Tag Archives: Pork

Chicken Balls


I finally done did it!
I made some incredible, just like the restaurant, Chicken Balls.
I’m so happy.

Honestly, I think I need a life.
Nah.

Sorry, I got side tracked, again.

I love Chinese food, but as I said before, I live 30 miles away from the nearest Chinese restaurant, in either direction.    And to think I used to just take running out to get Chinese food, casually.  sigh.
But that’s OK, it just makes me stretch my cooking chops.
Did that make sense?

Well, for years I’ve experimented and tried and failed to make a good, light, crisp coating for one of my husband’s favourite dishes.
Chicken Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
I nailed the sauce years ago, but the coating for the Chicken Balls, well, let me say, we’ve eaten a lot of marginally good chicken balls, and a few recipes have been offerings to the Kitchen Goddess.

Not any more.

I nailed it.

I found this recipe by Kittencals on Food.com  Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls 
And I will never, ever, ever make them any other way.

Recipe:
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, mooshed through the garlic press or
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or more to taste
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons Cold Water
Oil for frying.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
or
2  boneless pork chops cut into pieces.

Whisk the first 8 ingredients together and let sit for a couple of minutes, while the oil is heating.  If you have a Fry Daddy, use it.   I have a Fry Baby, and it heated the oil perfectly.   If not, then heat the oil to 375 deg. in a pot, and monitor it carefully.    The oil should be at least 2 inches deep.
Cut the meat into small pieces, and dip them into the batter, and then into the hot oil. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, remove and let drain in a sieve or on something where the oil can drip off.

Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Chow Mein and Ham Fried Rice.

I have to say, this was so good.   I actually did one chicken breast and one pork chop.   And there was just enough batter.   And more than enough for the two of us.  There probably was more than enough for 3 or more people.  But I like leftovers, so…

I’ll probably play around with this a little more, but for now, my mouth was happy.  Very happy.

I think this could also be made gluten-free, using the cornstarch and some gluten-free flour.   I’ll be experimenting with it later on.

And the Ham Fried Rice.

Well, I do it my way as well.  Cook the rice and set it aside to cool.  Chop up some ham, and half an onion.  Saute the onion in a little oil, just til soft, add the ham, stir it around a smidge, then add the rice and some soy sauce.  Fry it for a couple of minutes, then add a half cup or more of bean sprouts, and stir together.  Serve with some chopped green onion on top, and even a little egg.

Tonkatsu


I made these for a potluck recently, and they were a hit.  I thought I’d made lots, and would be taking the leftovers home, but there weren’t any.

That’s  a good thing though.

Tonkatsu

2- 2 1/2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin, cut into slices

Flour Dredge
1-2 cups flour
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder (I like California style onion powder, it has little bits of green in it)

Egg Dip
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk Whisked together

Final Dredge
1 package Panko  (about 2 cups or so)
(you could season the panko if you like with some dried herbs here, I just thought of it, and will do it the next time I make this)

3 cups oil for frying.

To start with, cut the pork tenderloin into slices, and trim off any of the silver skin and fat.

 

Take the meat mallet and pound them out gently so they are all the same thickness.  Set aside.

Prepare the dredging and dipping ingredients,

Flour with salt, pepper and onion powder.  Stir together.

Always taste your flour after you add the seasonings.  Dip a small spoon in the flour, then wet a finger,  dip it into the flour and taste.  You should be able to taste the salt, and if not go ahead and add a little more.  This is all to taste, your taste, not mine.

The cast of characters awaits.

Dredge the meat into the flour, coating both sides and knocking off the excess flour.

 

Then dip it into the eggs,

and finally into the Panko Crumbs, pressing the crumbs into both sides of the meat.

Set them aside, I used a parchment lined pan, makes for an easier cleanup.

 

At this point you can put them into the fridge or even the freezer to be cooked at a later time.   If you let them sit for a few minutes with the crumb coating on them, the coating will adhere better and you won’t have bits and pieces of the coating floating in the oil when you fry them.

And I got into the zone and forgot to take a picture of them as they were cooking.  But basically, just let them slip into the hot oil (at least 325 deg.), and cook them for about 2 minutes per side, just til golden brown.   Take out and let them drain.   I have a little trick I use when I’m frying anything, I place the fried food on a couple of coffee filters.   I buy those by the hundreds, they are food safe, and easy to use.
This is the finished platter of Tonkatsu ready to go to Boat Club.  I used them to absorb any steam rising, as well as oil.   They work great.

