Category Archives: Pork

Pork Schnitzel

pork schnitzel with spaetzelMy neighbors and good friends host a foreign exchange student from Germany. He has been enjoying Sunday family dinners with us this year and I kept promising him I would cook him a German dish. At first I didn’t really want to make schnitzel because it’s so “typical,” and I’ve made it before. However, he loved my chicken parmesan – particularly the thin breaded chicken. You can make schnitzel with a variety of meats; Weiner Schnitzel is made with veal, but I haven’t eaten veal in years. Pork is a great alternative because it’s relatively inexpensive and you can easily find cutlets which means all you have to do is pound them out a little thinner. There really isn’t a huge difference between the preparation of chicken for chicken parmesan and the pork that I used for the schnitzel. There are a variety of sauces you can serve with schnitzel, but it’s really traditional to just serve it with lemon wedges. Potatoes make a great accompaniment, but I went with a spaetzel. I didn’t make the spaetzel homemade and kind of regretted it (except for the labor). I also made roasted brussel sprrouts because they are always at the top of the vegetable request list. This is an easy weeknight meal, but it’s also great if you’re feeding a crowd because you can keep the schnitzel warm in a low temp oven and they don’t dry out too much (I wouldn’t keep them warming for more than 30 minutes or so). This recipe serves about 6, but it’s certainly easy to adjust the quantity.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Boneless Pork Loin Chops or Cutlets
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Large Eggs
  •   3/4 Cup Milk
  • 4 Cups Plain Bread Crumbs (can use 1/2 Italian Seasoned, but this is not traditional)
  • 4-6 TBS Olive Oil
  • 4-6  TBS Unsalted Butter
  • Couple Sprig Fresh Thyme
  • Lemon wedges

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place pork chops/cutlets in a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound out until about 1/4 inch thick. Season pork cutlets generously with salt and pepper.seasoned pork cutletsPut the flour in a shallow dish or on a plate. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and, if not using seasoned bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper. schnitzel dregdeLightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then dip into the egg and then dredge with the bread crumbs.

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet or large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 -30 minutes to allow the coating to set.breaded cutlets

Heat about 2 TBS. each of oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thyme sprig and let it fry for about 1 minute to infuse the oil. Remove the thyme sprig and reserve. Gently lay 3 of the cutlets (or however many fit without crowding) in the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy (about 2 minutes, flip and repeat on the other side. Remove cutlets from pan and transfer to  paper towels to drain.Cover with foil to keep hot and cook the second batch. Wipe the fry pan out – removing any crumbs or leftover oil, add remaining oil and butter and thyme and heat, and then cook the second batch of cutlets.  Season cutlets with salt and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges and the fried thyme sprig before serving. If you need to keep the cutlets warm before serving, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover loosely with foil and place in a low heat (200 degrees) oven.

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

When my guests laid their eyes on this delight, they gleefully asked  “Is there bacon on the pork roast?” I responded that I just figured if pork roast was great, wouldn’t it logically be even greater if it were wrapped in bacon – they liked my line of thinking! I’ve served pork roast for several of our large family dinners with the neighbors and it’s always well-liked, but for those who know me, you know I easily become bored with food. i However, it’s crazy how you can make one small change (or addition, in this case) to something, and it totally transforms it.  Pork roast can easily dry out – most often a direct result of overcooking- but the addition of the bacon eliminates that possibility. I imagine you could use the recipe with a small pork tenderloin; you would just have to cut the bacon. I served this with oven roasted potatoes and balsamic roasted brussell sprouts. I used applewood smoked bacon (it said it was thick cut, but it really wasn’t very thick – too thick would not be good), but I want to try it again with a maple or brown sugar cured bacon…yum.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pork Roast (or loin) about 4 Lbs.
  • 6-8 Cloves Fresh Garlic- peeled and lightly smashed (to release flavor)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS. Dried Italian Seasoning
  • Salt* and Freshly Ground Pepper (the bacon adds quite a bit of salt, so use salt sparingly)
  • 1 tsp. Dried Rosemary
  • 6-8 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon (use your favorite variety/flavor)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees. Place pork roast in the center of a broiler pan and cut 6-8 1/2 inch deep slits in the top of the roast and add garlic to the slits. Lightly rub the pork roast with olive oil – just enough to coat and allow the herbs to stick. Sprinkle the roast with herbs and salt and pepper.bacon wrapped pork roast 4 Wrap the bacon around the roast tucking the loose ends in under the roast.bacon wrapped pork roast 3 Cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue cooking for another 45-60 minutes (depending on size of roast) until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. If the bacon has not crisped sufficiently, place under the broiler for a few minute until it crisps.bacon wrapped pork roast 2 After removing the roast from the oven, allow the roast to sit for about 10 minutes (to allow the temp to increase to 150 degrees and the juices to set). If you would like to make a gravy, you should have plenty of delicious drippings to do so. Place the roasting pan bottom with the drippings on the stovetop over medium heat. Make a slurry with flour or cornstarch and water and add to the heated drippings. Heat until thickened and flour is cooked – stirring constantly. Slice the pork into 3/4 inch slices and serve immediately.

