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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Get Porked, Two Ways


I'm afraid of pork. It freaks me out because the consequences of cooking it incorrectly are not just simple food poisoning, it's getting a worm in your brain that slowly kills you. That's fucking disgusting.

But I'm coming to terms with it, because as I've said I don't really like chicken, and you can't eat red meat all the time. And pork really is delicious. I figure a little education and self-confidence is in order, and I can enjoy this shit. So I decided to make two different pork and potato meals, because practice makes perfect, and there is the perfect pork out there for everyone (hey-ooooooooooooooooo!!!):

Pork Marinade #1
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 1⁄2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 pork chops
sea salt, to taste
2 tbsp. canola oil

Herb Sauce #1
1 tsp coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄2 cup minced cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 jalapeƱo, stemmed, seeded and minced
3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt, to taste

2 large potatoes or 6 new potatoes
4 tomatillos, peeled
2 poblano peppers
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic

Mix coriander, fennel, cumin, paprika, sugar, and garlic and stir to combine. Put pork on a plate and season generously with salt. Rub pork with coriander mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. 

Herb sauce: Mix coriander, cumin, and cardamom, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeƱos. Using a fork, whisk in olive oil and season sauce with salt; cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Heat oven to 475°. Put potatoes, tomatillos and poblanos on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake, turning once, until tender, 40–50 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Place shallots cut side down under pork. Reduce heat to medium and cook until completely done. Transfer pork and shallots to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. To serve, spoon sauce over pork.

This. Was. Stupid. Good. Recipe is courtesy of Saveur, the magazine that is my absolute favorite of all food magazines. Not your thing? Try pork Greek style (not that way perv, we're talking food here):

Pork #2
1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced

yogurt & onion sauce
: Stir together well 2 cups plain yogurt, 1/2 of a thinly sliced green onion, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-3 pork chops

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper with 1-4 tbsp of the yoghurt and onion sauce (save the rest for the potatoes). Put chops in a ziplock bag and pour the mixture over top, seal and place in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cubes chicken bouillon
ground black pepper to taste
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

Preheat oven to 350
. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Boil 1 1/2 cups water and add to the 2 cubes of bouillon, whisk until completely dissolved. Add the olive oil mixture and stir together until completely blended.

Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. Cover, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender but firm.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook until completely done.

Place pork alongside potatoes, with yoghurt and onion sauce on the side.

I love Greek food, and this is Greek done right. It's much milder if you prefer no spice and a cooler sauce.

So, pick the way you like to be porked, then get to it :)

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    That's Hot

    I'm on vacation right now, and I'm spending part of it traveling and part of it at home for a little staycaishe action. Right now I'm in the staycaishe part. So far, I've spent most of it staring out the window drinking root beer in my underpants. Which is just fine with me.

    I'm taking this home-time to do some domestic stuff, and cook things that have been in the back of my mind for awhile. One of these is stuffed peppers (it's another Saveur recipe. I should just change the name of this blog to "Shit I made from Saveur"). I love peppers and chiles and putting cheese in them only makes a great thing greater:

    Peppers Stuffed with Feta
    from Saveur with my slight modifications

    4-6 Fresno or Anaheim chiles (I used Anaheim, much more common here in BC)
    1/2 small container of feta
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
    1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
    1-2 tsp lemon zest
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1 egg yolk
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

    Set oven to broil, place washed chiles on a cookie sheet, broil for 5 minutes until just tender. Remove and place in the fridge to cool completely.

    In a mixing bowl combine feta, oil, yoghurt, parsley, lemon zest, yolks, oregano, salt and pepper and mix well, mashing into a paste with a wooden spoon. Once chiles are cool, slice directly down the middle from the stem, and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Place the feta mixture in the peppers, sprinkle the tops with Parmesan, place back in the broiler until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Transfer to a plate and serve hot.

    MMMMMMMMM. Broiling these peppers actually kills most of their heat so don't be shy even if you're not a huge fan of hot foods. If you are looking for a little heat orgy, try the same recipe with Jalepenos or Habaneros. Although I think you're a little mental if you do. Just sayin'.

    I had mine on the side of two scrambled eggs and toast for a nice light lunch. Makes a great appetizer or part of a larger, family style meal.

