Jer: Braised Pork Belly
In search of pork belly I found home. None of my usual markets would sell me a cut less than 10 pounds and in desperation I went in search of a German meat market that someone had mentioned in casual conversation when we first moved here. “There is a German meat market in
Next door to Tip Top Market is a green market with fresh produce picked from fields in
I took home six pounds of pork belly for less than $20 and I couldn’t help but relish in how inexpensive and divine this meal was going to be. With six pounds to play with I decided to cook this obscure treasure in two batches. The first I would do according to Mr. Colichio’s recipe. Braise, remove skin, score fat and re-cook at 400 to brown the top. Thursday night, in between Olympic figure skating performances, I accomplished this task. The second night called for a different preparation – an identical braise but remove all of the fat and do not do the final step of high heat cooking. Instead let the fork tender pork cool in its own juices before it heads into the icebox for the night.
A favorite old CD was playing, and my Argentine malbec was too good to not cook a little more while the pork belly was braising. First up was braised cabbage. If you have never tried this dish, promise me you will as there is nothing more comforting than a $2 dish that tastes like much, much more. It cooks in the oven with any meat braise, tastes better the next day, and is so easy you might wish your mother taught you this dish before you headed off to college when cooking gourmet on a budget was almost unheard of. With some leftover pancetta, a half-empty container of chicken stock and a splash of my malbec, I finished off the night by cooking the beluga and French green lentils I found at Tip Top.
My sweet cousin Teena would be joining us for dinner on Saturday. She is in all respects, a sister and my dearest female companion here in
Pete is in
Perfect braised cabbage
¼ cup good olive oil
¼ cup chicken stock
Salt, pepper, red pepper
Cut cabbage into eight wedges. Slice onion into slivers. Chop carrot into whatever size you like. Put all the vegetables in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and stock. Sprinkle salt, pepper and red pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 300 for two hours. Turn cabbage wedges over half-way through braise. If it dries out add stock. When fork tender, remove foil, turn heat up and cook until vegetables are beautifully browned.
My favorite lentils
Cook this on a weekend as it is wonderful as a mid-week meal served over sauteed greens.
2 cups lentils
4 cups stock
Handful of pancetta
Cook pancetta and onions in olive oil. Add lentils and stir. Add a splash of red wine and reduce. Add stock and simmer until lentils are tender. Half-way through cooking add carrots. When finished emulsify with a tablespoon or two of good olive oil.
Auntie Eva’s Chocolate Cake
¾ cup cocoa
1 1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup butter
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 ¼ cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
4 tbps flour
2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbps butter
It is the condensed milk and evaporated milk that makes this a Filipino dessert. Perhaps it’s the monotonous heat causing a dearth of cows and goats in the
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add milk. Combine dry ingredients. Bake at 350 until set, 20-25 minutes. Don't overcook as it will dry out.
Cook all of the icing ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Stir on medium/low until its really thick and the right consistency.
Prepare icing and use as a filling as well as a frosting. Melt white chocolate and add whatever color makes you happy. Dot with colored white chocolate, let set, set on an elegant white cake platter and serve to those you love.
Ps, I would make 1.5 times the icing as its really good and you want extra icing in the middle.