Friday, May 14, 2010

Riiight Lisa, Some Magical Wonderful Animal

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension
"Magical Wonderful Animal"

I just realized, not enough people talk about pork! I mean, I'm Chinese so pork is like pumping through our veins so I am shocked that not a lot of restaurants really have dishes featuring it. And I'm not just talking about bacon, only liking pork for bacon is like dating someone just for sex. Sure it's the best part but you need to appreciate the other things too. Besides, you can eat only so much things that taste like chicken before you want to annihilate (ooh, I spelled that right on first try! them all.

Besides, when done right pork is flavorful and oh so juicy.

So I bring you...

Pan Seared Pork Infused With Roasted Garlic With Bacon Mashed Potatoes And Truffled Asparagus

Oh god don't make me say that again. Anywho, I went to a local (not really, the bus ride was deceivingly short looking on google map) meat shop that apparently have some good meat. I was sick of the ones from groceries so I went there. I know pork isn't exactly new or anything but there's looked gorgeous when it was raw with nice amount of fat so I got two. It was $15...which I thought was holy shit expensive! But I did not spend that much that week and it turns out, one was so huge if I make a bit more of the sides one can easily make two people full. But for this dish it was for lunch and my friend unexpectedly came over at that time so I cut it into three and I made a heavier mashed potato (we were very full after) and added some more asparagus. So it was worth it after all and it's Yorkshire pork which is supposed to be high quality.

Pork With Mashed Potatoes And Asparagus (I said I'm not going to say that huge ass sentence again!)
Serves: 3

Pork Chop - 1 huge thick one, it was seriously like almost a pound or something, 400g? But you can use your own digression if you like more pork, go for it
Garlic - 7 cloves
Bacon - 2 strips
Red Onion - 150g (half a big one or just one small one)
Russet Potatoes (the brown ones, usually for baking) - 500g (about five one on the small side or three really big ones)
Asparagus - 18
Cream or milk - too taste
Truffle Oil - 30ml (two tablespoons)
Salt and pepper - two taste


Pork Chops Infused With Roasted Garlic
1. Peel the cloves of garlic, wrap in tinfoil and add a little oil, put in oven at 400 degrees, take it out when the outside is brown and inside is soft but not very mushy (20 minutesish)
2. When the garlic is roasted, use a knife and make a criss-cross incision in the flesh and stuff a clove in it, make sure the incision is deep, five cloves in five different incisions (it'll be a bit messy
3. Season your pork chops with salt and pepper, remember to season both sides
4. Turn the oven down to 350
5. Heat the pan with oil (I use sunflower) at high heat, quickly brown the meat (a minute on each side or when it has a nice golden color) and put it in the oven, if you use a pan with a plastic handle, transfer it to a baking tray first
6. When the meat reaches 143, take it out. It should still be soft when you poke it but it will bounce back quickly. Cover with tinfoil so it doesn't get cold and let it rest for five minutes before cutting and serving. It should be a bit pink in the middle

Note: I know that people always say "oh no! Pork should be well done! WELL DONE! Well WRONG! The fear is that trichinosis is in pork but actually, they're killed at 137, bit below medium and at 143 (which will be 145 because the pork is still cooking from residual heat even out of the oven) which is medium it's perfectly fine and safe for consumption.

Resting meat is very important, ever notice that when you cut open a nice piece of steak and all the juices come pouring out and then you end up with bloody soup? Well I kinda forgot about the logistics (am I using that correctly?) of it but letting the meat rest for a few minutes will make the juices even disperse through the meat and stay there better so your meat will stay moist and your plate will stay dry.

The more common way to roast a garlic is to just roast the whole head with the skin and everything. But for this preparation I like to keep the clove whole and doing the other way you have to peel is after wards which sounds troublesome.

