Roasted pheasant stuffed with wild rice served with pomegranate and persimmon sauce makes a flavorful winter dish.
And this little figgy piggy screamed “kiwi, kiwi, kiwi” all the way home!
This semi-exotic fruit lends a clean, tart flavor to savory dishes.
I’ve always had a fascination with pâté. There are so many variations, from dense to creamy, but they all have that rich flavor in common. You can also make pâté from a variety of foods, including ground pork, chicken livers, vegetarian ingredients like mushrooms and lentils, and then there’s foie gras. Now before you start […]
There are occasions when you’re cooking that nothing can surpass rendered pork fat. You’ll be amazed at how much more flavorful your hash browns are, or any potato for that matter, when cooked in pork fat. Or how robust your sauteed green beans will be. Or delectable your collard greens. Or how flaky your pie crust will be. Or how rich your quail or pheasant will taste when seared in pork fat. Instead of buying commercially available lard bricks at the store, I prefer to render pork fat myself. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do, and how long it can keep in the refrigerator in a mason jar.
This dish combines two ingredients that are among my favorites: pork tenderloin and pineapple. Pork tenderloin is one of those unappreciated cuts of meat. And too bad too. It’s easy to cook, lean and low in fat plus it doesn’t take long to cook. Pineapple is one of those fruits that’s commonly used in cooking in Asian foods, but not so much with American dishes. And too bad for that, too. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and lends itself to sweet and sour dishes. Plus you don’t have to mess with a fresh pineapple if you don’t want to deal with the rather complicated process of peeling and prepping the fruit — you can just use canned pineapple.
One of my favorite dishes from my childhood in Thailand and Singapore is green beans stir-fried with ground up or fatty chunks of pork, a little oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. It’s simply delicious. I have no idea why you never see it on a menu here in the U.S. Maybe it’s considered too banal for the American palate. I just love it. The marriage of sweet crunchy beans with savory pork and oyster and hoisin sauces. Go ahead, give it a shot. And find out what you’ve been missing. It makes a delicious companion to another stir-fried dish like chicken with cashew nuts or chicken with mangoes.
Tacos have become such a part of mainstream American cuisine that on the West Coast other ethnic groups have begun topping the ubiquitous corn tortilla with their cultural culinary specialties. Forget the fish taco, ground beef taco, or shredded beef taco. Their time has come and gone. In Los Angeles and Seattle you can find Vietnamese and Korean food-truck chefs who are creating the latest taco sensations: Korean barbecue and Kimchi tacos, Bulgogi tacos, Vietnamese lemongrass chicken tacos. I mean, when you see a dozen kinds of tacos available in the neighborhood supermarket, and Taco Bells show up in China, what would you expect, right? The taco is ripe for a cultural hijacking. And so this native Thai decided that the time was ripe for….ta da…a Thai taco.
I’m convinced that there are spices that can make you high. I can be roaming the streets of Portland, Vancouver, B.C., Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and my hair will start to vibrate and stand on end when I get that first whiff of star anise in the air. My heartbeat quickens. My sweat glands go into overdrive. I start blinking uncontrollably, as my mind disconnects from my body and my feet start searching for the source of the heavenly aroma. Pungent, sweet, savory. Like licorice but more intoxicating. It’s a key ingredient in one of my favorite Thai dishes of ethnic Chinese origins, a stew of hard-boiled eggs, sweet dark soy sauce and pork hocks, that is flavored with star anise and cinnamon.
Peaches are one of those fruits that always signal summer to me. I love their sweet, juicy, robust and aromatic honeysuckle flavor when you bite into them, and their slightly tart aftertaste that leaves your taste buds tingling for more. They’re like a fuzzy globe of sunshine, captured in sweet perfection, and their tart ending is almost like a signal that summer is about to end. They make a perfect companion for Kalua-style roasted pork that takes on a Middle Eastern flair with chopped sage, ground coriander and cumin seeds.
