Category Archives: Pork-a-licious

Rub A Dub Dub

Ok, ok, I know I can’t just skim over the fact that I haven’t posted in a month and a half but lambs, it’s for a very, very, very good reason…we’re cooking up something that can take oh, give or take nine months. YAY! A baby Kealey! Can you believe it? I know we can’t, and this might get a little personal but I hope this can inspire other couples, since I was told it would be unlikely for me to conceive. I have endometriosis, which as any woman with it knows you’ve probably been told it would be difficult, if not impossible, to have children. David and I had embraced the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen for us, so you can imagine our surprise when we found our little EPT test turned out with a plus sign instead of negative.  We are over the moon but alas things have been busy, busy around here getting ready for him or her…more on this next week.

So now that I have the energy to start cooking again, I’ve been going bananas in the kitchen especially with a coffee. Maybe it was the first trimester no coffee policy but I’ve been enjoying java again in the second and it seems like on everything. One oldie but a goodie I made for a dinner party this past Sunday was the Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Barbecue Sauce. I knew it wasn’t just me who thought these were amazing, as everyone loved them.  I’m telling you that rub would be amazing on anything but with the smoked gouda, barbecue sauce and coffee-rubbed hamburger patty it is a trifecta of flavor happiness in your tummy:

Next up, and I’ve made this twice in two weeks so take that for what you will, is the Coffee-Cured Pork with Sunchoke Pickle Relish from Food & Wine magazine. Oh goodness lambs. This was amazing. The baby is kicking me right now as I type this, haha, I love it and maybe it’s recalling how good this was? David was a HUGE fan of this one. What I liked about it was it’s very easy to make and then you just sit it and forget it until you pull out the nom, nom, nommy pork. Now the sunchoke pickle relish is a wee bit more intense but is fun to make or at least I thought so. I guess I’m just a Southerner at heart since I love canning and pickling. This was awesome on top of the pork since it had a hint of vinegar and sweet to it, kind of like a South Carolina style-pulled pork sandwich. I have jars of it to last for a while, unless I sit and eat it all with a spoon this week, which is highly likely.

I’ll be back up and writing a little more frequently now poodles, I promise you that. Big hugs.

Elizabeth Street Cafe

On Saturday, we had a few hours to kill before a friend’s birthday party and finally had the chance to nom, nom, nom some killer Bahn Mi at Austin’s new French Vietnemese restaurant Elizabeth Street Cafe. Founded by Chef Larry McGuire who is slowly taking over Austin’s food scene one restaurant at a time (seriously, the guy has Lambert’s; Perla’s; Jeffrey’s and a new restaurant concept, Fresas opening next year). You can definitely tell this has Larry and Liz Lambert’s, what is now, signature touches to it. The curved seating, clean, bright colors, and a blend of Austin funkiness – mismatched wood chairs, eclectic artwork –  to round it out.

Now let’s get to the food. The French influence on Vietnemese food is evident in one item: the Bahn Mi. A French baguette stuffed with the flavors of Vietnam – cucumber, cilantro, carrots, jalapeño,  daikon, fish sauce and yummy pork or pate. We started with the Niman Ranch Pork Belly Steamed Buns with cucumber, scallion and hoisin sauce. Ohh, delightfully good. The buns were steamed to that just perfect pillow-soft texture and with the delicious juicy, soft pork belly it was an A+ bite of food. Exellent way to start the meal Chef McGuire.


We saw a lot of things we wanted to try on the menu but we knew our first visit to the restaurant would have to be all about the Bahn Mi. David ordered the House Specialty of Chicken Liver Mousse, Pork Pâté, Roasted Pork and I got the marinated pork. I’ve made my own Bahn Mi at home and had some at eateries here and there, but this by far was my favorite. The baguette was crispy outside (without crumbs falling all over the place), chewy on the inside with some super fresh and crunchy daikon, cucumber, carrot, jalapeño and topped with cilantro, sambal and mayonnaise with the perfectly marinated pork. In fact, they were so good, we ordered a third one to split! The housemade spicy pork meatball to be exact and yes, we snorted it. Total fat kids I know, but completely worth it.