Combined Family Dinner Mid-February

Combined Family Dinner Mid-February

 

Chorizo Con Queso Dip in a Pumpkin

Chorizo Con Queso Dip Served in a Pumpkin

Chorizo Con Queso Dip Served in a Pumpkin

This is really a re-post, (click here to see the original post) but I love this recipe, and it’s so great for Halloween! If you can find festive black and orange tortilla chips to serve with the dip, they add a fun element; Black and Orange Corn Chipsblue corn tortilla chips also work well because they sort of look black. You could make this dish vegetarian by eliminating the chorizo and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Because of scheduling conflicts, I won’t be hosting a gala Halloween party this year; however, this leaves me more time to post Halloween themed food and party ideas.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 15-20 as an appetizer)

  • 1 Lb. Ground Chorizo Sausage*
  • 4 Cups Shredded Chihuahua Cheese (can substitute mozzerella)
  • 2 Cups Mexican Cheese Blend (4 Cheese blend – NOT Taco cheese because it contains spices)
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper (remove seeds and membranes for less heat) – finely chopped
  • 4 Oz. Can of Chopped Green Chiles
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup of Flour
  • 2-3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro – for garnish
  • 1 Large (about 3 Lbs.) Sugar Pumpkin (or medium sized regular pumpkin) for Serving- Optional

*If you can’t find loose ground chorizo, you can substitute chorizo that is cased – just chop it into small pieces. You could also substitute regular breakfast sausage, but you will have to increase your Mexican spices.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium saute pan, cook chorizo over medium to high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess fat from the pan. Add jalapeno, green chiles and spices to pan, and cook until jalapeno is tender. Add flour and cook until the flour starts to brown (3-5 minutes). Add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in all of the cheese, stirring until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Check the consistency and, if necessary, add additional chicken broth to thin the dip- the dip should have a creamy texture. Pour cheese mixture into a baking dish (use a baking dish you would serve out of) or an oven-proof bowl. Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

If you would like to serve out of a pumpkin, cut the top off of a 3 Lb. sugar pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a baking dish, fill with the con queso, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until pumpkin starts to brown and become tender). Do not overcook, or your pumpkin will be too soft to move to a serving plate. Remove foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes until cheese dip is bubbling and browned on top.

 

Barbequed Babyback Ribs

 