Phuket Pork — Bathed in Coconut Milk and Curry, Wrapped with Banana Leaves and Slow-roasted Over Coals
If a kalua piggy went to Phuket for a vacation, I figure he’d end up soaked in coconut milk, curry, and then surrounded by chunks of onion and pineapple before being wrapped in banana leaves and taken for a walk over hot coals. Forget digging a hole in your back yard to do this. No need to ruin the landscape. I’ve figured out how to do this in a Weber kettle charcoal grill. The lawn and roses get to live another day! Serve with a Thai satay-style peanut sauce to top it off.
Memories of Barbara’s food haunts me from time to time. She once made a shrimp creole that was absolutely one of the best things I have ever eaten. She was using a recipe this time, one from Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. It involved making a seafood stock with the heads and shells of the shrimp. I took a whiff and doubted its benefit in the recipe. To me, it had an offensive smell. Now Barbara was doubtful. Her husband, Jimmy, said to use it anyway. Lucky for us that she followed his advice. It was memorable. And, after all, who am I to doubt a Paul Prudhomme recipe … or Barbara?
Recently we opened a bottle of Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir and I’ve been mulling it over in my mind ever since, to figure out a way to use it in cooking. There are a lot of recipes that call for a touch of Port. Most pair them with meat somehow. Since our household eschews beef, I was fancying pork married with a sauce using some of that Quinta Reserva. Here’s a delicious way to use a Port-style wine with pork.
One of my favorite memories of Bangkok prompts me to ask my mother to often make Larb for us for dinner. Larb is a Thai dish that can be made from ground beef, ground pork, or if you have to be healthy — ground chicken or turkey. It is quickly cooked and then seasoned with fish sauce and lime juice and dressed with roasted ground rice and ground red chillis, chopped cilantro and chopped scallions.
Pork and apples make a perfect marriage. When stewed or baked with apples, the pork takes on the wonderful flavors of apples – sweet, but somewhere lurking in the background is that familiar tart flavor that’s a pleasant surprise.
One of the great things about making stuffed peppers is the ability to recycle leftovers and/or unused items in your refrigerator or pantry and present them at the table with a fresh new look. The possibilities for stuffing are almost limitless, from vegan and vegetarian all the way to serious carnivore. How about kid-friendly mac and cheese or teach your kids to make their own thick sloppy joe mixture as a stuffing? They will enjoy playing with these colorful and edible packages.
Vic gave me a copy of The Tra Vigne Cookbook from the Napa Valley restaurant of the same name some years ago. Two recipes captured me immediately — Forever Roasted Pork, and Mozzarella Martinis. The pork recipe can be made any time of the year, but the Mozzarella Martinis are best left to when the very best vine-ripened tomatoes are available. Check back in late summer for Mozzarella Martinis — they’re not what you think.
New Year’s Day was always an open house for family and friends and the table was laden with other pleasures as well. A baked ham, potatoes, some turnip or collard greens and various cold salads such as potato, macaroni or green pea and there was always a substantial bowl of one of my favorite condiments, chow-chow for the beans. Oh, and there were pies, pecan pies. A generous slice of pecan pie is the best chow-chow chaser.
My inspiration for this post was simply a desire to braise some pork in the wonderful cider from Wandering Aengus Ciderworks in Salem. I settled on combining some ingredients and methods from the recipe mentioned in the previous paragraph with another for Stuffed Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Calvados from Saveur Magazine. Amazingly, all the ingredients came from Oregon.
Congress Gives Pork a Bad Rap — Sage and Rosemary-crusted Roast Pork Tenderloin with Pear Ginger Compote
Pork has frequently been a controversial food. Various religions forbid the consumption of pork products and there was a time when pork carried dangerous parasites and required thorough cooking. Most controversy today centers around pork fat. Most will agree that pork fat delivers a wallop of flavor, especially if the pork is smoked. There's a reason so many dishes call for some bacon or salt pork; a pot of beans gently simmered along with a smoked ham hock is undeniably delicious. And who among us hasn't awakened to the aroma of frying bacon?
My partner and co-author of this blog, Charles Price, and I last weekend joined the throngs of Baby Boomers at the theater to watch Julie & Julia and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Of course, Charles owns both volumes of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” He notes that he scored both of them at used […]