L and I made tacos yesterday for a couple friends. Post forthcoming on our food-centric weekend, including a Sunday afternoon replete with masa and pork butt, but here’s a taste: carnitas on corn tortillas with a trio of salsas, mango, roasted serrano, and tomato. Everything homemade–with TLC, of course. Pickled red onions, cilantro and limes for garnish. A lovely midday repast to cap off a beautiful long weekend that bestowed us with more than our fair share of sunshine and good eats.
This past weekend, my friend L came up for a reprieve from her busy life as a law student in NYC. Friday’s petulant weather gave way to a beautiful Saturday, which we enjoyed to the fullest. We had a lovely lunch spread courtesy of the Boston Local Food Festival, where we also sampled local cheeses, meats (sniffed out the bacon from five stalls over), and baked goods, and caught some cheese-making action and the beginnings of a seafood throwdown. Here’s a rundown of what we ate/saw:
Scones hanging out, looking pretty tasty, if a bit unconventionally shaped:
I marinated the pork chop with salt and brown sugar, then pan-fried it with soy sauce and garlic. The pasta I made not by boiling but risotto-style a la Bittman. I prefer this method because you dont have to wait for a pot of water to boil, and I usually stand over the stove while I am cooking anyway. And the pasta basically stews in its own starchy goodness. Cavatappi squiggles in all the right places, great for trapping flavor, and I have declared my love for it before. I cooked the pasta with chunks of butternut squash and spinach, all in the same pot, with lots of black pepper. The squash cooked in about half the time the pasta did, though if you want it soft enough to mush into a sauce, then I suggest just cooking them together at once.
I am still feeling under the weather and called in sick today. I always thought people eat less when they are sick but I think I actually eat more. Is that unusual? Do you guys eat more or less when you get sick?
This past weekend J was generous enough to host a BBQ gathering for our high school gang, and my contribution were some Vietnamese-style spring rolls to provide verdancy to the culinary affair, however self-conscious and out of place they must have felt among the platters of burgers, hotdogs, and buffalo wings, and the Costco tub of radioactive-orange cheese balls that was polished off by the end of the evening (it had to be referenced). I don’t eat spring rolls often, and am generally not the biggest enthusiast of Vietnamese cuisine, but do think they are a good number for the summer with such light, refreshing ingredients and a simple, almost heat-less preparation. For economic and practical reasons I opted to use Chinese barbeque roast pork instead of shrimp in the filling. I might actually prefer the roast pork to shrimp in these spring rolls, probably because the crustacean in the versions I’ve had in the past have almost always been bland and unappetizingly limp. The sauce was a tasty one, velvety and rich with mild heat (that’s easily adjustable). I even stole away the leftovers in anticipation of lavishing it on anything from a fried egg sandwich to sliced tomatoes to a big cold bowl of udon noodles and julienned cucumbers. That sauce should be made and used more often; I bet it would also make a killer base for a thick winter stew. I based it off this recipe from Rasa Malaysia, using about half a 20 oz bottle of hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup of peanut butter, an indulgent handful of minced garlic, and rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili sauce to taste. And a bit of hot water to loosen up the peanut butter and achieve the desired saucerific consistency. Good (food + friends) = good times. It’s simple arithmetic.
The spread, pre-rolling: 1 pound of roast pork, mint and basil, chives, cukes, the green leafy parts of a lettuce head (I used romaine, but boston or iceberg would probably work better), and rice noodles. The roast pork was my limiting ingredient — I was able to make about 45 or 50 small rolls from the pound I had.
Roast pork was probably my favorite childhood meat. The sight of that viscous honey barbeque sauce dripping slowly off the bottoms of the roasted pork chunks, the glistening meat striated with fat, hung like martyrs on those metal hooks awaiting their demise, still mesmerizes me every time.