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

 

Seared Tuna with Wasabi Crème Fraîche and Ginger Soy reduction

seared Tuna with Creme fraische
I cherish every minute I get to spend with my 17-year-old son, especially in the kitchen. He is so brutally honest when it comes to critiquing my food that it has made me a better cook. (He actually could be an amazing professional food critic). I have to credit him with this creation, I was just the executor! Searing the tuna took about 6 minutes, but the prep for the sauces was a little more labor intensive. Be sure to let the fish sit out at room temperature for about an hour, as you will only be searing the outside of the fish, inside will remain rare, and you don’t want the inside of the fish to be cold.

Ingredients for Soy Reduction:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger

Ingredients for Wasabi Crème Fraîche:

  • 1 cup Crème Fraîche
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tsp wasabi paste (use less if you do not want it too spicy)
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Tuna:

  • 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp of pureed ginger
  • 4 – 6 oz pieces of Tuna
  • salt

Directions for Soy Reduction:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, medium heat, cook down until sauce reduces it becomes thick and syrupy. Prior to pouring, strain through a sieve to remove the chunks of garlic and ginger. Pour over seared tuna.

Directions for Crème Fraîche:

Stir the Crème Fraîche together with the sour cream and salt. Add in the wasabi, one teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired potency. Spoon onto each plate. Place tuna on top of the wasabi cream.

Directions for Tuna:

Using an iron skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and ginger on medium heat. Saute until garlic is cooked, but not browned. Remove garlic and ginger with a slotted spoon, leaving any remaining oil in the pan. Increase the heat to high and add the tuna, searing each side. Once you all sides are browned, remove the fish and place onto the wasabi cream, then drizzle the soy reduction, and garnish with cooked garlic and ginger. Serves 4 people. Paired nicely with sushi rice.

Orange Chicken

orange-chicken

My husband has always loved a tangy Chinese-American Orange Chicken. I found some great recipes online, and made some slight modifications. I’m mainly adding this one to the blog, so I have quick access to it, but beware, it does take a few steps so it might not be for everyone.  Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • About 2 cups canola oil for frying

For the orange sauce:

  • 2-3 oranges
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned) or cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 scallion/green onions (thinly sliced for garnish)
  • Cooked rice for serving

PREPARATION

Prep the chicken:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the wine and soy sauce together. Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce and let stand while you make the sauce.

Make the orange sauce:

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 orange and finely chop it.
  • Squeeze 2 oranges to make at least 1 cup of juice (use additional orange if necessary). In a small bowl, whisk together the juice and 2 teaspoons cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  • In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, add the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and orange zest and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 seconds. Stir the orange juice–cornstarch mixture then add it to the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside while you fry the chicken.

Fry the chicken:

  • Once the chicken is fried, place the skillet of reserved orange sauce over moderately low heat and bring it to a simmer, stirring and thinning the sauce with a little water if necessary. Add the chicken, and stir until thoroughly coated in sauce.
  • In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until a thermometer registers 365°F. Or you can use a deep fryer if you have one, which is easier to program the temperature. Meanwhile, coat half of the chicken, a couple pieces at a time, in cornstarch, making sure they are well coated and gently knocking off any excess, then transfer to a plate. Carefully add the coated chicken to the hot oil, making sure to space the pieces apart from each other, otherwise they clump together. Fry the chicken, turning it once or twice, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. While frying, adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 365°F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Continue to coat and fry the remaining chicken in the same manner, returning the oil to 365°F between batches.
  • Once the chicken is fried, place the skillet of reserved orange sauce over moderately low heat and bring it to a simmer, stirring and thinning the sauce with a little orange juice if necessary. Add the chicken, and toss until thoroughly coated in sauce.

To serve:

  • Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately with rice.

Another photo: (added some sesame seeds to the recipe)

orange-chicken-detail

Polenta with Mushrooms

mushroom-polenta

Wow, how time flies! Sorry for not posting any new recipes these past several months. I have been busy with kid activities and overall… just trying to be a “good parent” to my two teenagers! The ups and downs of being a full-time mom can definitely take it’s toll on a person. But all in all, I am grateful for this new chapter in my life. I am still cooking a ton, but haven’t posted anything, so I thought I would spend some of my summer sharing some of my favorites.

