Archive for Pork

February 23rd, 2010


Valentine dinner this year was a simple affair. We wanted to stay in because it was cold out, it was a Sunday, and I wasn’t feeling well. Besides, homemade meals just taste a little bit better than a plate from a fancy restaurant. There is that whole business of having to wash dishes afterwards but those can wait until the next day. We chose a simple menu of Bolognese sauce on angel hair pasta, French bread, and a Tarte Tatin (recipe to come later). I meant to make a spinach salad with a balsamic dressing too but I absolutely forgot all about it. It wasn’t really missed. Note that this recipe will make a ton of food. You will be having delicious leftovers for days, or you can feed about 5-6 people. This sauce is a labor of love because it takes a while for it to cook, approximately 2-3 hours.


Olive oil
Mirepoix: diced onions, celery and carrots
5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork or veal
3 lbs tomatoes, chopped, or two cans of whole tomatoes
1 ½ cup wine
1 ½ cup milk
Basil (preferably fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
2 packages of fresh pasta

In a large pot, heat up some olive oil on medium heat. Throw in the mirepoix and let it sweat for a few minutes. When the onions become translucent, throw in the garlic. Mix mix mix.

Dump all the meat into the pot, beef and pork. Some recipes call for ground veal so use that instead of the pork if you got it. We opted not to use it because veal is a little pricier, and I just feel bad eating it. It reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Lisa goes vegetarian. “Leeeesa, I thought you loooooved meeee.”

Anyway. Let the meat brown. There is a lot of meat so it will take a while but do not skip or rush over this part. It is important! Browned meat is good meat. Season with salt and pepper.

When the meat looks good and ready, shove in all the tomatoes you’ve got. Three pounds sounds like a lot but they disintegrate to almost nothing but juice by the time this is done, so don’t be shy. Canned is fine too, if you don’t feel like getting tomato juice all over your chopping board. Chopping up that much tomatoes can be a pain but to me cutting up veggies is a little cathartic, so go with what you feel like.

Pour in the wine. Take a little swig for yourself. Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone, you lush.

Pour in the milk too, but make sure it is warm first. Don’t go pouring in cold milk into a hot pot. It’ll curdle and get all gloopy and disgusting.

Bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Leave it uncovered. Now the waiting game starts. You have to wait and let the sauce reduce. It is still worrisomely watery at this point but walk away and knit or something. Seriously. This will take a while.

Check on it a couple of times and stir it up a bit. Skim off the glistening layer of oil that comes to the surface but don’t go crazy. We’re not trying to diet here. Obviously.

Set your Delorean to 3 hours ahead and now we have a gorgeous sauce. Put in some salt and pepper. Our professor-chef tells us to keep adding salt and pepper to enhance the flavors; once it stops enhancing the flavors, stop adding stuff. I know that sounds like a bunch of nonsense but I promise it will start to make sense when you cook regularly. It means season a little at a time, then taste, then season some more if you need to. Don’t put in too much because in cooking, you can always add but it’s harder to subtract. Put some basil in there. Dried is fine but fresh is better. My fresh basil withered away, booo, so I had to use the dried stuff. Just another reminder to start on an herb garden.

We bought some fresh pasta for this occasion. You can find it refrigerated in your local grocery, usually near where the cheeses are. You can use the boxed stuff but if you’re going through all the trouble of making a really good sauce, you might as well spring for some fresh pasta too, right? They’re not all that expensive anyway, at about $2 a package. Plus they take 60 seconds to cook. For realz. You dump them into boiling water and by the time you sing ABCs three times, they’re ready to come back out. You have to sing it loud though. It’s in the cooking directions. At the top of your lungs is better.

Okay, are we hungry yet? Here you go. Serve with love. And French bread. And wine.

PS: I know that it’s been a long time since Valentines. I meant to post this sooner but a lot of stuff happened between now and then… including our engagement. :) I’ll try to be better about posting regularly now that that’s out of the way. 😉

Posted under Beef, Pasta, Pork | 7 Comments
February 4th, 2010

Fart You, Farter!

A lot of my friends are big fans of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I’ve seen a couple of episodes myself and sure, that shit’s funny. But honestly I can’t watch it because of Meatwad.


I know, he’s the cute and innocent one. But he’s an uncooked meatball. With hair. And a tooth. It gives me the heebie jeebies whenever I look at him.

Today’s recipe somewhat resembles Meatwad but I promise it is delicious and not at all off-putting. I saw this on one of Emeril’s shows, and though I turned the volume down to avoid a lot of the BAMs, I knew it was the answer to my longtime meatloaf quandary.