Thru March 20 129So now that I’ve publicly admitted it is fall, I felt compelled to revert to summer mode this past weekend. Who says barbequed ribs are only for summer, and who says a girl can’t grill up super tender and tasty ribs? I take issue with two suggested premises: 1.) certain foods can only be cooked/eaten at certain times of the year 2.) men are better on the barbeque. Ooh, the English teacher in me just realized that the second premise sounds like I am suggesting men should be thrown on the outdoor flames – well, that has, on occasion occurred to me. However, for the purposes of this post, I am suggesting that men are not necessarily more skilled at grilling food on the barbeque. (If anyone is sensing any resentments there, it simply isn’t true – LOL!) With regard to the first premise, as long as foods are not grown seasonally and are readily available year-round, I think they should be eaten year round. For those of you who have ever attended one of my Thanksgiving in July gatherings, you know what I’m talking about. So, now for the ribs. Over the past few years I was introduced to a new method for slow cooking ribs which includes starting them off in the oven and then transferring them to the grill. Michael Chiarello was the inspiration for this style. Let me tell you, the ribs come out moist and tender – practically falling off the bone. If you’re looking for a dryer, rip your front teeth out style of rib, this recipe is not for you. You can certainly use whatever barbeque sauce you like (I never discount the worthiness of bottled sauce – there’s a reason these people/companies are able to sell their product: it’s good), but I have included my recipe for a spicy/zesty sauce similar to an Open Pit style, and also this link to Michael Chiarello’s Espresso Barbeque sauce which is amazing and unlike any other barbeque sauce I’ve tasted. If you’re making your own sauce, I recommend making it a day in advance so that the flavors really develop, however, since the ribs take 3-4 hours, worst case scenario: start your barbeque sauce when you begin prepping/cooking the ribs. You can also use your favorite dry rub (there are many commercial brands available – or make your own), but if you do so, eliminate the salt and pepper – I do recommend keeping the garlic because it adds such good flavor as the ribs slow cook in the oven. I use a gas grill, because that’s what I have, but a charcoal grill would only intensify the flavors and add to the overall flavor. These ribs go great with blue cheese coleslaw, caprese pasta salad, garlic and bacon smashed potatoes, or grilled vegetables (to be posted in the future). I served them with grilled corn (it’s probably the last of the season, so I had to embrace it) and roasted golden beets (also to be posted in the future). This is a great meal for a crowd – particularly if you can find the ribs on sale. The measurements here are for two full racks of babyback ribs, but can easily be adjusted. (Serves 5-6).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Full Racks/Slabs Babyback Pork Ribs
  • 6-10 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • Kosher or Good Quality Coarse Salt- can be a blend (I use a blend that my sister-in-law brought from France)
  • Seasoned/Mixed-up Pepper
  • Barbeque Sauce (see recipe below or link above)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees. Cut ribs between every 3-4 bones. Place one layer of ribs in a roasting pan (I use a disposable foil pan) and rub with 1/2 the garlic and a generous amount of salt and pepper (or dry rub). Add a second layer of ribs and repeat rub process. through Sept 24 001Cover roasting pan with aluminium foil and seal as tightly as possible. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove from oven and rotate the layers so that the top layer becomes the bottom layer and vice versa. Repeat this process every 45 minutes. Thru March 20 101Overall cooking time for the ribs is about 3-4 hours – cook until they reach desired tenderness (I go for practically falling off the bone). After last rotating process, prepare a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. Remove ribs from oven, coat with a generous amount of barbeque sauce (on both sides) and place on grill meat side up. through Sept 24 009Grill for about 10 minutes and baste ribs again with sauce. Flip ribs so the meat side is directly on the grill and grill until desired “crispy crust” is achieved. through Sept 24 012Serve immediately with additional sauce.

Zesty/Spicy Barbeque Sauce:

  • 3/4cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Cider (apple) Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (cherry if available)
  • 2 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (depending on desired heat)
  • 1/2-1 TBS. Hot Sauce (my favorites are Frank’s or Texas Pete’s)
  • 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 TBS. Honey
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup Molasses
  • 1.5 Cups Ketchup
  • 1 TBS. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium/high heat (whisking until all ingredients are incorporated) until sauce reaches a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce for at least 2 hours. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

 

 

 