Bacon mashed potatoes
1. Sweat two slices of bacon in low heat, low heat renders the fat out better and you want the fat
2. There are two ways I like of making mashed potatoes
a) Boiling method: cut potatoes into small cubes and put in salted boiling water for 14 minutes and drain or
b) Rice cooker method: cube them and put in the rice cooker with 125ml (half a cup of water) and press "cook", I like using a rice cooker cause I always run out of stove space (I have one faulty stoves and the other one is unusable when the oven is on: venting gas) but keep an eye in case they need a bit more water
3. Anywho, despite what method you use, go and julienne yourself some red onions
4. The bacon should be crispy and there sitting on a lot of it's own fat by now, take the strips out, put on a rack to drip off excess fat. Reserve all but one tablespoon (15ml) of fat in a bowl
5. For tablespoon of fat in the pan? Put in you onions and sweat it, bacon fat is very flavorful and a little goes a long way. The onions are done when it's caramelized on the outside and sweet. Red onions doesn't exactly as caramel as yellow/white onions though
6. Mash the potatoes (I would use the rice paddle) and then add the onions and roasted garlic left over from the pork
7. For me, I used some of the bacon fat and added it (same calories as olive oil! Just a lot more trans fat...hehe) and some cream but for a healthier alternative you can add milk (and maybe some sour cream for some tartiness and some chives for a more refreshing herby note =)), anyways, add it until it's to a smoother consistency, season to your liking
8. Chop the bacon into tiny bits and then and add it when you're serving to have maximum crispiness!

Note: Why should you save your bacon fat? Okay, I'm not going to lie and say it's not as bad as you think unless you think it'll stop your heart from beating with one tablespoon or something. Calories-wise it is the same as olive oil and cholestral wise is the same as butter, not so bad but unfortunately it has trans fat. However, since it's so flavorful you can really use less of it while giving more than other oils. A good way to ultilize it is just to use a tablespoon or so and use it to wilt greens, that'll get even your picky eating partner to eat some vegetables.

Truffled Asparagus

1. This is really easy, heat some salted water at medium heat
2. Cut off the stems of asparagus, don't know where to cut? usually I will cut it off when it starts get white and it feels more wood? People like to just bend the asparagus and let it naturally breaks off but that's kinda unreliable cause it kinda depends where you bend it. Just when you cut off the stems and the ends are crisp it's fine. I like cutting on a bias (diagonally) cause it looks nicer.
3. Anyways, put it in the water till a knife goes through but with some restraint, um, it should still have a liiiiiitle crunch and the asparagus is a vibrant green
4. Drain the pot, dry the asparagus and add the truffled oil (you can add more if you like, I loooove truffle oil but it's really pungent so taste first and then decide) and finish with some salt and pepper. I used regular sea salts cause it doesn't melt easily so there's a crunch to it.

Note: Finishing salts are as it's named, salts you sprinkle on dishes AFTER, usually different finishing salts have their own taste which will be destroyed if you cook with it. They are larger and more like flakes then just fine grains so they give nice texture too.

Oh wow that is a long post. Sorry for lack of pictures but didn't have time to take more that day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight! Chicken Tonight~

If we are what we eat I bet most people will be chickens, especially chicken breasts. Chicken is both under and overrated. Everyone flocks to the skinless breasts (just like in real life ha!) but the thighs are neglected even though they are juicier and skin is good. I'm obviously more of a leg woman, but that is not to say I hate breasts, they have their own preparations where they shine, I just think that they are heralded for being THE diet protein when thighs aren't that much fattier (still healthier than pork or beef actually).

They both gets subjected to the horrible treatment of overcooking though. When your chicken is stringy IT IS OVERCOOKED!!!

But tahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! There is a way to harmonize both parts to deliciousness. A classic dish, 40 cloves of chicken.

(The boyfriend plated that, if it sucks blame him!)

That's 40, yes 40, cloves of garlic baked with chicken. Served with sauteed watercress and radish with roasted garlic. The dish I technically got from Alton Brown: but it's an old dish that a lot of people have made, they all about the same though.

