Thursday, September 18, 2014

Young Sweet Coconut...It's so good for you


so refreshing...
so beautiful...
so delicious !!!


dice it up and add to fresh coco water or any drink and make a
COCONUT BOBA 


add fresh fruit and drink straight from the NUT !


there's a load of information on the web about the health benefits so i won't bore you with the details but GOOGLE...check HERE for the  benefits of young coconut meat...  and HERE for some some nutritional facts i found at Livestrong.com.


but how do you get into this huge NUT !!!
1st...carve off the top with a big knife.  don't use your best knife.  i bought this cleaver at an Asian market for about 15.00$.  be careful....it's a bit awkward, but it's a lot easier than you think.  usually i put a kitchen towel underneath to cuddle and steady the coconut, but not this time.

carve down to the hard part.  you should end up with the top looking something like this.

"FINDING THE SWEET SPOT"
go around the edge between what you have carved off (the hard shell part) and the white outer skin/hull.  whack a few times around to "score" the hole/lid.  
THE SWEET SPOT...it's odd, but there is one area you will find that the corner of the knife will poke through.  give it a few hard taps to create a crack or hole. pour some coconut water out so you don't spill it all over when prying the top off..
you can now empty all the liquid...OR...just be very careful when prying lid off.


you should get about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of delicious sweet coconut water that is far superior to the store bought you've seen in the carton or can.
there might be little splinters so you should strain the water through cheese cloth.


using the butt of the knife stuck into the sweet spot, pry the lid off.  it should pop open as shown on the photo.  


getting to the meat of the matter...
then with a large spoon, scrape the soft jelly-like coconut meat out and store in your strained coconut water. OR JUST EAT IT !  you should be able to dice the thick part for your drinks.  
the young coconut meat has a very interesting texture unlike any crunchy, crisp coconut you are used to.  it's soft and pliable...almost gelatinous if really young.  you never know what kind you'll get, soft or firm, but it's delicious pure coconut goodness.
fabulous add to food and really fun in drinks.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Brined Double Wide Pork Chops


the BEST PORK CHOP i have EVER made!!!!
truly worth a try. i've done it 3-4 times.  delicious!

saw this recipe on the food network, Anne Burrell's show.  its much more flavorful than a regular brine. worth the extra chopping.


ORIGINAL found HERE

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BRINE

1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 small onion, diced
2 ribs celery diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 quarts cold water
this will be enough for 4 -5 FAT bone-in (or not) pork chops

TO MAKE THE BRINE

in a large container, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine. wait for the sugar and salt to dissolve.  submerge the chops in the brine and refrigerate for 3 days...

WHOA !!!!! 3 DAYS WAS TOO LONG
the second time i brined for 24 hrs and it was perfect


the chop above was brined for 24 hours. then sous vide for 6 hrs.  chilled in quick ice bath then quick sear on very hot BBQ.

dice small to get maximum flavor...
mix all ingredients in a bowl until salt and sugar dissolve.  then chose a proper container that will not leek in the fridge.  i use a large tupperware.

ABOVE is an example of 1 DAY BRINE.
it was my second try, also "sous vide" double wide.  SO MOIST !!!

BELOW is a pic of the 3 DAY BRINE...as you can see it almost looks like it has been smoked.  you can see the pink ring...
3 days is too long!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spicy Pineapple Pepper Slaw


I'LL MAKE THIS QUICK....
cuz WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET...
this is a great salad on it's own, but perfect for tacos and the like.

SPICY PINEAPPLE SLAW
there are no specific measurements.
i make small batches of this all the time.  just use your taste buds.
a little of this and a little of that...
warning...this is pretty spicy

1st you need the Pickle Jalapenos i recently posted....
you will dress the salad with the juice and add some of the pickled jalapenos in...
1 small head of cabbage. 
 i usually use 1/2 heasd.  just depends on how much you are making.
diced pineapple
celery sliced thin might be nice...
cilantro
smoked black pepper
red pepper flakes
cumin
lime zest and or juice if you want

NOTE... SALT ONLY IF NEEDED and just before serving.  this will keep in the fridge, but if you salt it...it will weep and lose it's crunch factor.


i have also use nectarines, pineapple and shredded carrots...YUM !


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chipotle Braised Short Ribs


THE SHORT RIB IS KING !!!

