waters I have added another starter to my repertoire - won't our friends be happy.

Looking at our garden lush with winter greens, I was inspired to find a tasty recipe that would put some greens to good use in a new way. For supper, almost daily, we go out back and snip some chard, kale, or mustard and prepare the greens by steaming, stir-frying, roasting, and sauteing.  I am particularly loving the so-deep-purple-they-are-almost-black mustard greens with their vibrant chartreuse stalks. They have the kick of flavor that most mustard has and their greens are so tender they only need a light cooking.

from Alice Water's Chez Panisse Vegetables

  • 2 bunches of mustard greens (young kale, chard, or other winter greens would work as well)
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • red pepper flakes
  • garlic, 6 cloves finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, about 12 slices

Wash greens, remove stems, and coarsely chop leaves. Leave some water droplets on the greens. In a large saute pan, heat enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in garlic. Cook garlic for just a quick moment and then add the greens. Cook covered for about 5 minutes until the greens are wilted and tender. Set aside to cool. Season with a splash of red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and fresh ground pepper. (Go easy on seasoning with salt - the prosciutto adds plenty.)

Slice each piece of prosciutto in half lengthwise. Place a spoonful of greens on one end of the prosciutto and roll. Repeat. Serve at room temperature.


makes 24 rolls

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bacon Florets

This recipe is from Bill's Open Kitchen by Bill Granger. Some of my favorite brunch memories are from his Darlinghurst cafe and I haven't eaten there in over 10 years.

Bacon is simply delicious. Bill's technique is easy and most of the fat drips out during cooking to insure that nice crispy finish.

Preheat oven to 400. Roll each slice of bacon around two fingertips to create a floret. Stand each on a baking sheet. If your bacon keeps unfurling, just skewer each with a toothpick to keep roll in place. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cooking time will vary, depending on thickness of bacon slices. Personal preference should come into play as well- keep on cooking until it is just the way you like it. Easy and good!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Carnitas at Home

Before meeting Paul, I never ate much pork: definitely bacon, but not much else. Beef has become a bit too heavy for my taste. I can only eat so much chicken. And we are too carnivorous a bunch to entertain vegetarianism, so pork has taken a starring roll in our regular rotation of meals. This sounds as if pork has a utilitarian role in our family, that is not so. We LOVE pork: carnitas, loin, chops, sausages, ribs, salami, prosciutto, and of course bacon. Pork is my family's meat of choice.

Mexican cuisine, hip to the wonders of pork, puts out so many great pork dishes. Whenever we go out for Mexican food, Carnitas is the family favorite - the simple preparation is a great way to enjoy the porky deliciousness.

A few times a year we make our own carnitas, using Paul's mom's easy recipe. This time, on top of homemade tortillas we added chopped watermelon radishes, avocado, cilantro, salt, and lots of lime juice.

  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful of coriander seeds
  • dozen whole black peppercorns plus a bit of ground pepper
  • 1 whole dried red pepper chopped
  • salt

Generously salt pork the night before cooking.

Place all ingredients in large pot (again we use the Le Creuset dutch oven). Completely cover pork with water. Cook several hours, about 4, until fork tender. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400.

After pork is cool enough to handle, remove from water and discard excess fat (leave on some fat that will caramelize in the hot oven). Place manageable carnitas chunks on a baking sheet, or ceramic baking dish. Place pork in hot oven until it is warmed through and sizzling. You may even want to stick the carnitas under the broiler briefly to insure crispy edges.

Serves 8

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spinach Salad with Crispy Pancetta and Toasted Walnuts

I think this is the era of bacon. People have started bacon-of-the-month clubs, and I even have a friend who abstains from eating meat, except bacon. The salty, crispy goodness makes so many recipes taste better. Oh, I love the thinly sliced pancetta in this salad!


large bunch spinach
1/4 pound pancetta, thinly sliced
handful of walnuts
1 shallot thinly sliced
red wine vinegar
dijon mustard
olive oil
salt and ground pepper to taste

Wash and dry spinach leaves. Cook pancetta slices until crispy. Toast walnuts and chop.

Thinly slice shallots, place in a small bowl, cover with red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt, and let sit for 30 minutes. Add generous spoonful of mustard and enough olive oil to make a nice tangy dressing.

Dress greens, then crumble pancetta and chopped walnuts of the top of the salad. Season with fresh ground pepper.

This salad was the perfect accompaniment for the stuffed eggplant.

Serves 4

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Persimmon Salad with Hazelnuts, Prosciutto, Watercress, and Baked Goat Cheese

Persimmons are a my kitchen's mascot for Fall. Their skins reflect the color of the turning leaves and they inspire me to prepare earthy, hearty, autumnal meals.

