Here’s half of the kitteh crew, the youngest half. They’ve arranged themselves on the tree by order of seniority – Bitsy on top, Ginger Boy, and Ollie, the newest addition.I tried a couple of those refrigerated pizza crusts that come rolled up in parchment paper. I figured they couldn’t be too bad. I figured wrong. Those roasted garlic cloves were very good – cooked at 400 for 45 minutes or so.I peeked into the oven after 14 minutes and saw that the crust edge had little or no color so I gave them a few minutes more. That was a bad call. The edge was hard and tough, the rest was just tough. I have a tube of pizza dough that they package like the biscuits that you rap on the counter edge to pop open. I’ll give that a go but my hopes for it are limited.It’s getting to be soup weather – the temps are below 90 and that is what we call fall weather these days. I made a potato soup – boil some ham hocks in chicken stock with onions for an hour or two then add chopped potatoes and continue to simmer until they are soft enough to run a stick blender. Take out the ham and set aside to cool, run the blender, then pick the meat off the hock and return to the soup. I added a splash of half and half and melted in a handful of shredded cheddar but that’s optional.I still had a package of sour mustard greens that were an ingredient in this dish – pork belly with mustard greens. I thawed some of the pork belly I had saved from our last trip to our supplier to use in this and I have the rest of it curing for homemade bacon. Still have a few days left before that will be ready.I thawed a brick of the last batch of red beans and made a new batch of rice to go with it. I can see why Louis Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours”. Tsk tsk, I see Homer has been out frog hunting again. He’d best hope he doesn’t step in a snapping turtle’s open maw.
B is for bacon but this one is sous vide pork belly, sliced about a quarter inch and crisped a bit. SVPBLET just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite right.I really like this taco rack. I bought it thinking to use it to oven crisp store bought tortillas but it’s perfect for holding these home made tortillas for dressing. My perfect BELT would have the egg yolk still runny, this time I scrambled and chopped a couple of eggs to make them easy to build with.The sauce is half mayo/half sour cream and that seems to work pretty well, it is spread on the tortilla about like you would spread mayo on toast for a traditional BLT sammich.Enjoy!
I thawed half of a pork belly and I’ve been exploring recipes to use it up.This one starts with it cut into strips and pressure cooked in white wine wine with soy sauce and an onion. I gave it an hour. Transfer the pork pieces to a hot skillet to brown on both sides.Make a sauce to pour over them or use a commercial product. I used some of the cooker liquids to which were added maple sugar, a bottled sweet bbq sauce, and a squirt of ketchup.Let that reduce to glaze the pork belly. These were like ribs with out the bones
Most days we watch cooking shows while having lunch or dinner. I DVR shows so I can skip the commercials during playback. This dish caught my eye so I grabbed a notepad to scribble down the ingredients:
- pork belly
- brown sugar
- mushroom soy sauce
- black bean sauce
- oyster sauce
- sliced ginger root
- chopped green onions
- chopped white onion
- minced garlic
- fermented black beans
- sesame oil
- pickled mustard greens
There will be no measurements. I used about 1-1/2 pounds of pork belly cut into one inch cubes and pretty much eye-balled the rest of it, I started the video from the top and added the ingredients in the same order as the TV chef, a Jamaican with Chinese ancestry. His answers, when prompted for amounts by the host, were either “this much” or “that much there”.
The chef was asked how long will this simmer on your stove-top, but I couldn’t make out his reply. I think he said “till it’s done”.I was going to be making it in the Instapot pressure cooker so I set it for an hour.
The mustard green were added after the pork belly had cooked down.These came from the International Grocery, a store in a nearby college town. I was pretty sure they would have them, but I looked in the canned veggie section to no avail. I asked for help. The store clerk went right to them, they are in sealed plastic bags, he mentioned that they were very sour and needed a good soaking with changes of water so I started the soak the first thing. I also picked up the mushroom soy sauce and the black bean ingredients while there. Handy store!Chop the greens and add them to the pot after it cools down enough to open. I also thickened this the same way as the chef – a slurry of corn starch. When I make this again I will back off on the on the added water.
The TV show was “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the food network. The info for the episode said it was from season 4, episode 6, first aired 09/05/08. Alas, a search of the Food Network’s web page didn’t yield agreement, it says the the episode “A Taste of Everywhere” was from season 4, episode 7. Clicking on that episode link was no help in finding the recipe.
A Google search for recipes turned up numerous variations, most of them mentioned par-boiling the pork belly. There wasn’t any mention of that on the show but it may have been edited out. I went ahead and did it before cubing the belly:
Next time I’ll cube it first and boil it a little longer, that should reduce the fat a little in the end result.
The other half of that pork belly I bought back from Behrmann’s. I bought an additional small tenderloin to wrap up inside. I butterflied it and pounded it flat and gave it a smear of the same rub as I used the last time: Rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, fennel fronds, toasted black peppercorns and fennel seeds all processed into a paste with a little olive oil.I did the rub on the meat side and a salt/baking soda rub on the skin side and left it to dry in the fridge, skin side up, for 2 days. I set it out on the counter at room temp for a couple of hours this morning, then rolled it up and tied it. It spent 4 hours in a 300 oven on a rack. I pulled it and drained the fat from the pan, cranked the temp on the oven to 500, and gave it another 30 minutes or so, checking every 10. It’s a wonder it didn’t set off the smoke alarm.
Porchetta is as much a cooking technique as it is a particular recipe. This one uses a pork belly but can be done by butterflying a pork butt or tenderloin. The pork belly came from the butcher as a slab about 10 inches by 22, I cut this in half so I was working with a piece 10″ x 11″.The first step is to score it like so – it helps the herbs and spices gain penetration. I sprinkled kosher salt liberally on the slab and followed that with fresh grinds of pepper.Next came black peppercorns and fennel seeds that were toasted in a dry pan, ground in a spice mill, then added to a dozen or more garlic cloves in a little food processor. They were whirled about to mince the garlic and then spread on the meat, the fresh herbs were processed to a paste and spread along with the garlic mixture, followed by the zest of 2 lemons. I wish my patio herb garden had survived, I had to go to town for the herbs: rosemary, chives, sage. I also bought a fennel bulb for the fronds to add to the other herbs.Last thing, before it spent the night in the fridge, was to rub it with salt and baking powder in a ratio of 1 tbs salt to 1 tsp of baking powder. This is to help crisp the skin. Ta Da! This was cooked in a 300 degree oven for about 4 hours, then taken out to drain the fats off. While it’s out, crank the oven to 500 and return the pork roll to really blister the skin, it wants to be crispy! Watch it closely, it will brown really fast in that screaming hot oven.I mentioned that I bought a fennel bulb just for the fronds but I hate to waste a food item and so tried a braised fennel recipe. First, slice the bulb into about 1/2″ slices long ways, and brown both sides in a little oil. Add chicken stock and water to the pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper, cover, and simmer until tender – another 15-20 minutes.Serve the fennel with fresh parmesan and garnish with more of the fronds.