Tag Archives: pork

Caramel Pork Ribs

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I live in a small city (Reno, NV) nestled on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. A short drive west takes you to amazing outdoor recreation, including Lake Tahoe. Drive any other direction and it doesn’t take you long to get to very rural countryside.

One benefit to living in a city like Reno is that it is fairly easy to find local ranchers selling pasture-raised meats (local produce is a different story; growing veggies in the high desert is tricky). I have been buying grass-fed beef from Alpine Ranch for several years now. The beef is delicious as well as nutritious, and I love supporting a local, family-owned business.

I recently purchased a quarter share of heritage Berkshire pork from Alpine Ranch. We haven’t eaten much of it yet, but what we have tried has been wonderful. The bacon is delicious! I have a giant fresh ham that I plan on roasting for Easter.

How is all this related to Cook the Book Fridays? We made Caramel Pork Ribs and I used a rack of spare ribs from my quarter share of pork!

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Caramel Pork Ribs is a great recipe. It starts by making caramel. Add in brown sugar, beer, bourbon, cider vinegar, ketchup, ginger, soy sauce, harissa, Dijon mustard, and freshly ground pepper to make a wonderful sauce. The pork ribs, which have been cup up into 3-rib portions, are added to the sauce and roasted for a couple of hours. The end result is tender ribs with a flavorful, sticky sauce.

These ribs were a big hit at my house! My husband liked them a lot but said the sauce needed a little “more” (I’m guessing more tang like a barbecue sauce?). My daughter didn’t seem interested in her serving, but then I coaxed her into trying a bite, and next thing I knew her plate was clean. I will definitely be making these again.

Cook the Book Fridays is an online cooking group, currently making our way through David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen. We don’t share his recipes (you should buy the book!), but you can find the recipe for Caramel Pork Ribs on page 187.

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Coeur à la Crème (and a Couple Catch-Ups!)

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was a Valentine’s Day-themed dessert.  Coeur à la Crème means “heart with cream”.  The dessert is most traditionally made in a heart-shaped mold.

I have never had anything quite like Coeur à la Crème before.  Cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel) is blended with plenty of whipped cream and a bit of confectioner’s sugar.  It is flavored with vanilla and optional liqueur.  I chose to use crème de cassis.

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Next, the mixture is poured into the mold and allowed to sit overnight.  I appreciated that Dorie suggested using a cheesecloth-lined strainer in place of the heart-shaped Coeur à la Crème mold.

I am not quite sure how to describe this dessert.  Dorie  says it has “a texture so light you could fool yourself into thinking you were eating sweetened air”.  That’s pretty close.  I think it’s kind of like ice cream that isn’t frozen.  However you describe it, I loved the flavor!

My daughter ate the serving I used for photos (she loved it!), but my husband and I waited until after she went to bed to eat ours as a Valentine’s Day treat.  I served it with a home made strawberry sauce.

Catching Up

This week I also made last week’s recipe, Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin.

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We agreed with the general consensus that this dish was only OK.  It was fine, but I have many other pork recipes I would prefer to make.  I also didn’t care for the way the onions were cooked.  I would have preferred to have them sauteed before adding the orange juice.

In other catching-up news, I also made Hachis Parmentier, which the group made in their very first month!  For those who don’t have the book, it is like a French version of Shepherd’s Pie.  It was homey and delicious!  We all loved it.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Pork Fried Rice (Remembering House of Rice)

There used to be an Asian shop in Seattle called House of Rice, located in the University District (the neighborhood surrounding the University of Washington).  House of Rice was on the south end of “The Ave“, a fun street filled with funky shops and restaurants.

The original handout from class (click to enlarge)

Soon after my family moved back to Seattle in the late 1970’s, my Mom took some Chinese cooking classes at House of Rice.  She learned how to make won tons, won ton soup, and fried rice, among other things.  Throughout my childhood she made these dishes on a regular basis, and my family still uses the fried rice recipe as our go-to recipe.  It’s been years since I’ve had the won tons, but they are so good (but time-consuming to make).

When I was in high school I had to take the city bus to get home in the afternoon.  One of the routes I took left me with a 20 – 30 minute wait in the University District.  I often made quick jaunts out to shops on The Ave, Tower Records being one of my favorite stops (back when it was filled with vinyl records and cassette tapes!).  Another of my favorite stops was House of Rice.  I loved looking at the exotic Chinese and Asian goods.  There were food items, dishes, cookware, and all sorts of other trinkets and decor.  When I was a little older and ready to buy my first wok, House of Rice is where I went.  Certain smells, particularly Chinese five spice powder, always take me back to that store!

All that remains of House of Rice now are memories and copies of those recipes.  I made the fried rice recently and was reminded of just how good it is.

Pork Fried Rice

Print Recipe

Have all the ingredients prepared before starting.

  • 1/2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup diced barbecued pork (about 4 oz.), purchased or homemade
  • 8 oz. bean sprouts, washed and drained
  • 4 – 6 cups cooled cooked rice
  • 4 – 6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

To prepare the mushrooms, place them in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over to cover.  Soak until mushrooms are soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain the mushrooms, remove the tough stem, and slice.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high to high heat.  When hot, add the beaten eggs and stir-fry until set.  Add the barbecued pork, mushrooms, and bean sprouts and stir-fry for an additional minute.  Add the rice to the wok or pan.  Break it apart with a spatula and stir-fry until rice is heated through, at least 5 minutes.  Add the green onions and soy sauce.  Stir to mix thoroughly.  Taste for salt; add salt or more soy sauce if needed.

Serves 4 – 6

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Chard-Stuffed Pork

Chard-Stuffed Pork Chop with Roasted Potatoes

I am a few days late posting this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, but it was such a good one that I didn’t want to miss it!  The recipe is called “Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast”.  As you can see the picture above is not a pork roast.  I actually made the stuffed pork roast earlier this year for Valentine’s Day.  This time I decided to try stuffing pork chops instead.

The stuffing is a delicious blend of Swiss chard, onion, garlic, onions, raisins, and spices.   I made half the recipe since I was only stuffing two chops.  I found some lovely, thick, bone-in pork chops.  I sliced them open like a book, added the stuffing, and then sealed them shut with toothpicks. The outside of the chops were rubbed with a blend of crushed peppercorns and coriander seeds.

First I pan-fried the chops to brown them.

Browning the Chops

I then added a little water to the pan, covered it, and placed it in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.  The result was a delicious, juicy, stuffed pork chop!

Stuffed Chops

I LOVED my pork chop! I think I liked this recipe as a stuffing for pork chops even more than I liked the stuffed pork roast (and I liked it that way too).  My husband didn’t care for the stuffing as he is not a fan of bitter greens, but he enjoyed his chop anyway.

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