This salad is perfect as a main for a fall lunch, or can be a shared appetizer before a dinner of grilled lamb and roasted root vegetables. Also, a generous portion could be an antipasti plate. I love the juxtaposing flavors: fresh yet roasted; sweet yet salty.

Doing a couple of things in advance can make preparation for this salad really fast and easy: I suggest soaking goat cheese overnight in olive oil; I always like having a stash of breadcrumbs in the freezer; and having a pot of watercress in the backyard is a plus.


2 bunches watercress
2 Fuyu persimmons
1/4 pound prosciutto slices
1 cup hazelnuts
4 rounds goat chesse, 1/2 thick
3/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs ( I used Mariposa's sandwich bread)
2 tablespoons port balsamic (or any balsamic you like)
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean and trim watercress and distribute around the edge of a dinner-sized plate to make a halo of greens. Repeat for 4 total plates.

Put hazelnuts in a pan on the stove top, with burner on medium/high. (I like to toast nuts on the stove so I can keep my eye on them, shake them occasionally, and keep them from burning.) After about 10-12 minutes, the hazelnuts should be nicely toasted. Spread nuts out on a dishcloth to cool. When the nuts are cool, use the cloth to rub the skins off. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Peel persimmons and slice into thin wedges. Tear each prosciutto slice into long strips, with about 1 inch width . Wrap each wedge of persimmon with a strip of prosciutto. On each plate, place 8 or so wrapped persimmons around the inside of the watercress halo.

This baked goat cheese technique is adapted from Chez Panisse and Cafe Fanny.... If you have soaked your goat cheese rounds overnight, go ahead and dredge them in breadcrumbs until covered on all sides. ( If you haven't soaked the cheese, you can lightly coat each round with olive oil to make sure the breadcrumbs stick to the cheese.) Place on a lightly greased baking pan. Put in the oven for 6-9 minutes. When done, the cheese should be warmed through and soft to the touch, but not melted. Placed one round of baked cheese in middle of each plate.

For the dressing, combine minced shallot, balsamic, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt.

Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts and lightly drizzle vinaigrette over the top of the salad.

Serves 4 as a main, or 8 as a shared appetizer

A note to families: For picky eaters, like my own kiddos, I recommend a deconstructed version of this salad. Kids can pick and choose from the ingredients to make their own delicious concoction.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fried Green Tomato BLT

This sandwich is a new one for me. I am by no means a Southern cook and I have never made fried green tomatoes. Yesterday, I was trying to tame my jungle of tomato plants and accidentally broke off a number of branches. It pained me to throw away beautiful tomatoes we worked hard to grow. So what if they aren't ripe....

Ingredients for each sandwich:

2 slices of your favorite bread: levain or pain de mie would be delicious (I used Pamela's gluten free bread rolls)
2 slices bacon
3 slivers avocado
1 piece butter lettuce or watercress
mayo (homemade, if you are so inclined) or pesto (see last recipe)
1 slice fried green tomato (read below)

This description may clog your arteries just reading it, so beware...
Cook your bacon in a large cast iron pan. Keep the pan hot after the bacon is done. Slice green tomatoes into 1/4 inch slabs. Lightly coat with flour ( I used sorghum flour). Dip in lightly beaten egg. Then coat with cornmeal. Place battered tomatoes in the hot bacon grease. (If this sounds too intense for you, you can use veggie oil). Cook 3 minutes on each side.
Pile all the goodies on your bread. Gotta love not wasting food you've grown.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

super-fast super-good ricotta and sopressata, first course or appetizer

Ingredients listed below are approximate, depends on
how much you have on hand or how much you buy or how
many you are feeding.

2-3 cups freshest ricotta cheese
3/4 cup finely diced sopressata or any good
hard or semi-hard salami
1 cup sauteed walnut halves
[saute walnuts in mixture of butter
walnut or olive oil until medium brown,
salt and let cool]
sea salt and pepper

Very lightly toss ricotta with salami, salt and ground pepper to taste
Put in round or square bowl and edge bowl with walnut halves.
Grind a little black pepper on top to prettify. Store any unusued
walnuts, they come in handy for lots of dishes [like pasta].

This dish is great as a first course with a platter of 6 oz prosciutto, and
a 5 ounces each of other Italian cold meats sliced thin. Add slices of
buffala mozzarella [8oz] and garnish with spinach leaves or parsley.

Depending on how many and how plentiful the ingredients, serves
4 to 6
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