BUT...this recipe is great for a lot of slow cooked meats....
i've cooked beef cheeks, pork necks and soon will test some pork belly and trotters.

AN ABSOLUTE MUST TRY !
go BIG or go home...
i mean...make EXTRA.
you will thank me later.

OH...and as the original recipe states...if you can wait a day after cooking, it gets even BETTER !


serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, polenta steamed veg. etc....
shown above with braising gravy/sauce and KONJAC Noodles for a gluten free Paleo-friendly hearty meal.


CHIPOTLE BRAISED SHORT RIBS
original found HERE

2 Tbsp olive oil
6-8 pieces short ribs
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4 small carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
i medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp flour
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce...(or 2-3 if you can't handle the heat.)
2 tsp adobo sauce...(from canned chipotles)
note...i put 2 TABLEspoons.
2 cups red wine.  a syrah or zinfandel works.
1 cup beef stock (homemade is best. canned is a bit salty)
2 bay leaves

you can do this in a slow cooker, BUT...it is much better braised in a dutch oven.
preheat oven to 275F.
season the ribs all over with salt and pepper.  add a little olive oil to the dutch oven.  get your pot at med/hot and brown the meat on all sides.  do not crowd the pot.  you might have to do this in batches....set browned meat aside.
add carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the oil in the casserole pot.  cook on medium heat until vegetables are softened and golden.  about 10 minutes.  season with salt and pepper.
NOW...add flour, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to the casserole with veg.  stir to combine.  deglaze the pot with red wine.  stir up ALL the good brown bits.  bring to a simmer and add the beef stock.
return the ribs to the pot and add bay leaves.  bring this to a slow simmer.  cover the pot and place in oven.  cook until the ribs are very fork tender.  about 3 hours.
IMPORTANT to check seasoning.  i tend to "under-salt".  you might want to add a little

PS...as Liren says...if you can wait or save some for the next day...they get EVEN BETTER

ENJOY !!!

get the biggest meatiest ribs you can find
dice your veg.  i think it looks good in the gravy/sauce.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pickled Jalapenos


SPICY SWEET SAVORY TANGY GOOD!!!
a great add to anything.  perfect for burgers, salad, charcuterie, PORK BELLY...i'd even put these on ICE CREAM!
 so much better than the mushy cooked store bought.  they're crisp, bright and pack a spicy wallop.
whip these up in about 10 minutes...they'll be ready in a few hours.  keep them in the fridge for an emergency PUNCH to any meal.


"QUICK" PICKLED JALAPENOS

4-5 fresh jalapenos, sliced thin
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 pinches of kosher salt
about 3 Tbsp filtered water.  to taste
NOTE...do a taste test.  i just threw this together.  you might like more "tang"...more sugar?...more salt?...

mix all the ingredients and stir.  wait until everything is dissolved.  put sliced jalapeno in jar of choice and pour in the pickling liquid.  ready in a few hours, but best after you refrigerate for a few days.  i think they will last quite a while in the fridge.  i am not the food safety police so i don't know exactly how long they will keep, but probably quite some time....use your judgment.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Best CRISPY Cracklin' Skin PORK BELLY. TACOS


unbelievable crispy skin pork belly.
this is what pork belly dreams are made of...
i could've eaten the whole thing right then and there...YIKES !


the BEST crispy skin i have ever accomplished.  
maybe it was the technique...maybe because i didn't mess with it.  maybe it was just THIS piece of belly...all i did was season it up and throw it in the oven. i don't know what is was, but...
it was DELICIOUS!


as you can see...it slices very clean after refrigeration.

TIP FOR STORING AND RETAINING CRISPY SKIN...
wrap cooled pork belly in parchment.  sometimes...MOST OF THE TIME,  i use a cut brown paper bag to wrap.  then place this in a storage container with the lid "ajar".
i have been able to keep the crisp for a few days.  you can sear it in a pan, or warm in a toaster oven.

this piece (above) was gently seared after refrigeration. 
use a very sharp knife or a box cutter works well.  
no need to roll it like this.  i just did it to get the salt in there and the photo of the cross hatch cut...
above is the way i prepare it for the oven...easy clean up using tinfoil, but not necessary.

CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY
sprinkle salt, chipotle, coriander on the meat side.
sprinkle salt and just a bit of the chipotle-coriander on the skin
make a bed of onions and shallots under the belly
total cooking time was about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
IN  THE OVEN AT 280F
check on it after about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  every pork belly is different!  poke it in the meaty part...is it REALLY fork tender?  go ahead and leave it in for an extra 1/2 hour or so.  when it is truly fork tender take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.  turn your oven to 480F with top element only to preheat while it is resting.  put the belly back in and sit there and watch it.  it should start to puff up like popcorn.  let it do its thing until all looks crispy.  careful not to let it burn.
LET IT REST 20 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING

i have done this now 4 more times and every time it comes out perfect.

NOTE...use a VERY sharp knife.  OR you can turn the crispy side down and slice through the meat first to get a good clean cut on the crispy skin.


i'm telling you...it is melt-in-your-mouth meaty fatty goodness!

you could almost consider this a healthy taco...? or at least carb-free

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Big Green Drink...VITAMIX


HEALTHY HEALTHY HEALTHY !!!
BIG GREEN DRINK

i prefer the VITAMIX method...
WHAT YOU PUT IN IS WHAT YOU GET OUT
maybe someday i might buy a real juicer for something different, but for now i enjoy the vitamix.  it retains all, i mean ALL the nutrients and fiber everyBODY is looking for.

PS...the biggest selling point for me was the clean-up.  no filters, no waste AND you use less and store less produce.  real juicers take up a lot of space on the counter AND you need 3x's the produce.  

PSS...i was told by another fellow juicer that fresh juice (from a juicer) should be consumed right away.  the vitamix green smoothie can sit a day without harm.  so...i make 2 days worth and save on trouble and time.  


INGREDIENTS
right to left
KALE, LIME, GINGER, CELERY, CUCUMBER, MINT, CARROT, SNAP PEAS, PARSLY
not shown...
PEA SPROUTS, GREEN APPLE, ARTICHOKE POWDER and a SHOT OF WHEATGRASS
add some water and ice.


i chop it into large chunks, add water and squeeze the lime.
i add a squeeze of "MIO" Peach Mango non calorie drink for a little sweet/tart.
DON'T FORGET TO ADD ICE.
make sure you start your blender on LOW and turn up the speed. 
TASTE TEST !
feel the side of the container while it is blending.  make sure it stays cool.  the Vitamix is very powerful and can raise heat.  you don't want to heat the mixture.  add more ice if necessary.  blend until smooth.
ENJOY !!!


shot this a while ago for ST. PATTY's DAY

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Asian Braised Pork Belly


like i always say...

you can't go wrong with pork belly.

it's easy, hard to over cook and always meaty fatty delicious.
this one is skin free and fully braised with Asian aromatics.
no crispy skin technique here...
this one just melts in your mouth.


it's definitely delicious after a 20 minute rest, but i like to let it cool and refrigerate.  then slice and give a quick sear in a medium hot pan.  serve with just about anything...on burgers, in a panini, with eggs, in spring rolls or just in is own broth with a few of the caramelized shallots.
FYI...it freezes well to.


2-3 pound pork belly, no skin

FOR THE BRAISING LIQUID

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
ginger juice, i squeezed a few slices with my garlic press
3 star anise
1 Tbsp brown sugar
a few ginger slices
mix this together until sugar dissolves.
TASTE TEST.  add a little more this or that if necessary.  i'm sure i did.
ALSO...if this is not enough liquid for a braise (because your braisers vary) add a little chicken stock or just some more of the ingredients above.
NOTE...the shallots will weep so do not over do the liquid or you will be boiling the bottom of the belly.

make a bed in the bottom of braiser as shown below...
shallots, smashed garlic ginger slices, star anise.



place belly on bed and pour over braising liquid.  sprinkle with salt and szechwan peppercorns.
cover and put in 320 F oven for about 2 hours, then turn down to 300 for about another 1 1/2 hour, maybe 2 hr...  check your braising liquid.  do you need to take some out?...do you need to add a little?
  EVERY PORK BELLY IS DIFFERENT
you just have to check on it.  if it is truly fork tender then it is ready.
TOTAL TIME APPROX. 3 1/2 TO 4 HOURS

don't worry about the dark ugly looking burnt pan.  this one cleaned off in minutes

serve as is, melt in the mouth...
OR chill over night and slice off and sear as needed.
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