Skewed Pork, Thai Style

I’m so happy to announce that I made another Thai dish that turned out well!

Rejoice!

It’s a skewer recipe which is pretty difficult to fail at, but I don’t care. I haven’t had the best luck with this Thai cookbook and I’m taking this win no matter small of a win it is.

As you may have guessed this Skewered Thai Pork recipe comes from The Everything Thai Cookbook. Now, sit back, relax, and let me regale you with how to make this wonderful little pork snack.

What you’ll need

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • t tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 pound of pork, thinly sliced into long strips
  • 20-30 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 1 hour

First step is to get a mixing bowl and pour in the sugar, salt, garlic, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Mix all those guys together and then toss in the pork and mix it until it’s skin is glossy and shiny.

Then cover this mix, stick it in the fridge, and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you are able to be more patient, it’s recommended to pull an overnighter. I do recommend this,  because when it comes to marinating good things truly come to those who wait.

Once your marinating time is over, you can thread that sweet, sweet meat onto your skewers.

The cookbook calls for bamboo skewers and advises that you should soak them in water for at least an hour to avoid a fire hazard. I do not own a grill and was too lazy and cheap to buy bamboo skewers. If this is also your reality, then ignore everything I wrote just now. Especially the part about me being lazy.

Whether you have metal skewers or bamboo, grill those puppies for about 3-5 minutes on each side and you should be good to go.

But Rachel, I don’t own a grill! What do I do?

Listen friends, neither does this girl but the internet is full of solved mysteries. If you don’t have a grill, you can get a similar effect when you set your oven to broil.

It’s that easy folks. The mystery is as complex as when you figured out your uncle wasn’t stealing your nose, but using his own thumb to fool you.

img_1540.jpg

Good things come to those who marinate let me tell you! I tried several sauces of mine with my skewers and honestly I preferred just eating it plain because the meat was so flavorful.

What is this flavor that is so enjoyable you ask! Well, fish sauce is an aggressive ingredient that is pungent and a little salty, but when you combine coconut with it, it tends to balance those flavors out.

You can’t taste the milkiness of the coconut either, it’s almost like multiplying two negative numbers and getting something positive. Although I personally love the taste of coconut. This is more of a comment on how both have distinctive and powerful tastes and I’m not saying anything negative about either ingredient!

Away with you internet trolls!

Anyway, what you’re left with when these flavors combine is a juicy tender meat that somehow reminded me of honey glazed ham. Why and how, I can’t explain. That just might be an unsolved mystery for the internet.

 

Advertisements

Panelle aka Sicilian Chickpea Biscuits

One might be surprised to find this chickpea recipe from Sicilian Cookery, but if one knew their history one should not be surprised.

Sicily, our favorite Italian island infamous for being the birthplace of the mafia has always been a bit wild. You could say it is Italy’s version of the wild, wild west.

If we scale back to the middle ages, back when Sicily was its own kingdom and ruled by the Normans, you’d find a kingdom “governed with considerable tolerance and flexibility.” (Hearder 66)

This was to accommodate the fact that Sicily was a Mediterranean melting pot. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Arabs, Italians, and Greeks all called Sicily their home.

The Normans handled this by allowing each culture, specifically the religious cultures to govern and judge their own people. For example, the Normans led by Latin law and the Muslims and Jews had their own set of rules.

This country of tolerance, I imagine bled into the culinary arts as well. This high influence of Mediterranean culture would certainly make good use of chickpeas. Why not make little chickpea biscuits then?

See how it all makes sense now? Good, let’s get to cooking then!

What you’ll need

  • 500 g or 3 cups of chickpea flour
  • water
  • salt

This is another simple recipe as you can probably ascertain by the ingredient list. All you need to do is boil salted water in a sauce pan. Once it’s boiling, slowly mix in the flour and churn that mixture with a wooden spoon until it becomes a thick paste.

Once we find the right consistency, pour that mixture onto a pan and then flatten into the thinnest layer you can muster. The cookbook even recommends using a mallet which I say use it if you got it. Anytime you can pound something without causing pain, I say do so. Got to get out aggression when we can folks.

