All posts filed under: Pork

One from Column ‘A’ – Five Spice Caramel Pork

To be fair, I’ve never seen this on any Chinese take-out menu. I have only been able to get it in Bangkok…. or at my favorite Chinese fare haunt in the city. So, dont hate me there. In fact, if you are going to hate me at all – its because I’ve monkeyed around with the traditional recipe a goodly amount… I’m not using pork belly, Jane is deathly allergic to soy, neither of us like our head blown off with heat….. and (God forbid), I’m not using a wok, it’s a Dutch oven. Five spice pork is an old Cantonese recipe that has cousins and distant relatives across most of Asia. And, unlike most take-out oferings, is more of a stew rather than a quick wok fried dish (hence, the dutch oven.) It is smoky, spicy, slightly sweet and terribly flavor packed. Short of Char Sui, it is my absolute favorite way to enjoy pork. Alrighty then… on with the changes we’ve made. Chinese Five Spice Powder – If you wanted to go through …

Tales of Woe ~ Love, Hate, and Fake Soy Sauce

Shortly after Soy became an ugly four – letter word in our house (okay… 3, but it’s still a terrible thing), I was convinced I could produce a fake soy sauce that would mimic the properties, taste and joy of the luscious dark brown elixir. I’m here to tell you – I can’t…. And, neither can you. There is an army of crazy people out there that believes just because it looks like soy sauce… you can trick people into thinking it actually tastes like it. I fell into their trap; mixing balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and instant coffee – – – Roasting mushrooms and steeping them in beef broth, or this attempt,  expressing the heavenly ( garbage )mixtures into soy-free nirvana – – – Fake soy sauce has become the culinary equivalent of the  alchemist transmutation of lead into gold… it can’t be done. However… that isn’t to say that  finding a suitable medium (like chickpeas, or lentils), then submitting them to rigorous fermenting, salting, and aging (like a traditional soy or tamari) can’t …

Shandy Glazed Spare Ribs

Shandy – typically, a wheat beer with lemon / lime soda mixed into it. So, one day while sorting through a “mix-ur-own-6pk” allotment at the market, I came across several different makers of shandys –  I threw in a couple to try out. I know why I thought I’d like it. Back when everyone lived in the forest, we ran a German Deli. It was a great place… lots of sandwiches, a gluttony of sausages, and beer…. all kinds… nothing American. Of the many offerings was a Hefeweizen – a wheat beer cloudy from the heady yeast sediment still present in the bottle. We drank it sometimes with a little raspberry syrup added to the bottom of the glass just before pouring. But, more often than not, it was served with a couple of lemon wedges to be squeezed into the effervescent beverage. It’s still my favorite way to drink beer. If we call hefeweizen with lemon the prettiest girl at the sweet sixteen party, then we have to refer to a shandy as the ogre that …

The Pink Pig – Roasted

The Pink Pig. Those three odd little words used to conjure all kinds of wonder and joy in children when I was a little guy. Why? Because… it was a ride, A RIDE,  located high on top of the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. They would only crank the behemoth up at Christmastime to thrill the kids – who in turn would whine, cry and then force their parents to drive all the way downtown to do their Christmas shopping. My parents either didn’t listen to us… or knew exactly what the pig was.. Either way, we never got see… let alone ride the pig. The closest we ever got to the downtown Rich’s was either on a Sunday drive (when it was closed), or occasionally to see the lighting of the Big Tree at Thanksgiving (again, when Rich’s was closed)…. My folks didn’t do gimmicks. I finally got to see the infamous “pig” some years later after I had started driving. It was a cheesy monorail… … that rattled and clanged … and moved slower than …

Marx Foods – Sweet to Savory

So… I was contacted by the fine folks at Marx Foods to see if I had any interest in playing in their latest contest – Sweet to Savory. They would send me four (count’em… 4) sweet things, and I was to utilize at least two of them in a savory dish. I figure it’s a no-brainer. I use  sweet ingredients in a lot of my recipes and I should be able to pull a recipe out of my .. um..hat. Unfortunately, when the box arrived, my mind went blank In the box were: A bag of Coconut Sugar A bag of Sugared Fennel Flowers A bag of Granulated Honey 2 Vanilla Pods. and looking in the box, the only thing I could hear was the demon saying Sweet Italian Sausage…. So, that’s what I made. It’s paired with a Red and Green Marcona Pepper Sauce, sweetened slightly with coconut sugar and finished with diced tomatoes and Tofu Sour Cream. I chose these two ingredients because of the anise-y flavor of the flowers, and that coconut …