Savory Marinated Pork Loin Roast

Roasted pork tenderloin with green salad

Pork Roast, otherwise known as pork loin or pork tenderloin, is an easy entree for a family gathering or just a weekend dinner. You can use many varieties of marinade (Asian, Italian, Spicy Caribbean etc.). The secret is to let the roast marinate for at least two hours (or as long as overnight). This version is savory – it’s stuffed with fresh garlic and covered with fresh herbs. I had some blood orange olive oil and some cherry balsamic vinegar which I used, but you could certainly substitute regular olive oil and balsamic and even add some orange juice (the sweetness balances with the garlic and herbs and the acidity will help to tenderize the pork). You can also substitute dried herbs, but I really like the fresh herbs. The pork roast is great with any potato side dish (twice baked potatoes)or a good rice or risotto side dish. We were dieting when I prepared the roast (it’s a good lean meat), so I just paired it with a simple salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Large Pork Loin or 2 Pork Tenderloins
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic (each cut into 4-6 slivers)
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil (orange or lemon flavored if available)
  • 4 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar (cherry, pomegranate or other flavor if available)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice (optional)
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Oregano- chopped*
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Parsley- chopped*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Rosemary – chopped*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Thyme – chopped*
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

* Substitute 1/2 amount of dried.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Season pork loin generously with salt and pepper and set in a roasting pan or glass baking dish. Make several slits in the pork and stuff with garlic.Stuff with garlic

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine and/or juice (if using) and pour over pork loin. Spread chopped herbs evenly over pork. Cover with herbsCover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator – allow to marinate for at least 2 hours (as long as overnight). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pork roast (uncovered) for 25-40 minutes (tenderloins will only take about 25 minutes depending on the size, while a loin roast may take up to 40 minutes) until internal temperature registers 145 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Pasta with Sausage and Kale, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Oh how we do love pasta in my family! This recipe is another positive result of throwing together ingredients that I had available. I always keep sausage in my freezer (I buy the most delightful sausages at the local farmer’s market) and I certainly always have pasta around. The kale was the wildcard- I had made a chopped kale salad (yum!) and had leftover kale. I also had mushrooms that needed to be used, and they were a nice addition, as were the chick peas (my daughter and I both love them). I made this with regular sweet Italian sausage, but you could certainly use hot Italian sausage (or a combination of both would be great), or you could use turkey or chicken sausage. There are also such a great variety of sausage flavors available, that you could really get creative. This is a super easy fast dish to put together, great for a weeknight dinner; plus the leftovers are great for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb. Sausage – casing removed
  • 4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4 Cups Kale (or other dark green leafy vegetable) – thick stems removed
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine (optional – if omitting, add extra chicken stock)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup chicken Stock (or broth)
  • 3 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 Cup Chick Peas
  • 3/4 -1 Lb. Pasta (Penne, Rigatoni, or a hearty noodle of your choice)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat (breaking up sausage into bite size chunks); transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Cook garlic in pan with remaining sausage drippings until softened and fragrant but not browned. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms just begin to become tender. Add kale, stock and wine. Add mushroomsCover and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions – when cooked to al dente, drain and set aside. After kale and other ingredients have simmered for about 10 minutes, add tomatoes, chick peas, and cooked sausage to pan. Add chopped tomtoesAdd sausage and chick peasSimmer for another 2-3 minutes just until tomatoes start to become tender. Add pasta to pan, toss until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add pasta to panCombineServe immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale 2

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is this Sunday, February 10, 2013 and we celebrate it with full force in our house. This upcoming year will be the Year of the Snake. For those of you who follow my blog, you may have read that my children are convinced I am really Asian, but the truth is that my Asian tendencies come from having traveled extensively throughout Asia and teaching primarily Asian students. Chinese New Year celebrations are festive and fun, and you may find that once you embrace the traditions, you will continue to do so years to come. I don’t have pictures for the food that I served last year (I started the blog last February and wasn’t in the habit of photographing my food), but I will outline some of the traditions and provide recipes for the traditional foods that I serve. Although I love homemade dumplings (and it is tradition that the family gather to make the dumplings on New Year’s Eve), I typically buy frozen dumplings – they are great and I can get a variety of types that way. I also usually buy the desert as well.

I will start with some of the traditions that are not food related and try to include the reasoning behind the traditions.

