May 22, 2015

Banana Blossom Stir Fry

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A meal my wife made up on the fly (winged it, as she likes to say). Once you've gone through the long, long, long processing of the banana blossom, it's pretty easy. That info you can find here.

The banana blossom gives an almost coconut-like taste to the dish. It's texture is reminiscent of green onions, perhaps. Not hard, slightly crunchy. Plus, it's just fun to try a new ingredient! Enjoy!

Banana Blossom Stir Fry

Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 banana blossom, prepared
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rice, dry
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil the prepped banana blossom for a minute. Drain.
  2. Heat the canola oil, stir fry the onion and carrot, then the banana blossom a few minutes later. Add turmeric.
  3. Add the cooked rice until heated through. Add whatever sauces and seasonings you like. Set entire mixture aside.
  4. Scramble the eggs, add the garlic, then add the rice mixture back to the pan. Stir well and enjoy.

May 01, 2015

Sourdough Pizza

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Here is our sourdough take on our classic Thin Crust Pizza on a pizza steel. If you like a little bit of that sourdough favor (but not a full-blown San Francisco punch), you're going to be into this. It's a little different and good in its own way. Let us know how it turned out for you. Enjoy!

Thin Crust Pizza on Steel

Yield: 3 pizzas
  • 205 g lukewarm water
  • 1 cup (183 g) sourdough starter
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 345 g all-purpose flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the starter, salt, and olive oil with the water in a non-airtight lidded container.
  2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon.
  3. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and flattens. This could take longer because of the sourdough.
  4. At this point, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week or dust the top with flour and cut into three pieces. The other pieces may be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for several months.
  5. Preheat oven to its highest temperature and place baking steel or stone on the middle or lowest rack. Let preheat for 20-40 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into a ball by stretching the surface around to the bottom on all four sides. Do this minimally.
  7. Flatten with your hands on a well-floured surface. Get the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a floured rolling pin if needed. The dough will spring back some, so you may need to stretch it further than you think of stretch it again. Once stretched and relaxed, place onto a cornmeal-covered pizza peel.
  8. Place your toppings on the dough. Be minimalistic.
  9. Slide the pizza directly onto the steel or stone. Pizza may be done in as little as 4 minutes, so check to make sure it's not overcooking.
  10. Allow to cool for a minute on a rack to allow the cheese to set.

April 24, 2015

Vietnamese Ham (Cha Lua)

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Vietnamese ham, also know as Vietnamese pork roll or cha lua, is one of the simpler sausages to make. All you need is some ground pork, some seasoning, and baking powder. The baking powder and tapioca flour add the desired bounciness you're looking for. In fact, some chefs bounce the meat on the counter to make sure it's cooked. If it bounces, it's done. To get it just like you would find in a grocery store or restaurant, use the ingredients below. Otherwise, go crazy and mix it up!

This goes particularly well with some stir-fried veggies and rice, in soup, or in spring rolls. The leftovers freeze quite well too. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Ham (Cha Lua)

Yield: 8 servings
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl, add the pork and fish sauce and mix.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the water, tapioca flour, and baking powder and mix.
  3. Fold this into the pork. It will be quite moist.
  4. Cover and allow to rest at least 6 hrs in the fridge - preferably overnight.
  5. When ready to cook, grind the mixture in small batches in a food processor. It’s very important to keep the mixture cold, so only work in small batches and keep remainder in the fridge. The texture should be very smooth.
  6. You can either wrap it up in banana leaf or in plastic wrap. Wrapping it in plastic wrap is much faster and easier. The meat will rise and expand a bit when cooked too.
  7. Steam for about 20-25 minutes.

April 17, 2015

Stuffed Roast Pork Loin

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This one's a little tricky and takes a little time, yet the roast that emerges is savory with a not-too-sweet stuffing. It's huge and well worth it. It also works extremely well without the stuffing. The brine is just that delicious. Enjoy!

Stuffed Roast Pork Loin

Yield: 8-10 servings
  • 2 quarts pork brine
  • 2.5 pound pork loin roast
  • 1/2 cup fennel, cut into 1 1/2 by 1/2 inch pieces
  • canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fig and balsamic jam
  • 1/4 cup stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • Pork Brine
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, crushed, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 8 cups water
  • Fig and Balsamic Jam
  • 0.8 pounds figs, preferably Black Mission or Kadota, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, tied in a sachet
  • lemon juice
Cooking Directions
    Pork Brine
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve salt. Remove from heat and cool completely, then chill before using.
  2. Fig and Balsamic Jam
  3. Combine figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and sachet in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring to break up large chunks of fig, until the jam reaches 215 F to 220 F. Remove from heat and remove the sachet. Add lemon juice to taste. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Pork Roast
  5. Pour the brine into a large container and add the pork. Refrigerate for 10 hours but no longer.
  6. Remove pork and rinse. Pat dry or let air dry. Discard brine.
  7. With a long knife, make a horizontal lengthwise cut all the way through the center of the loin. Work from both ends. Then make a vertical cut to form a cross.
  8. Set a rack over a baking sheet and line with paper towels.
  9. Heat a small amount of canola oil in a medium pan over medium heat, cook fennel for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Add garlic and shallot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the jam until warm, then add stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool completely.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put a roasting rack in a roasting pan and put it in the oven.
  11. Meanwhile, use your fingers to widen the cavity in the meat. Stuff the pork loin from both ends all the way to the center. Tie the loin with kitchen twine.
  12. Season the loin with salt and pepper all over. Heat some more canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Brown the loin on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side.
  13. Transfer the pork to the roasting pan and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the pork is 135 F to 140 F. Remove from the oven and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  14. Remove the string and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Plate and sprinkle with coarse salt.

April 10, 2015

Perfect Collard Greens

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These are the perfect basic collard greens. As is, they're vegan. From here, you can fancy them up however you like. They go great with some mac and cheese. Enjoy!

Perfect Collard Greens

Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add seasoning and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices.
  3. Place greens in pot and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, taste and adjust seasoning.