Category: Pork

Spring Roll Party

A great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family is to invite them over for a culinary adventure!  I asked two of my friends, Gene and Hong, to walk me through Vietnamese spring roll making, and they both agreed to educate and share their experience with me.      

 To save money and time, Gene, Hong and I decided to share the task and cost of preparing some things at home the day before doing the spring rolls.  I boiled two pounds of shrimp, Gene BBQ’d a pork loin, and Hong brought some fried tofu from a local vendor.  Here’s how Gene and I prepared our stuff…     

 Gene’s BBQ’d Pork Loin     

  1. In a ziploc bag add ground black pepper, garlic powder and a squirt of Sriracha hot chili sauce.
  2. Add loin to mix and shake it up
  3. Marinade for1 hour
  4. Grill, sear and smoke the loin
  5. Add BBQ sauce at the end

Yvette’s Shrimp Boil      

  1. Thaw a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp, devained and shelled
  2. Boil water and add shrimp with shell on
  3. Scoop the shrimp out when they float to the top (small strainer helps)
  4. Let them cool and then peel off the shell

(I could have put some Cajun spices to the boil but I didn’t think of it)     

On the day we planned to make these spring rolls, we first went to an Asian supermarket, and for me this was the intimidating part!  Most staff are willing to help but the easiest way is if you have an Asian friend to take you on a small tour. (Thanks, Hong!)  This author was surprised to discover fresh and inexpensive herbs there!   Compare prices at your local Asian market vs. regular grocery store and be amazed!  

Here’s how we did all the prep work the day of of spring rolling…     

 Peanut Sauce Prep     

  1. Saute 4-5 shallot cloves, chopped
  2. Once the shallots are caramelized, throw in 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  3. 1 cup of hoison
  4. 1/3 of a jar of peanut butter
  5. 1 cup of water (or as much as desired in thickness)
  6. Dash of rooster sauce or Tabasco sauce to taste

Rice Noodle Prep      

  1.  Boil the rice noodles or bun (pronounced like boon) for about 5-8 minutes for a softer noodle
  2. Separate the noodles in small clumps in a large strainer for easier pickin’s
  3. Rinse the bun two times in cold water

Herb Prep      

  1. Wash the curly lettuce twice
  2.  Soak and wash twice the cilantro (Ngo), Thai basil (Que), mint (Kanh Gioi), lemon herb (Rau ram). thin leeks (He).  For a spicier mix add spearmint (Hung Cay) or peppermint (Hung Hui).

 Okay!  Let’s put all these things together!!!  

 
For a recipe on crispy spring rolls, check out my article on Associated Content.  
 
 

           Introduction to Asian Cuisine with Dorothy Huang
If you were ever frustrated about how your attempts at Asian cooking turn out, it’s possible you might be tempted to give up and just order in.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2972480/introduction_to_asian_cuisine_with.html?cat=22     

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Slow Cooker HOT Texas Chili

HOT Texas Chili

HOT Texas Chili

I love a great chili. I have participated in many chili cook-offs, but rarely place because I like my chili HOT. If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. The following is my basic chili recipe minus my 3 secret ingredients. When you make chili you always need to have a secret ingredient or three. I have different recipes based on the method of cooking, this one is for a 6 hour slow cooker. Of course you can substitute different chili’s and spices to taste.

I find that adding sweet tends to allow people to take the heat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chuck (80/20), large grind preferred
  • 1 pound chorizo, large grind preferred
  • 1/2 pound diced chuck (1/4 inch cubes)
  • Chilies
    • 3 Serrano chilies, chopped
    • 4 Thai chilies, chopped
    • 2 Red Habanero, chopped
    • 3 Red Hot Holland chilies, chopped
    • 3 Red Fresno chilies, chopped
    • 1 Poblano chili, chopped
    • 2 Red Dulce Mediteraneo chilies, chopped
    • 3 Jalapeño chilies, chopped
    • 2 dried New Mexico chilies, whole
    • 2 dried Cascabel chilies, whole
  • Spices
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher or Sea Salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (I use my own blend)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 3/4 tablespoon fennel seed
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 8 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Secret ingredients 1 (H), 2 (O) and 3 (T)

Directions:

Add wine and tomatoes to slow cooker set on low. Brown chuck, chorizo and diced chuck. Add to slow cooker undrained. Mix well. Prepare onion, fennel, garlic and chilies, add and stir in to slow cooker. Add spices and mix well. At about the 2 hour mark add brown sugar and mix well. Slow cook for 6 hours on low.