    I might be hanging out almost exclusively in my underwear, but at least I'm not doing this:

    Stella is a little put out that I've been spending so much time at home, I think she's offended that I'm cutting into her alone-time. I don't really care. Last night I slept on the couch just to make it seem like I was camping. It was fun until my shoulder cramped up. I'm also using this time to wander around neighbourhoods I don't usually go to, like Main Street and Granville Island. It's kind of fun to pretend to be a tourist in your own city. I highly recommend it! Get out there.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    That chicken is a real asshole

    Continuing in my mission to find a chicken dish that I like, I decided to try Saveur's recipe for jerk chicken. Some other names I've used to refer to this dish over the last few days:

    Personal issues chicken
    Bastard chicken
    Anti-social chicken
    Prick chicken
    Thinks-his-shit-don't-stank chicken

    The marinade in and of itself smells amazing and tempted me to eat it with a spoon:

    Jerk Chicken

    combine the following in a blender or food processor
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    4 tbsp brown sugar
    2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    2 tbsp dried thyme
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    4 tsp ground allspice
    8 cloves garlic
    5 habanero chiles (the original recipe at Saveur calls for 8, but this is too spicy for most people)
    8 green onions, roughly chopped
    2 shallots, roughly chopped
    1 1" piece of peeled ginger, roughly chopped
    sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

    place 5-8 chicken pieces (thighs and legs, bone in) in a baking dish, pour sauce all over top, making sure each piece is totally covered. Cover with plastic and leave in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

    Place on a BBQ or a grill pan on a stovetop and leave to grill, about 20 minutes each side, depending on thickness of the chicken. Transfer to plate and serve.

    Yes. YES! I have found a chicken dish I like:

    I went over to Junior's and we made this on his barbeque. It's zesty and spicy and juicy and exotic and all the things I love about well-marinated meat. It's heavy on spice so if spice is not your thing, I'd skip it. Goes great with a cool salad. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Pie Days of Summer, Vol. 2

    Ah, barbeque season. Cold drinks, hot sun, sizzling meat and veggies. It's really the very best thing ever. I was invited to one recently and we took in the overflowing windowboxes and pots and the setting sun while stuffing ourselves with steak salad. I was in charge of dessert, so I pondered my pie progress and decided on lemon meringue:

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    For the crust:

    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1 stick unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1 cup white sugar
    4 large egg yolks (from white eggs, unless you want orangey-lemon meringue pie)
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
    1 1/4 cup water
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
    2 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (from about 2 large lemons)

    For the meringue:

    4 large egg whites
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup white sugar


    Preheat oven to 375. Combine crushed graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Press into the bottom of a pie pan and up the sides to form an even crust, about 9 inches across. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, set aside to cool.


    Combine cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Add water and whisk until blended. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and butter and stir constantly until mixture becomes pudding-like in consistency and completely blended.

    Pour the mixture into the crust and cover with parchment paper and leave to cool until room temperature.


    Refrigerate egg whites until cool, not cold. Add salt and beat until creamy, then begin to add sugar gradually until stiff glossy peaks form. Spread the meringue over the pie making sure to meet the meringue and crust, if not completely covering the crust so that the meringue won't shrink. I find a small spatula works well for this job. Bake pie at 375 for 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Then refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

    The following group of photos I like to call "Pie Porn":

    Oh, yum. Lemon pie is a great hot weather food. Serve yourself a big slice and enjoy the heat!

    Sunday, July 3, 2011


    I've never cooked a lobster. I refuse to do a live one, I'll just agonize about it for days afterwards. I've only had lobster before once in my life, and I seem to recall that it was delicious. I was determined to cook some after I realized that I've never seen the Atlantic ocean. God, I'm the worst traveler. And since I can't see it any time soon, I thought I would have a piece of it for dinner. This is what I came up with:

    Lobster Salad
    1 lobster tail, fresh and packed in broth
    1 bunch frisee
    1/2 medium sized beet
    1 avocado
    Handful pea shoots
    1/2 grapefruit, peeled and separated

    1/2 small shallot, chopped fine
    2 chives, chopped fine
    1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
    Glug of extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    2 tbsp champagne vinegar

    Mix ingredients together for the dressing, blend together well with a spoon, set aside. Boil a large pot of well salted water and cook lobster, about 3-5 minutes. Remove, place in a bowl and put in the refrigerator. Wash frisee and make a bed of it out of approximately 8 leaves. Place pea shoots on top. Cut the beets into matchsticks and place to one side. Slice avocado and place on the opposite side. Place lobster in the center. Sprinkle the grapefruit over all, then top all with dressing. Serve.

    It was as good as it looks.

    Here's a bit of lobster advice that I learned from the very nice lady at the Lobster Man (who you should absolutely go to if you live in Vancouver and have a hankering for fresh seafood): If you are on a budget and still want fresh lobster, the best way to go is to get it fresh and packed in it's broth. That way, you can use what you need and freeze it if necessary, the juice will help preserve the flavour. Many recipes also call for fish broth, and lobster broth is a great substitute, so when you have finished the lobster freeze the leftover broth on its own. Also now is lobster season so if you want to try it, act now. I got two gorgeous tails for $23. Steal of a deal.

    I gave a piece to Stella, who didn't want it. Seriously this is the weirdest cat. She only wants chicken and tea, not water or beef or fish or any of that other shit that cats are supposed to like. Mind you, she did look at me like this the entire time while I was cooking, which was sort of sweet. I call it the "How was your day?" pose:


    It's officially summertime! Gorgeous and hot and blue sky for miles. In recognition of it's long-awaited arrival, I give you "Summertime" by the greatest baritone that ever lived, Paul Robeson. Enjoy: