Posts Tagged ‘pork’

There’s something consistently comforting about homemade meatballs and tomato sauce for Sunday supper.  Maybe it’s the act of mixing and rolling the meat with your bare hands; an organic and ritualistic labor of love. Or, perhaps it’s just the sweet warm aroma of onion, garlic, fresh basil and tomatoes wafting off the stove.  Whatever it is, we couldn’t get enough of it this week when we tried Lidia Bastianich’s “polpette” with our spicy tomato-basil sauce. Instead of serving the dish over spaghetti, we baked a pan of polenta and then fried the squares in olive oil.  Light crunch on the outside with a soft, warm, heartiness on the inside — perfect with a dollop of tangy sauce.


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Crusty French bread, spicy/salty pork meatballs and tangy, crisp grated carrot and diakon — the essential ingredients for an incredible bánh mì, or popular type of Vietnamese sandwich.  This recipe caught my attention back in January, but I waited until this summer to give it a try so I could take advantage of all that my local farmers’ market has to offer.   Since so much Vietnamese cooking features natural herbs and root vegetables, fresh produce is essential. (e.g. the ground pork in this case came from a small, family-owned farm in Virginia that showed me a photo of the pig before I bought it!)

The meatballs are oven-roasted and incredibly tasty, defined by savory garlic, spicy hot chili paste and a dash of salty fish sauce.  And as a cool and crunchy counterpoint, the grated carrot, diakon and cucumber are lightly pickled in rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Top it all off with a handful of fresh cilantro sprigs.

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If America is a melting pot, Momofuku is its kitchen.  This hot spot in New York’s Lower East Side (East 13th Street and 2nd Avenue) serves fusion cuisine with an Asian flair.  The menu, which features seasonal regional ingredients,  has categories like “raw bar” and “country hams” — stuff you’d never find at your average Chinese, Japanese or Korean restaurant.

Momofuku has an interesting assortment of dishes, representing the ethnic crossovers that characterize New York City; definitely no pure, “authentic” Asian cuisine here. The pickles plate, above, for example is a play on Japanese oshinko, using local vegetables like baby bok choy, tomatillos, potatoe slices, cucumber, and turnips. Korean kimchee is also on the side.


The restaurant itself is a sleek, hip hall of hardwood tables and communal seating that flow into an open kitchen in the rear. You can watch as the chefs meticulously prepare each dish. One I highly recommend: the steamed buns with pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers and scallion (below).  Unbelieveably good.


Other plates to try… believe it or not, the $8 “Bread & Butter” is worth it, featuring fresh, soft sea-salt butter from Vermont and whipped lardo (bacon fat) on the side for schmearing.  The plate of sliced Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham — from Madisonville, TN — is tasty and unique.  The Satur Farm’s Snap Peas with mint, egg and XO was a bit too salty, but a creative preparation with Korean inspiration. And, the Santa Barbara Uni are to die for!  Super fresh sea urchin topped with celery, nori and a lemon juice-based cool broth. Incredible.


By far my favorite dish was one of the specials: grilled yellowfin tuna collar. Moist, flavorful, tender with a soy-miso-scallion dipping sauce on the side.


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Look for the chicken meatloaves on wood planks positioned around the charcoal fire. Also, you’ll see some of my favorites from the menu: the Japanese pickles; roasted chicken wings; toro and ama ebi sashimi; peppered, roasted berkshire pork; and the terriyaki chicken meatloaf with poached egg.

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Do Oxen moo?  If so, then I’d let out a long “mooooo” of satisfaction over this feast in celebration of the Year of the Ox! (I actually felt like an ox strung out on MSG after grazing here for hours, but I digress…) The food at Chatham Square Restaurant, 6 Chatham Square in NYC’s Chinatown, is solid Cantoneese cooking. Their raw materials were quality and fresh. The seafood dishes were particularly well-done — like the fried whole fish with ginger and scallion, honey glazed prawns and broccoli, and scallops with sugar snap peas. The pork fried rice, shown here, was underwhelming; but the orange-glazed fried pork cutlets were mighty tasty.   Oh, and notice all those bottles on the table?  The restaurant allows BYOB. Cheers!

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On Thanksgiving this year, I dined with extended family of Austrian descent. And next to the turkey on their spread was a platter of traditional schwein schnitzel, or breaded pork cutlets. The tenderized pork loin fillets were seasoned, breaded and panfried in olive oil. Often the dish is also served with a lemon, parsley and caper sauce, fried egg and several strips of anchovies.

As chef Roswitha Cusick demonstrates for Peanutbuttermilk, these delicious and crispy schnitzel are easy to make and a fitting complement to any traditional Austrian holiday meal.

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On my way to Minneapolis earlier this month, I had to connect through Memphis, a Northwest Airlines hub. Although I’ve never been to Tennesee, I’ve heard that one of the things Memphis is known for is its barbecue.  The smoky and sweet smell of roasting chicken, pork and turkey filled the B concourse where I was walking through. I usually don’t have very good luck finding airport food of decent quality. But my dad, who has traveled through Memphis on more than one occasion, told me to stop at Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ for a pulled pork sandwich or rib dinner.  Boy am I glad that I did!  I tried the smoked turkey dinner with coleslaw and baked beans, and Nate had the pulled pork dinner. The next time you’re in Memphis — or the airport — I highly recommend stopping here.

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