Serve with some of the spring roll dipping sauce I came up with for Tapas last month, as well as some more traditional Katsu sauce.    Which is so dead easy, I wish I’d known how to make it earlier, and now I do, I will make it again.

Katsu Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp. sugar

After I mixed the first three ingredients together I tasted it, and decided it needed something, so I added the Sesame Oil, then the sugar and after a final test, the Hoisin sauce.    I then put it in the fridge so the various ingredients could get acquainted.   And it worked.

Pork with Plantains and Fresh Figs


You ever get a craving for a dish your mom made from time to time, but you can’t remember the name of it?   I’ve been there lately.   Mom used to make this dish, she got the recipe, such as it was, from a friend.    I think it was Dutch/West Indies in origin, but despite a few Google searches I’ve not been able to find the name of this dish.

Just cause I don’t know the name of something, does not stop me from trying to recreate it though.

I think I recreated it just fine.    Just a few tweaks needed.

I seem to remember we put Chile Sauce on top of this to eat it, but really, I have to say it tasted odd to me when I did it.   So I got out the bottle of Sweet Chili Sauce from the fridge, and that was the ticket.   Along with the Plantains and Pork and Rice, they all went together nicely.    And the fresh figs I caramelized a little weren’t bad either.    A friend handed me a bag of fresh figs the other day and as I was making this dish, I decided to throw a few into the pan with the pork.  I’m so glad I did.   They were so sweet, and caramelizing them a little brought out the sweetness very nicely.

No real recipe as such.   But since I had some lovely ripe (meaning black) Plantains, I decided that they would be perfect.

The picture is blurry, and I apologize, for some reason I didn’t take a couple of followup shots.  But this is what your ripe plantain should look like, just like a banana that’s gone totally black.

Just peel it at this point, the flesh inside will still be firm.   I cut it into slices, and placed them in a greased frying pan.   To make this a little more decadent, you can cook them in a little butter if you like.

Yesterday I was good, and used some EVOO.

Let them cook just until they start to brown a little.  Then turn them over and cook the other side.   If I was using these for dessert, I would let them get a touch browner, which just makes them sweeter.   You can add brown sugar as well if you want to serve these for dessert.  They make a great topper for vanilla ice cream.  Just sayin…

Remove to a separate plate and then cook the pork chops.  I cooked two because I wanted leftovers.  I like leftovers, they make a great breakfast.

Just before the chops were cooked all the way through I got one of those AHA moments, and threw in a handful of fresh figs I’d been given.   I wanted to see what would happen to the figs and I knew they would go with the pork as well.

A little steamy there, but they cooked down nicely.
And yes, they went very well with the pork, plantains and rice.   The only seasoning I used on any of it was a little salt on the meat, and very, very little grind of salt on the plantains, just as I plated it.   Which basically just brought out their sweetness a little more.

As I said, I ate the leftovers for breakfast.    And made a totally different meal out of the leftovers.   I do love a multi purpose meal.

I sautéed the rice in a little olive oil, added some soy sauce, sesame seed oil and some scallions.     And it was good.

Kro Pork with Grapes


In Denmark a Kro is an inn which offers not only lodging but also meals.    Some Kro’s are just inns, whereas others offer meals which can be, like many restaurants either really good or just so so.   Many years ago I was lucky enough to taste this dish.   My cousin got the recipe from a Kro they liked to go to from time to time, and she recreated it.

Well, I was young then, but not a dummy.   I wrote down the recipe, and somewhere in the process of living, I managed to misplace it.

Well, you move a couple of times, put stuff in storage, it’s easy to lose stuff.  I’m still searching for some stuff I know I had.  One of these days, I’ll find it or not.

In the meantime, I was looking for my mom’s recipe for Asier a few weeks ago, and guess what I found instead.  A whole file full of recipes.  At one time I had the delusion I’d actually write a cookbook and I’d actually made a good start on it, and this recipe was in that file.

And when I read it again, my mouth started to water and I knew I had to make it.  Could not find tenderloin that wasn’t already seasoned, so I got a nice piece of loin instead, and that was alright.   And I found some nice red grapes, on sale so I used them as well.   I think green grapes do work better, at least visually.

I made this last week, and you know, it was as good as I remembered it.   I think though, I will add some herbs to it the next time I make it, I think that would send it over the top.  But in the meantime, this works.

