Pork Belly Adobo

Like chicken adobo, just imagine it but with pork belly. Need I say more? This dish is salty, umami, sour and garlicky, rich, fatty, succulent. It needs the rice, and is best served with vegetables. You can replace the pork with chicken thighs for a simple chicken adobo. Enjoy!

  1. In a hot pan, sear the pork/chicken on high till golden brown, about two minutes on each side.
  2. Lower the heat. Add a good amount of whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, and lots of whole peeled garlic cloves. Pour in a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce and distilled vinegar, and ~1/2 cup water (you want enough liquid to cover most of the meat, and most of the water to evaporate by the end of the braise). Optional: add a little sugar, just a teaspoon or two will go a long way.
  3. Braise on low for ~90 minutes, simmering until tender but not falling apart. Carefully flip the meat several times while cooking, otherwise don’t touch it.
  4. Remove the meat from the sauce and slice in bite size pieces. Serve over rice with sauce. Optional: garnish with thai basil, thai chilis, scallions. To balance, serve with a clean vegetable side like sauteed greens, steamed broccoli, carrots, or cucumber slices.

Long Bean + Tomato Stir Fry

I love when August comes around and the long beans in the garden are ready to harvest. They’re easy to prepare, just rinse, cut the tops off, and cut into segments. For this recipe, I’m adding tomatoes, which at this time of year can be pretty overwhelming to manage. I had some that were getting too ripe to enjoy raw: sungolds, and my new favorites, sunrise bumblebee (the bigger yellow/red ones). If you’ve never grown either, both species are easy to manage and boast extremely productive continuous harvests. Onions and garlic are also both in season. I’m using some leftover char siu, but you can use anything really (pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, scallops, cooked or raw). I’d suggest cuttting the beans, onions and meat in long strips, for consistency in both shape and cooking time. Lastly, don’t cook the tomatoes, just add them at the end to get them hot. This simple seasonal combo works well. The beans are tender and crunchy, brightened by bursts of the sweet, acidic, juicy tomatoes. It’s all brought together and flavored by the meat, garlic, onions and oil.

  1. Prep: Wash the tomatoes and long beans. Cut the tops off the beans, then cut into 2″ pieces. Smash, peel, and rough chop the garlic. Cut the top and bottom off the onion, then cut in half lengthwise, peel, and cut into 1/2″ wedges. Cut the meat into similar sized strips, against the grain. *(If using raw/unseasoned meat, quickly marinate with a splash of soy sauce, oil, and a couple three finger pinches of sugar.)
  2. Cook: Heat a frying pan with some oil on medium-high. When pretty hot, sear the meat, beans, garlic and onions, shaking the pan and stirring frequently (don’t let it burn or stick to the pan). After a couple minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, add a quick pour of water (~3 tbsp), and deglaze the pan, cooking another minute or till the beans are tender, but still firm. Lastly, add the tomatoes, salt to taste, and cook another minute or so, just enough to get the tomatoes hot. Stir gently, you can break a few tomatoes but try keep most of them intact, you don’t want them to cook, burst, or get mushy. Serve with rice.
Ingredients:
-1/3 lb meat (beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, etc)
-1 bunch long beans
-1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
-1 medium sized onion
-2 large cloves garlic
-salt

Hoisin Grilled Cornish Game Hens

Experimenting…I did a simple wet rub with hoisin, Worcestershire and fermented bean sauce. It’s great for a quick meal, there’s no marinating needed, just rub and grill, the flavors get incorporated during the cooking. The sweet and savory profiles combine well with the char and a dash of lime juice for acidity.

Instructions: Combine 2 tbsp hoisin, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1.5 tbsp bean sauce, and 1 tbsp oil. Mix well and rub on the birds, making sure to get all the nooks. Don’t forget to remove the innards from the body cavity, you can sauce them too or save for another use. Heat your grill to ~425 degrees Fahrenheit, then sear each side for a couple minutes. Lower the heat/move the birds to a cooler part of the grill. Cover and indirect grill for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees, flip them halfway through and use the extra sauce to baste the birds. Carve and serve with fresh lime wedges, rice and vegetables.

Stuffed Clams

For this recipe I’m using foraged quahogs, you can use any type of a large hardshell clam.

  1. First, wash and scrub the shells. Then soak the clams, submerged with a pinch of flour in cold water for 20-30 minutes. *Do not disturb them, you want the clams to relax and start filtering.
  2. Steam the clams, until they’re open, then remove and chop up the meat.
  3. Mix clams with finely diced hakurei turnips (or carrots/daikon/cabbage), onion, shredded stale bread, chili flakes, mayo, Dijon, egg whites or eggs, salt and black pepper. You don’t need to measure, just try to get a nice ratio of clams to bread and vegetables. Then, the mayo and eggs help to bind everything so just keep adding until it’s nice and mushy. Let sit for 10+ minutes to incorporate.
  4. Halve and rinse some of the nicest shells. Use a tablespoon and stuff them with the filling. Top with a slice of unsalted butter, broil/grill until crispy on top, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with scallion rings. Serve hot and lemon.

