Category: Pork

Pasta Bolognese

I made this entire pot of bolognese for myself. Me, myself, and I [and maybe a little bit to Roma] could be found often eating it off plates, bowls, at the kitchen counter, straight out of the pan, in sweats on the couch, or at a normal place setting. All I was missing was candlelight. It’s safe to say this stuff is delicious. Felicia turned me on to this whole “frying leftovers in butter” thing. How did I not know about this? How? I feel like I’ve really missed out on a lot of pasta leftovers.

There should be candles of the scent this makes as it’s slow cooking in your kitchen. This is not like sauce out of a jar, no sir. It’s anything but. The rough and rustic nature of it makes it easy. Chop, brown, simmer. Delicious. I almost bought bread to go with it because who doesn’t like dipping bread in bolognese, but it seemed excessive since I was pretty much guaranteed to be eating a pound of pasta by myself. No shame.

Tasting the sauce as you go is essential to getting a sauce that you’ll happily shovel into your face. Tomatoes can be fickle. Sometimes they’re sweet. Sometimes they’re acidic. Throw in a whole bunch of cabernet and it’ll release its own sweetness. I found I wanted absolutely zero sugar in this. The tomatoes were plenty sweet on their own. I think about this bolognese fondly and on most weekends. It’s easy to throw together and let it simmer away. Cue the growling stomach.

Inspiration: Love.Life.Eat

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2lb ground beef [I went with 5% fat since the pork is pretty fatty at my store]
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 28oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups Cabernet or other red wine [sub beef stock if you don’t have/want wine]
  • 6 sprigs of oregano, leaves removed
  • sugar, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1lb dried pasta

Preparation

In a large pot, heat the olive oil on high heat. Add the beef and pork and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Break it up and brown it.

While it browns, add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to a food processor and pulse them until they’re finely chopped and the same size. Add the wine to the pan with the meat once it’s cooked through to scrape up the tasty bits that have surely formed. Add the vegetable mixture and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, and oregano. Simmer everything together. Taste for salt and pepper before covering. Simmer for about four hours. The longer the better. Stir it once every hour or so.

Once you’re content with the sauce, make the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and reserve about a cup of the pasta water in case the sauce thickens too much [mine didn’t]. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Taste for more salt and pepper.

 

Thai Sausage with Bok Choy

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a steamer basket, but it’s just one more thing to add to the already cramped kitchen cabinets. I have been known to cheat the system and use the microwave, a bowl, a little bit of water, and a plate over the top. That seems to work ok. This time, I used a metal strainer in the pot of water. It meant the lid couldn’t be on that great, but it seemed to work. It definitely requires batches because the strainer isn’t that big, but it worked. It was far superior to the microwave. I’ve used it a couple of times now. I’m still toying with a steamer basket just so I can do more in one batch.

This whole thing was a vehicle to try the new Thai sausage, Sai Ua, from Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Olympia Provisions. It was just as good as I imagined it would be. Ricker doesn’t half-ass anything, and there hasn’t been an Olympia Provisions meat that I didn’t like. I sliced it into coins and sauteed it in a wok. The fragrance alone is enough to transport you back to Thailand.

[An Asian food aside: I just finished up Rice, Noodle Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture. Officially craving Japanese food full force.]

This NY Times recipe was the base for these greens. I’ve used it a couple of times now. The first time in the wok and the second time in a large saute pan. The wok was superior, but it can be done either way. I don’t seem to have rice wine, only vinegar, so I went the dry sherry route instead. Take the time to get some broth together instead of water. I tried the water method the second time, but realized it lacks so much more flavor that way.

thai-sausage-and-bok-choy

Inspriation: NY Times

Ingredients

  • Two sausage, any variety will do, sliced into coins
  • 1lb of sturdy greens, any variety [bok choy for me]
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minuced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

Preparation

Trim the bottoms off the bok choy. Cut the stalks in half, if they’re large, and cut into 2″ pieces. Bring an inch of water to boil in the bottom of a pot, place a large strainer inside just above the water, add the greens and cover with a ltd. Steam for a minute before removing and squeezing out the excess water. Feel free to use any steaming method of choice if you have one you’re more comfortable with.