  • Clean your house thoroughly before Chinese New Year – this will help to clean out the Old Year.
  • Open all doors and windows at midnight on the start of Chinese New Year (New Year’s Eve) – this allows the Old Year to escape and the New Year to come in.
  • Pay all bills and debts (when possible) and clear up any grievances you may have with others – if you begin the New Year with outstanding bills, you will have them all year.
  • Wear red and/or gold or bright orange on Chinese New Year; avoid wearing white. Red represents happiness and good luck, gold and orange represent prosperity, while white represents death.
  • Wear a new outfit or piece of clothing on Chinese New Year to insure that you will not be wearing the same old clothes all year long.
  • Avoid the number 4 on Chinese New Year (the pronunciation of the word “Four” in Chinese is similar to the pronunciation of the word “Die” in Chinese.
  • The number 8 is lucky because the word “eight” sounds similar to the word “fortune” in Chinese.
  • Do NOT wash or cut your hair on Chinese New Year – you will wash or cut away all of your good luck.
  • Try not to cry, yell, or curse on Chinese New Year – so as not to be crying, yelling, or cursing throughout the whole New Year.
  • Do NOT clean the house or sweep any dirt out of the house on Chinese New Year – you will be sweeping away all of your good luck and fortune.
  • Try to avoid using knives and scissors on Chinese New Year – something about severing good luck.
  • If you visit the homes of others on Chinese New Year, bring them oranges/tangarines/clementines/mandarin oranges – as these are an offering of good luck and prosperity. If you are not expecting visitors, make sure you have your own supply of oranges in the house.
  • Give children red envelopes with a coin, or money – this will insure them good fortune in the new year (the more, the better – kids love that part).

Traditional Chinese New Year Foods (recipes follow):

  • A cooked whole fish – cooking the whole fish ensures that your family will have plenty of food and prosperity in the New Year.
  • Long Noodles (the longer, the better) – noodles represent longevity (long life); remember when eating noodles not to cut or break them (with either a knife or your teeth) or you will be cutting short your life. This is why many Asians “slurp” their noodles.
  • Dumplings- the crescent shape resembles Chinese money, so they represent wealth and prosperity.
  • Spring/Summer/Egg Rolls symbolize wealth because they resemble gold or silver bullions (bulk gold or silver).
  • Vegetables represent purification.
  • Duck (Peking is traditional) represents fidelity.
  • Pork represents strength.
  • Pumpkin represents prosperity, abundance, illustrious children, and it draws earth’s energy to manifest gold.
  • Whole chicken (served with head facing diners) represents wholeness, prosperity and abundance.
  • Prawns (shrimp) represent liveliness and happiness.
  • Rice represents fertility, wealth, and the link between heaven and earth.
  • Eggs (tea eggs are traditional) represent fertility (avoid them if you don’t want more children).
  • Layered cakes – the sweetness represents a rich, sweet life and the layers represent rising abundance for the upcoming year.

Fruit Cakes or Sticky Rice Cakes- these are traditionally fed to the Kitchen God so that he will report good things about your family when he returns to heaven before the New Year. Another tradition suggests wiping his mouth with a bit of the sticky cake to “seal his lips” so that he may not report any negative things about your family.

More information about Chinese New Year Symbolic Foods .

Chinese New Year Menu and Recipes:

  • Assorted Steamed Dumplings (Dim Sum)
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Asian Style Steamed Clams or Mussells
  • Spring Rolls
  • Steamed Whole Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves
  • Beef with Broccoli
  • Pork Fried Rice
  • Shrimp Lo Mein
  • Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms

Dumplings (Potstickers):

Pork Filling
1 lb. Ground Pork
4 Large Napa Cabbage Leaves – minced
3 Stalks Green Onions – minced
7 Shitake Mushrooms – minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 Cup Bamboo Shoots – minced
1/4 Cup Ginger Root – minced
3 TBS. Soy Sauce
2 TBS. Sesame Oil
2 TBS. Corn starch

OR

Shrimp Filling
1/2 lb. Raw Shrimp – peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. Ground Pork
3 Stalks Green Onions – minced
1/4 Cup Ginger Root – minced
1 Cup Water Chestnuts -minced
1 tsp. Salt
3 TBS. Sesame Oil
2 TBS. Corn starch

Both

Use gyoza wrappers (circular) or wonton wrappers cut into circles for the wrappers.

