Posts tagged ‘pork’

Pork, Beans, Veg, Pasta, Veg

Menu: Sauteed Pork with Broad Bean Ratatouille * Lemon-Pepper Fettucine * Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad

We’re trying to watch our wallets and our weight here, so I buy a lot of produce at the farmers market so we have good healthy vegetables, and today I was shopping at Sam’s and came across a huge batch of boneless pork back ribs and thought, “hm, I bet I can do something with that.” I’d been planning some marinating and some braising, but by the time I got home, it was time to find something quick to do for dinner. It wound up taking an hour, but it was worth it.

Sauteed Pork (serves 3; we provide leftovers for an injured friend on Mondays, and I always want them to be good leftovers) (original recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”… it was for pork chops)

8 boneless back pork ribs
fresh ground sea salt and mixed peppercorns
2 T olive oil
1/2 c vermouth (original recipe called for dry white wine; this was as close as I could get)
1 tsp minced garlic (original says “or 2 T minced shallot, onion, or scallion)
1/2 c water (original says “or chicken, beef, or vegetable stock)
1 T wine vinegar (original says “or freshly squeezed lemon juice, which I might try next time)
a handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1/4 corno di toro pepper
1 15-oz can broad beans (butter beans or limas)
1 15-oz can cannelini beans

Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minute.s Add 2 T olive oil; as soon as the first wisps of smoke rise from the oil, add the chops and turn the heat to high. Brown the ribs on all sides, moving them around to develop good color all over. The entire browning process should take no longer than 4 minutes, and preferably less.

Reduce heat to medium. Add vermouth and garlic and cook, turning meat once or twice until wine is all but evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c water, turn to low, and cover. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning meat once or twice, until meat is tender but not dry. When done, they will be firm to the touch, juices will run just slightly pink, and when you cut into them (which you should do if you’re at all unsure of their doneness), the color will be rosy at first glance but quickly turn pale.

(this is where I switch to one of the Eight Ways provided by Mark Bittman, Sauteed With Onions and Peppers, which I change quite a bit)

Leaving everything else in the pan, remove the meat to a preheated oven to warm. Sprinkle chopped sage over before closing oven.

To pan juices, add 1 small eggplant, diced; 1 red bell pepper, diced, and 1/4 corno di toro pepper, minced. Stir, re-cover pan, and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove cover and cook, stirring, until vegs are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes. Add 1 can broad beans and 1 can cannelini beans, both drained. Moisten with 1/2 c water (or stock), then cook til most liquid is absorbed. Splash wine vinegar over; taste and correct for salt if need be. Keep warm over lowest heat, stirring occasionally.

If you wind up waiting for salad or pasta to be finished, add pork to pan for final warming on low.

Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad:
2 medium to large pickling cucumbers (large relative to other pickling cucumbers)
1 medium to large tomato
1/2 can quartered artichoke hearts packed in water
fresh basil
feta cheese
Steen’s cane vinegar

Chop cucumbers; chop tomato. Halve quartered artichoke hearts to make eighthed hearts. Combine in bowl; sprinkle lightly with fresh ground sea salt and cane vinegar. Chiffonade basil; sprinkle over, them add feta cheese to taste (we always add rather a lot). Mix.

How wonderful it would be to use fresh noodles, or almost-fresh noodles, but instead we assayed “al denteTM All-Natural Carba-Nada Lemon Pepper Fettucine Noodles” … which were not that bad. Cook your favorite pasta as you like; serve.

We were going to have fresh blueberries and vanilla yogurt for dessert, but life intervened in the form of someone coming by to buy a bed we’d listed on Craigslist and it got too late.