In a small bowl, mix together the broth, sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Keep it it near the wok, or large saute pan, along with the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the wok on high heat. Add the oil. Add the sausage and sear on all sides. It’ll release a bit of oil to the existing oil. When they’re browned, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir for about 10-15 seconds. Add the bok choy. Sprinkle iwth salt and sugar. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir for another minute. Fold the sausage into the greens. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sausage and Green Bean Grill Packet

Jacqueline. A new favorite restaurant. It’s seafood-focused in a beautiful space. It’s technically The Life Aquatic themed, so you won’t see me complaining. It’s practically perfect. Some friends and I went before their official opening. I was shocked to learn that since they didn’t seem new to the game. I ate a whole lot of awesome. The menu rotates, but let’s humblebrag so you get an idea — black mission fig, Briar Rose goat cheese, whipped lardo, tarragon cracker, wild watercress to start; fresh baked zucchini bread with bourbon honey butter; smoked trout with roasted carrots, summer squash, pickled fennel, harissa, labneh, and nasturtiums. I’ll spare you dessert. Trust me, it was heavenly. It was beautifully plated on beautiful plates in a beautiful restaurant. If you buy a half bottle of bubbles, their oysters are $1. That’s happening. Soon.

This recipe is neither beautifully made or beautifully plated, but damn it, it’s good. It’s got all kinds of rustic simplicity that I love. I grew up on many a BBQ packet of protein + vegetables for dinner. Some things never change. The last of the fresh green beans seemed like a good choice. I’m waiting for the heaping pile at the store to start dwindling and/or looking awful. It just means I’ll change to something else. I don’t discriminate. I found andouille, which the recipe called for, and it is delicious. Since you’re not adding a sauce, you want a very flavorful sausage to kick up the mostly bland potatoes and mushrooms. These packets are nearly set it and forget it, but they will burn if you’re not careful. If you don’t know your grill’s hot spots, babysitting may be in order. They cook quick, though, so it’s not a big deal.

Sausage and Green Bean Packet

Inspiration: Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 1 package of andouilles sausage [4 sausages]
  • 1lb red potatoes, evenly cubed [or as evenly as possible]
  • 1lb green beans with ends trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8oz cremini mushrooms, cut in half or fourths depending on their size
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Cut four evenly sized pieces of aluminum foil so you can fold up all four sides. This should be about 12″ long or so. Divide the sausage, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, and onion into each of the four pieces of foil. Top with one tablespoon of butter per packet and season liberally with the cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Wrap the foil packets up. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the packets directly on the grill for 12-15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool so you can actually open the packets without burning yourself.

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Korean BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Summer is racing by. Since we’ve been back from Germany [which I should recap one of these days..], it has been nonstop fun stuff. The Euros and Copa America meant that soccer was on TV nearly 12 hours a day in our house for weeks. I learned that you can get into the Portland Art Museum for $5 on Fridays, which makes seeing the new exhibits that much more enticing. Andrew’s soccer team played it’s season final in Providence Park [where the Timbers play!]. There was a late night dinner party with some friends and some brewery events. We saw some friends that we haven’t seen in years. I took the train to Seattle for a friend’s birthday weekend [and had the most beautifully delicious breakfast at Chop Shop]. Andrew’s sister and brother-in-law came to town for a long weekend. We ate and drank as one does when you’re catching people up on the city since they last visited. We followed Inter Milan, Andrew’s favorite soccer team, around Portland while they visited on a summer tour. Seeing professional athletes up close like that is just…wow. We capped off their visit with a game against PSG in Eugene. They lost, and we got sunburnt, but we were finally able to try Agrarian Ales. Worth it. I surprised Andrew with a train ride in Hood River for his birthday. It was a short, two-hour, historical tour that included a boxed lunch and a 30 minute layover in the teeny-tiny fruit farming town of Odell, Oregon. It was a fun experience if you’re at all into trains.

Korean BBQ Ribs

So yeah, that’s the cliff’s notes version of what’s been up lately. We’ve managed to spend time on the patio exactly once. I’ve been racing through books now that I don’t have to fill my time with studying, and I’ve been cooking. Or grilling. Or both. These ribs were a bit of both. They were wrapped in foil and slow roasted in the oven on low heat for a few hours and then finished on the grill with a ton of housemade BBQ sauce with more than a little hint of Gochujang chili sauce. Gochujang is a Korean sauce that makes me happy. It is what drew me to Korean food. It is definitely it’s own flavor, and if you’ve had it, you know exactly what I mean. It’s a little spicy, a little tart, and a little sweet. It’s addicting. I would back off of the plum sauce a little bit next time just because spicy > sweet for me, but it is rather good as it is. That’s Bon Appétit for you. They know what’s up.

