Posts tagged pork

Green Chile & Spinach Pork

Green chile pork

Tangy tomatillos bursting with tiny seeds blend beautifully as the base for this green chile sauce. Spinach gives the sauce a bright color and a nutritional punch – and your kids won’t even be able to taste it.

 

This green chile sauce is a type of guisado, or Mexican stew. Traditionally, a guisado is served with rice, beans and toasted corn tortillas. You can do the same – place the pork green chile, Mexican rice, and black beans onto each person’s plate. Then in the middle of the dinner table offer a plate of toasted corn tortillas. Your kids can make their own tacos or tear the tortillas into pieces to use as a “fork” to eat the stew.

 

We use these leftovers to make either nachos or quesadillas on day #2. If you don’t like pork, try chicken. Another tip: To make the sauce spicier add the cayenne pepper. Ease up on the heat by nixing the green chiles altogether.

 

Blending green chile sauce

Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup fresh cilantro

1 28-ounce can tomatillos (available in the Mexican section of many grocers)

1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles (same section as above)

1/3 cup chopped white onions

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 lime

2 lbs. pork loin chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 1/2  tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (opt.)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a blender place the onions, garlic, green chiles, drained tomatillos, spinach, and the juice from the lime.
  2. In a large skillet bring the olive oil to medium-high heat. Place the pork pieces into the pan and cook until heated through and lightly crisped on the outside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add cayenne powder, if using.
  3. Turn the heat down in the pan and then gradually add in the green sauce. Heat until it just comes to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
  4. I sprinkle the green chile pork with queso fresco, if I have it – or in a pinch feta cheese makes a decent substitute.

 

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Kids in the kitchen: Mexican fiesta for Father’s Day

Are you ready for Father’s Day? More important—are your kids? We did a dry run this week of the fiesta we’re planning for dad’s big day. (Don’t worry, I’m not usually practicing for every holiday meal a week ahead but I needed pictures for this post and, well, we had a lot of fun putting this together.)

Appetizers: Heart-shaped quesadillas

Putting it together: Heat a skillet to medium high and place a flour tortilla in the center, top generously with Monterrey Jack or mozzarella cheese and add another flour tortilla. Flip after 3 minutes, or when crisped. Repeat with as many quesadillas as you need. Let the quesadilla cool for 3 minutes and then make shapes using a cookie cutter. Our theme for the meal is heart-shaped–1)because it’s Father’s Day and 2)because that’s the cookie cutter I had on hand. (I really need to get a few more cookie cutters!!)

Kids’ favorite part: Making the cut-outs of course. And decorating the plate with shredded lettuce and tomatoes.

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Entrée: Shredded pork tacos

Putting it together: Simple and delicious. I put a pork roast in the crockpot for the day along with a can of salsa verde. You could also throw in onion (whole, don’t even bother cutting), fresh chile peppers, along with one cup of a liquid that will give the pork a bit of flavor (chicken broth is good too). Cook on high for 5-6 hours and shred once it’s done. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to a large skillet at medium-high heat and crisp the shredded pork. Add salt to taste and a little cayenne and cumin powder. Toast corn tortillas over a medium-high heat flame (if you don’t have a gas oven, use a skillet to toast the tortillas). Once they’re just crisped put them in a tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel until you’re ready to use them. On each plate place two tortillas along with a heaping mound of pork, salsa, fresh cut-up tomatoes, lettuce and a dollop of sour cream (if desired). We found these pork tacos were so tasty they didn’t need much dressing up–the secret is the flavoring in the crockpot and the crisping afterwards.

Kids’ favorite part: Well, swiping little pieces of pork as it was crisping. My oldest liked being able to work with the skillet and my youngest liked having tomato topping duty (my middle daughter was busy setting the table).

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Dessert: Cinnamon sugar tortillas with honey and fresh berries

Putting it together: You didn’t put away the cookie cutter, did you? Use it again to make heart-shaped pieces of flour tortillas. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, add your flour tortilla cut-outs, spray again and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar; this has the flavor of a light churro. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until just crisped. Cool slightly and serve on a plate drizzled with honey or chocolate sauce and top with fresh berries.

Kids’ favorite part: Every step–I mean, this is dessert!

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If you’re looking for ideas outside the kitchen to make Father’s Day special, check out these ah-inducing stories from Motherboard moms. I looked through these as part of the Motherboard crew and I must say I enjoyed every one, especially the military family who shares the day with the families of those who’ve lost husbands and fathers. We shared our Mother’s Day meal with a friend who’d recently been widowed and it made the day so much more special to celebrate together.

Dressed up heart quesadillas

Heart-shaped tortilla crisps

Your turn–what are you doing to make the dads in your life feel special on Father’s Day?

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Velveted sweet and sour pork

Have you tried velveting your chicken yet? Huh…somehow that sounds like you’re dressing up your poultry in an Elvis get-up. Not quite. Velveting is Chinese stir-fry technique where you marinate the meat in egg white and then let it simmer in water before adding it to your wok. The chicken/pork (I’ve yet to try it on beef or tofu but I’m planning on it) turn out tender and perfectly coated with sauce.

I don’t velvet (can that be a verb?) all the time, because it adds extra cooking steps and dishes. But I’m always glad when I do because the dish turns out restaurant quality. This time I used pork and again, the velveting didn’t disappoint.

Here you go. This recipe is based off one I found at BellaOnline. I found that I wanted to up the spice and take down the sweetness (I like more sour than sweet), but it’s easy to tweak the sauce as you put it together to suit your family’s tastes.

