ground pork curry noodles

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This is an easy weeknight dinner dish that cooks up in less than half an hour. I used to make it years ago for Andy and the kids, and I was reminded of it when we were at the Cheesecake House last weekend, and I ordered it for dinner. Its curry flavor can be mild or pungent, depending on how you like it, but the important thing is not to cook the lettuce but to heat it through at the last minute.

Ground Pork Curry Noodles

220 g organic dried rice noodles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or rice bran oil
1 medium red onion, cut into thin rings
4 cloves garlic, minced
350 g lean ground pork
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
Nam pla (fish sauce) to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper or to taste
1/2 tablespoon Knorr chicken soup powder
1/2 cup water
cornstarch, optional
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

Boil a large pot of water and let it simmer.

In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Cook the onion until it is wilted. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the meat and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Mix in the curry powder, nam pla, and pepper to taste. Put in the soup powder and water. If desired, thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch mixed with water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and add the chopped lettuce, toss to combine.

Cook the noodles in the simmering water about 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and toss with a little bit of oil so that the noodles don’t stick together.

Serve the ground pork sauce over the hot noodles. Eat at once.

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.

spare ribs in black bean-garlic sauce

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Spare Ribs in Black Bean-Garlic Sauce
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

2 pounds spare ribs, chopped into 2 inch lengths
1/3 cup salted black beans
8 large cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons black soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper

Put the black beans in a small bowl and cover with water. Let it sit five to ten minutes until softened, then drain water. Mash the softened black beans to a paste. Set aside.

Add the garlic and mix well. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the black bean-garlic paste and fry until fragrant. Add the spare ribs, turning to coat thoroughly. Season with soy sauce and black soy sauce. Add 3/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Stir ribs occasionally.

Remove the cover and let the ribs cook on medium high heat until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Taste. If it’s bitter, add sugar. Taste again, then season with salt and pepper.

stuffed pork roll with sage

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2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless porkchops
2 tablespoons dried sage
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slices prosciutto (can use thin ham slices)
4 tablespoons butter, finely diced
4 dried apricots
extra virgin olive oil
6 strips pancetta, each 1/2 inch thick (can use bacon)

Preheat the oven to 425˚F/200˚C

Put the potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Give potatoes 3 minutes then drain them and allow them to steam dry.

Put a tablespoon sage, 4 cloves garlic, prosciutto/ham, butter, apricots, salt and pepper to taste in the workbowl of a food processor. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped and pasty. Set aside.

Place a tablespoon of the sage mixture in the center of the boneless pork chop. Roll up and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Repeat. Roll each pork chop roll in the remaining tablespoon of sage. Set aside.

Slice pancetta or ham into thin pencil-size strips. Put them in a large roasting pan with potatoes and the remaining cloves of garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and put the pan in the oven.

Ten minutes later, put a frying pan on the burner and let it get very hot. Add a teaspoon olive oil and put in the seasoned pork chop rolls. Try for 10 minutes or until golden on all sides. Remove the pan of potatoes from the oven and nest the pork chop rolls on top. Return the pan to the oven for 10-15 minutes more. The internal temperature of the pork chops should reach 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. If not, heat some more. Remove pan from oven and serve.

poached egg and grilled pork on a rice burger patty

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We haven’t been to Somtam restaurant in months, so we went last night and brought home our leftovers:  grilled pork and sticky rice. I like these leftovers. They make a great breakfast the next day.

Heat about 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.

To make the rice burger patties, I pressed the sticky rice in the bottom of a ramekin, to make a patty about 1 inch high. If the rice is too dry, pour about a teaspoon of water on it and nuke it for about 20 seconds or until it is soft. To unmold the rice, run a sharp thin blade around the edges and shake it out upside down into the skillet with the hot oil. The rice will sizzle. Fry each patty about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, crack an egg on the counter and open the egg in a clean ramekin.