1 whole pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds) cut into medallions (I used a Loin cut this time)
2 tomatoes, cut into eights
1 large onion, quartered and then cut again into eights (I think you could also use small onions here)
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb.  seedless green grapes, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet til hot, then brown the pork medallions in small batches, setting them aside to rest while you brown the rest.

Add water to pan, and scrape up all the little bits of browned goodies at the bottom.  Add the meat,  and let simmer for about  ten minutes.  Next up, add the onion, and simmer an additional ten minutes, then add the tomatoes and let cook another 5-7 minutes.   Thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch and water slurry, then add the grapes and bring to a simmer.    Simmer a couple of minutes and dish this up with some rice, either white or brown.

This really is a quick and easy meal, and you can get the rice on and let it cook while the meat is simmering.

The next time I make this, I am going to add some marjoram and savoury to the simmering meat.   I think it will really punch up the flavour and make this even better.

I really enjoyed my meal, I even remembered to take pictures of it.    (and best of all, there were leftovers, so I threw them in the freezer for lunch in the future.  )

Souvlaki Ribs and Tzatziki


One of the reasons I love hosting Tapas Night each month is the incredible variety of dishes people make and bring.  But foremost is the fact I get to try new recipes, and this one,  Pork Souvlaki looked very intriguing.   For one thing, it was made with Pork, which is my favourite meat, it incorporated Mint Leaves, (my mint plant was taking over my office and needed trimming) and there was no cucumber anywhere.    But Pork ribs were on sale and the frugal person that I am, I elected to try making ribs instead of using tenderloin.

After harvesting fresh mint leaves and parsley from my garden, and using a Meyer Lemon I’d also grown, I was ready.   So I’m bragging a little here, it was such a kick to go outside and pick what I needed from my little container garden.   Can’t get much fresher than that.

Minced them up

 

7 lbs. Pork Ribs
Marinade
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1/2 cup Fresh Chopped Mint
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper

Mix all the ingredients up for the marinade and baste or pour over the ribs, let the meat side of the ribs sit in the marinade for at least one hour at room temp, or if you have the fridge space, in the fridge overnight.

I got my ribs out, made the marinade, actually I increased the amounts cause I had a couple of racks of ribs to cover with the marinade.    I brushed on the marinade on the front and back of the ribs, set them meat side down on some cooking sheets and let them rest at room temperature for an hour.

Placed the ribs in a 325 deg. oven, covered with foil for an hour, then took them out, flipped them over so that the meat side was down into the marinade and baked them for another hour.   Took the foil off, and let them cook for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then flipped them over again, and let them bake meat side up for another 45 minutes.   By which time the fragrance wafting from the oven was driving me crazy, so I cut a piece of the meat and tasted it.
Tender, flavourful and a hit, at least with me.

While they were roasting I made the Tzatziki sauce.   I’ve only had Tzatziki with lots of cucumber and garlic, but this recipe didn’t have any cucumber or garlic.    So I again, went into my garden and picked some more mint and parsley, (the plants should recover, hopefully)  and made up the sauce.   And you know, you didn’t miss the cucumber or garlic.    And when I served it, I forgot to put out the Sriracha sauce.  grrrr.   Just means more for me later on, so it wasn’t all bad.

Tzatziki

1 cup plain Greek Style Yoghurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest (I used my microplane on the lemons I’d used for the marinade)
1 tablespoon EVOO, (OK, so I eyeballed it a little here)
1 teaspoon Honey (make sure you get real honey)

Mix together and refrigerate until the ribs are done.

Serve with some warmed flatbread or Naan.

I think it was a success, cause there were two paltry ribs left at the end of the night, but I ate them for breakfast the next morning.   So they didn’t go to waste at all.

Char Sui Pork, Egg Rolls and Tapa’s night for July.


Up until Friday I had no idea what I was making for Tapa’s night.   My mind was blank, zippo, nada, nothing came to mind.  sigh.

But then I remembered running across a recipe clipping for Char Shu pork last week, and while I was at one of my favorite stores this week in the Big City, I also picked up a few necessities,  Sesame oil, Char Sui sauce, Hoisin sauce, noodles, you know, just pantry items.   At least for me they’re pantry items.  I love to use Sesame Oil to season and enhance foods.   The Char Sui sauce looked interesting and of course Hoisin sauce, which I use to enhance BBQ sauce.  It adds that little ‘something’ to make a sauce more interesting.

