parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and garlic: pan fried herbed pork chop

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Like the song, it’s a recipe for love and this pan-fried herbed pork chop. It’s served with mashed cauliflower, spinach with chili flakes in coconut oil, and steamed sugar snap peas.

Pan-Fried Herbed Pork Chops
2 pork chops, 2 inches thick
1 tablespoon cilantro (the parsley), minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Put the herbs in a small bowl. Pour the oil into a large plate. Place the pork chops in the oil and turn. Spoon the herb mix evenly over each side. Fry on a griddle 6-8 minutes per side or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower cut into florets
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water for about 6-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and put into a food processor. Process until fine. Add the cheese and milk to make it creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach with Chili Flakes in Coconut Oil
1 bunch spinach
Crushed chili flakes to taste
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Chop spinach into 3 inch lengths. Saute lightly in vegetable oil. Add chili flakes to taste. Add the coconut oil. If it is solid, let the heat of the food melt it.

Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
Salt to taste

In boiling salted water, cook the peas until they turn bright green. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse the peas in cold water to stop the cooking. Plate, and sprinkle sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to taste.

brown rice thai curry chicken lettuce wraps

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This was originally a vegan recipe but because Andy likes meat, I made the wraps with chicken instead. It’s actually a rice salad that’s eaten with lettuce.

Brown Rice Thai Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Vegan8)

For the Golden Curry Rice
1/2 cup (106 g) brown jasmine rice
1 1/4 cup (300 g) water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 tablespoon (4 g) yellow curry powder
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

For the Thai Curry Chicken
1 packed cup (140 g) finely chopped white onion
2 long medium carrots (154 g) diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus another 1/4 teaspoon later
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I recommend a Thai brand such as Lobo)
1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (depending on how strong you like it)
2 cups chopped chicken tenders seasoned with salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed together
3 teaspoons brown sugar, optional
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
large romaine lettuce leaves

Thai Curry Lime Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
1. Add all the ingredients for the curry rice to a rice cooker. If the rice isn’t tender, add a bit more water to the rice cooker and cook again until the grains are cooked but still firm. Set aside.

2. Cook the chicken in a little oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the onions, carrots, just the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water to the empty pan over medium heat. Stir the veggies well and as soon as it comes to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. If the water dries out, add a bit more.

2. Remove from the heat and add the cooked chicken, curry powder, red curry paste, lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, if using. Stir and turn the heat to low. Cook for just a couple of minutes until heated through. Taste and add any more salt if needed. It should be spicy.

3. For the Thai Curry Lime Sauce, mix all of the ingredients in a small pot with a whisk. Turn to medium heat and cook for just a couple of minutes to heat through and dissolve the sugar. It should be spicy and slightly sweet.

4. Combine rice and chicken mixture. Spoon onto a lettuce leaf, then drizzle on Curry Lime Sauce and garnish with cilantro. Eat!

vietnamese summer rolls

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This is another recipe from the cookbook I got recently. Summer rolls are an appetizer made with rice paper, a brittle opaque circle of rice flour dough that must be softened until it turns transparent. It’s then filled with cooked shrimp, Chinese roast pork, and rice vermicelli.I bought the rice paper but I made my own roast pork. Roast pork can be bought at shops in Chinatown. I had bean threads on hand so I used that instead of the vermicelli.  After trial and error, I found that the rice paper shouldn’t be completely softened or they become too difficult to handle, but the vermicelli/bean threads can be left to soak as long as possible until they become soft; the softer the better. Unlike spring rolls that are always deep fried, summer rolls are eaten fresh. As you can see from the progression in the picture, I got better at rolling once I found the secret about the rice paper.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (adapted from Chinese Cooking and More)
Makes 12 rolls
Prep time: 45 minutes

Vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 1/2 ounces rice vermicelli (can substitute bean threads)
12 rice paper wrappers, about 6 inches in diameter
36 whole fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 pound Chinese roast pork, sliced 1/8 inch thick (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
lime peel, optional

1.You can buy red roast pork or make your own. To make your own, marinate the pork tenderloin one night before then bake it the next day. Remove from oven to cool.
2.Prepare the Vietnamese dipping sauce and set aside.
3.Bring large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add shrimp. Simmer 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. When cool, slice shrimp in half lengthwise.
4.Soften vermicelli or bean threads in a medium bowl of hot water 20-30 minutes. Drain, and cut noodles into 3 inch lengths.
5.Soften rice paper wrappers one at a time in a large bowl of warm water 30-40 seconds or until just pliable. Drain wrappers one at a time on a kitchen towel then transfer to a work surface.

Cook’s Note: If the wrapper is too soft, it will curl over on itself and it will be very hard to straighten out. So soak each wrapper until it just softens; it’s okay if the edges are slightly stiff. My work surface was a kitchen towel because I found the wrapper stuck to the paper towel. I also found that the wrapper continued to soften while it was stretched out on the kitchen towel.

6.Arrange 3 cilantro leaves in the center of the wrapper, layer with 2 shrimp halves, 2 pork slices and about 4 tablespoons the rice vermicelli/bean threads.

7.Fold bottom of wrapper up over filling. Fold in each side then roll up. Repeat steps #5 and #6.
8.Just before serving sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Garnish with lime peel if desired. Serve with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup fish sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon chili oil in a small bowl and mix well. Makes 1 cup.

Homemade Chinese Roast Pork (CBT Lee)
I’ve been making this recipe for years; it’s very good Chinese restaurant quality. It can be made a day before assembling the rolls then refrigerated until ready to use.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 3-6 hours, preferably overnight
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

2 lb pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons brown bean sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Mash brown bean sauce with a fork. Combine mashed beans and remaining ingredients in a small pot. Heat just to dissolve sugar. Pour marinade over pork. Let stand 3-6 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Bake at 350˚F/175˚C 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Slice and serve.