Pork Marinade

I bought a marinade that I really enjoyed . . . except for the burning stomach it caused. Why? Not sure. Probably coconut aminos, one of those things I should be able to eat but can’t. So the quest is . . . duplicate the taste without upsetting my gut. What I’ve got is really close and delicious.

This is a one-person recipe because I like sauces and spices and Wadly likes simpler stuff.

  • 1 medium tomatillo
  • 1 tbsp garlic/onion oil (I make it because I love the flavors)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp bone broth

I process it with an immersion blender. You could do the same thing with a blender, it’s just more things to wash when you’re done.

Cube the pork and dump it in a bowl with the marinade. Stir.

Do your veges . . . broccoli, carrot (saute these two while cutting up the other veges), yellow onion,  bell pepper (I used green and orange), mushrooms (I used shiitake).

Add the remaining veges to the carrots/broccoli. Cook until al dente, transfer to a bowl.

Add the pork and marinade to the pan. Cook until mostly done. Add the veges back to the pan and finish cooking.

It’s simple and really good!

A new take on egg salad

Have you every had egg salad that was actually a salad? It’s really good.

Of course I have to add lots of other things . . .

  • 2 hard boiled eggs (crumble the yoke, dice the white)
  • diced dill pickle
  • diced red pepper
  • diced yellow pepper (you don’t really need both but I like ’em)
  • sliced green onion
  • diced tomato
  • spring salad greens
  • Sir Kensington Mayo

This is a lovely salad. Stir the mayo into the egg and diced veges, stir in the lettuce . . yum!

For me, a big bowl of this is a lovely dinner. If you don’t want to have it as a stand alone dinner, pair it with pork chops or steak!

Substitutions

I love the taste of garlic. Because I can’t use garlic (high FODMAP) I frequently use garlic oil when cooking. With supply chain issues, it’s currently not available.

I’m occasionally not a very patient person. I’m perfectly happy to improvise when things aren’t going my way. Because the store is out of garlic oil, I decided to make my own.

I’m not a huge fan of olive oil, the base for commercial garlic oil. It’s too hard to get oil that’s truly 100% olive. Usually it’s mixed with something else, often soy which I don’t tolerate at all. This is a significant strike against commercial garlic oil. Is the oil used really 100% olive oil?

So . . . substitution for commercially produced garlic oil . . . I’m using sunflower oil, my preferred oil for everything.

I filled my 10″ cast iron pan with about 3 cups to which I added 2 head of thinly sliced garlic. I cooked it until the kitchen was filled with the heavenly (to me) smell of garlic. I have no clue how long I cooked it. It looked right, it smelled right . . .

I sifted out all the garlic slices and the result is . . . lovely. I’m using more than I would normally but I’m also into it for far far less than the cost of the prepackaged garlic oil.

Win win!

Commercial marinade that rocks!

I love stir fry but a good stir fry is hard to create without soy sauce . . . which I can’t eat. My “no soy is good soy” aversion extends to the soy lecithin used to make chocolate deliciously smooth. I just can’t do it. The guilty pleasure isn’t worth the subsequent pain.

New to my cooking is a soy free teriaki sauce that rocks! I was surfing through groceries filling my Walmart pickup order (Wadly won’t go in the store but he will pick up an order) and ran across this marinade. It’s really good!

So in addition to my chowder, to which I am still addicted, I now have another meal that’s going to be a regular favorite, stir fried pork.

On the differences in Chardonnay

When Wadly brought home my first bottle of chardonnay for cooking, he was working on the advice of the booze guy at the store and all was good. When I find something that works I stick with it and that’s what he got for me each time I needed a new bottle.

Fast forward to supply chain issues . . . and the wine I was used to seasoning around is currently unavailable. A LOT of wine that would be an adequate replacement is also no longer available. Wadly brought home a box of “house chardonnay”. Yup, not kidding. And the seasonings that go with my preferred choice do not work with “house chardonnay.” At all. My wonderful seafood chowder is not stellar with the new wine and the old spice mix.

If you’re trying my chowder and you’re singularly unimpressed, leave out the spices. Try the chowder with just the veges, broth, wine, cod, shrimp . . . and add fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a little bit of balsamic vinegar. From that point you can play with other spices if you feel the need. So far . . . I haven’t.

I know I’m going to want the additional spices when I return to my preferred chardonnay, but until the box wine is gone and our store shelves are restocked, this is a perfectly fine solution.