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make dumplings.

To Boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To Steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of Napa cabbage leaves in a bamboo steamer basket and steam for about 6 minutes. You can also use a vegetable steamer pot lined with cabbage leaves, or grease the pot well.

To Pan Fry (potstickers)*: Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve. If using frozen dumplings, allow to thaw before frying.

To Freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

Dipping Sauce
2 Parts Soy sauce
1 Part Vinegar (red wine or black)
A Few Drops of Sesame Oil
Chili Garlic Paste (optional)
Minced Ginger (optional)
Minced Garlic (optional)
Minced Green Onion (optional)
Sugar (optional)

Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 -2 green onions, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • A few drops of sesame oil (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the white pepper and salt, and the sesame oil if using. Cook for about another minute.
Very slowly pour in the eggs in a steady stream. To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form.
Garnish with green onion and serve.

*Egg Drop Soup is frequently thickened with cornstarch in restaurants. To add a cornstarch thickener, mix 2 – 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Just before adding the beaten egg, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture, remove the soup from the heat, and then add the beaten egg.

Tips for making Egg Drop Soup:

  • Lightly beat the egg so that no bubbles form
  • Turn off the heat the minute you begin pouring in the egg (this produces silkier threads)
  • Pour the egg in a very slow stream (pouring it through the tines of a fork from several inches above the pot is a good way to keep the stream slow and steady)
  • Begin stirring as soon as you start pouring in the egg
  • To make shreds or threads, stir rapidly for at least 1 minute
  • Stir the beaten egg in one direction only

Asian Style Steamed Mussels or Clams

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine (or Rice Wine)
  • 1 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp. Lime Zest
  • 2-3 lbs. Mussels or Clams
  • 1 TBS. Peanut Oil
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Ginger -grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – crushe
  • 3 Fresh Red Thai Chilis- seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 Cups Cilantro- loosely packed
  • 2 Stalks Lemon Grass – bruised with a mallet (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat wine in a small saucepan until hot. Add sauce and rind, remove from heat and stand, covered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile scrub mussels and pull away the beards- and check to make sure clams or mussels are alive (discard any with broken shells or any opened – for mussels tap opened ones to make sure they move or try to close). Heat oil in large saucepan, add ginger, garlic, chilli and lemon grass. Cook, stirring until fragrant. Add wine mixture, 1 cup of cilantro, and mussels and simmer, covered for about 5 minutes or until mussels open (discard any that do not open). Add remaining cilantro. Spoon mussels and broth into large serving bowls or onto a large serving platter.

Whole Fish Steamed in Banana Leaf 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Medium Whole Fish – fully cleaned and prepped (allow about 1/3 fish per person) Suggested fish: red snapper, black sea bass or pomfret (they are smaller, so you’ll need about 1/2 fish per person)
  • 2 banana leaves (OR 2 sheets tin foil if steaming the fish) – for more on banana leaf, see below
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
  • SAUCE FOR FISH:
  • 2 Green (spring) Onions- sliced (including the green stem)
  • 1/2 to 1 Fresh Red Chili-seeds and membrane removed – finely chopped
  • 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves (cut out the hard central stem and only include the soft leaf)- can substitute Lemon Grass – be sure to bruise it with a mallet to release flavor.
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic -minced
  • 1 TBS. Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 2 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 1/2  Cup Fresh Basil Leaves (Thai basil if available)-loosely-packed
  • 4 TBS. Coconut Oil – OR walnut, almond, olive, or other healthy, good-tasting oil
  • optional: 1 tsp. Butter (this makes the sauce richer-tasting)
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • TO GARNISH:
  • Lemon/Lime Slices
  • Sprinkling of Fresh Basil (other toppings: spring onions cut thinly lengthwise, and fresh-cut chili)

INSTRUCTIONS:

For more on how to buy and cook with banana leaf, see: Cooking with Banana Leaf – Tips and Practical Advice.

