July – Spicy Grilled Pork Kabobs with Fennel, Cumin and Coriander

July – Spicy Grilled Pork Kabobs with Fennel, Cumin and Coriander

If you have been following this blog for any time at all you will have noticed that I adore the combination of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. This recipe for spicy grilled pork kabobs adds coriander leaves, lime juice, garlic and jalapeno to that magic combo.

See Turkish Lamb Chops for another example.

Turkish Lamb Chops

Turkish Lamb Chops

Those spices char in the high heat of the grill or under the broiler, turning them into an aromatic counter point to the cubes of juicy pork.

If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour before you thread on the pork. I find an empty wine bottle (of which we have an abundance these days) is the perfect size.

If you have time, marinate the pork in the spices for 24 hours before cooking.

Spicy Grilled Pork

Spicy Grilled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 cubes
  • kosher salt
  • 1 lime, plus extra wedges for serving if desired
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or basil or mint or a combination
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed an peeled
  • 1 jalapeno or other green chili, seeded if you want a milder flavor (I used only 1/2)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

Method:

  1. Season the pork lightly with kosher salt (use less if using sea or regular salt) and put it into a bowl or resealable plastic bag.
  2. In a small dry skillet toast the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds until they become aromatic and golden brown.
  3. Juice the lime into a blender or food processor. Add the cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, jalapeno and honey. Blend until the jalapeno and garlic are pureed. Add the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds and pulse four or five times to bruise the spices and mix them in.
  4. Pour the mixture over the pork, tossing to coat all sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, heat the grill or broiler with a rack 4 inches from the heat source.
  6. Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between each piece.
  7. Grill or broil over the highest heat possible (2-5minutes) then turn the skewers or pieces and continue cooking on all sides until browned and charred in spots. A little pink in the center is fine but there shouldn’t be any red spots.
  8. Serve sprinkled with additional sprigs of herbs if desired.

 

Spicy Grilled Pork

Spicy Grilled Pork

We served this with grilled zucchini from the garden and sliced tomatoes.

Spicy Grilled Pork

Spicy Grilled Pork

Spicy Grilled Pork

Spicy Grilled Pork

It’s grilling season here in the Northern Hemisphere and this is a perfect dish to bring to Fiesta Friday hosted by the lovely Angie. It’s Fiesta Friday #336 and I am the lucky cohost this week. Click on the link to join the party, discover delicious recipes, fun crafts, decorating and gardening ideas. Please consider adding your own link as well, we would love to get to know you.

April – Pork Shoulder in Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes

April – Pork Shoulder in Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes

A couple of weeks ago I made ‘Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder’, it was a big success in our house and gave us wonderful leftovers. Then I saw Chef Mimi’s post for ‘Pork All’Arrabbiata’ and knew I needed to try it if I could score another pork shoulder at the store. I loved the idea of slow cooking the pork in a spicy red sauce. This was also the perfect opportunity to clean out the pantry and/or fridge.

I found a jar of “just outdated” (really those dates are very conservative and it was only a few months past expiration…it looked fine) red pepper marinara sauce in the pantry, the end of a jar of bourbon and bacon BBQ sauce (about 1/4 cup), and a small can of spicy V8 juice. There wasn’t any leftover red wine (we drank it all) to add, so I also cleaned out the jars with a little water.

I decided to cook it slowly at a low temperature, covered this time. As in ‘Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder’ that meant 5 hours at 275 degrees F. While the oven was on at the low temperature, I could also roast some sweet potatoes. I ran across this method on the blog Smitten Kitchen for slow-roasted sweet potatoes. 2 1/2 hours at a low temperature, then broiled until charred on top results in a creamy skinned potato quite unlike the usual stringy-ness (although I will eat a sweet potato no matter how it’s cooked).

Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I think they will be delicious with the pork and hey, the oven is already on.

Here are a few pictures of the final result, we had lots of leftovers for pulled pork quesadillas (no pictures) and sandwiches.

Pulled Pork with Red Sauce

Pulled Pork with Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes

April – Gluten Free Italian Meatballs

April – Gluten Free Italian Meatballs

There must be a thousand recipes out there for meatballs. This recipe is a little different. I was intrigued and inspired by an article in the NY Times for Spicy Meatballs with Chickpeas by David Tanis. I have a couple of his cookbooks and admire his simplicity. There is no bread in his meatball mix, he uses raw (yes, raw) arborio or white rice as a binder, so it’s gluten free.