CSA Dinner: July Stir Fry & Whole Fish with Okra + Tofu

Wondering what I did with this week’s CSA produce from Movement Ground Farm? I’m all about one pan meals so first I made a vegetable stir fry, then sauteed a whole fish with an okra tofu sauce.

P.S. I don’t usually try to give a prep/cook time for my recipes because everyone has different skill levels and cooks at different speeds (but this dinner should take about an hour).

  1. Wash all produce.
  2. Follow my photos (above) and cut the purslane, squash, onions (slice), garlic, scallions (separate tops/bottoms), okra, ginger (julienne or chop).
  3. Deshell & peel fava beans. (This was my first time cooking favas and only after cooking did I realize the beans have a tough skin. I’d suggest removing first, although if you don’t they can be eaten like edamame, squeezing the cooked beans out of the skin).
  4. Stir fry: Heat some oil in a saute pan on medium-high. Add the fava beans and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add squash, purslane, half the onions + garlic (save the rest for the fish), soy sauce + salt (to taste). Lower the heat to medium and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. To get an even cook, shake the pan occasionally with the cover still on. Set everything aside in a serving dish and rinse the pan to remove any leftover scraps, doesn’t have to be super clean but make sure to wipe the pan dry.
  5. Fish: Heat some oil on medium-high. Make sure the fish is patted dry (to reduce splattering), and sear it for 1 minute on each side ( or until lightly browned). Push the fish to the side of the pan, adding the okra, garlic, scallion whites/bottoms, onions, dousee, salt, soy sauce. Lower the heat to medium and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and steam for 5-6 minutes, or until fish is cooked. Carefully remove just the fish (making sure not to leave any bones behind), then add the tofu and scallion tops. Mix and saute the sauce until another minute, till it reduces and thickens a little.
  6. Serve with rice & hot sauce!
Stir Fry Ingredients:
-Purslane
-Summer squash
-Fava beans
-Onions
-Garlic
-Soy Sauce
-Salt
-Cooking Oil

Sauteed Fish Ingredients:
-Fish (whole or fillets)
-Soft/Silken Tofu
-Okra
-Scallions
-Garlic
-Onion
-Ginger
-Dousee (Chinese fermented black beans)
-Soy Sauce
-Salt
-Cooking Oil

Garlic Scape Basil Pasta

Looking at your CSA and looking for ideas? Today I’m making a vegan olive oil pasta with garlic scapes, scallions, kale, snap peas and basil. The first of many recipes using fresh ingredients from my Movement Ground Farm CSA. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
-garlic scapes
-scallions
-kale
-snap peas
-basil
-spaghetti
-salt
-black pepper
  1. Wash produce in cold water.
  2. Chop garlic scapes into rings until you reach the tops, then mince as much of the tops as possible (until it’s too papery/dry). Chop scallions in 1/2″ rings, separating the green tops. Chop kale into a rough chiffonade. Trim tops and fibers off snap peas.
  3. Remove basil leaves and set aside.
  4. Cook spaghetti according to instructions on box.
  5. Heat a saute pan on medium-low. Add a generous amount of EVOO, salt, pepper and everything, except the scallion tops and basil. Saute for a few minutes till the peas are lightly cooked, tender but still crunchy.
  6. Mix with cooked spaghetti, basil, scallion tops. Add more EVOO if too dry. Best served hot, and it’s also good as leftovers for a cold pasta salad!

Kobocha Braised Pork Belly

I cooked a kobocha squash recently and the next day decided to try braising pork belly in the leftover liquid with some Bulleit Bourbon. The result was a tender, sweet and umami Japanese-style flavor, with no sugar added. Easy techniques and simple seasonings: pork, kobocha squash, salt, soy sauce, kombu, onion powder.

  1. Kobocha Squash: Halve, seed, cut into 1-2″ pieces.
  2. Braise squash in a 1:1 mix of soy sauce and water, adding a couple small pieces of dried kombu. Remove when cooked.
  3. Heat a pot on high, then sear the pork belly, briefly for a couple minutes on each side.
  4. Lower the heat and deglaze the pan with a pour of bourbon, letting it simmer until the alcohol has cooked off a bit.
  5. Add the squash liquid (enough to submerge the belly), salt and onion powder. Braise on low till tender (~1.5 hours) and serve over rice.
Ingredients:
-Pork belly
-Kobocha squash
-Soy Sauce
-Salt
-Dried Kombu
-Onion Powder

Thit Kho – Vietnamese Caramelized Pork + Eggs (no coconut)

Thit Kho is one of my favorite homestyle Vietnamese dishes, relatively simple to make and packed with flavor. Pork and eggs are braised for hours in a sweet and savory soy/fish sauce marinade. It’s rich, fatty, salty and umami, too intense on it’s own, thit kho should be eaten with rice and vegetables to balance the intense flavors. It traditionally includes coconut soda as a sweetener but since I have a mild coconut allergy, I have created my own coconut-free recipe. It’s just as tasty and since coconut soda is rather flavorless, I doubt anyone would notice the difference. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
-pork belly 
-onion (minced)
-garlic (minced)
-fish sauce
-soy sauce
-water
-sugar
-black pepper
-white pepper
-cooking oil
-hard boiled eggs (peeled)
-scallions (chopped)
  1. Cut pork into bite-size chunks.
  2. Mix fish sauce, soy sauce and water in a 1:1 ratio. Add lots of sugar, onion, garlic, black and white pepper. Mix with pork and marinate for 1-2 hours.
  3. In a large pot, heat some oil on medium. Add pork and marinade, bring to a simmer and braise on low, stirring every few minutes.
  4. After ~1 hour, taste the marinade. It should be flavorful, sweet and salty but not overpowering since it still will reduce more. Adjust the balance to your taste by adding soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and/or water.
  5. Add the eggs and braise for ~another hour, stirring regularly until everything is nicely brown, the sauce is reduced and the pork is tender.
  6. Add scallions and serve over rice.
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Wine + Shroom Burgers

Springtime in New England brings me memories of warm weather, backyard cookouts and a craving for burgers! Unfortunately this spring has been cold, rainy, windy, and I’m not about to fire up the grill just for some quarter pounders, so…back to the good old cast iron, one-pot meal!

I usually prefer a fresher burger flavor, but with no tomatoes or greens at home, I decided to go all in with these classic, rich and savory burgers. Pan frying the beef gives it a great browning with lots of texture and since it’s all in one pan, fats and juices are preserved, reducing to a deeper, more intense flavor than open grilled burgers. Combined with the red wine, sweet onions, mushrooms, sharp cheddar and whole grain homemade rolls, it’s a top end handful of plate-licking goodness:

  1. Heat up your pan on medium-low and fry the bacon, once crispy, set aside. Drain most of the fat from the pan.
  2. Thinly slice mushrooms and onion. Fry on medium/med-high until soft and lightly caramelized. Set aside.
  3. Separate the beef into 1/4 lb patties, ball then flatten to ~1″ thickness. Don’t handle the meat too much, it should remain as cold as possible. Salt/pepper both sides. Fry on medium-high, smooshing the patties down and flipping when brown (~2 min/side). Set aside.
  4. Reduce to low, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of wine. Mix in the mushrooms/onions, separating into four piles. Add burgers and cheese, cover till melted.
  5. Scoop onto a fresh bun and enjoy!
Ingredients:
~1 lb ground beef
-bacon
-red onion
-mushrooms (cremini, button, etc)
-red wine
-salt & black pepper
-buns

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Food Safety Awareness

In these lockdown times, our food habits have been forced to change. Restaurants are shuttered and more than ever we are cooking at home. With health and wellness at the forefront of public attention, it’s crucial to understand food safety, follow best practices, and spread knowledge. Whether you’re a survivalist amateur or longtime home cook, take the time to educate yourself and protect anyone eating in your household. Some of the simplest actions can help to ensure that you are keeping a safe kitchen.

Clean Ya Station! Starting with a fresh kitchen is crucial to an enjoyable cooking experience. Clean the dishes, sink, countertops and stove before you bring out any food. Once you start cooking, clean as you go. There’s always extra lag time in the kitchen: waiting for a pot to boil, the oven to heat up, or something to finish. Use these moments to clean a few items: wash a knife/board, wipe down the counter, etc. Small bursts of cleaning like these will help to keep things from piling up and make the overall mess much more manageable. Start clean, work clean, finish clean. The pros are good at keeping a clean and organized kitchen.

Clean Yaself! Practice good personal hygiene by washing hands, not touching mouth or face, armits, ….etc.

Clean Ya Food! Make sure you’re properly washing and preparing foods. Understand how to clean each ingredient, some items just need a rinse while others need to be soaked and even scrubbed.

Know Ya Times/Temps! Learn restaurant standards for food transportation, storage and cooking. Does this need refrigeration? How do you know it’s cooked? How long can I leave it out? How long before it’s spoiled? It’s important to understand how food goes bad (and how you can make it last longer). All foods are different, do ya research.

Avoid Cross Contamination! Understand how cross contamination works. Avoid cross contact between ingredients that cook differently (don’t prep meat with veg, chicken with beef, shrimp and pork, etc). Be especially aware of raw meat/seafood, keep track of and promptly wash everything that has touched raw meats, including the sink and faucet. Avoid mixing ingredients that spoil at different rates, putting the fresh with the old makes it all old. Don’t combine leftovers from different days. Lastly, try not to contaminate things with personal microbes. Remember, if you get doodoo in the mayo, it’s just doodoo.

Lastly, this is about general food safety and I’d suggest staying updated on public health tips for navigating a pandemic as facts are constantly changing and more extensive measures are being recommended.

Questions? Thoughts? Other tips for good food safety? Comment below!