When you have pounded out your nice thin layer, grab a circular device, whether that be a cookie cutter, a circular ravioli cutter (this is what I used) or the rim of a glass and make little round biscuits.

These biscuits will then be thrown into a frying pan of hot oil. Fry them up until they are lightly browned and then enjoy!

IMG_1532

Rachel Speth (b. 1984) One Burned Biscuit Is Diversity, 2019 Oil in pan, on cat plate

I was excited to try this out, being part Sicilian and all. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

I’d have to consult a nutritionist to fact check this, but I feel like this may be a healthier alternative to biscuits. The frying in oil is problematic and could be the factor that rules this theory out. Either way, there’s a reason I called this Sicilian Biscuits and that’s the best comparison I can give you for this recipe.

Garbanzo flour is a little flaky and is much earthier in taste then regular biscuits. It’s not as airy and fluffy, but the taste is very similar.

I brought this to a 4th of July party and had no leftovers to bring home. Everyone was shocked when I told them how tasty and simple this was to make. These two factors warrant an Italian like aka you should try this.

Italianlike

The history lesson of Sicily came from the source below

Harry Hearder, Italy. A Short History (1990) Cambridge University Press

Darling Party Bread Spread

Olives know how to party according to Carol Darling from Tastes of Monroe County.

By the way, I didn’t know Darling was a real name. I thought that was just a cutsie thing made up for Peter Pan. The Darlings. Wendy Darling. Pan’s little precious.

I wonder if that’s why Tink was so annoyed with him. Maybe she felt he picked Wendy to give a thimble kiss to based on her last name. It seems something a man with Peter Pan syndrome would do right?

Sadly I’ve become a bitter lady and what once was a cute movie about a boy who got to fly and hang out with a badass fairy is now a metaphor of all the immature men out there promising you Neverland and not delivering.

That’s why it’s called Neverland, cause it’s never going to happen.

You know what can happen though? Olive party spreads.

So let’s forget about the Pans in our lives and deal with the bitterness by cooking.

What you’ll need

  • 1 cup of finely chopped pecans
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1 4 ounce jar of green pimento olives, finely chopped

Another reason this recipe is your answer when recovering from bitterness about Pans is that all you have to do is combine all ingredients together and then stick in the fridge.

Like with Pan, you’ll have to wait around, but only for 6 hours and un-like Pan the olive spread will deliver on it’s promises.

Enjoy the spread with crackers or bread as the title suggests. You can party with either one. I myself chose crackers.

q8+y8e0qTs69Eb8X0g6inQ

If you just look at the ingredients in this spread it sounds very odd, but don’t discredit it. It’s actually palatable. I was pleased with the results. The consistency and taste were similar to a cream cheese, cheese ball my uncle makes. Which is scrumptious by the way.

The mayo combined with the egg created a smooth cheese-like texture while the olive, onions, and pecans assisted in giving a slightly bitter and chunky flavor. The olives did make it more bitter than a cheese ball, but I still feel like they are similar enough that you could call them first cousins.

Despite the similarities, I don’t think it’s a healthier alternative to a cheese ball. If your mind was going there. I’d need a nutritionist to look into it, but I’m pretty sure mayo is just as bad as cream cheese. It might be slightly less in calorie-intake, but not enough to justify as a replacement if you have a cheese ball addiction.

Whether you do or not, I recommend trying this spread out. It’s not difficult to make and most of you know I like to encourage trying new things. It makes life enjoyable.

Olives Rolled around in Fried Breadcrumbs

I have changed the translation of this recipe from Sicilian Cookery to the above, because I feel it is mis-leading. The cookbook translated Olive Con Pangrattato Fritto to Fried Breaded Olives. This puzzles me.

I know this is an authentic Italian cookbook that was translated into English because my sister got it for me when she visited Italy. The Italian portion should be correct but it doesn’t add up for me.