The (maybe) final word on seafood chowder

I’ve been making seafood chowder pretty much daily. Over the last couple weeks the recipe hasn’t changed. It is SO good! This will make two servings if you add sides (salad, garlic toast, fresh baked rolls, etc.) and choose to share. Otherwise, be a pig and eat it all yourself without sides. It’s worth it!

  • 3-4 large uncooked shrimp split lengthwise and cut into 3/4″ lengths
  • 1/4 lb Pacific cod cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 2 tomatillos (3 if they’re small, 1 if they’re large) Don’t leave these out. They add a necessary brightness to the dish
  • Green and red pepper diced into 1/4″ pieces
  • Green onion split lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ lengths
  • Tomato, 1 thick slice cubed
  • Broccoli, steamed and sliced fine, 1 cup
  • Shiitake mushroom. This is a texture item. Cube or dice
  • Bone or vegetable broth, 1 cup
  • White wine, 1/4-1/3 cup
  • Fish sauce, 2 tsp
  • Cilantro, 1 tbsp
  • Salt (the dish doesn’t need it but if you like salty stuff, add some!)
  • Gochugaru (Korean red pepper), 1 tsp. Use less or more depending on your taste.
  • Sour cream, 1/4 cup
  • Garlic oil
  • Butter

This is a bit fussy to make because things need to be added in the right order but is so awesome it’s totally worth it.

Clean and cut the broccoli into big pieces. Steam until not quite tender. I use my Instant Pot with a steamer basket. I set it for pressure cook, turn off the keep warm function and set the time to zero minutes. When the light goes off I release the pressure and remove the pot. I get the right tenderness every time. I can start the broccoli and prepare all the other veges while it’s coming up to pressure. By the time I’ve got them all chopped or diced and my pan started the broccoli is done.

I’m a huge fan of cast iron frying pans. I have a bunch. I use an 8″ deepish Lodge pan for this recipe. You could use a sauce pan or a bigger shallower pan . . . do what works for you.

Add butter and garlic oil to the pan. Once heated add all the veges except broccoli. Cook until nearly tender. If your pan starts to look a bit dry, add more butter. Add the broccoli. Cook until thoroughly warmed through. Add broth, wine, fish sauce, cilantro, gochugaru, salt to taste.

Once the mixture starts to simmer stir in the fish and shrimp. Adjust the temperature as necessary to keep the mixture at a very light simmer. Once the fish and shrimp is cooked through (be careful not to overcook) add the sour cream to the center of the pan (don’t stir it in yet) and turn the heat down to just below simmer.

Let sit about five minutes so the sour cream can come up to temperature. Stir the sour cream into the mix and serve.

 

 

Mickey’s Mariner’s Compass

I had planned to make a bog coat for my friend Mickey . . . but that’s just not going to happen. After making and wearing a bog coat I realized it was not going to be a garment she would wear more than once. It’s too bulky. It’s too awkward. It lacks shape. For people our shape and size it’s the equivalent of weary a bulky sack. Not good.

So I have this lovely start that was intended to be the center back of the bog coat which now needs to be repurposed into a 45″x60″ lap quilt, something Mickey will use often. I am imagining this as the compass rose of an oval mariner’s compass. I’ve made a mariner’s compass. They go together quite quickly using the freezer paper flip and sew method for the quadrants of the compass and come out beautifully accurate when using machine basting for the center oval.

So that’s my current plan, a mariner’s compass with the horse head as the compass rose.

This horse head is 10″ tall and was appliquéd using my machine basting technique. I love this technique because it lets me be very accurate. One nostril rim is less than 1/8″ wide. Because the fabric is a good quality batik and the think portions of the design are on the bias, it should hold up really well to wear and washing.

A tent for the win!

When I make spareribs I marinate the ribs overnight in a rub made of spices and apple cider vinegar. I make the spice mix in bulk and add the vinegar to the spices just before using it as a rub. It’s a five or six to one mix, spice mix to vinegar.

Then the spareribs are cooked at 425º for an hour. This truly messes up my oven. It gets a coating of grease that’s truly unappealing to see or clean.

Yesterday I tried something different. I made a tent out of parchment paper with the edges sitting inside the pan to catch all the splatter. My oven stayed clean and the ribs came out perfect. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Mindy’s Spring

I’ve been fighting with the design on this sweater for months. I’ve tried a number of different things that don’t please me, don’t work with the yarn, come out the wrong shape, don’t highlight the colors . . . ugh. Just ugh.

