Trying to eat something delicious, each and every day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Braised Pork Belly

Yum. Fat. 

As predicted, the induction cooktop is a braising wonder. Because it holds low temperatures so steadily, it was incredibly easy to get everything started and then just put a lid on the pot and come back a few hours later. No boil overs, no low flame blowing out accidentally, no burn rings on the bottom of the pot where one section was more heated than another. And cleanup was a breeze. So far, cleaning the smooth top has only required light wiping with a soft fabric and occasionally some soap. It's like cleaning a countertop. 

And yes, J was the cook again. He says he loves braising! I think he just likes the new kitchen. It's nice to be able to both work comfortably in one space. Our last two kitchens have really been one-person work stations. 

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Pot O' Braised Meats

Happiness is having dinner cooked for me after a long day. We did our first big grocery run this morning, and then I spent the afternoon painting while Jimmy slaved away in the kitchen making one of his favorites: lu wei. Roughly translated, lu wei is "braised flavors." Basically, everything is braised in a big pot of soy sauce, star anise, five spice powder, ginger, sugar, and water. It takes some finesse to get everything to come out perfectly cooked, but J was spot on today! I don't know who to credit; him or the new induction stove. Here's a visual:

As for the remodel, we're moved in, unpacking, painting, and arranging. The big reveal keeps getting pushed back, but soon! I promise; I don't want you to see the mess I'm living in right now!

Labels: ,

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pork Leg Stew

Meltingly fatty, savory, and topped with cilantro and green onions. There aren't many comfort foods better than Chinese pork leg stew. This one was even better because I used pan drippings to cook the rice! That's "brown" rice even J enjoys eating.

Meltingly fatty, savory, and topped with cilantro and green onions. There aren't many comfort foods better than Chinese pork leg stew. This one was even better because I used pan drippings to cook the rice! That's "brown" rice even J enjoys eating.

For one pork leg, which should be enough to feed four if not more:

  • 1 pork leg, bone in or boneless
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 thick slices ginger
  • 2 cloves star anise
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3 green onions, sliced or diced however you like
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
In a pot just big enough to fit the pork, heat a tablespoon of oil and sear all sides of the meat over high heat. When the meat is browned on the outside and the pot is very hot, add the rice wine, tip the pot towards the flames of your stove, and watch out! It should spark a burst of flames for several seconds. Return the pot to the flame and add the soy sauce, water, ginger, star anise, onions, sugar, and white pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the flame down and let the pork simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until fork tender.

Remove the meat from the flame and carve the meat off the bones. The pieces should be larger than bite-sized, and each piece of fat or skin should have lean meat attached to it. Meanwhile, remove the ginger and star anise from the liquid and turn the flame up to medium. Reduce the sauce to about 1/3 the original volume.

Return the meat to the sauce, add green onions, and serve when ready. Some people like the onions raw, some people like to cook it until soft. Serve over any kind of rice you wish, and sprinkle cilantro on top! Thai restaurants serve a similar stew with a little dish of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chilis, and finely chopped garlic. With or without the sauce, this is a hearty meal.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dinner, Pre-Plating

Last night's post got me in a "behind the scenes" mood. So today I whipped out the camera while I was cooking, instead of right before we ate.

Here's the soup of the evening. I simmered pork neck and leg bones, then added daikon, watercress, mushrooms, and a root vegetable that I actually have not officially identified. Maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow and see if anyone knows what it is.

We also had stir fried broccoli. Heat a little garlic and oil, throw in clean dry broccoli, toss until the broccoli browns a little around the edges, throw in a few tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt, and cover for two minutes to let the broccoli steam cook. Remove the lid, toss a few times to release excess liquid, and serve. Easy stir fried vegetables infused lightly with salt and garlic.

And finally, our filler: rice with sausage and green onions. I sliced Chinese sausages into thin pieces and charred them in a wok with some green onions, then added them to rice in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Note to other home cooks: I used the oil that the sausage gave off to cook the broccoli. Remember, Chinese moms say a real cook never needs to wash a wok until the end of a meal! Cook your dishes in the order that allows the dishes to build on each other, and save anything that might stick to the wok for last.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cheaters' Pork Cha Su

Dinner at Ramen Kahoo last month reminded me how much I like Japanese style braised pork. Or, for that matter, any kind of braised pork. We're still sticking with our long term goal of eating more and more vegetables and less and less meat over time, but everyone deserves a treat sometimes. We had a small amount of cha su (which is what the Japanese call their braised pork--not to be confused with char siu, which is Cantonese style bbq) with plenty of carrots, potatoes, and a big side of garlic stir fried green vegetables.

For our small meal I used:
  • 2 pork steaks from the Mexican market (they call it bistek de puerco, naturally enough). Traditionally the Japanese use pork belly, pork shoulder, or pork cheeks
  • 2 carrot
  • 2 potatoes
  • 4 big slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and white pepper to taste
Sear pork on all sides, then put in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and rice wine. Add enough water to barely cover the pork, then bring the mixture to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer for an hour to two hours, until the pork is cooked but not falling off the bone. Timing will depend on how thick your pieces are. At this point, taste the mixture and add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Remember some more water will evaporate, so err on the side of not salty enough. Remove the ginger and garlic and add the potatoes and carrots. Continue until the pork is falling off the bone, then use two forks to shred the pork. Taste again for seasoning, and boil off the liquid until you have a nice stew to serve over rice!

Labels: ,