Chef’s sustenance
Cherry tomatoes out of the bowl… diet tonic water with lime

Chef’s soundtrack
Donovan, “Jersey Thursday” * Doc Watson, “Cotton Eyed Joe” * Joan Osborne, “Make You Feel My Love” * Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Love Struck Baby” * Joe Henry, “Angels” * Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, “Tiger Rag” * Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” * David Bowie, “Heroes” (Live at The Bridge School Concert) * Jimi Hendrix, “May This Be Love” * The Smiths, “Back to the Old House” * Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, “Desafinado” * Sparklehorse, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” * The Smiths, “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby” * Sting, “I Burn For You” * Fleetwood Mac, “Oh Well, Part 1” * Royskopp, “Remind Me” * Suzy Bogguss, “Comes Love” * Stereolab, “Percolator”

How did it turn out?
I really liked it. It wound up being more work than I’d anticipated, and I always resist “remove from the pan you just got all dirty by cooking into a whole new pan that will get all dirty, just to sit and keep warm in,” but I’m glad I did. I really really wish I’d been able to have fresh noodles. And I will spend the rest of my cooking life trying to make sure I can replicate that salad. Not a drop of oil, just the slight maceration from salting the cukes and tomatoes, and a few shakes of cane vinegar, mixing with the feta cheese, and it was wonderful.

Would I make it again?
Yes, even with low-carb pasta.


June 23, 2008 at 2:22 am 3 comments

Pork, Vegs, Grain

Menu: herb-dijon marinated pork tenderloin * oven-roasted yellow squash * oven-roasted okra * polenta with mozzarella and basil

Bless the butchers at Central Market and their marinating team. Tonight’s tenderloin was as moist and flavorful as last night’s chicken. I turned the oven to 400 to start; it pre-heated to that, and I put in the tenderloin for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, as I put in the oven sheet of okra (with salt and red pepper ground over) and the oven sheet of yellow squash (cut in half, placed face down on a drizzle of olive oil), I turned the heat down to 375 and set the timer for another 15 minutes.

When the timer went off, I peeked at the vegs, which were roasting nicely, and started the water boiling for the polenta. 3 cups water and a grind of salt; bring to a boil, add 1 c medium stone-ground yellow cornmeal. Stir in; reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add handful skim mozzarella and 1 T butter; stir, remove from heat. Just before serving, stir in chiffonade of basil.

Remove everything from oven; slice and plate.

June 17, 2008 at 1:08 am Leave a comment


Menu: Black beans with pork and cherry tomatoes * baked sweet potato fries * Indian-spiced kale * 2005 Peter Lehmann Barossa shiraz

We had a leftover pork chop in the fridge and a whole lot of leftover kale. I cubed the pork chop, heated a little olive oil in a saute pan, and dumped in the pork cubes. Then I dumped in at least a dozen of the fresh farmers market cherry tomatoes and let it all saute for a few minutes until the tomatoes started to split. I added 2 cans of black beans; ground salt and red pepper over; and finished with a splash of lime juice. Turned the heat down to medium-low and left it while the sweet potatoes cooked (these were the toughest: I opened the bag of Alexia sweet potatoes from the freezer, thank you Central Market). Reheated the kale, served it all up.

Cook’s sustenance:
1/2 glass champagne
1 salad cucumber, quartered and munched on

Cook’s soundtrack
Bob Schneider, “Gold in the Sunset”
Stevie Wonder, “As”
Lyle Lovett, “Simple Song”
The Mavericks, “Hot Burrito #1”
Hayseed with Emmylou Harris, “Farther Along”
Fleetwood Mac, “Never Going Back Again”

How did it turn out?
The kale still needed salt and Crystal sauce. But the beans… how did I do that? They were velvety, unctuous, a tremendous combination of flavors. Was it the leftover olive-oil laced pork fat? The celestial cherry tomatoes? The citrus splash? I will be trying to replicate that every time we have leftover pork chops.

Would I make it again?
I would certainly try!

June 11, 2008 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Pork, Pasta, Veg

Menu: butterfly pork chops * roasted beet salad * trecce dell’oro pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes * sauteed spinach * peaches with vanilla yogurt
Wine: Peter Lehmann 2005 Barossa shiraz

With a crisper drawer full of kale from the farmers market, I’d found a recipe in The New Best Recipe for Kale with Lentils. To go with, I was thinking of some kind of Indian chicken… a yogurt or tandoori kind of recipe… and then our dog got heatstroke and the hours slipped by and it was too late to marinate anything. Time for a quick Plan B.

I’d roasted chioggia beets from local market vendor Tecolote Farm yesterday, for a salad I do based on one in Mollie Katzen’s Still Life with Menu… roasted beets, an herb, a nut, a cheese, always with fresh-ground salt, pepper, and garlic (I have a grinder for dried garlic), a kind of vinegar, and a kind of oil. The combinations can be a lot of fun. I picked up butterfly center loin pork chops at H-E-B, and had a bag of trecce dell’oro (golden braids) pasta, so thought I would do something vaguely Italian.