Also, this is my first time making ribs. Ever. They’re another one of those things that are mildly intimidating, but it’s only in my mind. I was fearing that they would end up overcooked, and no one wants two racks of overcooked ribs. No one. Yet the cooking method was practically foolproof. They were definitely fall off the bone tender. I served them with a simple [so simple it’s undressed int his photo] salad so I could focus on that spicy tang of the sauce.

Korean BBQ Ribs2

Inspiration: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 4-5 scallions, both the white and the green parts cut into chunks
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Gochujang [Korean hot pepper sauce]
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons plum sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 300°. Pat the racks of ribs with a paper towel so they’re dry and then cover them liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap them in a double layer aluminum foil to prevent any messes. Place them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 2-2.5 hours. The meat should be falling off the bone at this point.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the sauce. In a food processor, pulse together the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Move over holy trinity or mirepoix because wow. That smells so fragrant. In a sauce pan, heat the mixture in the olive oil on medium heat. Sauté until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir often to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. After 5-10 minutes, the sauce should thicken up nicely. You know what the consistency of BBQ sauce should be.

Remove the ribs from the oven when they’re ready and prepare the grill. Rub the grates with oil and heat it to medium-high. Brush all sides of the ribs liberally with a few coats of the sauce. Place on the grill until all sides start to char, a couple minutes on each side. Keep basting the ribs with a few more layers for extra flavor. Let the ribs rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving with any leftover sauce.

 

Carrot Goat Cheese Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve made this shepherd’s pie before. For my friend Emma. We ate it. I forgot to take photos [so typical] and let’s be real — shepherd’s pie really isn’t the most photogenic thing in the world. Yet when I made it again, I wanted a photo so I could tell you about it. No one wants to hear me drone on and on about goat cheese without a photo.

It really is amazing what goat cheese can do to elevate some mashed potatoes. I’d take these over most mashed potatoes almost any day of the week. I’ve seen mashed potatoes with sour cream or creme fraiche for a tangy addition, but the goat cheese trumps it all. The carrots add a hint of sweet but it’s mostly muted but the goat cheese. The color though. That’s what the carrots do more than anything. Or I just have a tendency to have buy the boring bland carrots. Maybe both. Probably both. Making it with the mixture of pork and sirloin is worthwhile. Lamb would be lovely as well. This recipe is perfect for annoying the guys behind the meat counter by asking for small amounts of everything. It’s becoming a favorite pastime of mine. Usually I’m met with disappointment when I only pick up one thing, like a pound of pork, but I make their day for about three seconds when I ask for 1/4 pound of pork after getting the ground sirloin. It’s the little things.

Brussels sprouts are such a good addition to the pie. They’re made deliciously tender and pick up the flavors of the other ingredients. It reminds me of the bubble and squeak at Radar. I would have no shame smothering the pie with gravy. Why isn’t that a thing?

Carrot Goat Cheese Shephards Pie

Inspiration: A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1lb russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4lb ground pork
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3oz goat cheese
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Place the potatoes and half of the carrots in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until they are super soft. You should be able to crush them with a fork. It should take about 15-20 minutes. Drain the pot and add the vegetables back to the pot. Add the goat cheese, butter, and whole milk and mash everything together. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside.

While the potatoes are boiling, preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil to medium high heat in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add in the brussels sprouts, the remaining carrots, and onion. Saute. After about five minutes, add in the garlic. Stir often to keep it from burning. Add in the pork, beef, and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Stir to break up the meat. Once it’s browned and cooked through, add the flour and stir to combine. Add in the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, and rosemary. Bring the broth to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes so the sauce thickens.

Spread the meat mixture in a 8×8″ pan. Top with the goat cheese mash. Spread it as evenly as possible, covering the meat mixture entirely. Bake for 25 minutes. If the potatoes don’t start to brown, you can place it under a broiler to get some color. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool for 15 minutes before eating.