Pork


P1180724
I’m back again to talk about the Cubano–a sandwich so tasty, it deserves a few more pictures (and a song!) to tell its story.

Start with club rolls. Around here, let me save you a trip or two and tell you Tri-Town in Portland sells them. Stop & Shop and Price Chopper do not.

P1180726

Now, remember that pork tenderloin from the other day? Slice it. Then, send it on a quick trip in the microwave (about 20 seconds or so) to warm it up.

P1180727

Now, let’s load up the rolls: spread mustard on one side, then layer:

  • Swiss cheese (or provolone, if you prefer)
  • Thinly sliced ham (I used Boar’s Head habanero ham)
  • A Vlasic stacker
  • Pork

P1180728

And now, you’re ready to grill. Melt some butter in a pan and have another pan ready for pressing purposes.

P1180730

Do you like my fancy press? In case it’s hard to tell, it’s a frying pan covered by a teakettle filled with water for weight on top. And now, amici, we grill, flip, grill again and it’s time to eat! What else can I say but I like it like that! 

Advertisements

P1180706

I got my mojo back–and am back with mojo! If you’ve seen “Chef,” maybe you, too, were inspired by some of the food you saw in the movie and thought: I wanna eat that! Or maybe even, I wanna make that! And, if you haven’t seen the movie, puh-LEASE go out for something delicious to eat, then go see it.

Shortly after I saw “Chef,” I found an article with recipes from the movie. I used that as a jump-off point, crossed it with some good ideas from Epicurious, et voilà–a delicious mojo for pork tenderloin. A meal so nice, you’ll enjoy it twice–once as a main dish, and the next day as a delicious Cubano!

So, let’s get the party started with a “Bang Bang”–did I mention you’ll love the soundtrack, too?

MOJO PORK TENDERLOIN
adapted from Roy Choi, Matt Lee and Tedd Lee

Juice of 3 orange, zest of two of them = 1 1/2 cups juice
1 1/2 lemons and their zest = 1/4 cup juice
2 limes and their zest = 1/4 cup juice
2 tiny jalapeños, sliced thin (one normal jalapeno would be great)
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 cup fresh oregano (I just bought a new hot & spicy oregano plant–highly recommend!), finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients. Set aside 2/3 cup of this mixture and refrigerate.

P1180702

Pour the rest into a sealable plastic bag (a gallon Hefty OneZip works beautifully) with two pounds of pork tenderloin.

P1180704

Let marinate about eight hours. Remove the pork from the bag and place on a large baking sheet. I put plenty of the chopped herbs, zest and jalapenos on top.

Cook in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, then let the meat rest for three minutes before slicing. I have one of those handy thermometers that beeps outside the oven when it hits the set temperature. In my kitchen, that took somewhere between 30-35 minutes. But, don’t just take it from me, the National Pork Board will tell you no different!

P1180708

Don’t forget to serve with the 2/3 cup of mojo you set aside. Not only is it crazy delicious as a main meal–it’s a total treat as part of a delicious Cubano the next day.

CUBANOS (CUBAN SANDWICHES)

Club rolls (sorta like these)
Thinly sliced ham (try the habanero ham from Boar’s Head, NOM, NOM!)
Thinly sliced Swiss cheese (or provolone, if you prefer)
Vlasic Stacker dill pickles
Mustard (I prefer Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground)

Slice the rolls in half, spread one side with mustard. Place a layer of cheese, two slices of ham, several slices of warmed-up pork (send on a quick trip to the microwave) to go from end to end, then a pickle. You’re pretty much making a fancy Cuban grilled ham and cheese. Double the pig, double the fun!

Next, in a large frying pan, melt about a teaspoon or so of butter to coat the bottom. Swirl the sandwiches around to get ’em buttered up, then put another frying pan on top to press them. You can also weigh them down with a teakettle on top of the second frying pan. After a few minutes or so, add more butter and flip them over. Once again, press down. And now, we have Cubanos. ♬ BEEP-BEEP, HAAAAAAA! ♬

P1180724

 

 

P1160743
“Vatti vatti due!”
In my mind’s eye, I can see Poppy as he speaks these words in the dialect familiar to those with roots in southern Italy. He’s likely shaking a thick finger for emphasis. “What does that mean, Poppy?” “Keep your nose clean!”

Euuuw. To my young ears, that was a strange visual. And it was only years later I finally learned those words in Italian, not phonetics: “Fatti i fatti tuoi!” Loosely translated: “Mind your own business!”

Our family business was food–literally. All of us inherited a love for great food: cooking it, eating it, baking it, making it our own somehow. For now, let’s get cookin’! This is a killer dish!

