Pork Tacos

BAHN0MI-TACO

As you all know Instagram is “the go to” for all teenagers. My 17-year-old-foodie found this recipe for Bahn-Mi Puffy Tacos from Tastemade on Instagram, and of course wanted to make it. I jumped at the opportunity to spend “quality time” with my son. It was actually a super simple recipe, and didn’t take that long to prep or cook! Thanks, Tastemade, and thank you, Lucas! These tacos were amazing!  (Video link below).

For the pork: 

  • 1/2 pound boneless pork chop cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic finely minced and ground black pepper to taste

For the pickled vegetables:

  • 1 carrot peeled and shredded
  • 4-5 few radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Taco Shells and Garnishes:

  • 4-6 corn tortillas
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, to taste
  • spicy mayo (equal parts Sriracha and mayonnaise)
  • oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine pork and marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Make the pickles: in a bowl or sealable container, mix vinegar, sugar, and salt. Then mix in the vegetables and let sit for at least 1 hour.
  3. Drain off the pork marinade. Heat a little bit of oil in a pan, and cook the pork until caramelized. Should take about 5 minutes.
  4. In a shallow pot, heat oil to 375°F – Carefully lower one tortilla at a time into the oil. Once the tortilla begins to puff up and rise to the top, gently push the edge of a metal spatula into the center, bending it in half like a taco shape. Hold in place and cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and repeat the process.
  5. To assemble: Fill the puffy taco shells with the caramelized pork, and top with the pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cilantro, and a drizzle of spicy mayo.

Here is the instructional video from Tastemade Pork Tacos

 

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions, Black Beans, Sweet Potato Toast & Avocado Cream

I once again found inspiration for this dish from the Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. I wanted to combine ingredients that were unusual but had a good balance of flavors, and paired nicely together. So this dish has a little bit of everything, sweet, sour and salty. My husband Dan and foodie-son Lucas said I could add it to my Top Five! It was a proud moment!

Hopefully, this list of ingredients is not too daunting. 😉

Avocado Cream:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (no stems)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Creme Fraiche

Sweet potato toast:

  • 1 large sweet potato (sliced with cheese slicer)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Pork Tenderloin:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Black Beans:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 can of organic Black Beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 onions sliced in rings
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. First, you want to bake the sweet potato toast. Cover sweet potato slices in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven on a baking sheet and cook until slightly browned approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the pork loin, melt butter in an iron skillet (oven safe) on medium high heat, add salt and pepper to the loin roast, and sear the pork on all sides. Once it is nicely browned, place the pork into the oven, next to potatoes and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees (for medium rare). You can then caramelize the onions, in a skillet with butter, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and sweet. Next, in a saucepan, add the butter, once melted add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat. Make sure not to brown the garlic. Add in the beans with the liquid and cook down the beans for 15 minutes. Next, you can make the avocado cream. Place the avocados into a food processor, or blender and add the oil, lime, salt, and cilantro. Puree until smooth. Remove from food processor and fold in the Créme Fraîche.

Now you are ready for assembly. Place 2 spoonfuls of Avocado Creme on each plate in a long smear. Add to pieces of Sweet Potato toast, then the beans, followed by the pork and caramelized onions, and finally sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Lamb Sandwich with Whipped Ricotta Mint Dressing

My son was bored with the typical “Ham and Cheese” sandwich, so I stepped it up a bit. I used our leftover lamb tenderloin fillet, which was cooked medium rare and had a silky smooth texture, to make his sandwich. I combined some whipped ricotta cheese with salt, olive oil and chopped mint as the dressing, and added a few caramelized red onions for a little-added sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of toasted sourdough bread
  • 6 slices of lamb tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup whipped ricotta
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup caramelized onions
  • salt to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Directions: Mix the ricotta with the chopped mint, add a dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Spread ricotta dressing onto the toast. Add the cooked lamb tenderloin and caramelized onions. Drizzle a little more oil on top of the sandwich. Serve with love!

Slow Cooker Tomatillo Pork Shoulder

For approximately a year now, I’ve been volunteering for an amazing organization here in Boulder, called There With Care. There With Care’s mission is to provide a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to children and families during the critical phase of a medical crisis. They serve families referred by medical agencies, by building a network of services and people who ease the burden of life’s day-to-day obligations with compassion and care. I have been working on There With Care’s Team Chop, where we prep simple, healthy, and easy to cook CrockPot meals for each of the families. It has been an amazing organization to work for. We have an incredile team of people on our team, dedicating their time once a week to help eleviate some of the burden these families are facing.