To finish out our meal I had to get what’s being deemed as the new cupcake (honestly, I really don’t think anything is going to be the new cupcake), the canelle.  Given the fantastic house made bread (seriously, amazing stuff) I was super excited about the canelle and it had a nice moist interior with a crunchy caramel crust – it was a perfect sweet bite to end our meal. I’m happy that (a) I work down the street from this place (b) that our home is right not too far either since it’s a perfect grab-and-go restaurant for a quick Vietnamese coffee and pastry or a nice little spot to sit down and eat 85 Bahn Mi. :)



Niman Ranch Pork Belly Steamed Buns
Marinated Pork Bahn MI
Marinated Pork Bahn Mi





The Momofuku Challenge

As I’ve mentioned before, the Momofuku cook book has intimidated the heck out of me for quite some time. I’m not sure why, but the recipes can be lengthy and it seems a majority of them require a lot of marinating or sitting to make everything work. For someone with a new business, planning a wedding and remodeling a home with their adorable husband-t0-be – time is of the essence right? So I wasn’t sure if had time to tackle or take on lengthy recipes with a lot of steps. Yeah, wrong as usual.

I have three words for Chef Chang: God Bless You. I tried his Fried Chicken (with Octo Vinaigrette) and Ginger Scallion Noodles last week and I can’t get the flavors out of my head. No wonder his restaurants are so successful – the food haunts you. So memorable in fact that I’m trying a pork dish of his on top of, wait for it, Ginger Scallion Noodles. Love, love, love. I can’t wait to go to New York and actually visit one or four of his restaurants to try the real thing. Intimidated no more I am! What I also love about this cook book is Chef Chang’s tone, he can be brusque and drop tons of f-bombs (which is too funny in parts) but I also love his passion for cooking and his belief that his recipes will knock your socks off (they do poodles) which in turn makes you want to roll up your sleeves and let ‘er rip.

Give these a try and it will blow your mind. If I like the pork, I’ll share here too…wait, I did and it was AMAZING. Hands down, my favorite slow-roasted pork recipe ever and all you do is cover it in salt and sugar and sugar. Who knew? Recipes below pandas.

Recipes courtesy of Momofuku Cookbook, Published by Clarkson Potter, 2009

Fried Chicken (Serves 2 to 4)

  • 4 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • One 3-t0- 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces (2 legs, 2 breast halves with wings attached)
  • 4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
  • Octo Vinaigrette (below)

1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a lid or a large freezer bag, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the chicken to the brine, cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least one hour and no more than six.

2. Set up steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and discard the brine. Put the chicken in the steamer basket (if you are using a stacking Chinese-style bamboo steamer, put the legs in the bottom level and the breast on the top). Turn the heat to medium and set the lid of the steamer  ever so slightly ajar. Steam the chicken for 40 minutes, then remove it from the steamer and put it on a cooling rack to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator, preferably on the rack, for at least two hours or overnight.

3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you fry it.

4. In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken to be submerged to 375 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches, turning once, until the skin is deep brown and crisp, six to eight minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

5. Cut the chicken into a few pieces: cut the wine from the breast, cut the breast in half, cut through the knee to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Put in a large bowl toss with the vinaigrette, and serve hot.

Octo Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped Pickled Chiles (page 68 of the cookbook) or 1 fresh Bird’s Eye-Chile, seeded and chopped (I used the Bird’s Eye)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the garlic, ginger, chile, vinegar, soy, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sugar, and a few turns of black pepper in a lidded container and shake well. This will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, and is good on everything except ostrich eggs, which is really the ostrich’s fault than the vinaigrette’s. (love him :) ).

Ginger Scallion Noodles (A must make!)

  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
  • 1/2  cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Mix together scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it’s best aftre 15 to 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it’s stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, apply as needed.


  • 1 whole 8-to-10 pound bone-in Boston Pork Butt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus one tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Put the pork shoulder in a roasting pan, ideally one that hold it snugly. Mix together the granulated sugar and one cup of the salt in a bowl, then rub the mixture into the meat; discard any excess salt-and-sugar mixture.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and discard any juices that have accumulated. Put the pork in the oven and cook for 6 hours, basting with rendered fat and pan juices every hour. The pork should be tender and yielding at this point – it should offer almost no resistance to the blade of a knife and you should be able to easily pull meat of the shoulder with a fork. Depending on your schedule, you can serve the pork right away or let is rest and mellow out at room temperature for up to an hour.

3. When ready to serve…turn the oven to 500 degrees.

4. Stir together the remaining one tablespoon salt and brown sugar and rub the mixture all over the pork. Put it in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until the sugar has melted into a crisp, sweet crust. (Emily just drooled)

Pulled Pork Italiano

I’ve had my eye on Saveur magazine’s The Sandwich Issue since it hit the stands. I mean look at this, it’s like sandwich porn.