PORK CHOPS WITH SWEET AND HOT PEPPERS
with bonus lessons in Italian and life, no extra charge

2 pork chops, 1 inch thick
salt and pepper to season both sides of the chops
all-purpose flour to coat the chops
enough olive oil for bottom of your skillet
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
½ a large sweet onion, sliced
one orange bell pepper (or yellow or red) sliced
2 tablespoons of sliced cherry peppers in vinegar (maybe less if you’re not a heat seeker, but I liked it!)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon brine from cherry peppers
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 a lemon, squeezed
Flat leaf parsley, a handful of it, chopped

Season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper. Coat with flour, shake off excess. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet, place over medium heat. Add the chops and cook five minutes per side. Move chops to a plate; cover with foil.

Add more oil to the skillet—it’s time to cook the sweet peppers, onions and garlic. Get the rosemary in there, too. Saute, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Add hot cherry peppers and about a tablespoon of their brine with wine, lemon juice and chicken stock, incorporate pan drippings. Spoon over chops, garnish with fresh parsley.

I like to serve these with oven-roasted red potatoes, sliced in coins, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, Penzey’s California Seasoned Pepper and rosemary. Start ’em off like this. Let them roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or so at 400 degrees F. Flip ’em halfway through. Have a little bite to make sure they’re as crispy as you like before you serve.

P1160739

We didn’t grow up with these spicy pork chops. But they’d definitely be on the menu if any of us were running the restaurant today. They’ll be in regular rotation in Katty’s Kitchen from here on out.

And the older I get, the more Poppy’s advice really rings true: keep your cards close, don’t trade cards on others–in effect, vatti, vatti due! Do the right thing. Stay out of trouble. I hear his words loud and clear in my head. And I heard them last night when I asked my uncle how he was doing. “I try to keep my nose clean,” he said. I know. I hear you, buddy, and I believe you.

img124

Alfred Anthony, Jr. with Nanny, AAM III and AAM, Sr.

With all my love to all three Alfred Anthonys and to my Uncle Ralph. Vatti vatti due!


Wait, what’s your Italian friend going to tell you about making Vietnamese pork meatball banh mi? Plenty because I just made them and they’re delicious! Do you already know about these tasty Vietnamese sandwiches, served with pickled vegetables and a generous slathering of sriracha mayo on a baguette? Or maybe you’ve eaten them out, but never made them at home. Either way, read on!

We’ve got three things to make first–(1) sriracha mayo, (2) pickled veggies and (3) meatballs. Here we go.

KATTY’S PORK MEATBALL BANH MI

Sriracha Mayo
Can make 1 day ahead

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 green onions, sliced thin

Whisk together mayo and sriracha. Stir in onions. Cover and chill.

Pork Meatballs
Can make 1 day ahead–see a pattern here?

1 pound ground pork*
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I used part cinnamon basil, part Basil of Siam)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 green onions, sliced thin
1½ teaspoons fish sauce* Note: just 1 teaspoon would be fine, too.
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

ALSO!
a tablespoon or more of toasted sesame oil for pan-frying the meatballs
1 cup or more of panko breadcrumbs to roll the meatballs in before cooking

Combine ingredients (EXCEPT sesame oil and panko) gently with your hands. Do not overmix. Roll meat by the tablespoonful to form a ball. Place in a container for storage–I used my roasting dish.

Chill in the fridge. Before you cook them, roll them in panko.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté until outer edges are nicely golden brown, turning meatballs often and lowering heat to simmer as you go, about 10 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet. Drain sesame oil onto baking sheet; bake in oven 10 minutes.

Pickled Vegetables
Aw, heck, you could make these a day ahead, too.

2 carrots
2 2-inch lengths English (seedless) cucumber, sliced as matchsticks
½ daikon radish, sliced as matchsticks
¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

In a low dish, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, daikon, vinegar, sugar and salt.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If you won’t be using them right away, you can store them in the fridge.

Garnishes
fresh cilantro
fresh mint (optional)
slices of lime (optional)
jalapeño slices (if you like things extra spicy)

Now, let’s put it all together!

Our baguette was easily longer than a foot–cut in thirds to make three sandwiches. If you’d like to make four sandwiches, you’ll want either a bigger baguette or another loaf altogether.

Pull out some of the soft bread to form a shell, which we will slather and stuff as follows. Generously spread sriracha mayo on each baguette half (both sides). Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro (and/or mint), in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops. Serve with slices of lime to squeeze over the top of the meatballs, if you like. And don’t forget to include any extra pickled vegetables on the side.

Et voilà! If you don’t want to eat all the meatballs as banh mi, you can serve some of them over rice or rice noodles with pickled vegetables and some of the pickling liquid (ooh, and chopped cashews or peanuts on top) or throw the meatballs in chicken broth with a bit of rice, a squeeze of lime and some sriracha.