See, in general, I enjoy foods comprised of mashed meatstuffs:  meatballs, burgers, sausage. So really I want to like meatloaf. The problem I’ve always had with it is that it dries out like a brick. Ketchup can save it… sometimes… but really most of the flavor gets all cooked out when the moisture is zapped out.

The fact that Emeril cooks his meatloaf in a pool of broth was something of a revelation to me, and I’ve been cooking it this way ever since. Plus it gives you enough juices for gravy! Seriously, win-win.

Meatloaf, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/2 yellow onion, finely minced
1/2 bell pepper, finely minced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 to 1 cup Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, add beef, pork, onions, peppers, garlic, eggs, cream, and bread crumbs. Blend thoroughly. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into a loaf and place on the prepared pan. I use the Alton Brown method: cover a loaf pan with Saran wrap and use that to shape the meatloaf. Invert it over your (bigger) pan and peel the Saran wrap off.

Pour the stock over the meatloaf and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally. Mine only seem to need 1 hour in the oven but this depends on how thickly you shaped your meatloaf.

Remove the pan from the oven. Using a long spatula, remove the meatloaf from the pan. Place the roasting pan on the stove, over high heat. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 2 tablespoons water. Whisk the slurry into the gravy. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook for few minutes, stirring constantly. Season the gravy with salt and pepper. Serve with a spoonful of gravy.

We ate ours with some of Boyfriend’s mashed potatoes, (which involves a lot of butter, heavy cream, a splash of beef broth, and a generous dash of garlic salt), some sauteed corn-from-a-can, carrots, and some ready-made dinner rolls. Mmm, comfort food.

So if I like mashed meats so much, would I cook meatloaf any other way? You know that I would do anything for love… of meat… but I won’t do that…

(Sorry, but you know I HAD TO)

Speaking of Meatloaf, Boyfriend and I have frequent shitty-movie watching parties and incidentally Mr. Loaf was in a movie we recently watched. Check out the review.

Posted under Beef, Pork | 4 Comments
February 2nd, 2010

Pork Menudo ala Teleconference

We had to call Mom long-distance to get her recipe for this, to make sure we were doing it right. We kept her on the phone almost the entire time we were cooking, alternately gossiping about friends and asking if the stew should be that color. My sister Daphne did pretty much all of the cooking while I took pictures. Mom supervised over the phone.

Mexican menudo, it should be noted, is not at all the same thing as Filipino menudo.  The Mexican version has tripe and peppers while the recipe you see here is a tomatoey pork stew.

Additionally, this recipe is what me and my family think of as menudo, but I know others call it afritada. I’m not sure what the difference is as they are both tomato-based stews, so if someone can enlighten me, please do!

6 cloves of garlic (or less, we like our stuff really garlicky)
1/2 a medium sized yellow onion
1 lb tomatoes (about 4 large roma)
1 large potato (Yukon works great)
1 bell pepper
2 lbs fatty pork
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 bouillon cube
1 cup water

Finely chop the garlic. My sister recommends to sprinkle salt on the garlic so the knife doesn’t get all sticky.


Slice the onion and the tomatoes. My mom’s rule of thumb: one pound of tomatoes for every two pounds of pork. You can use a large can of tomatoes instead but we find those to be more tart and you will have to balance it out with a little bit of sugar. Dice up the bell pepper (take the seedy stuff out). Cut up the potato into small cubes. Slice up the pork into bite-size chunks. My sister bought what looks to be a cut of pork belly but the label wasn’t really clear.



On medium heat, in a large pot (or an awesome red Dutch oven you got for Christmas if you’re me), put in a couple of tablespoons of oil then throw in the onions and the garlic. Let them get fragrant then throw in the tomatoes too.

They’re starting the party! Stir occasionally. Juices will come out and it will get pretty watery in there. This is what we want. Juicy is good.

Once the onions and tomatoes get pretty soft, about 3 minutes, and there’s a fair amount of liquid in there, throw in the pork. Mash the bouillon cube with your fingers and sprinkle over the pork. Let the meat get to a brownish color, stirring occasionally, then pour in about a cup of water.

Let the pork get cooked most of the way (this shouldn’t take long if you cut it into little pieces, about 15 minutes). Pour in the 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and add in the diced bell pepper and potatoes. Cover and let sit for about 15-20 minutes or until both the pork and potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you add in a touch of sugar to liven things up a bit, I’ll look the other way.

There a lot of optional ingredients you can add to this if you like, such as peas and carrots. You’ll want to add the carrots in along with the potato since it will take a while to get them soft, but add the peas towards the end of cooking because it won’t take long for those little guys to get done.

This dish is almost better the next day because the tomatoes… have acid… and does things… I don’t know. Science happens and then it is even tastier.

Serve with rice of course.