To poach the egg, heat 2/3 pot of water in a small sauce pan. Add about 1 tablespoon vinegar to the water and let it boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Using a silicone spatula, swirl the water and slip the egg from the ramekin  into the center of the eddy. Swirl a little bit more, being careful not to break the yolk. The vinegar helps the egg yolk and egg white to combine while the swirling eddy helps to shape the cooking egg  into a round. Cook 3-4 minutes depending on how runny you want your egg yolk.

To remove the egg from the sauce pan, I use a spider. This is a spatula with a round head that has holes instead of slits. Drain the poached egg well and put it on top of the rice burger patty.

To assemble, put the  patty on a plate. Top with a piece of ham, or in this case, grilled pork, and  of course, the poached egg. Garnish with Sriracha sauce, if desired. Other garnishes: minced onion or scallion and chopped fresh cilantro.

Herbed Pan-Fried Pork Chop

Reblogged from More Than One More Day.Blogspot.com November 13, 2010.

I always like to try new recipes. This one is from America’s Test Kitchen, which seldom disappoints. It had good flavor without being either too salty or too oily. The only question I had was, what do I do with the crisp bacon bits?

Blended spices (or use your own blend)
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sage
pinch of ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour
3 strips of bacon, chopped
4 center cut, bone-in pork chops
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Make the spice blend. Pour blended spices in a shallow pan or pie plate. You may find you will need to make another batch after two pork chops. I did. Pour flour into another pan or pie plate.

Season the pork chops. Dip each chop in the spice blend, then lightly dredge in the flour. Let the pork chops rest in a plate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry up the bacon in a large 12 inch skillet. When crisp, remove the bacon to drain but reserve the bacon fat. Start wth 1/4 cup of oil to the fat and heat until just smoking. Add more oil if necessary.

Fry the pork chops. Put each pork chop in the hot oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side. Mine came out over done so I would reduce that to 2-3 minutes per side instead. Drain on a greased wire rack set over a baking tray in a warm oven. Don’t discard the pan drippings.

Still no idea what to do with the bacon bits but since I was making pan fried asparagus with tomatoes and black olives, I decided to dress that up with the bacon. Ta-dah!

Pan-fried Asparagus with Tomatoes and Black Olives (and bacon bits)
2 pounds thick asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup black olives, chopped
2 -4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon bacon, chopped and fried until crisp, drained (optional)
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Trim the asparagus. Hold up one spear and snap off the end. Cut all the other spears to the same length.

Make the tomato-black olive dressing. Use the pan drippings from the pork chops to make the dressing. Over medium heat, fry the garlic in the pan drippings until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and olives. Cook until the tomatoes “spring” water and become wilted. Pour the dressing into a bowl, cover with foil, and reserve.

Cook the asparagus. Rinse out the skillet and dry it with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil. Lay half the spears in the pan in one direction. Lay the other half in the opposite direction. Cover and cook over medium heat until the asparagus turns a bright green, about 2-4 minutes. Remove to a serving dish and pour the dressing on top. Top with cheese, basil, or bacon bits.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops and Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Reblogged from More Than One More Day, Sunday September 26, 2010

Simple avocado and lettuce salad, pasta with etc. and the crunchy pork chop

Like any good foodie, I went to check out the new Trader Joe’s that opened at 72nd and Broadway. Looking for what America’s Test Kitchen calls “a hearty white bread” I chose this one as a likely candidate. In the package the slices were 1 inch thick and were substantial, without that Wonder Bread softness. When the cashier told me it makes excellent French toast I knew I was in the neighborhood. The menu tonight was entirely from America’s Test Kitchen. I had to make some adjustments since Fairway, just 2 blocks up Broadway from Trader Joe’s, does not sell center cut pork chops 2 to a pack but 3 to a pack. This recipe requires you to make your own breadcrumbs but after that, the pork chops cook very quickly in less than 20 minutes. In this recipe you must soak the meat in brine before baking.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
3 center cut boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat

Brine
4-6 teaspoons table salt (down from 1/4 cup)
4 cups water
1 gallon size ziploc bag