I’ve finally settled on something that works. It’s unique, it’s beautiful, it’s the right shape, it fits . . . now to see if I have the necessary amount of yarn for 3/4 length sleeves and tunic length body.

Sweaters delivered

Plaid!
Plaid!

I delivered three sweaters a few days ago, one to my friend Mickey and two to Mindy. Mickey got Midnight Plaid, a design and color that suits her well. I’m struggling with not having taken a picture of the completed sweater before passing it on. I did the same thing with one of Mindy’s as well. No clue. Too eager to get on with the next project, I suspect. Hopefully I can get pics from Mickey and Mindy.

Just Guessing take two
This is a bit along the lines of one of the scarves Stephen West designed, something about bricks. It’s based on my Just Guessing sweater.

Mindy was ecstatic with the two sweaters she received. She loves tunic length sweaters and the yellow gradient sweater with the rolled neckline and kangaroo pocket (yup, didn’t take a picture of the completed sweater) really made her smile. The other was my purple version of Just Guessing officially dubbed Mosaic.

Task shortening cooking

I love barbequed spare ribs but they’re a lot of fuss to fix. Clean the ribs, season the ribs, stick ’em in the fridge overnight, bake the ribs, make sauce for the ribs, coat the ribs and bake the sauce in. That’s a lot of steps for a meal that’s eaten and gone in 20 minutes. Add to that, a rack of spare ribs is too much food for the two of us.

By now you’ve figured I’ve got a plan . . . and I do! I don’t want to give up on spare ribs. They are so good and pair so well with so many sides. I’ve figured out a way to enjoy them without having excessive leftover while speeding the process along.

Clean two racks of pork spare ribs. Cut them into two-person sized servings. Prepare the rub, apply it generously and stick the whole mess in the fridge overnight. The next morning bake them according to the instruction. Let cool. Pack each 2-meal sized piece in a separate ziplock bag, stick those in a big ziplock bag and freeze.

Make a double batch of barbeque sauce. Cool and pour into ice cube trays (the silicone ones work awesomely well). Stick the trays in the freezer. When frozen, pop the cubes of barbeque sauce out of the trays and stick them into a ziplock bag and put that bag into the larger ziplock bag holding the seasoned and baked spare ribs.

When you want barbequed spare ribs pull out a meal’s worth, 2-4 cubes of barbeque sauce and thaw. Coat and cook (I use an oven bag to ease cleanup) and you’re done! Meal prep in minutes instead of fussing all day. You’ve fussed just once for 6-10 meals.

Nothing is static

I can’t seem to leave recipes alone. I’ve got to tweak and add and change and . . .

I’m fairly sure it’s a chronic thing. A perfectly fine pork stir fry morphs into something else. The seed is never lost as I do my best to document changes. It’s got to be excess creativity or boredom or something else.

I’ve changed my pork rub recipe. I’ve added ground cardamom and . . . and here’s why it’s so important to document. I cannot remember what the second thing I added is. I’ll have to make a trip to the kitchen and go through the spices to refresh my memory.

Hotdog for the win!

With food intolerances, it’s difficult to find processed meats that are worthy. Hempler’s meat products are definitely worthy. We eat their bacon, hotdogs, ground pork and more. Nothing they make (that we’ve tried) rates as high FODMAP. Everything we’ve tried has been gluten MSG and GMO free . . . all in all a truly awesome product line.

I love one dish meals. We don’t sit down together to eat unless we have company. We eat on totally different schedules. If Wadly’s eating fried chicken I’m usually having something totally different. Stir fried pork, tuna or egg salad . . . something that’s not fried chicken. When he has two hotdogs heated in the microwave (yeah, me too) I’ll cut up a hotdog and have it with broccoli, bacon, green onion, bone broth, red and green pepper . . . and it’s awesome. I’ve done the same thing with a can of green beans. Hotdog for the win.

Pork soup/stew . . . uh . . . something

For those of us with food sensitivities it’s easy to get in a rut and eat the same things all the time. There’s a limited number of things we can eat and we have a tendency to fix the same things all the time. For a lot of us it’s easier to list the things we can eat rather than the plethora of things we can’t. One of the things that’s a big no is processed foods. The chance of cross contamination is huge and the repercussions truly suck.