I have tried this recipe several times, and both my husband and son agree this is one of their “top 5” faves! This is a recipe I found on the NY Times website, but made some minor modifications to it. I hope you enjoy! Serves 8-10

FOR THE POLENTA

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups polenta (I love Bob’s Organic Red Mill Polenta)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan

FOR THE MUSHROOMS

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup of home-made chicken broth (or store bought)
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats, divided
  • 3 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large deep pan over high heat, bring the milk and water to a boil; add salt, and gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and summer gently, stirring frequently to prevent clumping and sticking, until mixture is very thick (approximately 30-45 minutes). If the polenta becomes quite thick, thin it with 1/2 cup water, stir well and continue cooking. Add up to 1 cup more water as necessary, to keep the polenta soft enough to stir. Stir in butter and the parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile, boil the chicken broth; add in the dried porcini mushroom. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, and pat dry, then chop roughly. Reserve the mushroom/chicken stock.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan set over high heat until it has melted. Add the garlic and cook until it starts to sizzle, about 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown.

Add the fresh and reconstituted porcini mushrooms and thyme to the pan, and sauté 8 minutes, turning until browned. Add about 1/4 cup of the mushroom stock to deglaze the surface, using a wooden spoon to scrape at the browned bits. Allow the stock to reduce by half, then turn the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, whisking to combine, followed by the soy sauce, cream and olive oil. Allow mixture to cook until it thickens a little, then remove from heat. Taste for seasoning, adding black pepper, salt or more parmesan cheese, if desired.

Place the polenta into warmed bowls, then top with mushrooms and the sauce. Serve immediately.

Spicy Tuna Poke

tuna-poke-main

I love being in the kitchen with my son! He is able to identify missing ingredients, textures and even color in a dish. We made this Spicy Tuna Poke together, taking inspiration from several recipes on the internet, and made our own alterations in order to improve taste and texture, customizing it to our (his) liking. 😉

Tuna Poke Ingredients: 

  • ½ lb diced ahi or maguro
  • 3 tb minced red or sweet onion
  • 2 tb tobiko (flying fish roe) plus more for use as a topping
  • ⅓ cup mayo (Hellmans or Best Foods)
  • 1 tb sugar or honey (for paleo)
  • 2 tb shoyu
  • 3 tb Sriracha (or more to taste)
  • 1 diced red chili-pepper (optional)
  • 1 tb sesame oil
  • 2 stalks scallions minced – green parts only
  • 1 large pealed and julienned cucumber

Directions for tuna:

– Combine mayo, sugar shoyu, and Sriracha
– Gently mix together tuna, onions, chillies and green onions
– Add mayo mixture and tobiko, mix gently
– Add sesame oil, taste an adjust flavoring

As you can tell, I had some fun with my food and plated on a bed of finely diced cucumber. I used a Spam musubi mold to get the shape.

Sushi rice cakes

  • 1 cup cooked sushi rice
  • 1 cup organic canola oil

Use round or square mold to create 1-½” thick layer of rice. Place oil in small sauce pan heat on high. Place molded cooked rice, into oil with a slotted spoon. Cook approximately 2 minutes, then turn over to cook other side. Should be a little browned on both sides, and crunchy. Place cucumber on a plate, add the crunchy rice patty and add the Spicy Tuna Poke. Top with 1 tsp of tobiko. Add a few slices of green onion and Voilá. Some other options are to add some diced avocado and cucumber into the tuna mixture. Be sure to mix gently as you do not want to squish the avocados. tuna-poke-2

tuna mixed-ingredients2 mixed-ingredients

Soy-Marinated for “Open Blue’s” Cobia

soy-cobia

What is Cobia you ask? Cobia is a mild flavored white fish, and a great sustainable substitute for salmon or sea bass. It has also been called black kingfish. Open Blue’s Cobia fish are carefully raised in deep pristine waters and is always sourced from the open ocean. Open Blue Cobia is pure, healthy and safe – free of contaminants, hormones, colorants and pesticides. They raise their fish in a stress free, low density and high-energy environment. This results in healthier fish that is naturally high in protein and very rich in Omega 3 (DHA & EPA), with levels almost 2X as high as farmed Atlantic salmon. There is a great story about Open Blue and their founder Brian O’Hanlon, by Daniel Stone of National Geographic (click here to read more).

Open Blue Cobia is a truly versatile fish that offers a world of culinary possibilities. I have had some amazing Cobia dishes created by one of our favorite restaurants in Boulder, Centro Latin Kitchen on Pearl street.  If you want to buy Cobia you can find it at this website: http://www.chefsfreshfish.com/Cobia-Fillet-p/e725a.htm

I will be posting my own recipes for Cobia, starting with this one:

Soy Marinated Cobia

For the Fish:

  • 1 ½ pound of Cobia cut into 6 even pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry, divided
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

PREPARATION

For fish:

Rinse fish and pat dry. Mix green onions, ginger, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon oil, and soy sauce in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Add fish and turn to coat. Let marinate 1 hour at room temperature (but no longer as you will loose the taste of the fish).