Dipping Mixtures:

breadcrumb mixture
3 slices of “hearty white bread”, shredded into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup onion
3 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (parsley in the original recipe but I like cilantro)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

flour
1/4 cup

egg white mixture
6 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 lime wedges for garnish

Combine all the brine ingredients in the gallon ziploc bag. Put the pork chops inside, close it, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from the bag and pat dry. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

While the pork chops are brining, prepare the bread crumb mixture. Pulse the bread pieces in a food processor or blender until you get coarse crumbs. If using a blender, do a handful at a time. Spread the bread crumbs on a tray. I like onion and garlic, so I increased the amounts from 2 tablespoons onion to 1/4 cup, and I used 3 large cloves instead of 2 medium. Pulse the onions, garlic, and oil together, about 6 times.

Add the onion mixture to the breadcrumbs and mix well. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 20 minutes, stirring twice. Remove the breadcrumbs from the oven but do not turn it off. Let the breadcrumbs come to room temperature. Toss the crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and chopped cilantro. Transfer to a pie plate and set aside. In another pie plate, pour 1/4 cup flour and set aside. In a third pie plate, add the egg whites, mustard, and 6 tablespoons flour. Whisk until there are pea sized particles.

Increase oven temperature to 425˚F. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and put it in a baking tray. Dip each pork chop in the following sequence: flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumb mixture. Place about 1 inch apart on the prepared wire rack. Bake 17-25 minutes. I baked the 3 chops for 17 minutes and they came out juicy and slightly pink but cooked through. According to ATK, the internal temperature should reach 135˚F. Then let the chops rest 5 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 150˚F. Now ATK did not say resting inside or outside the oven, but I turned off the oven and left the chops inside for 5 minutes. They were indeed crunchy, as promised, and not at all salty.

Here’s the recipe for the pasta. Now, when I cook, I don’t run and and buy everything exactly as the recipe says for one very simple reason: economy. I make substitutions especially if they won’t alter the taste or the appearance of the finished product. Instead of pasta shells, I used an open package of elbow macaroni from my pantry cupboard.

Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Peas
2 cups pasta shells
1 cup frozen green peas
3 large cloves garlic (up from 2 cloves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I didn’t increase this because these pepper flakes are potent–they’re home-made by my sister-in-law’s cook in Bangkok)
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 8.5 oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained, rinsed, and chopped coarsely
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped thinly
salt and black pepper to taste

Boil the pasta according to package directions. In the last 15 seconds, add the frozen peas. Drain and return to the pot.

In a small skillet, heat the garlic, oil and pepper flakes until sizzling but not browned. I accidentally browned the garlic, but I think it tastes better that way. I like the strong burned flavor. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, mint, salt and pepper to taste, and the garlic oil mixture. Add to the pasta and peas and mix thoroughly.

quick and easy tonkatsu Japanese breaded cutlets with red-brown rice, broccoli and carrots

I’ve had so much traffic this weekend for the green onion cornbread post two years ago. I hope the people who dropped in to look will come back again!

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Last night, I took a break from grades to revisit an old favorite, tonkatsu, a Japanese breaded pork (or chicken) cutlet served with rice and vegetables. I love it with a special homemade tonkatsu sauce but I had no time to make it this weekend. I took a shortcut and put some fried garlic in a 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce so that made it quick and easy! I used a little oil to coat a nonstick pan but you can use cooking spray instead.

Breaded Cutlets
1 large chicken breast, slice thinly in half then cut each patty in half
1/2 pork tenderloin, silver removed, cut into four pieces and pound flat
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (can substitute ordinary breadcrumbs)
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon water
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
cooking spray

Rice
2 rice cooker cups brown rice
1 rice cooker cup red rice

Veggie Side
3 cup broccoli florets
1 cup broccoli stems, peeled and sliced thin on the bias
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds and halved
boiling water
salt

I only have one induction burner so I started with the rice. I washed it and set it to cook and forgot it so I could attend to the veggies. I peeled them, cut them up, and set them aside. Then I dipped each cutlet in oil, then flour-salt n’peppa, egg mixture, and finally breadcrumbs.