I love pork. Pork is like chicken, it comes in two varieties, juicy/tasty and dry/bland. I don’t care for light meat port (pork chops, picnic roast, etc.). I love dark meat pork (pork steaks, sirloin roast). As a result I do a lot of stuff with pork. I have no idea what this thing I’m making is. It’s a pork stir fry (that’s how it starts) which turns into a soup which could be a stew if the broth was thickened. I don’t know what to call it but it sure is good.

Peanut Butter Custard ala Instant Pot

I’m test driving a peanut butter custard recipe and it came out quite good. The recipe produces three servings.

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup organic plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Beat the egg whites to aerate them just a bit. Don’t beat them into a meringue, just give them a decent number of bubbles to lighten them a bit.

In a separate bowl mix egg yoke, peanut butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Add milk a little bit at a time mixing it in thoroughly.

Add egg whites to the egg yoke mixture and mix in without beating heavily.

Distribute equally to three buttered ½ pint canning jars or 1 cup ramekins. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the top if desired. Butterscotch chips would also be excellent!

Place on trivet in the Instant Pot with 1½ cups of water beneath. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Immediately release pressure, undo and offset the lid to allow the jars to cool in place. Once the jars can be handled by a bare hand, remove them. Serve warm or cold, top with a drizzle of caramel, chocolate ganache or serve with an ice cream topper.

Annoying and totally off topic

I am prefacing this by saying yes, I know I’m not normal. Why would I want to be normal? So boring . . . but I digress.

Over the years I’ve accumulated a fair number of audiobooks, everything some authors have produced, samplings from others, selected series’ from yet more. Some books I listen to over and over, some series a couple times a year, others more or less often, some in preparation of an author’s new release.

I’ve run into a most annoying thing. I’ve got audiobooks from three different services requiring three different apps on my mobile device. This is so annoying! I have to switch from one to another to work my way through a series.

Somebody, please program an audiobook subscription service manager with an Android app so I can have one app with everything I’ve ever purchased or downloaded including the pre-DRM audiobooks stored on my computer. Charge a monthly nominal fee to consolidate all subscriptions (Amazon, Scribd, Audiobooks, etc.) into one point of access and I’ll be your first subscriber.

Breakfast Hoagie

I’ve been making breakfast hoagies for Wadly and he raves over them. They’re simple to make but a bit fussy as it takes three pans. I like to cook so I don’t see it as a burden.

  • sourdough hotdog bun or hoagie roll (hotdog bun is small, hoagie is big – adjust for your hunger level)
  • fresh ground pork (I usually buy a 1 or 1½ pound package, mix in the appropriate amount of seasoning, separate it into serving sizes into zippered snack bags and stick it in a larger labeled bag into the freezer.)
  • sausage seasoning (1½ tbsp/lb) (seasoning mix recipe is here)
  • green onion
  • butter
  • egg
  • 1½ tbsp sour cream

Mix the egg and sour cream.

Dice the green onion, add to egg mix.

Butter a HOT 5″ frying pan and dump the egg mix in. Reduce the heat and turn over when needed. Don’t overcook.

Place one slab of butter in a HOT pan under each side of the bun. Turn the heat down, watch carefully and rotate as needed. You want the hoagie to come out brown and crunchy, not burnt.

Shape the sausage into a size and shape that matches your bun. Cook this in a separate pan. Once it’s turned over, add a slice a cheese to the top. Wadly likes American, your tastes may align with cheddar or mozzarella or . . .

Once everything is done, assemble. While the order of assembly isn’t particularly significant, the taste is.

Breakfast Sausage Seasoning

My awesome brother spun by months ago and gifted me with his breakfast sausage seasoning recipe. I introduced him to white pepper. He doesn’t like anything even remotely hot so white pepper was an awesome addition to his kitchen. I see this as a fairly fair trade.

My sibling’s seasoning recipe got a bit of a tweak to suit my palate (I don’t mind a bit of hot as long as Wadly can handle it) and I’ve been using the adjusted recipe ever since.

Dosing is at 1½ tablespoons per pound of freshly ground pork . . . or more depending on your tastes.

  • 3 tbsp rubbed/ground sage
  • 2 tsp salt (I’m not a huge fan of salt so try this amount and add as needed)
  • 1 tsp white pepper (I agree with my brother on this, black pepper is a bit too bold)
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar – I make my own, 1 tsp organic molasses to 1 cup organic cane sugar, store in a jar with a moisture proof lid.