So, after a year of working with Team Chop, I finally bought myself a slow-cooker (CrockPot). It has been fun experimenting with some new recipes. One of which was another creation by my foodie-17-year-old. Takes a total of 10 minutes to prep, and has very few ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 8 tomatillos – quartered
  • 2 jalapenos – (remove seeds for less spice – chop into large chunks)
  • 1 onion – large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves – quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In an iron skillet on high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and add half of the pork, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Braise each piece so they are nice and brown, and crispy. Repeat with the second batch of meat. Set aside. Meanwhile, toss the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic in the oil. Salt, then place onto a baking sheet and roast them, until they start to brown slightly, apprximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place ingredients into a food processor or blender. Salt to taste. Place the meat into the crockpot and pour the pureed mixture ontop. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Serve with rice, and black beans with sour cream.

Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Paleo)

paleo moroccan chicken and vegetable stew

After a traditional Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to make some aromatic, and spicy ethnic food. I pulled out a “somewhat Paleo” recipe book, written by Dr. Mark Hyman called “The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook“, based on his book “The Blood Sugar Solution“. It’s basically a healthy cookbook with a lot of Paleo recipes. This dish called out to me with all of the aromatic spices, like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. I made some slight modifications and spiced it up a bit. Warning: It did take a while to prep, approximately 40 minutes as I like to chop the ingredient a bit smaller than Dr. Hyman recommended, but was well worth it. I did not include the recommended eggplant, as my husband “claims” that he is allergic to it. (What REALLY happened: when he was in college, after a dinner of eggplant parmesan, and bit too much to drink, he threw up, and now claims it was the eggplant he was allergic to). Ha! Anyway, you can always add one chopped eggplant to this dish. Oh, and this dish is also called “Tagine”. Also, if you want to go vegan, substitute the chicken for firm tofu and reduce cooking time by 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp pureed ginger (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ pieces and trimmed of fat (if going vegan use firm Tofu)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half circles
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth is going vegan)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a dutch oven or heavy stock pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute gently until the onions begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the dried spices. Saute the spices and onions about 2 minutes. Salt the chicken (or tofu) with the remaining salt, and add to the pot. Turn heat up to medium, and saute for 3 minutes, until all of the chicken (or tofu) is well coated with spices. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes. Then Add the bell peppers and zucchini, and saute until they soften about 5 minutes. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer the stew gently, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduce approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in olives. Plate and serve with cilantro garnish. Serves 4

paleo moroccan chicken stew

Balsamic Glazed Pork and Peaches

Pork and Peaches

I’m always trying to find new and different flavors to combine with pork chops, other than the traditional apple. So, I reached for my ever trustworthy and inspirational book, “The Flavor Bible“. It had all of these ingredients listed in the “affinities” section. And I actually did get the thumbs up from my hyper-critical-foodie-son to add it to my blog. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pork loin chops
  • 3 organic peaches or 1 bag frozen peaches (thawed), chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, fried
  • 12 leaves, small slices
  • 2 tbsp of butter (if Paleo and avoiding dairy, use olive oil)
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle of balsamic reduction (recipe here)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In an iron skillet, on high heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Salt pork chops. Add the pork chops and cook 5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Remove pork chops and let rest. Add in 1 tbsp butter, balsamic vinegar and reduce down, cooking about a minute. Add in the chopped peaches, and sliced sage, stir around to cover and cook until semi-soft, approximately 3 minutes. Remove peaches and place on top of pork chops. Drizzle balsamic reduction over peaches and pork. Add salt and pepper to the dish and place 3 fried sage leaves. Serves 4.

Paleo Turkey Lettuce Wraps (AKA Turkey Larb)

Turkey Lettuce wraps

Here is a great light Thai inspired dish that I have made numerous times! And falls into the Paleo category. I have been trying to find other alternative recipes  to red meat (beef), and honestly after watching “CowSpiracy” I have been avoiding red meat about 95% of the time. That movie was such an eye-opener! Surprisingly, Leonardo DiCaprio was the executive producer. Anyway, hope you enjoy this simple light recipe, it was inspired by a recipe I found in Women’s Health Magazine back in 2012.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp organic canola oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 small shallots, diced
  • 1 piece of lemongrass (4″ long) minced
  • 1 Thai or Serrano chili, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb of 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of sriracha (optional for a bit more “kick”)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 head of organic butter lettuce

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce, and honey.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, lemongrass, and chili. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add turkey to skillet and Siracha. Season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently and making sure turkey does not stay in large chunks. Cook until meat and vegetables are cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add dressing to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add mint and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon turkey mixture onto lettuce leaves and serve.

