Spoiler alert: This shit is pretty great. I wouldn't go out of my way to spend the 50(!) bones that williams sonoma charges, but for 15 bucks at trader joes... yeah baby, you betcha.
I'm not really going to give up anything for lent because I'm not really into being catholic, but for those more observant citizens I'll whip up a couple of posts without my favorite protein. Today's challenge is smoked salmon. For my birthday I smoked a whole salmon, some speckled trout, and a couple dozen chicken wings. My birthday also happened to be on Superbowl Sunday which helps when throwing a party. You'll need to plan ahead as the salmon will need to soak in brine for 12-24 hours before you smoke it. A word about brine, I've seen ever ratio of salt to sugar, and, when hot smoking, what this boils down to is really a matter of taste. I've had great success using a ratio of 1 part kosher salt, 1 part white sugar, 1 part brown sugar with a healthy splash of soy sauce just for kicks.
Twins: Not even close, Pale Hose: Way too many
WP: Is anyone actually reading this?
Save? Heh. Right.
Cole De Vries was too depressed to live journal after the game, you guys. That's how bad this game was. Nick Blackburn burnt the last of his remaining bridges. I guess that's a positive, right?!?
Culture Club: The Cochon Butcher. The BBQ pork sandwich is better than any art I've ever seen. Ask DPWY. In all seriousness, I raved about this sandwich for weeks after I first devoured one in March. Dr. Chop grew tired of me talking about it. She begged me to stop telling anyone and everyone who would listen that there was this mystical sandwich made from a wonderful, magical animal in New Orleans. Then she had the opportunity to eat this delight and said to me, "you undersold how good this sandwich is". Seriously, you guys.
It's been a while since I've actually cooked dinner. We've been on the road in SoCal, then down to New Orleans, and when we returned home we went straight to packing up the house. The good doctor requested something good, on the grill, and contained in some sort of edible spoon. I cycled through the ideas, carnitas (braised on the grill... perhaps smoked... yeah, I'll do that one later), tandori chicken (maybe, maybe not), red chili marinated skirt steak fajitas? Yeah, that one is a winner. Recipe after the jump Continue reading I Heart
Pork Red Meat, you shoud too.
I was busy at the smoker* yesterday preparing a couple of soy ginger marinaded pork tenderloins for spring rolls when a friend called us up for dinner. We invited her over without hesitation, but later remembered that she's pretty into Catholicism. Dr. Chop ran to the store to pick up some tofu and saved dinner for our pal.
I was left with two smoked tenderloins and a craving for some Vietnamese sandwich action. Lucky for me, teh Google was there to provide a little help. Continue reading I love crispy pork Banh Mi, and you should too.
Yeah, pork chops for Dr. Chop. Tonight I tried to tackle pan fired pork medallions with a white wine and lemon sauce. I say that I tried to tackle this dish because this time I fell a little bit short. The recipe calls for pork tenderloin cut into 1/2 inch medallions, pounded slightly flatter with the back of a frying pan, shallow pan fried with a light breading. I accomplished a nice crust on the meat, but unfortunately I slightly overcooked the meat which means a slightly tougher final product. The sauce is pretty much tolbert proof which is a good thing. You'll need the following:
1 - 1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch thick round (place medallions between two pieces of wax paper and pound flat with the back of a frying pan to an even thickness)
1/4 cup olive oil
Flour for dredging, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice from one lemon
2 tbs drained capers (optional)
Method: Heat oil in a frying pan until a sprinkle of flour sizzles. Place medallions in the oil and fry to a golden brown, turn over to brown the other side. The meat should sizzle well, but the oil shouldn't smoke adjust heat as necessary. Total cooking time shouldn't exceed 5 minutes, no really, trust me. Cook the pork in shifts making sure not to crowd the pan. Once you're finished cooking the meat drain the fat from the pan. Add the wine to the pan and return to medium / medium high heat. Once the wine has nearly evaporated add the lemon juice and capers, and pour pan sauce over the pork and serve with wedges of lemon.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the wine and lemon sauce, but wasn't overwhelmed. I quickly threw together a green salad and roasted some russets with a little onion and garlic to serve on the side.
If you like to cook but don't own Mr. Bittman's book How to Cook Everything I highly recommend purchasing a copy. Bittman's writing style is clear, not overly overwhelmingly pretentious, and the directions are a simple to follow as you'll find in any cook book. In the introduction, Mark Bittman states that at any given time less than half of the adult population in the US know how to cook. At one time the extent of my culinary knowledge included how to make blue box mac'n'cheese and Schwan's frozen chicken patties. At some point I decided that I needed to expand my horizons, and started trying to cook things that I enjoyed eating out. I was mostly a blind man walking in the forest until I stole a copy of the better homes and gardens cook book from my ma and pa, and from there learned that once I knew how basic ingredients worked together I could adapt and change recipes on the fly. Over the course of the next year I'm setting out to make a big Sunday dinner from How to Cook Everything, and yesterday I made Puerto Rican Adobo Pork Roast, roasted potatoes, and green beans. Recipe after the jump.