*Local shopping help for those in central Connecticut:
Three Crabs fish sauce – Kien’s Oriental Market, Hartford, CT – they make banh mi, too!
baguette – Hartford Baking Company, Hartford, CT–find them on Fridays, July through October, at Middletown’s North End Farmers’ Market
ground pork – Lino’s Market, Durham, CT

Last week’s cool, rainy weather turned this kat’s thoughts to posole–or pork stew with hominy. What’s hominy, you ask–corn that’s been processed to remove the hull and germ. It kinda looks like chick peas. And it’s very tasty in a stew!

If you’re headed to a Latino grocery store to pick some up, you might want to know it by another name or two: pozole or mote. When I walked into Los Primos and asked for posole, I was first met with a puzzled look.
“But I know I bought it here before,” I explained.
“Mami, wait,” the man said, as he headed off,  in search of.
So mami waited. While I did, I spied the familiar cans on a back shelf and smiled.
“See, I knew you had it!”
“Mote,” the man said–just as the label read–“Mote Blanco.” Two cans, por favor.

I made this for the first time earlier this year–and my version traveled all the way to Maine for an interstate posole throwdown (remember, Marco?!). I wanna say I won, but I think it was a tie. I’m proud to say my Yankee version was noted for its depth of flavor…and I must share, it’s one of the tastiest soups I’ve ever made. You definitely want to try this one!

POSOLE
inspired by a recipe from THE MINIMALIST: Mark Bittman

extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of THE BIGGEST pot you have
3 – 3.25 pounds boneless pork shoulder*, trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon Adobo (I use Penzey’s)
1 large sweet onion diced (plus additional onion for garnish)
6 cups water
1 12-oz. bottle beer (I’ve used Abita Raspberry Wheat or a hefeweizen)
2 14-oz. cans hominy (do not drain)
7 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons epazote
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons dried cilantro
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 chipotles in adobe sauce, cut into small pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon salt
1 28-oz. can San Marzano tomatoes (minus 4-6 tomatoes you can use for another recipe)

*My personal shopper (thanks, Ma) picked up a bone-in picnic shoulder for me this round. It was harder to cut, but certainly works just fine.

Fixin’s (any combination of the following):
fresh cilantro
diced sweet yellow onion
sliced lime
diced avocado
grated sharp cheddar
tortilla chips

READY TO GET COOKIN’?
Sprinkle adobo over pork. Coat the bottom of the biggest pot you own (I use my large pasta pot) with olive oil. Bring to medium heat, add onions. Add pork and stir to sear the chunks just a bit. Pour beer over pork and onions. Add six cups water, hominy and its liquid, peppercorns, epazote, oregano, chipotles, cumin, garlic, lime, salt and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add tomatoes and crush. Cook covered until pork is tender. Two hours does the trick nicely. Anything longer than that just keeps making the house smell delicious. When you can’t wait any longer, get those fixin’s (!) ready…chop your onions, score your avocado, make a pretty plate with the cilantro and have plenty of cheese so everyone can make their bowls their own. Did you remember to make margaritas? This old Elton John tune runs through my mind every time I think of hominy–forgive me. “Hominy (!) ‘n me, we’re pretty good company…lookin’ for an island in our boat upon the sea…”

Here you have it–posole in a bowlie! Lack of daylight hours is killin’ my photography, I tell ya!

And just to let you know, in case there was any doubt:

Well, I guess it’s really pork one way with three different applications, but now that I’ve got your attention…

On Superbowl Sunday, I made country pork ribs for the first time.

Ribs ready to sear, y'hear?

I seasoned the ribs with Penzey’s Barbecue of the Americas and smoked paprika. Then, after somewhat searing both sides, cooked ’em slow and low with one sweet onion and a bottle of beer.

Slow and low, that is the tempo!

I also made a BBQ sauce, using a recipe from Mastering the Grill (Andrew Schloss and David Joachim)  as the jump-off point: Sweet, Hot and Sour BBQ Sauce. It’s ketchup and honey mustard in a 2:1 ratio with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Tabasco (I used sriracha) and black pepper. Pretty simple, but pretty acidic. I didn’t like the sauce at first, so I added molasses then a little soy sauce to mellow it out. Not to be immodest, but it really was quite tasty with the pork.

So, how to pull off pork three ways? Like this!

Lunch: ribs and peas

Dinner: pulled pork nachos topped with cheddar & bits of jalapeno–
I served brown and red rice cooked in chicken broth on the side

Pulled porkapalooza!

Breakfast: cheesy eggs with pulled pork and sprigs of cilantro rolled up in a warm flour tortilla

Cheesy eggs + pulled pork + tortilla = breakfast

Makes you want to pork out right now, doesn’t it? Admitting it is your first step toward recovery. 🙂 Go for it!