So, I picked up some pork tenderloin tips at the store, slathered the Char Sui sauce on them, and marinated them for a couple of hours before throwing them in the oven to cook off.    I then sliced them thinly and served them with some Chinese Hot Mustard and Chile Sauce.    I do have to say, if you’re going to serve something like this mustard, it would be a good idea to put a little sign in the pot warning people.   Unfortunately I didn’t do it, until a couple of my guests had tried the mustard out the hard way.  So I made a sign and put it in the pot.

 

I also made some egg rolls, and followed some tips I had gotten online of making sure that the filling was not too moist before rolling up the egg rolls.

Stir fry some finely sliced cabbage, I only used a quarter of a head, three carrots, cut into matchsticks or grated, a can of chinese vegetables, drained, half a pound of fresh mushrooms.

Hint:   If you don’t use fresh ginger all the time, freeze the root, and then take out of the freezer and use a Microplane to get however much of the ginger you need for a recipe.

I love my Microplane, and by using it, I can get just as much ginger for the recipe as I need from the frozen root.   I used about a half teaspoon here.  I then added a dash of sesame seed oil, some soy sauce, rice vinegar, and let it cook for a couple of minutes so that the flavor would infuse into the vegetables.

Dump the cooked veggies into a pan and tilt it until the juice runs off.   When making egg rolls you don’t want there to be much juice.   It makes them soggy.   Especially when you make them earlier in the day and fry them just before your guests arrive.

I would suggest dusting the prepared egg rolls very, very lightly with a little cornstarch to prevent them from sticking to each other if you prepare them earlier in the day as I did here.    I also made these vegetarian, because I knew some of my guest are vegetarian.  But you can add some minced shrimp, chicken or pork to the vegetable mixture when you’re cooking the initial veggies.   And you know me, that lovely liquid which came from the vegetables, I kept it and added it to my stock container in the freezer.  Am I going to have a great stock pot soon.  giggle.

And I have to apologize.   I didn’t get pictures of all the food, I thought I had, but I guess I was having too good of a time so I missed some shots.   sigh.   However, as usual the food was fantastic, the variety of foods brought was intriguing and we all had a good time.     And some of the pictures are a little blurry.     I missed getting pictures of an awesome salad and some cupcakes.

Quinoa Salad

 

 

Rotel Bites

 

Cowboy Caviar

 

Caprese Salad

 

Greek Spinach Dish (sorry can’t remember the name)
Fresh fruit and Crackers

 

Brownies in the foreground, and a fantastic fruit salad in back.

Carnita’s for Taco’s or…


Carnita’s for taco’s or …

OK, so Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, and I screwed up on getting this posted in time. I really had every intention of posting some Mexican recipes in time for Cinco de Mayo, but  life got in the way and here I am, a little  late with my recipe for Carnita’s. But that’s OK, you don’t have to wait a whole nother year to make this. In fact I would urge you to hie down to your local supermarket and pick up a nice Boston butt roast and some oranges and make this today or next weekend or the weekend after that. This may take a few hours, you don’t have to pay attention to the details of cooking it until the final browning stage. Which is a good thing, I mean I have stuff I like to do, and my idea of a great meal on a Sunday is one I don’t need to fuss over too much and this one fits the bill. And it tastes great as well. By the way, this is one of the dishes I’ll be showing you how to do during my stint as guest chef this month at the Crooked River Grill.
Pork Carnita’s
1 large Pork Butts, cut into chunks
water
Salt and pepper
1-2  or more finely chopped jalapeño
2-4  oranges, halved or 1 cup pulpy orange juice

Cut the meat into chunks, about 4 x 4 inches or so. In a heavy pan, arrange the pieces of pork in a single layer and cover with water. It’s fine to crowd the pan initially –  the pieces of meat will shrink after some of the fat is rendered. Sprinkle with some salt. Throw in a couple of orange halves as well, and a jalapeño if you like.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep up a gentle simmer while uncovered. It may take around 2 hours for the liquid to completely evaporate. You can also do this in the oven, whatever turns your crank. Or even the crockpot, but in the Crockpot the liquid won’t evaporate.
Once all the water has evaporated, take out of the pot and use a fork to break the meat into smaller chunks, then place the meat into an oven safe pan,

with a little of the rendered fat in the bottom and squeeze the juice of 4-6 oranges over them, sprinkle with some finely chopped jalapeno’s, and stir together. Roast until the top of the meat is browned and lightly crispy.

Serve with some warm flour tortillas, rice and beans.