The original recipe calls for ground lamb, which was not in my freezer, and North African seasonings. This is when you call on kitchen creativity and courage. I did have a pound package of bulk country sausage and one of ground turkey. It was sounding like my meatballs would be more Italian than North African.

This recipe is endlessly adaptable to whatever ground meat and flavorings you have on hand. The meatballs were juicy and delicious, the rice absorbing the flavors of the sauce and the meat.

Meatballs

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground meat (ground beef, pork, turkey, sausage or a combination)
  • ½ cup raw arborio rice or any white rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced

FOR THE SAUCE:

  •  Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 quart of jarred Italian pasta sauce, whatever you have in your pantry or freezer
  • A couple of handfuls of chopped kale, chard or baby spinach, chopped (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan for serving
PREPARATION:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine ground meat, raw rice, salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, Italian seasoning, onion and garlic. Knead mixture well.
  2. Line with a sheet pan or roasting pan with foil for easier cleanup. Coat it lightly with olive oil. With wet hands, form mixture into 1-ounce meatballs and arrange in one layer on pan. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and let cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, reheat your pasta sauce.
  4. Carefully add meatballs and adjust heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the kale, chard or spinach and cook until just wilted.
  6. Serve with pasta (gluten free) and sprinkle with parmesan.

Of course you could make your own tomato sauce, that would be even more delicious.

The greens are optional, I was looking for a way to add some vegetables but you could leave them out if it’s the end of the week and your produce drawer is down to the last wilted scallion.

I found an almost empty jar of Kalamata olives and tossed them in, capers would be good, anchovies anyone?

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

April – Aduki Beans with Bacon, Bourbon and Rice

April – Aduki Beans with Bacon, Bourbon and Rice

Shelf at my grocery store

Adzuki Beans

Does your grocery store look like this? There was not a single can of beans on the shelves except these aduki beans. It was a sight I never expected to see, I guess beans are a good pantry staple. But why wasn’t anyone hoarding aduki beans? They are delicious. I guess most folks are not familiar with them.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil:

“Adzuki beans are small, red beans that originated in China. These legumes (also called aduki or azuki beans) are most often enjoyed boiled with sugar and mashed into a sweet red bean paste that is used as a filling in many popular Asian desserts, including ice cream. The nutty flavor of adzukis is equally delicious in savory applications: Festival Rice from Japan combines adzuki with rice, which receives a pleasant pink tint from the beans.”

“Like many other beans, adzukis are a good source of magnesiumpotassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. Also of note is the adzuki’s status as the “weight loss bean,” since they are so low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrition. Additionally, they are relatively easy to digest, so they should not give you gas as other beans do.”

This is a pantry dinner but still delicious. It could be either the entire meal or a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of aduki beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 strips thick, uncured, apple wood smoked bacon
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed (or white if that’s all you have)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups of water (depending on the type of rice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
  • pinch of salt, to taste

A note on substitutions…

    • No thick sliced, uncured bacon? Use regular bacon with a few extra slices.
    • no bacon or are you vegetarian? Use any smoky vegetarian substitute.
    • no bourbon? Use brandy or a smoky scotch or sake or leave it out completely.
    • no honey? Use maple syrup or agave or a tablespoon of brown sugar.
    • and if you are missing all of those…use two or three tablespoons of BBQ sauce.

You are looking for a flavor profile, something sweet and smoky and a little sharp.

Method:

  1. Slice bacon in half, lengthwise, and then chop into small pieces. Add bacon to cold saucepan or Dutch oven and turn heat to medium. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and pieces are crisp and golden. Transfer cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside. Drain off all but one tablespoon of grease.
  2. Add beans to pan, stir, and then add rice. Stir to coat in bacon drippings. Add bourbon, stir and cook, about a minute, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add water, bring mixture to a simmer, and cover pan, lowering heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and beans and rice are tender, about 30-35 minutes.
  3. Fluff mixture with a fork.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, reserved bacon pieces, and mix into beans and rice. Add additional honey if necessary.
  5. Add salt to taste. Serve hot or warm and enjoy!
aduki beans and rice

aduki beans and rice

 

 

  1. Aduki beans with bacon and bourbon

    Aduki beans with bacon and bourbon; with roast cauliflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March – Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder

March – Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder

I cannot believe I have never posted this recipe! I searched my recipe index but couldn’t find it anywhere, even though it’s a big favorite of both friends and family for years. This dish will give you days of leftovers for pulled pork, carnitas, BBQ pork sandwiches, tacos, etc. And if you are feeling, like I am, sightly depressed…it will make your kitchen smell like a warm hug (something in short supply at the moment). Now is the perfect time to cook something that takes most of the day in the oven, where else are you going to go? Don’t make this in the slow cooker, it will not be the same. You could make it in your instant pot, you would need to crisp it in the oven after. But why? Use the low oven method unless it’s 4 pm and the zombies are at the door (instant pot options at the end), I encourage you to embrace slow oven cooking for this if at all possible.