I fried the cutlets in the hot skillet rubbed with a bit of oil, until they were brown on both sides. Slice cutlets into strips then set aside.

I heated a large pan with water. Then I cooked the carrots and broccoli stems for 3 minutes. I added the florets and cooked them for another 2 minutes. Drain the veggies.

By then the rice was cooked. I heaped the rice into a bowl, topped the rice with meat, veggies, and barbecue sauce. Then we ate. I love the mixture of brown and red rice. It’s nutty and al dente.

arugula burger

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I put greens underneath this burger, inside it and beside it! When my children were little, I used to make a version of this with spinach called Popeye burgers. This is my low-calorie “healthy” burger made from lean ground pork and arugula or rocket salad as it’s known here, on top of grilled iceberg lettuce served with fresh guacamole on top of mixed salad. . In fact, any kind of greens can go inside the burger patty–spinach (called English spinach in Bangkok supermarkets), and pak khom or Thai spinach. I haven’t tried it but I bet chopped broccoli would be good too.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes or 5 minutes per side

1 lb lean ground meat (pork, chicken, or beef)
1 lb rocket salad or arugula, lightly sauteed and chopped coarsely
1 large egg well beaten
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh herbs such as thyme and basil
salt and pepper

iceberg lettuce
guacamole

In a medium bowl put the meat, rocket salad, egg, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and shape into 6 patties. Grill 2-5 minutes on each side.

I served it on top of a slice of grilled iceberg lettuce, and, on the side, some home made guacamole made with crushed avocado, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, scallion; seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper. It was a simple and easy meal to make.

 

guisada: a latin-thai pork stew

DSC03215I haven’t cooked in six weeks!

But I’ve been indulging my inner gourmande. I have been discovering and savoring new flavors in and around Salaya where I now work. So far, my favorite place is Vietnam Hut; their specialty is pizza on a cracker. The cracker is made of rice that puffs up wonderfully light and crispy in hot oil. The cracker is then overlaid with a rice pancake, thin slivers of meat sausage, herbs, lots of crisp slivers of fried garlic, and sprinkled with vinegar dressing.  That’s the Vietnamese version of pizza. It’s crunchy, salty, tangy, sour– I just love blended cuisines!

Now that I am off for the Songkran or Thai New Year holiday, I intend to cook as much as I can.  This first recipe of my vacation is a guisada. It refers to a Portuguese stew that somehow in its translation to Jamaica the gizzada became a shortbread cup filled with a sweet coconut mixture. It went from a stew to a dessert. But I’m not making either traditional guisada or gizzada here. I found this recipe on Skinnytaste and of course, it went through some necessary transformations, not all of it cultural. Much of the changes were dictated by what was available at Tops Supermarket.

First of all, I couldn’t find beef stew so this became a pork stew. I used Chang beer–so that makes it Thai in my estimation! I also added the Chinese celery (คื่นฉ่าย), a piquant herb that’s used to add flavor to Thai soups and salads. I added sweet soy sauce, which is thicker and sweeter than regular soy sauce, and is available only in Asian grocery stores– in New York, that is. I used it to color the sauce and the meat and to add a little sweetness to balance the salty earthy flavors of the herbs and the seasonings.

Guisada

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 stalks scallion, chopped
2 stalks Chinese celery, stripped of leaves and chopped
4 fat cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin trimmed of fat and silver and cut into 2 inch chunks
10 oz small potatoes, halved and then quartered
1/3 cup Chang beer
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch pot, heat a teaspoon oil. Cook the scallions, celery, garlic and cilantro until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the mixture. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. In a large skillet, heat the other teaspoon oil and cook the meat until it is seared on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Add the seared meat to the vegetables in the Dutch pot. Add the potatoes, beer, water, seasoning salt, paprika, cumin, and soy sauce. Mix well. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

You can also cook this in a crock pot; it will take 6-8 hours to cook though.

Serve the stew hot with hot cooked rice. To reduce calories even further, serve it with riced cauliflower instead of rice, or my favorite, slices of fresh Jamaican hard dough bread to soak up the gravy.

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