Sunday, July 24, 2011

asian lettuce wraps

I got this enormous pork shoulder on super duper sale. It was like $1.29 a lb, and it was $2.00 off because it was getting close to its use-by date (which, incidentally, was still three days away when I bought it! I love catching meat on sale like that. It feels like such a score). I packed brown sugar all over the roast, then set it in a beer-bath, like this:

I wrapped the pan with foil and sealed up the edges so that the steam would stay in and kind of braise the meat as it cooked. This baby went into a 275 F oven for 5 hours (I took the foil off after about 3 hours, because I wanted the fat to crisp up). When it came out, it looked like this:

It pretty much fell apart when I lifted it from the pan onto that plate. I just kind of shoved it back together for photographing purposes and then shredded it with two forks when the photo shoot was over. I also ate some. In fact, I couldn't stop eating it at midnight last night when I was shredding it. It was so good.

Today, I was sitting here trying to decide what to make with my new-found wealth of pork, when I remembered some lettuce wraps with Asian flavors that I'd done with a previous batch of pork and really liked. I decided to reprise that dish, and this is the final product:

The iceberg lettuce wasn't my first choice, but I forgot to get butter lettuce at the farmstand so I was stuck with what the grocery store could give me, which was either the decent looking iceberg or some fairly manky looking romaine. Not a terribly hard choice. Other fixings on the wrap include: the pork of course, shredded carrot, thinly sliced red bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, cucumber, (drowning in the) hoisin (of your lies) sauce, and sriracha. All of the crunchy, cool veggies balance out the soft, warm, fatty pork and the sweet sauce. Highly enjoyable...and aside from the hoisin, perfectly Primal!

Friday, July 15, 2011

stuffed pork chops and zucchini gratin

Pork chops, especially stupidly big ones, make me happy. I don't know if you've picked up on that yet or not. The more ridiculously thick and dinosaur-like they look, the stronger my urge to possess them, cook them and them.

These pork chops were boneless loin chops cut about 2 1/2 inches thick. I carefully cut a pocket into each of them, being sure not to cut all the way through the outside edges as I carved. I seasoned them with salt and pepper, then stuffed them with a mixture of finely chopped onion, mushroom, garlic, dried sage (because I couldn't find fresh at the store), fresh thyme, and a little olive oil. I tied the chops with some kitchen twine so that they wouldn't flop open and lose all their lovely stuffing. The chops then got seared in a hot pan in a mixture of a little olive oil and a little butter until they were nicely browned on both sides and the wide bottom edge. They then went into a 450 degree oven for 12 minutes, then came out and were allowed to rest for 10 minutes before I cut the twine off and plated them.

The zucchini gratin was very simple - two zukes and two yellow squash sliced and tossed in a mixture of a little cream and a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. I put it into a lightly greased baking dish and topped it with another 1/4 cup of Parmesan. It cooked in a 450 degree oven for about 35 minutes. When the squash is tender, it's done.

I would definitely make these again, but I think I'd re-jig the stuffing somewhat. My husband, on the other hand, deemed his pork chop "utterly orgasmic". ;) Also, no grains anywhere to be found, lots of protein and veggies...counts as a Primal meal in my book!

Friday, July 8, 2011

pan-fried pork chops and roasted potatoes

I found some lovely pork chops on sale at the store and decided I'd try a new recipe with them. The recipe, from Cook's Country (the people who also do America's Test Kitchen, which I adore), is here. It's very simple - just some paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and garlic powder to season, and some flour to dredge in. The "secret" to the recipe is bacon. It calls to chop up and cook some bacon to render the fat out, then add oil to the bacon fat and shallow-fry the chops in it. The bacon gives the chops a lovely smokey flavor, and the double-dredging in flour makes for a great crisp crust.

The roasted potatoes are my usual - red potatoes tossed with salt, pepper, ground sage, thyme, rosemary, and olive oil, then baked on a cookie sheet at 475 for about 30 minutes. I got wrapped up in doing the chop stuff and forgot to stir my potatoes for about 20 minutes so they stuck, but they still tasted fantastic!

I apologize for the weird blue glow on the picture. I was over by the laptop and the TV and didn't really think about the effect that would have at the time. Oops. ;)

caprese salad

Caprese salad is very simple - only tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's a perfect dish for summer, when the tomatoes and basil are at their very best.

All you need to do is slice the tomatoes and cheese, layer them with leaves of fresh basil, and drizzle the whole thing with the best extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on. YUM!


Just a quick note to point out that I got all fancied up with some little networking button thingies on the bottom of my posts. Now you can like my posts on Facebook, Tweet them, and all those other crazy things you kids do these days!

So, have at it! Just stay off my lawn, ok? ;)

Friday, July 1, 2011


These are Cranberry Orange Pecan scones. The basic dough is just flour, butter, a little sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. I really like scones because they're rich and not super sweet. This was my very first try at scones, so I was a little skeptical that they'd come out well, but I surprised myself! They came out nicely tender inside with a slightly crispy outside. NOM!

I'm not 100% sold on the pecan-cranberry-orange combo. I think next time I might just do cranberry orange, and add a little orange juice to the dough. I have some other combos I'd like to try as well, now that I know I can make execute the basic recipe well.