Friday, February 19, 2010

Braised lamb shanks

I didn't write this recipe down (again!) but it was very, very good! If I remember correctly, it was just a basic braise.

Season meat. Brown. Remove from pot. Saute the mirepoix. Add one cinammon stick, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary. Put meat back in. Add whole tomatoes in juice. Cover and braise for a couple of hours. Remove meat. Stick under broiler while thickening the sauce. Serve with carbs of choice, in this case roasted carrots, roasted yams and herbed rice.

Sorry no proportions!

Better Than Chicharon

Be still my beating heart! What could be better than thinly sliced pork belly, cooked until blistery and crunchy?

My mom gave me this recipe during her recent visit but my youngest sister has sworn me to secrecy so unfortunately I cannot, in good conscience, divulge the secret to this divine concoction. I can say though that it's boiled, dried then fried. The drying step is my own twist to the recipe.

I will live vicariously through this post, because I've decided that, for the sake of my lipid profile, I will only make this dish once a year.

Braised pork shoulder with steamed buns

This dish was inspired by a visit to Foxley, a popular tapas bar here in TO. They served a braised pork belly, which you sandwiched in steamed chinese buns, and the unctuousness of the pork fat was just heavenly!

I decided to redesign the dish with pork shoulder, a much leaner cut that really lends itself well to slow cooking. The slow, steady heat breaks down the collagen between the muscles and the previously tough, sinewy meat falls off the bone in strands of deliciousness.

I went to my regular Asian grocer and bought these steamed buns in the refrigerator section. Ten minutes in the steamer and they were as good as any you could get in Chinatown. I would have preferred thinner buns, but these were all I could find.

3 lb bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
1 onion, quartered
3 slices ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
4 pcs. star anise
2 tbsp. dried black beans
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chinese cooking wine
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup water
3 stalks green onion, slices into shreds

1. Place all ingredients except the green onions into a bowl that's just large enough to hold the meat.
2. Put the meat in the bowl and let meat marinate in the fridge overnight.
3. Remove the meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Save the marinade!
4. Heat a large heavy pot and coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil.
5. Brown the meat well on all sides.
6. Add the marinade and let it come to a boil.
7. Lower heat until the sauce is barely simmering. Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook until pork is tender, about 3 hours or so. Turn the meat gently every 45 minutes or so.
8. When the meat is done, gently lift the meat from the pot and place on your serving platter.
9. Reduce the marinade until it's thick and syrupy.
10. Strain and pour on top of the meat.
11. Garnish with green onions and serve with buns.

**I added a few rehydrated dried chinese mushrooms but they really remained untouched. The pork is the star of this dish!

Here was my finished dish!


No, I did not buy anything from Hermes. But I did get another orange thing during our trip to New York...

I was deciding between Tory Burch reva flats or my lovely orange kitchen bling...and I decided on the food thing. When it comes down to it, I don't have a shoe blog. I have a food blog. So we all know where my priorities stand :-)

I decided to make something orange in my orange, so tonight it was Aligue Pasta with Prawns and Scallops. Aligue is the Filipino word for crab fat, and my mom's recent visit resulted in a couple of bottles in my pantry. Woohoo!!!

Recipe below:
1/2 bottle of crab fat (taba ng talangka) or about 5 heaping teaspoons
450g spaghettini
400 g prawns, peeled and deveined
200 g scallops
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1. Cook you pasta until al dente and save a cup of the pasta water. Don't forget to add salt to your cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, pat the prawns and scallops with paper towels until they are dry to touch.
3. In a large skillet/pan, heat olive oil and gently saute the garlic and green onion.
4. Add the prawns, saute for a couple of minutes, then add the scallops.
5. Turn heat to low, add the crab fat, lemon zest and lemon juice.
6. Add the pasta water and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings at this point. Remember that the crab fat is a bit salty already, so taste and adjust accordingly.
7. Add the pasta and toss gently until each stand is coated with the yummy goodness.
8. Serve with additional lemon wedges.