Serve in deep bowl with crackers and beer.

A nice spin to this dish is to add 1/2 to 3/4 pound of diced peeled deviened shrimp in the last hour of cooking.

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Italian Sausage Faux Risotto

Some may not consider this a real risotto but it’s close.  All of the ingredients are there but the exact preparation is not quite true to a traditional risotto. In this recipe the fat comes from the sausage, the wine is added at the end rather than the beginning, and the Romano is not stirred in. In any case, it’s a very tasty dish.

Italian Sausage Risotto

Italian Sausage Risotto

In a traditional risotto, the rice is cooked briefly in butter or olive oil to coat the grains with fat. White wine is added and absorbed by the grains. When the wine evaporates, the heat is raised to medium high and hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly.  Stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At about 17 minutes from when the wine evaporated,  take the rice off the heat and dice cold butter and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese.  Whip in the cheese and butter to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb mild Italian sausage or hot Italian sausage, (2-3 links) casing removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chopped onion, red preferred
  • 1 bell pepper, rough chop
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, rough chop
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Directions:

In a large frying pan, cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking into small pieces, approximately 4 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, Anaheim peppers, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, approximately 3 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. Add rice and mix well. Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once. Add white wine, stirring often and simmer approximately 5 minutes or until rice is tender and creamy. Stir in tomato. Top with Romano cheese and serve immediately.

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Italian Sausage Meat Sauce

Fucilli tossed with Meat Sauce and garnished with Grated Romano Cheese

Fucilli tossed with Meat Sauce and garnished with Grated Romano Cheese

Any pasta can be used with this meat sauce which is also known as a bolognese.  I normally use Fusilli because the meat sauce clings to it easily. I serve this meal in a bowl with a spoon and top it with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, medium chop
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced (red preferred)
  • 2 tomatoes diced (approximately 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 4 1/2 ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed

Directions:

Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until semi soft being careful not to burn them. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned. Drain sausage.

In pot with drained sausage, stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix in oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, cumin, fennel seed, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 1-2 hours, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.

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Sausage Wraps

During college football season, a Saturday afternoon backyard barbeque or grill session is almost a given. One of the dishes I love to cook in these situations is sausage wraps. Sausage wraps are very easy and always a hit.

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium to large bell peppers. I prefer to use 1 each of green, red, yellow and orange.
  • 1 medium to large onion. I prefer to use 1/2 of a white and 1/2 of a red.
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • Spray butter
  • 10 – 12 Sausages. I prefer to use Italian Hot, Mild or Sweet
  • 10 – 12 Flour Tortillas. I prefer a specialty tortilla made local called a Southwestern Tortilla.
  • Dijon mustard

Directions:

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Julianne the bell peppers and Anaheim pepper; Anaheim julianned slices should be cut in half. Slice onion in to 3/8 inch rounds, cut each round in half, remove any odd shaped pieces. Add bell and Anaheim peppers and onions into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Add salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, worcestershire sauce and chopped butter. Mix thoroughly.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees. Add one half of the vegetables each to a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap. To a second piece of aluminum foil, add the first bundle but flip such that the unfolded side is up. Place on grill such that folded side of outer bundle is face down. Grill 20 minutes then flip and grill an additional 20 minutes.

Sausage should be cooked for 30 minutes, flipping sides every 5 minutes.

Spray tortillas with butter and place on grill 1 minute both sides.

Ready to wrap and eat

Ready to wrap and eat

Serve sausage on top of tortilla, adding vegetables to taste. Top with Dijon mustard.

This dish could also be made vegetarian by simply omitting the sausage and piling on the vegetables.

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