Recipe

Prep time: 40-60 minutes (including cooking)

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb. pork

1 peppers (green, red, yellow)

1 bunch green onions

1/4 cup peanuts

(I also like to add bok choy)

1 tbsp. oil

Velvet marinade

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sherry (or chicken broth)
1 egg white
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
½ tbsp peanut oil

Sauce

1/3 cup  vinegar (I like red wine)
3 tbsp white sugar (you may want to add more)
¼ tsp ginger
1 tsp soy sauce (I use dark here)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp. Asian red chili sauce (or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)

Directions

  1. Cut the pork into bite-size pieces. (In the BellaOnline version of this recipe there is a specific order for adding the marinade ingredients. I’ve tried it both ways–being meticulous and throwing it in. I haven’t found any real differences in the flavor or the texture. So I tend to toss them altogether:) Add the marinate ingredients and gently stir making sure each piece gets coated.
  2. Let the pork marinate for about 20 minutes.
  3. Chop the peppers into strips and the green onions into 1-inch pieces. (You can also use other vegetables too. Bok choy is my favorite stir-fry addition).
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Adjust the sourness/sweetness by adding more vinegar or sugar (or even more chili for heat). On the stovetop, heat the sauce until it starts to boil and then thicken (about 2-3 minutes), then remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In another pan on the stovetop, bring a large pot of water to a simmer (NOT a boil). Add the pork to the water and let it cook just until it turns white (around 1 minute). Remove immediately with a slotted spoon.
  6. Add 1 tbsp. oil to a wok (or large saute pan). Bring the oil to medium-high heat. Place the veggies into the oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Push the veggies to the sides of the pan and add the pork. Cook for about 2-3 minutes more.
  7. Pour the sauce ingredients into the center of the wok and stir until the meat and veggies are coated. Toss in the peanuts and remove from the heat.
  8. Serve over rice or noodles.
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Japanese Pork Tonkatsu

tonkatsu

Photo credit: taekwonweirdo

In every culture there seems to be some version of breaded, fried meat. In Italy, there’s veal parmigiana; in Mexico, steak doused with bread crumbs is called milanesa; in Germany, cooks use crumbs from dried Kaiser rolls to make wiener schnitzel; I suppose chicken-fried steak could count as America’s contribution to this category. In Japan, thin slices of pork are battered with panko crumbs then fried to create tonkatsu.

Last November, a friend invited me over to a pre-Thanksgiving meal where she was teaching how to cook a traditional roasted turkey, stuffing and, of course, pumpkin pie to friends of hers from Japan. Her friends knew as many English words as I knew Japanese, which amounted to two—‘thank you’ (arigato) and ‘hello’ (konnichiwa).  But once we started rolling out pie crusts, we found a common language, food. (It helped that my friend was fluent in both Japanese and English.)

As a thank-you for the afternoon of all things Thanksgiving, my friend and I were invited over for some Japanese instruction a month later. Of all the things we cooked and sampled that day (I don’t think I’ll ever have a taste for mochi balls, but the sweet bean paste was tasty), the pork tonkatsu became a favorite for our family.

You make tonkatsu as you might other breaded meats, with a few key differences. Thin slices of pork are dredged in flour, then whisked eggs, then panko bread crumbs. Using the right bread crumbs is key—panko crumbs are not only crustless, but they’re lighter than American bread crumbs, making for a crispier coating. You can find panko in the Asian food aisle of just about any area grocery store.

Serve the tonkatsu over steamed white rice and veggies. Traditionally, there’s also a ketchup-like sauce served alongside. While it’s known as ‘Tonkatsu sauce’ my Japanese foodie friends call it ‘Bull-dog’ because that’s one of the more popular brands in Japan. While some grocers carry Bull-dog, you might have to go to an Asian grocery store to track it down. It’s worth making the trip—the combination of the sweet/sour Bull-dog sauce, crisp-fried pork and rice makes for a meal my kids ask for again and again.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes + 20-30 minutes cooking

Serving: 5 + leftovers

Ingredients

1.5-2 pound pork loin

3 eggs

½ Tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup flour

1 bag panko bread crumbs (usually around 7.4 ounces)

Oil for frying

Directions

  1. In three shallow dishes or plates, prepare the following (I find pie plates work nicely). One dish with 1 cup flour. Whisk the eggs with soy sauce and pour into a separate plate. On the final plate place half the bag of panko crumbs.
  2. On a cutting board, slice the pork loin into small pieces, about ¼” thick.
  3. On a clean cutting board lay a couple pieces of pork between two sheets of plastic wrap. Gently pound the meat until the slice becomes slightly thinner. Repeat with the remaining meat slices.
  4. Working with one pork slice at a time, dredge the piece in flour, then lightly tap off excess, then dip it into the egg mixture and finally the panko. Place the battered meat slice onto a baking sheet.
  5. Repeat with the remaining slices of pork.
  6. Pour oil up to ½ an inch in a cooking pan. Heat to medium-high heat (test using a crumb of panko—it should start to sizzle when place in the oil).
  7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  8. Gently place 2 or 3 battered pork slices into the prepared oil, fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove the meat from the oil onto a cookie sheet fitted with a wire rack to drain off excess oil.
  9. Place in the warm oven while you fry the rest of the meat slices. Cut into long strips and serve over rice (this also makes for excellent leftovers—if you have any!).
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