Although I would like to make every sandwich in this issue, I chose their  Torta Ahogada (Drowned Sandwich) since I had an authentic version in Mexico a few years back. I made this for my friends the other night and it was good,  but the one I made last night was even better. I used the pork leftover from the Torta to make this Pulled Pork Italiano so as you can tell I didn’t go through the 85 steps to get the pork in it’s right place for the recipe. For this shortcut I simply threw all the herbs, wine, onions, garlic and broth in with the pork and let is simmer until heated through and reduced down a bit. After that, I followed the recipe as it calls for and threw the delicious, tender pork on the roll  with the provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers (thanks to our friend Kari for the homegrown delicious peppers!). This was packed full of flavor lambs. David mentioned is seemed like an unlikely combination at first sight, but he ended up loving it just as much as I did.

Pulled Pork Italiano (Photo by Todd Coleman)

I had leftover broccoli rabe and rolls this morning so I grilled the bread in butter and combined the rabe with garlic, leftover crushed tomatoes and salt. After simmering the rabe, I added two eggs and fried until the whites were set but yolk was still runny – the only way to eat an egg in my opinion. Talk about an excellent way to end your night and start your day!

Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile

Tuesdays are my late night in the kitchen, but I still find it very important that we get a good meal on the table. Before I left to bake, I mis en placed (yes that’s a word…) all of the ingredients for this Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile from Bon Appetit. So, I combined the soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch; trimmed the asparagus, minced the red jalapeno chile and garlic; and finally, combined oyster sauce, honey and remaining soy sauce.

I’m so happy I did this prior to leaving because when I got home this was done in about 10 minutes.  I was a little worried that this might too heavy given it’s a little hot outside, but actually it was really light and refreshing. The flavors were delicious and it had a great spicy zing.

If you want a SUPER quick meal that’s delicious, light and spicy make this tonight!

Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile (Photo by Nigel Cox)

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata

To me, you can never go wrong when you combine honey with anything. I mean right? Think about it, what’s one thing honey doesn’t go well with? Bon Appetit explores this idea in their At the Market section focused on the lucious, good for you nectar from our gentle bee friends. I have to give mad props to the Bon Appetit staff for the amazing recipes they have in this section. I’ve done two other rock star recipes from the past two issues (see here and here) and this Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata was simply awesome as well.

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata (Photo by Jamie Chung)

I marinated the pork in the morning since we would be out all day on Lake Travis. Let’s let that sink in shall we? Go ahead, I”ll wait………..we had our first day on the lake on January 30th! It was so beautiful here yesterday and sitting on a boat chatting and relaxing with friends was a great way to end the weekend.  I guess we need to celebrate the warm weather since it’s going to be in the low 20s later on this week, with the possibility of snow. An 80 degree day and then a few days later a chance of snow. Whoa-k. I won’t get into how that’s a tad odd, even for the ever changing Texas weather.

Back to the pork people. After searing the two tenderloins and placing in the oven, I made the gremolata and then moved on to the salad I chose as a side dish: Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette. OUTSTANDING. There I got that out of my system. This is originally an entree salad but I lowered the amount to keep it as a simple side. We loved, loved this salad. It’s super easy to put together and the dates, walnuts and bacon all played quite nicely together.  I didn’t have walnut oil (who does?) and couldn’t find escarole (what gives Austin?) so I just used olive oil and fresh arugula for the greens; still freaking delicious. We loved the pork and you really tasted the full honey flavor in every bite.  Plus the reduced sauce and gremolata on top made the pork sing such a pretty song. We have leftovers today and I can’t wait for lunch time to get here so I can inhale the rest of the pork.

Both big winners in our house, I hope they will be in yours too.

Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette (Photo by Kiyoshi Togashi)

Miso Happy!

This month’s At the Market section of the January Bon Appetit focuses on Miso. To be honest, I only know miso from the traditional soup you get at Japanese restaurants, so I was very intrigued to learn more about the mysterious miso. First, what the heck is it exactly? According to Bon Appetit: Miso is fermented paste with a bold, salty flavor. Most of the miso sold in the U.S. is made from soybeans and rice or barley, but it can also be made from brown rice, millet, garbanzo beans, and other beans.  It’s also a source of Umami or Savory, aka the fifth flavor, along with Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter.  We tried naming the four last night and it was like listing the seven dwarfs, you always manage to forget one no matter how easy it is! If you want an in-depth look at what Umami is, check out the UMAMI Information Center  (UIC).  Hi yeah, UIC? If you ever need a taste-tester call me, mean it!  Also, miso comes in three colors on a range of taste intensity from mellow white, a little bit stronger yellow and the kapow version, red. Naturally, I gravitated towards the red version.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze (Photo by Kenji Toma)

This Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze was well, just genius. You can find miso here in Austin at Whole Foods Market and I got mine for $8. A little pricey but considering the fact that it lasts up to a year in the fridge and now I would like to dollop it on my cereal, I consider it a good investment. I loved the flavors of the sauce: apricot preserves, red miso, Champagne vinegar, orange peel and garlic clove. You slather it on the tenderloin, roast, roast, roast, slather, slather, roast, roast and then let the tenderloin set. While the juices redistribute, you finish off the sauce with simple chicken broth to give it a silky texture and pour all over your pork. I took one bite and might have let out an expletive. This was heavenly and so simple to make. I served on the side with some garlic and soy sauce wok-seared baby bok choy. See, see, I’m still being healthy!

I realize purchasing miso might steer you clear of this dish but lambs, have I ever led you down the wrong path? Oy, I hope  not. If you are up for something adventurous give this dish the chance it deserves. I for one know I’m going to experiment more with my red miso. Maybe next time, salmon!

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops with Polenta

Oh sweet lambs in the morn…this dish was INCREDIBLE. You can tell I really like something when while eating it I repeat about 20 times how good it is and fill in the rest of my review with “mmmmmmmmmmmmomgmmmmmmmm.” Per my menu plan, I had a day o’cooking which was lovely in and of itself. I did make the Egg White and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata and Sweet Potato Biscuits, both were OK but we decided they were not really right for a Cooking Inside the Lines dish. If you want more details just ask me in the comments.

I also made the Braised Chicken with Red Potatoes and Tarragon Broth for our lunches today, and I’ll post my full review after lunch.

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops (Photo by John Autry)

Now, for the big winner here, the Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops with Polenta from Cooking Light. Let’s highlight why this recipe was perfection on a plate: (a) the rub was the perfect herbacious complement to the very simple balsamic glaze on the pork chops (b) the polenta…oh wow, the polenta with the cream cheese was out of this world delicious (c) this came together in no-time (d) it was also very wallet friendly and is a part of their “budget eating” section (e) this ROCKED.

One ingredient I changed was the whole milk. I only had reduced fat in the house but trust me after you put the cream cheese in the polenta, you won’t notice the absence of whole milk. I highly recommend this recipe and I think this will go on rotation in our house moving forward. Now tonight, one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever tried, Meatballs All’Amerticiana. Will it be as good as I remembered poodles? Will David think so too? Will I still be amazed by bacon paste? Tune in for more details this week.

Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce

I think Agrodolce sauce might be the new chimichurri of 2010. I’ve seen this sauce three times in three separate magazines and when I saw Cooking Light had a Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce I was like, “FINE I WILL TRY IT.” Well, good for us that I gave in because this rocked.

Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce (Photo by Johnny Valiant)

I did some light digging and Agrodolce is a traditional sour and sweet (agro and dolce) Italian sauce. This one uses the salty bite of green olives, mixed with balsamic vinegar, dried sweet cherries, thyme, chicken broth, garlic, and one of my all-time favorites, the sweet-tasting cippolini onion.

Wow lambs, wow. This recipe was easy – besides the waiting time because your house smells insane while the sauce cooks – and very elegant when served. This recipe is in their holiday cookbook section and I could see this being a super hit and something quite different to bring to the table.

I served with these Italian Smashed Potatoes from Every Day with Rachael Ray and voila! an Italian-inspired meal that had us saying “molto buona!”

I like to eat, eat, eat…

Apples! For those of you who don’t know where this is from, click here, but watch out you will be singing this Barney tune

We definitely had an apples and bananas night with our Peanut Butter Banana Bread and apples in every which way we could think of. There is a huge section on apples in the new Cooking Light and one recipe that sounded so intriguing was this Apple Sangria. Apples! Sangria! Couldn’t suck if you tried! Alas, this was awesome. It’s fun, fall-ish and a pretty cool twist on sangria. Make this at your next party, I think your guests will love it.

Apple Sangria (Photo by: Gentl & Hyers)

To keep up our fiber-consumption we also made this Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples. I followed this recipe to the letter and it was so simple to put together and absolutely delicious. I loved every single bite.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin wtih Sauteed Apples (Photo by: John Autry)

If you want to start enjoying this chilly fall weather and all of the apples that are in season right now, I would highly recommend these two recipes. I like to ate, ate, ate…