Pork chops:
2 butterfly center-cut pork loin chops
olive oil
fresh-ground salt (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground pepper (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground Italian herb blend (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground red pepper flakes (just a bit)
2 dozen cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle slight amount olive oil in bottom of cooking pan. Place pork chops in; grind seasonings over. Turn over; repeat. Scatter cherry tomatoes around and on top. Bake 40-45 minutes or until pork reaches internal temperature of 160-165.

Roasted beet salad
4 beets, greens and tail removed
leafy herbs (choose one like mint or basil; tonight I used basil)
nuts (choose from walnuts, pine nuts, pepitas, hazelnuts; tonight, walnuts)
crumble-able cheese (choose from feta, blue, even tiny mozzarella pearls; tonight, feta)
specialty vinegar (choosed from balsamic, champagne, cane syrup, white wine, etc.; tonight, balsamic)
oil (choose from olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, etc.; tonight, olive)
fresh-ground salt
fresh-ground pepper
garlic (fresh-ground, very finely diced)

Preheat oven to 400. Wrap each beet individually in foil; bake 45 min to 1 hr. Let cool; peels will rub right off. Cut into quarters; slice each quarter in thin slices. Toss in bowl with salt, vinegar, oil, and garlic. Add nuts, cheese, and herbs to taste. Will change anyone’s mind ever about beets.

Trecce dell’oro pasta: Bring water to boil; boil 12 minutes. Toss with butter or olive oil and fresh basil cut in chiffonade. (An amazing technique that works on leafy ingredients from basil to collard greens; stack leaves, roll tight like a cigar; slice thinly across roll to create lovely thin ribbons.)

Sauteed spinach: In large saute pan or wok, heat a drizzle of olive or other oil on high. Add fresh spinach (for 2, somewhere between 6 and 8 oz); quickly stir. Grind fresh salt and/or garlic over. Continue to stir as if stir-frying. Entire cooking process takes 2 minutes at most. No other ingredients needed, though various vinegars can be quite good. I’ve used everything from mirin and soy sauce with rice vinegar, to lemon juice, to balsamic, to nothing else.

To plate: Pork chop, spinach, pasta, each in a separate pile; roasted cherry tomatoes atop pasta. Great eaten individually or mixed. (I am a one-thing-at-a-time girl; M likes some of everything.)

After dinner, take the recovering dog for a short, slow walk down the block and back. Come back; peel and chop peaches, drizzle with vanilla yogurt. Enjoy, but not as much as if they were Chilton County peaches (a whole nother post).

Chef’s sustenance:
Vodka-tonic with lime (note to self: pick up gin)

Chef’s soundtrack:
Flaco Jimenez, “Sorry Boy”
Professor Longhair, “Big Chief”
Bill Murray, “More Than This”
Moby, “Novio”
Journey, “Send Her My Love”
Sia, “Breathe Me”
The Pogues, “Love You ‘Til The End”
Marty Robbins, “That’s All Right”
The Holmes Brothers, “And I Love Her”
Suzanne Vega, “Ironbound/Fancy Poultry”
Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”
Johnny Cash, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”
Paul Simon, “She Moves On”

How did it turn out?
The pork was a little tough, but the flavors were good. I don’t know whether I overcooked it (I was careful about the internal temp) or if it’s just the meat. Anything with a farmers market ingredient was terrific… fresh, fresh, fresh. The beet salad, the cherry tomatoes… the definition of the flavors.

Would I make it again?
This is a recipe I vary up frequently. Cherry tomatoes either are roasted or sauteed to mix with pasta. Pork chops take all kinds of seasonings.

Note: Tecolote Farm is a great example of a local farmer struggling to make it work. There was an article in the Austin American-Statesman a couple of weeks ago about how overuse of water in their area (to water playing fields) could cost them everything. I feel absolutely obliged to buy something from them every week now. And their plight makes me think twice about the length of my showers.

June 9, 2008 at 2:02 am Leave a comment

Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

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