If you want it have dinner at 6 pm, you need to pop it in the oven right after your Zoom workout or the first conference call of the day at 9. Rub it down with the spices and put it in the roasting pan at 8 am while you are having your second (maybe first these days) cup of coffee. Let it rest at room temperature on the counter until you have finished your workout or your call. At that time preheat the oven, and put the pork in the oven (uncovered) at 10:30. Forget about it all day (you won’t be able to ignore the aroma coming from your oven). It will be ready at 5:30, enough time for it to rest. Resist the urge to steal crispy bits before dinner is officially served, I usually can’t.

You will have the entire day free. Time to deal with home schooling, your toddler, the garden, and/or work.

The original idea for this recipe came from Michael Chiarello’s cookbook Casual Cooking, published in 2002. He was named Chef of the Year by the Culinary Institute of America  and Food & Wine Magazine. Founder of the Tra Vigne Restarurant in St. Helena, CA (in the wine country).

I have dramatically simplified his recipe except for one thing, the amazing mixture of spices that he uses. Toasted Fennel Rub is my absolute favorite spice mixture in the whole world. You don’t need to use it though, use any beloved spice rub of your own. I just happen to have this on hand most times and often give it as a present to friends. I’ve modified it with the addition of some heat. But, use what you have. Any BBQ rub would be excellent, what about taco seasoning, or chili powder with some added salt? Do not fret about it. The trick is the slow roasting which transforms the pork into a meltingly tender piece of meat with a crisp layer of fat on the outside.

Ingredients:

  • One pork shoulder roast (mine was bone-in, about 5 1/2 pounds)
  • Enough rub to coat all sides of the roast (see the recipe for fennel spice at the bottom of this post)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Rub your spice mixture of choice (see Fennel Rub below) over all sides of the roast
  3. Place the pork, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan or other dish (there may be quite a lot of fat, so a deep one is best). Line it with foil for easier clean up.
  4. Roast, uncovered, for 7 hours.
  5. Let the roast rest for 20 minutes, then slice or shred.

Note: If you don’t have a rack of the correct size for your pan, make one with halved onions or whole carrots or crumbled foil.

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Rub

Pork Shoulder Roast with Fennel Spice Rub

Here it is after 7 hours, juicy and ready to shred. As usual, I couldn’t stop the fingers from pulling off crispy bits before we were ready to eat dinner.

Forever roasted pork shoulder

Forever roasted pork shoulder

Shredded Pork Shoulder

Shredded Pork Shoulder

It was easy to shred. Served with roasted asparagus, avocado, pickled cabbage, shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

Shredded Pork Tacos

Shredded Pork Tacos

We have some really amazing leftovers for the week. Stay tuned for some ideas.

 

Enhanced Fennel Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • My additions:
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup chile powder (use something on the sweet rather than on the hot side, or leave it out)
    • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds

Method:

  1. Place a dry small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, coriander, peppercorns and cumin seeds (if using). Continually stirring, roast until light brown and the smell is amazing.
  2. Turn your oven fan (high), add the chile powder and red pepper flakes. Continue to stir (it will smoke) for a few more seconds. Then remove from the heat and immediately turn the spices out onto a large plate to cool.
  3. Once cool, add the salt.
  4. Grind in your blender, mini food processor, or spice blender to a powder. There will still be some whole spices that won’t be completely ground, that’s okay.

If you want to make this in an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot, here are some suggestions. After you coat the pork with your spice mix of choice, brown it on the saute setting in the pot or in a large skillet. Then add 1 cup of broth (chicken or vegetable), set the machine to high pressure and cook for 60 minutes, then turn the machine off and let the steam naturally release for 30 minutes. You won’t get that amazing crust, or a whole day of comforting aromas, but you will have dinner on the table for hungry mouths much faster.

Stay well everyone, stay safe, and please stay in touch.

I am going to take this dish to Angie’s at Fiesta Friday #321. Please come check out the virtual party on her site. The cohosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and, none other than myself: Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons

And if you would like to join us, link your post to FiestaFriday.net and/or the cohost(s), so you can be featured.

And if you would like a chance to be featured next Friday, please read the guidelines.

Also linking this to Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.