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Rinse the fish under cold water and inspect for any remaining scales or entails – remove any you find. Place fish in a shallow baking dish and cover with sauce (including on the inside of the fish) – place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 20-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove fish from refrigerator and pour remaining sauce into a bowl. Lay one banana leaf on a clean work surface – top with a fish and spoon some sauce marinade over the surface. Fold one long side of the banana leaf over the fish and then fold the two sides over (trim the sides if too long). Holding the folded sides in place “roll” the fish onto the remaining long side of banana leaf – this should sufficiently cover the fish. If you like, you can use kitchen twine to tie up the “packet,” but I don’t usually find that necessary. Place the banana leaf “packet” seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat process until all fish have been wrapped. Add a little extra sauce and some water to the bottom of the baking dish (about 1/2 inch). Place in the oven and cook for 20-35 minutes depending on size and thickness of fish. Remove from oven and check for doneness – the flesh of the fish should be opaque and flaky and should easily pull away from the bones, but still be very moist. Transfer fish to a serving platter and garnish.

Spicy Orange Beef with Broccoli

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2  tsp.  Salt
  • 1  Clove Garlic -minced
  • 1/2  tsp.  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1  lb.  Boneless Sirloin Steak -cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2  tsp.  Grated Orange Rind
  • 1/4  Cup  Orange Juice
  • 1  TBS.  Cornstarch
  • 2  TBS.  Low-sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1  tsp.  Sesame Oil
  • 3/4  Cup Green Onions – 1 inch slices

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine garlic, pepper, and beef, tossing well. Combine rind, juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce, stirring with a whisk. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture and onions; sauté 2 minutes. Add juice mixture; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add broccoli and continue cooking until broccoli is just tender. Serve beef mixture over rice.

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms

See the recipe for Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sesame Sprouts and eliminate sesame sprouts and add shitake mushrooms (cut in half) for last 3-4 minutes of stir frying.

Pork Fried Rice

The following looks to be a good recipe for pork fried rice – I have made fried rice so many times that I just kind of “wing it” and have never bothered to write down the recipe, but this one looks similar to how I would make it. The trick is to use leftover cold/dry rice. If you are going to be making rice especially for this dish, spread your cooked rice in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator. This will allow your rice to dry out and chill which is what makes for good frying – rice with too much moisture will be sticky and clumpy when fried. http://www.dinneralovestory.com/quick-and-easy-pork-fried-rice/

Shrimp Lo Mein

Similar to fried rice, lo mein is just something I usually throw together. I might add a dash of oyster sauce or some garlic chili sauce if I want a touch of spice. You can use a variety of vegetables, including red pepper, peapods, broccoli, and baby bok choy. My staples are shredded cabbage (not very much – use the extra from your steamed dumplings), carrots, peapods, and green onions. As noted in the blogged recipe below – try to find lo mein noodles. They will be in the refrigerated section of your Asian market. If you can’t find fresh lo mein noodles, use a thinner pasta like Angel Hair or Thin Spaghetti. Many recipes call for linguine – I think that is just too thick for lo mein. http://smells-like-home.com/2012/06/take-out-fake-out-shrimp-lo-mein/

I hope you enjoy Chinese New Year and that it brings you good luck, prosperity, longevity, and good fortune all around. Gong She Fa Chai!

More of my Asian Recipes:

Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup Asian Style Barbequed Chicken Wings
Braised Chicken Thighs in Teriyaki Sauce
Asian Style Chicken Skewers
Chicken Stir Fry
Vietnamese Summer Rolls

The Ultimate Tender Pork Chops

The Ultimate Tender Pork Chop pictured with Soy Glazed Sugar Snap Peas

Let me begin with a diclaimer: these pork chops are not greasy – bad photography made the chops and the peas look like they’re swimming in oil. After my recent experience of my kids loving the pork tenderloin roast that I made, despite their claims that they don’t like pork, I decided to pawn off another pork dish on them. My childhood memories of pork chops were not fond. My Dad always liked them served with applesauce (not my fave) and I think the reason why is because it made them seem less dry. My mom was a fabulous cook, but her pork chops did not represent her best work. I do like pork chops that have a bit of a crust, or are at least browned on the outside, but they have to be tender inside. The key to this recipe is to brown the chops and then finish cooking in the oven with the addition of liquid to keep the chops tender.  For liquid you can just use water, but if you want a little added flavor, you can use white wine or chicken broth. I use thick center cut boneless chops, but you could use a different cut if you prefer. To insure tenderness, cook for the full hour. Serves 4-5.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 Thick Center Cut Boneless Pork Chops (or trimmed regular cut)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Boiling water (or other liquid)
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. In a shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Generously season pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip each chop in the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb mixture until well coated on all sides.