Forty Cloves of Chicken With Sauteed Watercress And Radish With Roasted Garlic
Serves: 4

Chicken - 1 whole
Garlic - 40 cloves
Oil - 150ml (about 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons)
Radish - 400g (about 1 bag if it comes in those small bags)
Watercress - 500g (they come in mini bunches in my supermarket, like 3 bunches will be 300g)
Salt and Pepper - to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Peel the garlic, it can be pretty tedious. You can press the garlic with your knife and it'll be easier to peel
2. Take apart the chicken, with the breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings (here's a good video on how
3. Heat pan on medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil
4. Season chicken with alt and pepper, when the oil is hot enough (add a drop of water and it dances), add your chicken to brown the outside. Around 1 minutes on botch sides
5. Put the chicken in a pan with the garlic and add the remaining oil. Cover with tinfoil and put in the oven
6. When the chicken pieces reaches 165 Fahrenheit or when the insides are not pink take them out. Garlic should also be very soft and deliciously roasted and golden brown.

Note: You can tweak the recipe to anyway you like, you can add some spices to your seasoning (but I would add some oil on the chicken first I find that dry spices and hot oil equals burning but for some reason when I add some oil to it, it doesn't) and you can also add some herbs while baking with the oil and garlic. Woody herbs is best because they can withstand the heat. Woody herbs is like rosemary, thyme, and bay leafs. Parsley is unique cause the stems are more durable and you can add those in too but the leafs are very delicate.

Also, the oil from the roasting with the chicken is not very flavorful garlic oil! More about that at the bottom.


Sauteed Watercress And Radish
1. Wash the watercress and dry in a salad spinner (if you don't have one you can lay it out on paper towels and roll them, or just leave them in a colander they don't have to be super dry)
2. Wash radishes and slices them thinly with a knife or ideally, a mandolin, should be 2mm thick about
3. Heat up a large pan to medium, add some of the garlic oil from the chicken dish and when it's hot add the radishes
4. Cook for half a minute, season with a pinch salt and add the watercress, wait another half minute and salt to your liking
5. When the watercress is wilted, add in a couple pieces of the roasted garlic and incorporate with the vegetables
6. Add pepper to your liking

Note: Garlic oil is great but WARNING!!!! garlic contains botulism which can easily be lethal, it is fine when exposed to oxygen but since oil has no oxygen the oil is DANGEROUS the garlic oil MUST be refrigerated and for no longer than 3 weeks but I will throw it out at the 2 week mark just to be safe. So after the oil in the pan cools down a bit, strain the oil and put in the fridge! Store the garlic in the fridge too they are also good eats!

For uses of the garlic and oil. You can use the oil to cook other things or make toast! And garnish with the roasted garlic. You can also add the garlic to mashed potatoes or make garlic mayonnaise (but of course the mayonnaise can't be stored for too long now, but homemade mayonnaise only stay good for like a week)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bluffin With Muffin

A muffin is not a cupcake. A MUFFIN IS NOT A CUPCAKE! A cup cake is jut a cup-cake, cake in a cup but a muffin is made totally different with it's own technique, method, make up.

The good thing about muffins (especially for diets) is that they use more liquid and less fat, also, muffins don't rely on sugar to soften it like a cake so you can sweeten it to your liking.


I had a craving for strawberries so I made a strawberry yogurt muffin.

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins
Servings: 12 muffins

Stawberry Yogurt - 250g (about 1 cup)
Stawberries - one box
Sugar - 50g (1/5 cup) + to taste
Flour - 180g (about 3/4)
Egg - 85g (1 large)
Butter - 30g (2 tablespoons)
Baking Powder 15g (1 tablespoon)
Baking Soda - 5g (1 teaspoon)
Salt - 5g (1 teaspoon)
Vanilla - 5-10g (1-2 teaspoon, depending on how much you like vanilla)

1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit
2. Dice strawberries
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
4. Melt butter, mix with yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, add sugar to your liking but should be sweeter than you'll like cause the flour will balance it out
5. Add dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until the flour is incorporated BUT NO MORE THAN THAT!!!
6. Fold in diced strawberries
7. Put in muffin tins and put in oven until you poke a toothpick into a muffin and it comes out dry

Here's a blurry picture of the inside: Photobucket