Thai lettuce wrap ingredients

Flavorful Bone Broth

bone broth

I love to have bone/meat broth on hand at all times. Especially, when my husband makes his Italian Risotto. This broth is truly the key to the most hearty, deep and rich risotto. We also use the broth occasionally to flavor pasta, rice, or even broccoli. It’s also great for sauces!  The little Italian ladies in the country-side of northern Italy would make this for my husband, when he came down with a cold so it has some amazing health benefits: containing minerals, healthy fats, collagen, amino acids, and more.

Ingredients:

  • 3 beef bones (soup bones)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion (or 2 medium)
  • 8 chopped carrots
  • 8 chopped celery stalks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of salt (more if desired)
  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • 1 ½ lb. beef (I used top round steaks)

Begin by roasting your soup bones. I like to set my oven to 375ºF and bake my bones and meat for about 30 minutes, or until they begin to brown. In a 20 quart stock pot add in olive oil and chopped onions, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrots and celery. Stir to coat with oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt and bay leaves. Add in 12 cups of water (preferably filtered). Scrape the roasted bones into the pot along with any juices. Add in the chicken and beef. Add more water if necessary to cover bones, meats and vegetables. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for at least 8 but up to 24 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged. Once the broth has cooled down, you’re ready to strain it and store it! Strain it through a fine sieve. Your broth will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, or a few months in the freezer.

Crown Roast of Lamb

lamb1

I love lamb and especially a crown roast. They are like lamb popsicles. A crown roast can be created by taking two 7-rib racks of lamb and tying them together (or ask your butcher to prepare for you). It’s a great easy meat to serve a small group of people (5-6 adults). It goes nicely with rosemary & garlic or parsley & mint. I like to marinate the lamb for at least 6 hours before cooking. I have made this roast several times, pairing it with Flageolet beans, seared greens and garlic mashed potatoes, as well as with (see below) roasted rosemary new potatoes with Chive Creme Fraiche sauce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 crown roasts of lamb, consisting of 14 chops
  • ¾ cup Olive oil

PREPARATION

Mix chopped rosemary, minced garlic, salt and black pepper in small bowl. Add in the olive oil to the mix. Place crown roasts of lamb, spaced apart, in a large plastic bag and add half of the mixture. Making sure all section of the lamb are covered. Store in refrigerator to marinate for 6 hours. Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove lamb and brush with remaining era/olive oil mixture. Cover bones loosely with sheet of foil. Roast lamb until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F to 130°F for rare, about 20 minutes (or 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes; or 135°F to 140°F for medium, about 35 minutes).

Transfer lamb to platter; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Remove foil and string. Cut lamb between ribs into chops and serve.

This one I served with roasted rosemary new potatoes. I made a chive-Crème fraîche sauce for the potatoes which ended up going pairing really well the lamb.

lamb2 copy

Bresaola Arugula Panini with Balsamic Reduction

brassoula-arugula-press-A1

So I finally purchased my first Panini press, and it has transformed my world of sandwiches! My son returned from his month away at camp and asked me to make him lunch… so out came the press that we have both wanted forever, The Brevile Panini Duo! This creation of came together with the help of the balsamic reduction I made for my Buffalo burger.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of white sandwich bread
  • 8 thin slices of Bresaola
  • 4 slices of manchego cheese
  • 4 slices of gouda
  • ½ cup of baby arugula
  • 1 tsp. balsamic reduction + ⅓ cup for dipping
  • 1 fried egg

Directions:

Be sure to butter your bread on the outside so it gets a nice crispy and moist exterior. Place the cheese closest to the bread one type on either side, and layer the arugula and bresaola on top of the cheese. Drizzle the 1 tsp. of the balsamic reduction. Merge the 2 halves and place on the panini press. Close the lid and slide the setting to toast. Meanwhile fry one egg in a non-stick skillet. Cook so whites are fully cooked, but the yolk is still runny.

Remove the melted sandwich after 4 minutes and cut in half. Place egg on top, and serve with the side of balsamic reduction.

brassoula-arugula-press1 brassoula-arugula-press2 brassoula-arugula-press-A1 brassoula-arugula-press3