Batter Licker

April 24, 2012

five spice marinated pork

I should probably re-title this post: “Pork Jay Will Happily Eat For 4+ Days in a Row Without Complaint, And Then Ask For More Next Week.”

That doesn’t sound impressive if you know that I will happily tuck into leftovers, eating the same thing over and over again for lunch and dinner for almost an entire week straight.

But Jay’s more of a one-and-done eater: not particularly keen on leftovers or repeats. So his desire to have this pork be a repeat player in multiple meals every single week says a lot, to me …

… as does the fact that, allegedly, my friend Joe’s first words the morning after a recent pork-featuring barbecue were, “That pork was delicious; I need the recipe.”

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Besides being addictively delicious and abundantly flavorful, this pork is super easy to make. (more…)

March 8, 2012

chinese barbecue (char siu) pork cowboy steak

The night before Valentine’s Day, Jay and I got more intimate than usual – with a pig.

That might sound gruesome and not in the least bit romantic, but I still feel like I’m under some sort of meaty love spell weeks after we eagerly watched Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats skillfully butcher the whole pig and explain the perks of each cut and his use-the-whole-animal philosophy during San Francisco Beer Week’s Butchers and Beers event.

Clearly, I’m my Great Depression era grandmother’s granddaughter; I’m a sucker for reducing, if not eliminating, waste. I get an intense thrill out of embracing resourcefulness and the creativity that inevitably plays a role in finding uses for less popular animal parts, apple peels, and vegetable scraps.

Perhaps it’s needless to say in this context, but once the Butchers and Beers silent auction benefiting The Food Pantry came to a close, we walked home with the bones and offal – and a large hunk of pork known as a cowboy steak.

Hilarious-and-ironic-to-me story from the auction: while waiting patiently to increase our bids, I overheard two guys in front of me whine “ewwwwwwww” when they came across the offal bid card; they were much more enamored with the super popular and trendy pork belly. (more…)

February 8, 2012

bacon fat pan-fried brussels sprouts

Unless it’s boiled to death, I absolutely adore cabbage. The same adoration does not apply equally to Brussels sprouts.

Although, like bananas, I keep trying to like them; I just haven’t had much success. Then I experienced a duck fat fried epiphany at Perbacco. The sprouts had been cooked until tender on the inside and fried to crisp, browned perfection. I couldn’t get enough of them.

So when I saw some Brussels sprouts on sale, I recalled the bacon fat I had lingering in my freezer and thought I’d try something similar – but much cheaper than an evening at Perbacco.

A couple tablespoons of bacon fat, a few pinches of salt and pepper, a sprinkling of Parmesan, and about 7 minutes later, these pan-fried Brussels sprouts came together as a decadent, quick, and easy little side dish for a date-night-at-home dinner with Jay. (more…)

January 9, 2012

roasted chicken, cabbage and bosc pear

This might be the easiest dinner ever. Prep takes mmmmmmmm … maybe five minutes, involving only a little basic slicing and the rubbing and sprinkling of spices. Then the oven works its magic for 45 minutes or so while the scent of roasted chicken wafts through the air, tickling noses and taste buds alike.

And have you ever had roasted cabbage before? It’s heavenly. You should try it. Especially if you think you don’t like cabbage. The sweet cabbage develops this nutty, charred flavor and crispy edges that drive me so absolutely bonkers that I make brilliant decisions. Like roasting an entire, giant cabbage for just two people’s dinner. Operation Super Awesome Lunch Leftovers: Complete.

Thick slices of cabbage get layered across the bottom of a casserole dish, then topped with bosc pear halves and sprinkled with spices. Think of this as the platform for roasting the chicken legs.

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Chicken gets the spice rub-down. I chose a mix of coriander, ginger and just a little garlic to go with the pears. (more…)

December 19, 2011

sausage and spinach stuffed mushrooms

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like stuffed mushrooms? I don’t. Even self-proclaimed mushroom-avoiders dig in eagerly when the mushrooms are stuffed with ingredients they love.

Sausage. Greens. Bacon. Cheese. Bread crumbs. Whatever you have on hand or know your friends and family love to eat generally works as a stuffing.

My favorite thing about stuffing mushrooms, besides the endless flexibility with stuffing ingredients, is that the natural size of mushrooms is appetizer-friendly: one or two bites’ worth of food. No time-consuming prep required, as it often is when I’m trying to convert something larger to small, bite-sized, nibble-appropriate portions.

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I also love that the mushrooms themselves are naturally shaped as cups, which allows them to act as fairly mess-free, self-contained vessels. This makes them easy to serve with or sans toothpicks, which is key because I often forget to pick up toothpicks anyway. (more…)

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