For sauce:

Bring first 6 ingredients to boil in heavy small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes.

Remove fish from marinade and place on several layers of paper towels to drain; reserve marinade. Pat fish dry. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a iron skillet, then fish pieces, spreading evenly. Cover and cook 30 seconds. Uncover and loosen fish pieces with metal spatula. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute. Turn fish pieces over; cook 1 minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons rice wine and reserved marinade from fish. Cover and cook 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat; let fish stand covered until just opaque in center, about 1 minute. Using metal spatula, transfer fish and sauce from skillet to plate. Spoon sauce over fish; sprinkle with green onions.

Broiled Salmon with Wild Mushrooms and Lentils

Broiled Salmon with wild mushrooms and lentils

My family loves salmon, not only because of the taste, but the health benefits as well. It’s packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12). I like to try different recipes with salmon so that my family doesn’t get sick of it. Here is a recipe I found, but made some modifications to it.

Ingredients:

For the Salmon:

  • 4 6-ounce pieces of salmon, skin and bones removed
  • 4 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • ½ cup minced red onion
  • 1 lemon, quartered

For the Mushrooms:

  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 4 cups wild mushrooms (creminis, chanterelles, or oysters)
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Lentils:

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (bone broth is even better – more protein)
  • ⅓ cup julienned prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

For the Lentils: Place the olive oil in a medium sauce-pan and warm over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until onions are translucent (approx. 3-4 minutes). Add the chicken stock and lentils to the pan, boil then reduce heat to a simmer. cook for 20 to 40 minutes (depends on the type of lentils being used – best to follow the package instructions). Once cooked to desired consistency (I prefer a little al dente), remove from heat, fold in the prosciutto and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Mushrooms: trim the end of the stems from the mushroom and slice into ¼ inch slices. Bake the mushrooms covered in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, Place 1 tbsp. butter in a large sauce pan, on medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook until garlic is cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and rosemary, leaving any butter in the pan. Add the other tbsp and mushrooms to the pan, and cook. I prefer my mushrooms a little browned. Cook for 5 minutes or until they reached desired consistency. Remove mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

For the Salmon: Rub the salmon with the soy sauce, place under broiler for 3-4 minutes. In an even coat, add the onions and return to broiler, make sure not to burn the onions, or over cook the salmon. (I cooked my for 7 minutes on the 3rd shelf down from the top, so it did not burn). Remove Salmon and squeeze lemon over it.

Assembly: In the center of each plate, spoon some cooked lentils, place salmon on top, and spoon on the mushrooms. Sprinkle with parsley.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Perfect wood planks background with nice studio lighting and beautiful vignetting to draw the eyes into the picture

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 pork tenderloins

Directions:

In a mixing bowl whisk brown sugar with soy sauce until brown sugar dissolves. Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking to prevent emulsifying. Add in the garlic and ginger. Place all ingredients into a large ziplock bag and add the tenderloins to the bag. Make sure all parts of the tenderloins are covered with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for up to 2-3 days (but not longer than 3, as the pork will get too salty). Remove Pork from the bag and place the reserve the sauce in a sauce pan. Grill the pork on high heat (on BBQ Grill) or broil the pork, to get a nice crust on the outside. You can also sear the pork in an iron skillet to get a nice crusty outside, then bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 140. I like my pork medium rare, so I normally pull it out at 135 (internal temp), and let rest 5-10 minutes until it reaches 140. This is great served with Asian Slaw and Sesame Sushi Rice with Cucumbers and Avocado, or sautéed ginger carrots. Optional – Slice meat on to each place and sprinkle with apples (instructions below).

Sauce:

  • remainder marinade from above
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp water

While the pork in cooking, cook the marinade on medium-high heat, so you cook down any of the raw pork juice. Add in the broth, and cook down till reduced by half. In a cup combine the flour and water, mixing so it turns into a paste, making sure there are no clumps. Slowly whisk in the flour to pan, making sure there are no clumps. Your sauce will be come thicker, if it becomes too thick, add some more chicken broth. Pour over sliced pork loin.

A little added accouterment: Sautéed apples with butter and brown sugar.

  • 1 apple chopped into ½” cubes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Place butter in iron skillet until it bubbles, add in the apple and toss in pan for 4 minutes, add in the brown sugar until melted and covering apples. Add the apples to the pork.