I studied Italian in college and I wouldn’t brag about my translation abilities, but I’m pretty sure fritto is Italian for fried. I did not know what pangrattato meant and had to look it up. It means breadcrumbs.

Olives = Olives, Con = with, Pangrattato = Breadcrumbs, and Fritto = Fried.When we put it all together and translate this literally, it’d be Olives with Fried Breadcrumbs.

Olives with Fried Breadcrumbs is a more honest and accurate translation in my opinion.

My current job is quality control for subtitles. I’ve seen a lot of languages pass my way and have encountered cases where translators debate on how to translate because just like certain words in English can mean the same thing, they can also be interpreted differently depending on where you live and/or the placement of such translated words.

In this case, I think the term fried solely applies to the breadcrumbs, whereas in the United States, when we say fried we mean the whole damn thing is fried. If it’s just one portion we are quick to point that out.

What can I say, we enjoy the delicacies of frying and to flat out translate this as Fried Breaded Olives, just makes it seem like it’s fried olives. It’s offensive I say to trick us like this!

Of course, I’m just joking around and translating is a hard gig. It’s a lot of pressure. You gotta be careful sometimes. Still at the end of the day, this translation is mis-leading. I’d reject it if I was translation q.c.

What you’ll need

  • 1 pound/3 cups of green olives, scored
  • 4 ounces/1 cup of dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • hot red pepper
  • olive oil
  • vinegar

The first step is to fry the breadcrumbs, do so by heating a little oil in your pan, adding the crumbs, and stirring continuously.

In a bowl, get your olives and toss them around with your seasoning of garlic and some chopped parsley that was not mentioned in the ingredient list for some reason.

To be fair, parsley is practically in every Italian recipe. It’s just something a chef of Italian cuisine should just know.

We will then add the hot pepper, olive oil, a pinch of vinegar, and the fried breadcrumbs.

Mix this well and serve!

I brought this recipe over to my friend’s place because I wanted verification that I was reading the recipe right. Despite knowing Italian I was thrown off by the whole fried breaded olives interpretation.

We read the instructions a couple of times and determined that was indeed not fried. So we moved forward and created the below.

fullsizeoutput_1a1

Blessed be the olives

I’m not going to lie, they’re a little odd, but they aren’t bad. Ultimately I don’t know if I liked this enough to make again. My friend seemed to like it, but I was on the fence. The breadcrumbs were just too crumbly for me.

What I liked most were the olives. Why bother spreading bread crumbs all over if they aren’t enhancing the taste?

This might be wonderful for some people, but I’ll admit I’m just not really feeling it. I recommend making this recipe but leaving the breadcrumbs out.

Then again, if you’re like me and enjoy trying new things, you really should just try it and decide for yourself.

Choose your own adventure folks. It’s the way of life.

 

Spicy Scallops

I am pleased to announce that I finally made something from The Everything Thai Cookbook that I actually liked.

Prepare your trumpets and your drumrolls,  cause that recipe is…. Spicy Scallops!!!

*The author of this cookbook recognizes that her food tastes are not refined enough to appreciate some of the previous recipes she has cooked in this book. She means no offense to Thai cuisine or people. She enjoys meals she’s had at Thai restaurants and recognizes that the issue lies with her and possibly her cooking skills.

What you’ll need

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 (1/2 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 8 large scallops

The first step is to prepare your sauté pan by placing that veggie oil in it and heating it up. Even food needs some foreplay guys. That is purposely directed towards guys in case you’re wondering as well.

Add the garlic, jalapeno, and ginger to your hot oil and cook for about a minute.

Next add the coriander, soy sauce, and water. Stir it together and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

Once cooked, strain the liquid and set aside for later.

Add the scallops once the pan has cooled for a bit and drizzle the strained sauce on top. Increase the heat to medium-high and cover the pan with a little bit of wiggle room for steam to escape. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

At this point your scallops should be ready to eat!

 

XYSZGDqrTHuwFvMvNhB%MA

Mmmm…spicy scallops

The final result is Thai restaurant quality. That’s saying something, becasue I like scallops, but am not a die hard fan. This recipe almost made me one.

