Posts Tagged ‘pork’

Cook up a sample to confirm the seasoning

Cook up a sample to confirm the seasoning

Seasoned diced pork and fat

Seasoned diced pork and fat

One of the first tasks of our Thanksgiving is the preparation of the country sausage for the stuffing. While this is readily available and usually cheap, we like to be able to season the sausage exactly how  we like. As long as you have a sturdy meat grinder and a little elbow grease there really is not much to this chore. Make plenty and frreeze, this stuff is, of course, unbelievable with breakfast. Good Stuff!


Country Sausage

3 pounds lean pork
2/3 pound pork fat
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place meat grinder and all attachments into the fridge or cold working area for at least one hour before grinding the meat, we worked outside on a frigid day. Finely chop the pork and fat into fingernail size chunks. Toss with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before grinding. It is imperative that the meat, grinder, and all attachments be extremely cold during the grinding process. Grind all the meat. Cook a one or two tablespoon dollop to taste the seasoning, re-season if necessary. Wrap into 1 1/2 inch logs and freeze until needed. God Stuff!

Meat grinder set up on back porch on a frigid day

Meat grinder set up on back porch on a frigid day

Wrap very tightly and freeze until use

Wrap very tightly and freeze until use





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Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Sometimes the very first flavor in a  meal is the dressing on the salad. They are the strength of this course. We’ve recently been having crisp pork belly salads around the house. Here are two simple and very different preparations.

Hot and sour vinaigrette– this is a hearty and versatile dressing. Use as a condiment with the pork belly as an entree or as a dressing on a salad course. Leftovers can be used with crisp calamari or shrimp.

1 cup braising liquid from the pork belly
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
1 teaspoon diced fresh very hot pepper or crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar( we use black vinegar, try using a hearty one yourselves, balsamic is probably not appropriate)
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, chiffonade

Lightly sautee the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper in a few drops of oil. Add the pork stock and reduce by 1/2. Add remaining liquid ingredients save the sesame oil and reduce for some time until thickened. Finish with sesame oil, scallion and salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely before using. Good Stuff!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette– This, also, is a very versatile dressing. The garlic and shallot make it hearty and capable of holding up to game flavors.

1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon fine mustard
1/2 teaspoon parsley chiffonade
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve cold and often. Good Stuff!

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bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, …

Pig cheeks, salt, sugar, thyme, pepper, and bay

Evenly distributed spices

With surprisingly little effort, we’ve been able to make at home a simple cured pork product we’d been paying nearly thirty dollars a pound for. The most difficult part is procuring the pig jowls. It turns out, they are readily available on the internet.

Once received, cut away any nodes of discolored or harder meat from the flesh side. Rub the 4 pounds of jowls down very thoroughly with a spice mix of –


2 cups sugar

2 cups salt

1/4 cup chopped thyme

6 bay leaves, julienned

2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper

After four days turn and redistribute spices

For more meat, adjust the recipe as necessary. Assure the meat is well covered and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the back of the fridge for ten days. After four days, remove and stir and redistribute the spice mix. After ten days, remove from the spice, rinse lightly, and dry well. Pat with paper towels. Punch a hole through the narrow end of the jowl in order to run a string to hang. Hang the jowls for at least ten days. It is at this time that humidity control can be very advantageous. We used a damp dish towel in the empty fridge. I would assume a fridge with more contents would be slightly more humid. Ideally, the curing period should start off wet and end drier. Now, what to do with this stuff. Pasta carbonara and alla amatriciana are two recipes originally written for guanciale. We did a Fusilli guanciale i tot soi with hearty greens from the garden. Good Stuff!

Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

    Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

1/4 cup guanciale, chopped

1/8 cup chopped garlic

2 cups chopped hearty greens, tot soi, chard, broccoli rabe,…

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 pound fusilli

2 Tablespoons of butter

Slowly render the sliced guanciale in a little olive oil. When nearly crisp and tan, carefully drain off excess fat and add garlic. Cook for only a few seconds and then add the hearty greens. Reserve the fat for sauteeing vegetables and such. Add fusilli to boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, stir the greens, once all are wilting, add the stock. At this time, make sure the burner is on high. Cook until greens are tender and remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Toss with pasta hot from the pot. DO NOT RINSE pasta before this step, EVER! Serve with the biggest wine you can find (not the biggest box!) Good Stuff!



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Wonton of Fun

Assembled ingredients


Layed out wonton doughs with water nearby to seal

Always looking for uses for the amazing Mayport shrimps we’re getting in FL. Got some slices of fresh pork side and chopped ’em both up, coarsely. Did not bring the food processor so had to manually chop. By all means used ground pork, or a meat grinder, or a food processor. Don’t be like me,  be like Mike, or Paula Dean, or whomsoever you please. We had them steamed the first time we did this, then fried the leftovers the next day. Potstickers, you know. This time, no foolin’ around, fried them all. Served with fresh local vegetables, most assuredly – Good Stuff!