In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil and add the chops. Brown the chops on all sides. Transfer chops to a baking dish and add boiling liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour.

 

Simple Savory Roast Pork Tenderloin

Savory Roasted Pork Tenderloin

The picture doesn’t do this pork justice (one of the serious downsides of trying to photograph food quickly so you can eat it). Even the kids, who always say they don’t really like pork, loved this. The pork is really tender and the flavor is great. I love garlic, so I left the garlic pieces in the sliced pork, but I would take them out if serving to guests. This is great served with a balsamic mustard sauce – recipe follows, but I didn’t make the sauce this time, so it’s not pictured.      Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium sized Pork Tenderloin (usually there are two loins per package – totalling  2-3 lbs.)
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil (I used 1/2 Blood Orange flavored Olive Oil)
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Orange Zest
  • 2 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar (if you can find cherry or pomegranite flavored – even better)
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Oregano – chopped
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Thyme
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Rosemary
  • 2-3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Peel the garlic cloves and cut each lengthwise into 3-4 slices. Make small slits in the pork loin and stuff with garlic. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, wine and orange zest in a non-reactive bowl or baking dish and add pork (you can also use a ziplock bag). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2-6 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Remove pork from marinade, season with salt and pepper and cover with herbs. Cook pork for about 30-40 minutes (depending on size of your pok tenderloins) – the internal temperature should be  145 degrees. Allow meat to rest for a few minutes tent with foil) and then slice and serve.

Balsamic Mustard Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
  •    1 TBS. Butter

In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar until it is reduced and becomes syruppy. Add Dijon mustard and butter and combine until well mixed. Serve warm over pork, beef, or poultry.

Sauteed Pork Medallions with Red Currant Glaze and Fried Sage Leaves

Sauteed Pork Medallions in Red Currant Sauce

I was at our local farmer’s market not too long ago and I came across a beautiful pint of little red berries – turns out they were currants. I have to say, I’ve never seen fresh currants, but they were beautiful and I had to buy them. I’ve heard of red currant jelly, but not much more than that, so I thought I’d have to try them with either chicken or pork. Since I had just picked up a beautiful pork tenderloin at the market, I decided pork was to be the dish. I marinated the pork tenderloin and decided to slice it into pieces that I could pan cook (saute). I served it with fried sage leaves, a nutty mushroom wild rice and sauteed  red Swiss chard. We enjoyed it as our first dinner in the garden meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin (app. 1 – 1.5 lbs.)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS, Orange Zest (the zest of one large orange)
  • 1 TBS. Herbs de Provance (could substitue Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Pint Fresh Red Currants
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 TBS. Sherry Vinegar (could substitute part Champagne vinegar and part white Balsamic)
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4-6 Fresh Sage Leave
  • Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Marinate (covered with plastic wrap)  pork tenderloin in garlic, olive oil, orange zest, herbs, and wine for 2-6 hours. In the meantime, prepare the glaze. Remove stems and leaves from the currants. Add currants to boiling water and cook until currants start to burst and become tender (similar to making cranberry sauce). Pour currants over a sieve or fine strainer (over a bowl) and smash to release all of the currant juice. Discard currant skins and reserve the juice. In a medium saucepan, heat currant juice, honey,  vinegar, and Dijon mustard until reduced and slightly thickened. Slice the pork tenderloin into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and add to saute pan with marinade. Cook until pork is tender and cooked thoroughly (about 5-7 minutes). In the meantime, heat olive or vegetable oil in a small saute pan and add sage leave, cook until crisp (flipping once to insure both sides are crispy) Serve sauteed pork with red currant sauce and fried sage leaves.