The sauce is simple, with a bit of that salty bitter soy sauce taste, but it just glazes over those scallops and makes you want to slurp every last bite.

I think this soy, ginger, and jalapeno combo would make a great marinade for other meats as well. I look forward to making this again and hopefully you will too.

Olive Condite AKA Sicilian for Dressed Olives

Whenever I eat olives I think of this song called “Jerusalem” by Dan Bern.

A friend of mine from college introduced me to this song and when he showed it to me I was instantly hooked. I love songs that tell a story and this one most certainly does. It’s also a little quirky and funny at points. So you should check it out. It’s good stuff.

Towards the end of the song, Dan sings,

And all I ate was olives
Nothing but olives
Mountains of olives
It was a good ten days, I like olives
I like you too

Well thanks Dan, I like olives and you as well.

I think, anyway.  I’ve never met you. You could be a secret jerk.

Hopefully, like these olives from Sicilian Cookery, you’re far from it.

What you’ll need

  • 1 pound/3 cups of green olives
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Hot red peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar

Your first step is to crush the olives. You don’t have to completely beat them down, it’s mostly to get the inner olive juices flowing.

Once crushed, season them with garlic, basil, parsley, and chopped hot, red peppers. Place this mixture in a jar and add olive oil until the jar is almost filled. The remaining space will be filled with a few drops of vinegar.

Once you let it mix and marinate you’ll have no reason to go to that infamously expensive olive bar at Whole Foods! You’ll have your own!

Side note, I’ve calmed down a bit about Whole Foods because they do have standards on how they treat their animal products and I do support that. I just get irritated by how expensive their other items are. Some of it doesn’t seem necessary to me.

The final result is what can be expected if you enjoy olives. As some of you know, I’m a spice lover, and naturally those peppers combined with the olives left me in heaven.

If you’re not big on spice, however, there are alternatives the cookbook mentioned which consisted of seasoning with pickles and oregano.

No matter how you like your olives, if you want to be a good Sicilian, you gotta keep those olives on hand for all your important guests to snack on. You never know, they could be the next messiah.

img_0317.jpg

Mt. Etna of olives

Warm Oysters or How My Theory that I Prefer Hot Food was Validated

Warm Oysters with Balsamic Vinegar or as the French say, Les Huitres Tiedes au Vinaigre Balsamique is my final oyster recipe in French Farmhouse Cookbook.

Susan, the author, took a tour on the Breton shore and wined and dined with many an oyster farmer. One in particular suggested Susan try this method which has warmed me up to oysters and I think will be enjoyed by others as well.

There’s something about warm butter and seafood that is extremely comforting for me. The addition of balsamic adds to the warmth in taste without overshadowing the oysters.

I’m actually excited about eating oysters more and look forward to trying out different methods. I admittedly probably won’t make my own anymore. Making your own tends to require some forethought and a special shucking knife that I do not own.

This is a recipe that relies on your own good judgement as far as portions go. I have a feeling some of you might panic when you read that, but rest assured that even I didn’t screw it up.

The cookbook does have the following measurements for those who can’t handle that. I only got 6 oysters and eyed the rest myself.

  • 2 dozen small to medium oysters, scrubbed in the shell
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup best-quality balsamic vinegar

The first step is to pre-heat your oven. Yes you read that right. These oyster pups are gonna get baked.

yeah_half_baked

Don’t get excited, it’s not the kind of baked

Susan suggests that the best way to get the oysters baked is to arranged them on a baking sheet with the cup side down. Spreading salt on the sheet will help stabilize them if you have trouble keeping them balanced.

Once you place the oysters in the oven, you will bake for about 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and then pry them open as carefully as possible. Once you’ve pried them open, you can remove the outer shell.

The proper consumption method is as follows, drizzle a touch of butter. (When I say touch, I truly mean a miniscule amount. It won’t take much.) The final step is to add 2 to 3 drops of vinegar. You are now prepared for slurping! Enjoy!

IMG_2016

The butter can’t compete with the oyster’s sexiness