One from Column “A” – Braised Tofu with Pork

So, I used to go to this little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place. It was partly because of the “other” menu, as they did serve some pretty non – standard fare… or at least they did when “the usual suspect” was dining with me. I had my first Shark Fin Soup there, my first 1000 year old egg, and my 1-1/2 hour Oyster Pancakes  I found out later that they really didn’t take that long, they ran out of oysters and made a special run to the international market to buy enough for the cakes… so it was partly because of the service… But mainly, it was because of the chili sauce they brought to our table. It was spicy without being painful. It was oily. It was electric. It was supremely flavorful… and it was porky…. yes… porky. There would be nights that we would only order dumplings – and a bowl of that sauce with rice crackers. It was addictive. After six years trying to wrangle the recipe out of them, I just gave up. …

Merry Christmas – it’s a pig…

So, I can always count on my brother to put a lot of thought and effort into any gift he slings my way. He read my mind (or maybe just saw the slightly more than slick shoes on the truck) and got new tires for the beast. One year it was a big slammin‘ box of assorted cheese from Artisanal Cheese Company. My fishing gear became badly depleted, and some fishing tackle arrived. Christmas, This past year my gift was a piece of paper that said – “It’s downstairs…  in the freezer.” It was a pig. It was a nude, scrubbed, bubble wrapped, pink, 14 lb. piglet… with bright blue eyes. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in…. pig. I was stoked! No, really.. I was. I’ve always wanted to do a pig roast. But the thought of : 1. Buying an 80 lb. pig 2. Brining and Seasoning the beast 3. Trying to wallow the greased carcass into a pit 4. Figuring out what to do with that much cooked pig… …

Super Bowl – that’s football, right?

Okay, I’m not what you call sporty. I’ve never been really big into any real sport… golf doesn’t count, does it? And I’ve never – ever been able to keep the complicated rules and regulations and e n d l e s s  mind numbing statistics in my head. It’s just not my thing. I was in the band for Pete’s sake – and I’m not talking drum corps or brass section, either. So I don’t do the whole Super Bowl snacks and parties Although if you wanted something that shouldn’t be made into a dip recreated into a multi-layered explosion of bad taste… I’m sure there are people out there doing just that for you. More power to them. However – I did make a ridiculously easy pulled pork. And I guess (if you were so inclined) you could pile it high on some crispity, crunchy torpedo rolls and serve them up next to the 15-layer burrito bowl … with those unnatural red tortilla chips. Plate Fodder Pulled Pork Serves 10 to 15 Ingredients …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Country Pork Ribs

Okay… a “Country-Style Rib” is really a misnomer – they really aren’t ribs … at all. While ribs come from ..well, the rib-ish  back and belly areas – Country Style ribs are actually from the shoulder roast (also known as a Boston Butt) area of the pig. And the little bits of bone? Shoulder blade. So, with that in mind – the “rib” is meatier and more tender since it’s coming from the shoulder end of the loin –  with none of the fibrous,  overly fatty and tough belly meat. Which – as it so happens – makes them a perfect candidate for marinating. Warning – a little local business plugging ahead…. Our local independent grocer here has recently undergone a renovation, name change and concept re-tooling. And while their original name (J&J) wasn’t exactly what you’d call a business driver… The new and improved store (Fresh & Frugal) peaked my interest… because I do love me some bargains when it comes to food.  It’s delightfully clean and sparkly (as most new-ish places are), the …

One From Column B – Twice Cooked Pork

Alright, it’s confession time. This really isn’t authentic Twice Cooked Pork. But in my defense, I can probably count on one hand… with 3 fingers missing… the number of times I had authentic Twice Cooked Pork in a Chinese restaurant… including my trips to Asia. I’ve decided that it has become the Chinese version of refrigerator stir fry, where as long as you’re using already cooked pork – you’re golden. In the past, the pork has been left over Chinese BBQ pork (my personal favorite), left over stir fry, pork belly, or just roasted. It’s come with pineapple, bean sprouts, big chunks of onion, water chestnuts and whatever diced veg goes into every other dish. The sauce is often laden with garlic, hot pepper, or overrun with gloppy, sweetened generic brown sauce. It’s a hot mess. So, in all fairness, I’ll tell you what it’s supposed to be: The Pork is to be boiled in water, rice wine and ginger – cooled and sliced. The Vegetables should only be leeks and red bell pepper. The Sauce is …