I give this mix a whirl or two in my spice grinder to blend it and get the kosher salt reduced and distributed. Then I stick it in a ½ cup jelly jar for later use. The mouth of the jar is big enough for a tablespoon to fit in easily, the lid is nice and flat for writing the name of the spice combination and they stack neatly.

Plaid!

This is coming along nicely. The pattern produced some interesting challenges. Intarsia in the round is not a challenge but getting the width of the horizontal red to match the width of the vertical red was. I tried Latvian braid but it was excessively fussy for the desired result. The answer proved to be a sizer larger crochet hook and surface crochet worked in the desired location. The second challenge was getting good corners where the red changed directions.

I’m having to cut the background color’s yarn at the start of each square. It’s not onerous and the result is very good. I’ve been working in ends as I go.

My hat!

Leftover sunset shrug yarn . . . but this time for me!

This is really simple helix. I’ve got a jog where the color changes but I’m thinking the mailbox isn’t going to care when I show up wearing it.

Stepping up my game

My cod/shrimp chowder thing is continuing to improve. Today’s effort is particularly good. Added . . . mushroom and cooked broccoli. OMGosh. SO good.

Here’s the guide when cooking for one.

All the veges are equal amounts with red and green pepper counting as one veg. I cut all the veges (except cooked broccoli – sliced, zucchini – sticks and mushrooms halved and sliced) into 1/4″ cubes. In total that’s about 1/8 cup each of cooked broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, spinach and green onion.

Heat a cast iron skillet (my pan of choice) adding butter, garlic oil and sesame oil (twice as much butter as each oil). Add green onion, peppers, mushroom and saute’ for a bit. Add zucchini, spinach and broccoli and sautee for a bit.

Add seafood. This really can be anything. I used cubed cod (1/4 lb. pacific) and 4 medium shrimp diced into four pieces each.

Add bone broth (about 2/3 cup), sour cream (1/2 cup), clam broth (1 tbsp), fish sauce (1/2 tsp), cilantro (1/2 tsp) and Korean red pepper (gochugaru, 1/2 tsp).

Stir to incorporate everything and let simmer until the fish is done.

This is SO good!

Cod/Shrimp Chowder

I’m still playing with cod/shrimp dishes. My latest is really pretty good!

Green onion
Green pepper
Red pepper
Tomatillos
Zucchini
Garlic oil
Toasted sesame oil
Butter
Cod
Shrimp
Sour cream
Fish sauce
Bone broth
Clam juice
Korean red pepper (gochugaru)
Cilantro

Dice up the veges. Saute’ everything but the zucchini in butter, garlic oil, sesame oil. After those veges are al dente add the zucchini. Once the zucchini has started to soften add the seafood. Add everything else. Simmer until the fish is done.

Yup, it really is that simple. There’s lots of stuff but it’s totally uncomplicated.

Not quite poached cod

Lovely stuff!Wadly bought a new white wine for me to try. He’s such a star!

This is a remake of a recipe I pulled off the internet. The original calls for parsley instead of cilantro. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of parsley. The original recipe has no veges. Can you imagine me eating a dish without veges? Steak makes sense with vege sides, cod soup doesn’t.

Ingredients include Pacific cod, shrimp, carrot, zucchini, green onion, green pepper shiitake mushroom, fish sauce (small splash), white wine (Quail Run Chardonnay), bone broth, cilantro, basil, salt, garlic oil, sesame oil, butter.

Saute the veges in butter, garlic oil and sesame oil. Start with sliced carrots as they’re the most dense. While they’re cooking slice and add green onion, green pepper, mushroom and finally zucchini. Once the veges are al dente, lift them out of the pan with a slotted spoon. Add shrimp and slices of cod to the pan, turning them to cook both sides. Don’t overcook. Cod is a fragile fish and will fall apart. Add the vegetables back to the pan. Add bone broth, wine, fish sauce and spices. Stir gently, warm through and turn off the heat.

This has a lovely mild but rich flavor. I’m adding it to my favorites. I can picture eating it with a crunchy toasted sourdough slice. Mmmm. I bet Wadly has his with pan toasted home made biscuits.

I didn’t think of adding saffron but you can bet I’ll try it next time. Saffron is awesome with this kind of seafood. Have you ever done Julia Child’s bouillabaisse? It’s awesome! I also didn’t think of garnishing this with toasted sesame seeds. Again, next time.