1 pound peeled raw shrimp

1 pound fatty pork (well, I guess you could use lean)

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger

1 Tablespoon garlic

4 Tablespoons shallot

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon hot sauce

black pepper

1 package wonton wrappers or dumpling wrappers

ponzu for dipping – soy, ginger, garlic, scallion, lime juice, hot sauce, and cilantro combined to taste.

Combine all ingredients in the food processor or meat grinder and coarsely puree.

Steaming on the left and frying on the right

Tasty shrimp and pork potstickers with braised spinach and ponzu

Lay out wrappers and wet one half of the edge to help seal. Put 1 teaspoon of stuffing into each wrapper, fold over and seal or crimp with a fork. Steam dumplings in one layer in the steamer for five minutes. Remove from steamer right to some hot olive oil and brown both sides for about two minutes each. Serve hot with fresh vegetables and ponzu. Good Stuff!

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Supper Club Barbecue

Any number of dishes could accompany the slow braised pork shoulder we’ve been toying with. The pork is from APL’s cookbook. We mercifully take out some of the steps. The cornmeal pudding is really just a cornbread with way too many garnishes added ( or just the right amount.) We cook the spinach in small batches with copious pourings of olive oil. The potato salad was pot luck, we’ll work on that recipe for ya. And the pie. What! There’s pie?

Slow Braised Pork Picnic Shoulder

1 piece of pork shoulder, 6-7 pounds

4 cups water

1/4 cup sea salt

2 Tablespoons molasses

2 cups orange juice

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapenos, sliced thin

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin

2 bay leaves

Assemble the brine, combine the water, salt, and molasses and heat, stirring, until salt is dissolved. Chill completely. Combine remaining ingredients to make marinade. Add 1/2 cup of marinade to brine and reserve the remainder. In  a large bowl or tub immerse the pork in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Turn the pork occasionally. Drain and rinse well, put the pork into a large freezer bag with all but 1/4 cup of the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Remove the pork from the bag and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Try to wrap the pork with as much of the marinade as you can manage. Make sure the wrap is sealed, adding two or more layers. Wrap now with aluminum foil. Bake or smoke at 275 degrees for 7 hours. Let the meat rest for at least an hour before unwrapping and returning to a 400 degree oven to crisp the skin.

Cornmeal Pudding

1 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

2 jalapenos, diced

6 Tablespoons bacon drippings

1 egg

1 cup milk or yogurt

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (substitute 1/2 teaspoon soda for like amount of powder if using yogurt or sour milk)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 Tablespoons chopped scallion

Sautee onion, celery, and jalapeno in 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat. Chill to 70 degrees. Have all other ingredients at 70 degrees. Beat egg, add milk, molasses, and 2 Tablespoons bacon fat. Mix dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Gently fold in cooked vegetables, cheese, and herbs. All soda based doughs like this one (or muffins, pancakes…) can benefit from some resting time before baking or frying. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put a large cast iron skillet heat with the last 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat into the hot oven. When the oil is smoking hot, add the batter. It may not pour but need to be coaxed from its bowl into the pan, but go it must! Bake for 30-40 minutes. Turn from the pan to cool and slice while slightly warm.

Fast Strawberry Blueberry Pie

2 cups Strawberry preserves

2 cups blueberries, washed

3 Tablespoons tapioca

juice of one lemon

1 package Pillsbury pie crusts

Combine berries, tapioca, and juice. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

Follow instructions for two crust pie on the pie crust package. Do not prick the bottom crust. Carefully crimp the top crust to the bottom crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350, cover edges of crust with foil, and bake for 30 more minutes. Cool completely before cutting or serving in any way. Good Stuff!

Notice I did not carefully crimp the top crust to the bottom one.

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Spring Rolls…Rollin



1 package of eggroll wrappers (look in the produce section for these.)

For the filling
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 head of small cabbage (about 10 ounces) julienned
3 carrots, julienned
8 fresh shitake mushrooms (or dried Chinese mushrooms soaked overnight), stems discarded, julienned

1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (optional, any vinegar will do.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the ground pork, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and sesame oil and set aside for an hour to macerate. In hot oil, sautee the garlic and ginger swiftly, add marinated pork and brown. Add carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms, cook until nearly tender. Add mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Season and spread to cool completely.


Beat one egg with a few drops of water to make a wash to seal the rolls. Roll like a burrito, trying to leave no holes and little air within. Seal with the eggwash and set aside to airdry for one hour before frying or freezing. Fry at a stable 375 degrees until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Always be mindful and careful when deep frying at home. Good Stuff!

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Sour orange mojo

Pork belly, scored skinside, and marinated for two days.

A beautiful incongruity of winter is the ready availability of fresh domestic citrus. Mojo usually calls for sour oranges, but we frequently substitute sweet orange fortified with lime juice. This recipe will marinate 1-2 pounds of meat. Careful with the salt if you will be brining your meat. Good Stuff!

juice of 1 orange

juice of 1 lime

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno sliced

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 fresh bay leaf, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

salt to taste

Combine all and refrigerate for a day, if possible, before using. Good Stuff!

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