With a heads up to the Doc on this recipe, I give you the king of all pork recipes (IMHO) ---> Carnitas. Equal parts crispy and soft, the texture of this dish alone is divine. Salty, and a bit sweet, rich and filling, this is one of those foods that is capable of transporting me back to a special place and time. You'll need:
A boston butt or pork shoulder roast (what ever size will be able to fit in your crock pot)
A dry rub consisting of roughly equal parts brown sugar, red chili powder, cumin, salt and some crushed black pepper (feel free to proportion your rub however you want, what you're looking for is a balance between the sugar and the spice, and everything nice)
1/2 a bottle of beer, really doesn't matter here, but for argument's sake we'll go with bohemia
1 small onion chopped medium
4 cloves of garlic smashed and minced
1 4 oz can of hot green chili (or fire roast a couple anaheim peppers, remove the skin and seeds, and chop fine)
The night before rub the meat with dry spice mixture and cover with plastic wrap. The next morning remove the roast and let sit while you cook breakfast and read the morning news. Wash your breakfast dishes and heat a cast iron skillet (or any pan for that matter) over medium high heat. Brown the roast on all sides. Put the roast into the crock pot and cover with 1/2 bottle of beer, onion, green chili, and garlic. Cover and cook on high until the liquid is near a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for ~6 ish hours. You're looking for the bone to fall out and the meat to fall apart and shred easily. Remove the meat, shred and remove and discard the fatty deposits. While you are shredding the meat place the ceramic dish with liquid into the fridge to aid in de-fating the pan juices. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toss in the shredded meat making an even layer. Don't stir too much here because you're looking for the bottom of the pan to get crispy while keeping the soft texture of the braised meat intact on top. Once you have de-fatted the pan juice, and the bottom of the pan is good and crispy, pour the liquid into the pan and stir quickly to release the really crispy bits of fond from the bottom of the skillet.
On the side, you'll need a small frying pan over medium heat to warm up the corn tortillas. This is a little labor intensive but worth the time. I've found using a kitchen sprayer to spritz a little olive oil onto each side of a tortilla reduces the amount of fat that you'll be depositing into the corn which equals a slightly healthier final product. Cook on one side until you notice little puffs developing, spritz a little oil onto the other side and flip over. You're looking for these to be flexible and a little bit browned but not tortilla chip crunchy.
Serve the carnitas on corn tortillas with some chopped cilantro on top with calabacitas on the side (or some Elote (corn on the cob with mayo, lime, and chili powder if you want to be less healthy). A perfect summer dish.
A day late and a dollar short. Spanish chorizo, or any chorizo for that matter, is a gift from the gods. This extremely versatile sausage can be used in so many applications from burritos to pizza topping and everything in between. You can remove the casing, crumble, and fry the sausage in a pan adding peppers, onion, corn tortilla strips, and once the tortilla strips are firm scramble couple of eggs in the pan. Viola, breakfast. You can substitute chorizo for any other sausage in almost any recipe to kick it up a notch, but for today's installment we'll be focusing on one simple little side dish that highlights the salty, fatty goodness of chorizo complimented by the acidity of red wine. Very simple, and very delicious.
cured chorizo (the better quality / more expensive = better final product. Yes, really, purchase the good stuff)
cheap red wine
a clove or two of garlic minced
Cut sausage into 1/2 inch thick rounds and toss into a shallow pan with the garlic. Hit the works with a couple of grinds of black pepper and heat the pan med/high. When the sausage begins to sizzle a little add the cheap red wine until the sausage rounds are about half way submerged (a little more won't hurt anything). Bring the wine to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook on one side 5-6 minutes, turn sausage over and cook until the wine has reduced about half. You're looking for the pan juice to be thick, but not burnt. Serve with some fresh bread and sharp cheddar cheese, or just eat them by the handful.
Today's installment of pork = awesome features hoisin braised country style ribs. Country style ribs aren't really ribs at all, rather these delicious morsels are cut from the rib end of the shoulder and usually contain a bone or two. Slow cooking country style ribs breaks down the fat and connective tissue which creates a tender, juicy, and delicious final product. You'll need the following:
3lbs bone in country style ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger (you can substitute 1 tsp powder ginger)
2 cloves garlic smashed
Method: Put ribs into your crock pot. Cover with onion slices. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over ribs / onions.
Cover and cook on low for 8ish hours (you're looking for the ribs to be tender, the bone will probably fall out and the meat will be falling apart). Really, that's it. A few minutes in the morning and by the time you're home from work dinner is waiting.
Remove ribs from the crock pot and keep them warm. De-fat the pan juice and pour over the ribs, garnish with chopped cilantro.
I add some sliced peppers to the mix, jalapeno, poblano, anaheim, whatever I have around to Bam! it up a notch. I've accidentally omitted the rice vinegar from this dish and haven't noticed a marked decrease in deliciousness. A couple teaspoons of sesame oil will also add a bit of je ne sais quoi to this dish.