Archive for February, 2007


Cooks Illustrated Asian Barbecue Pork (March/April 2007 issue)

1 4# boneless pork butt roast, excess fat trimmed and cut into slices about 3/4-1″ thick

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. soy sauce

6 T. hoisin sauce

1/4 c. dry sherry

1/4 t. ground white pepper

1 t. 5-spice powder

1 T. sesame oil

2 T. fresh ginger, grated

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/4 c. ketchup

1/3 c. honey

With a fork, prick each pork slice 10-12 times per side and place in large plastic zip-lock bag. Combine sugar, soy sauce, hoisin, sherry, pepper, 5-spice, sesame oil ginger and garlic in bowl, stir to combine. Reserve 1/2 cup of marinade, then pour remaining over meat. Press as much air out as possible, seal and chill for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

In a small saucepan, place reserve marinade, ketchup and honey and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes to thicken and reduce. Turn off heat.

Line a roasting pan (with rack) with tin foil, place rack in pan and spray with cooking spray. Pre heat oven to 350 and adjust rack to center position. With tongs, remove pork from marinade, allowing excess to drip off, and place on rack. Pour 1/3 cup water into bottom of pan and cover tightly with tin foil. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and cook until pork has browned slightly around the edges, anywhere from 35-45 minutes. Turn broiler on, and broil pork until evenly caramelized, about 5-8 minutes depending on your oven. Be careful to not blacken the meat- you are looking for a nice even brown. (a drawer broiler will not work for this, the heat source is too close to the meat, says the mag. Increase heat to 500 degrees to caramelize) Turn meat over and caramelize other side. Then brush half the marinade on meat and allow to caramelize again for about 3-5 minutes, again, watching to prevent scorching. Turn meat with tongs, brush remaining glaze on other side and caramelize other side. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice thin.

So then, once that was done, and a container of cold rice was ready as well, I commenced with making the coveted Pork Fried Rice from the Food and Wine 100 list. You can find the results of that undertaking right HERE.

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This utterly outstanding soup is courtesy of the current issue of Eating Well magazine. There is an very nice article about wheat berries in it, along with some very tempting recipes. We have enjoyed wheat berries before but I wasn’t 100% sure of how to cook them and so they disappeared from our meals. The magazine lists a method too. Of course, you could make this soup without the wheat berries and it would still likely be quite good. The berries add a certain earthy-ness to it though. Wheat berries are the whole, unprocessed wheat kernel, they are loaded with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and fiber and because they aren’t refined, all three parts of the grain- the nutrient rich bran, germ and endosperm are all intact making them a whole grain. And we all know how whole grains are very good for you. They do require a long cooking time though. Once cooked however, they keep very well in the freezer and can be tossed into soups still frozen, or heated up quickly in the microwave for a nice side dish. They are nutty, chewy, and grainy. You should be eating some of these little grains. To cook them, put two cups of washed and picked over berries in a large saucepan and add 7 cups of water with about 1/2 t. of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1-1 1/2 hours while you go about your business. They should be chewy, easily broken with your teeth but not hard. Spread the cooked berries on a cookie sheet to cool, then they can be frozen in one cup increments in freezer bags for a month. The two cup amount yielded about 5 1/2 cups when I cooked them.

When you have the berries cooked, then make this soup.

Wheatberry Lentil Soup
1 ½ c. green or brown lentils, washed and picked over, 4 c. vegetable broth, 4 c. cold water. Place lentils in 4-quart stockpot, add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25-35 minutes.

4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped, 1 large onion, finely chopped, ½ t. salt, ½ t. fresh ground pepper, 2 T. olive oil. Heat oil in sauté pan. Add carrot, onion, salt and pepper and sauté for approximately 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should be tender, slightly browned. Then add the following:

4 cloves garlic, minced, 1 ½ t. ground cumin

Sauté for about 30 seconds to one minutes, Turn off heat.

When lentils are tender but not mushy, add 1-1 ½ c. cooked wheat berries and about two cups of rough chopped fresh chard or fresh spinach. Heat through until greens are wilted. Add in carrot mixture. Add in 3 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

(Serving size: 1 2/3 cups. Calories per serving: 250. Fat: 8 g (1 g sat, 5 g mono) O mg cholesterol, 36 g. carbs, 9 g. Protein, 9 g fiber, 617 mg sodium, 433 mg potassium. Extra nutrition: fiber, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and Iron)

This soup was really delicious, and very flavorful. The lentils and berries added a nice chewiness to it, the carrots, while soft, weren’t mushy and had some good texture still. And I just love spinach, so that was perfect as well. The soup had a really good scent to it too, very earthy and hearty and it reminded me clearly of what the air smells like after a good rain. Kind of odd, but that was the image that came to mind when I bent over the steaming pot. Although I only had one serving, it filled me up. What a lunch! I could have just kept eating but y’know that just doesn’t help me when I see that drawer full of jeans that don’t fit.

A good note- all of Eating Well’s recipe’s are available on their website without a magazine or online subscription, so if you are at all interested in more things to do with the mighty wheat berry, visit them at eatingwell dot com. You might be really glad you did.

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IChili Blanco

4 bone-in skin on chicken breasts, fat trimmed, 2 medium onions, chopped, 4-6 cloves garlic, minced, 1 large poblano pepper, seeded, cored and diced, 1 jalapeno, seeded, cored and diced, two 4 ½ oz cans diced green chilies, 4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth), two 15-oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed, two 15-oz cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed, 3 T. fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 T. ground cumin, ½ t. ground white pepper.

Fresh cilantro, Lime Wedges, and sour cream if desired for garnish.

In a 4-quart stockpot with lid, heat 2 T. olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan when hot, skin side down. Sear until browned, turn over and cook about 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add in onions, garlic and fresh peppers, sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in canned green chilies with liquid, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, cumin, white pepper and lime juice. Add in both cans of hominy and one can of beans. Remove skin from chicken and add to pan, breast side down. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove chicken and tear into pieces with two forks. Add meat back to pan along with second can of beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges

And watch everyone smack their lips and slurp their bowls.

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Red Rice and Sausage

2 T.  vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced (i was out of onion and used shallot)

2 cloves garlic, minced

8-14-oz spicy sausage, diced (I used andouille)

1 1/2 c. long grain rice

1 1/2 c. crushed canned tomato

1 1/2 c. water or broth of choice

1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 c. frozen corn

In a heavy skillet with tight fitting lid, saute onion in oil over medium high heat until tender, add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add in sausage and cook until slightly browned. Add in rice and saute until slightly golden and fragrant. Stir in water and tomato product, add in black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover pan and cook until liquid is evaporated and rice is tender. Fluff before serving. Can be topped with cilantro.

I was slightly skeptical of this recipe but forged ahead because it just looked really good. I am often leery of using canned tomato products because they tend to taste….well, canned. Tinny. Y’know….not so great. But all the flavors came together in this dish and blended beautifully. It was well received by Griffin, who got up and helped himself to another bowl. That is a rarity when I try something new. Usually he will eat a helping without too much commentary, then disappear like a rocket from the table. Second helpings is two thumbs up in his book. It was warming and comforting and not too heavy, with a good tomato flavor, hearty with sausage and had a nice contrast with the beans.

This recipe can be varied widely. Use less sausage if you wish for a lighter taste, or try any one of the delicious artisan sausages on the market these days. Adjust the amount of rice according to your needs, but always remember that the liquid should be double the rice amount. I think this dish would also be wonderful with sauteed red or poblano peppers in it too. And of course, fresh pureed tomato would make it killer. I will be curious how it tastes after sitting a day in the fridge to meld together.

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