Thursday, February 21, 2019
During the holiday season last year America's Test Kitchen had an episode titled "Home for the Holiday's" found here. I watched that episode and was inspired by the porchetta recipe. When we lived in Queens we were invited to the Osorio's house in Astoria for a wonderful feast. Chef Osorio works at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, he's actually from Bogota Colombia and his wife Jen is from Queens. I can't remember his name, anyway he is an amazing chef! He prepared a traditional Porcehetta in a La Caja China, which is a wooden or metal box you grill a whole pig in basically. His porchetta was a huge piece of pork rolled with fennel, and other traditional seasonings. He had my husband Parley cut it into slices, Parley sliced it into one inch thick slices. Which at the time I'm thinking these dinner plate inch thick pieces of porchetta are enormous! It was the most delicious, flavorful, and moist pork I'd ever tasted. I didn't think anything about trying to make it myself since I didn't have any way to cook something that big or even know where to find such a huge piece of pork. Then I saw that Holiday special from America's Test Kitchen I mentioned earlier and the chef used a manageable easy to find pork butt roast and I knew then I could make porchetta in my home kitchen. While at the store I saw pork butt steaks and decided why cut slits in the fat cap of a huge roast and try to flavor a huge butt roast when I could flavor each layer and use the steaks, that's my contribution to this recipe. Funny enough I went to a local Italian market to get supplies for our second Christmas dinner we were having with our Serbian "daughter for the school year" and they had porchetta in the fridge section and they were huge one-inch dinner plate slices; so I apologize to my husband for dismissing his cutting skills. Did I mention we have a "daughter for the school year" from Italy and Serbia right now? Probably not, anyway they are loving the food and are great inspirations for our family trying new food from both Italy and Serbia. Mina is our Serbian "daughter for the school year" and Camilla is our Italian "daughter for the school year." I've been preparing our holiday meals according to some of the food they normally, like Christmas for example. By way of a little known fact we have just learned, the Serbian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar for holiday's so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and Easter is also a week later than we traditionally celebrate it. We'll be having two Easter Celebrations as we did for Christmas and highlight some Italian and Serbian holiday celebrations.
2-3 lbs Pork Butt Steaks
3 Tablespoons Fennel Seed
1/2 Cup Fresh Rosemary
1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
12 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grind Together all the herbs, and spices in a blender or coffee grinder.
If making in a blender you can add the olive oil and grind and mix together into a paste.
Using a boning knife remove the t-bones from the steaks.
Rub paste between each steak and stack the steaks together.
Using three lengths of butcher twine, tie the layers together, double the first part of the knot to make it easier to get a secure knot.
Put on a rack of a roasting pan in the fridge, allow it to dry for up 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place pork in the oven covered with aluminum foil for 2 hours, make sure the pork reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees, remove foil from meat and place in a lined pan with foil, add meat to pan with twine removed. 15-20 minutes, Cook meat until an internal temperature of 190 degrees.
Rest 15 minutes, cut across the grain.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Years ago my family and extended family got together at PF Changs to celebrate my brother Todd's thirtieth birthday. It was my first experience having their food. We had the chicken lettuce wraps and oh my goodness they were so delicious! I've thought about those wraps and made them once or twice since then but this is my first time making them and sharing the recipe with all of you. I've changed and streamlined the process a little. I used whole chicken thighs, but you could substitute with preground chicken. Instead of iceberg lettuce, I opted for the pliable butter lettuce but if you like the crunchy lettuce then use iceberg. These were very delicious and a quick weeknight meal choice.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (1 1/2 lbs ground chicken)
6 Cloves Peeled Garlic
1 Vidalia Onion
1 Orange Bell Pepper
2 Heads Butter Lettuce
1 Cup Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
2 Teaspoons Cold Water
Cut the bell pepper into large chunks, peel and cut the onion into quarters. Pulse the vegetables in a food processor into a rough dice. Cut the chicken thighs into quarters, add to the food processor. Process on high until chicken is ground and mixed with vegetables.
Blend hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar in a blender. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce in a separate container.
Cook meat mixture over medium-high heat until meat is browned, add remaining sauce and reduce until thickened. After it has reduced by half add a slurry of the cornstarch and water blended together. Remove from heat and serve spoonfuls in lettuce leaves with drizzled reserved sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.