Pork

Cooking In The Vortex~Poached Eggs With Kale And Bacon

May 21, 2012
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Cooking in the vortex.

That phrase could have multiple meanings, both literally and figuratively.

Figuratively, it could stand for so much; cooking while the world spins around you, cooking at the center of the storm, cooking amid chaos. We all have our own types of chaos in our lives. One person’s version of chaos, could be another’s good day. I try to remember this when I have one of those self-pitying, woe-is-my-life moments. For the most part, one of my worst days, is not nearly as bad as another person’s in country where the average family lives on $2 a day, in places where basic human rights are violated or even right here at home. I have my health, my family, my job and a roof over my head and when I remind myself of this, it puts it in perspective right quick. I don’t have to worry …

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How To Make Meatballs

March 7, 2012
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I was never a Girl Scout, but I am always prepared.

Make that almost always prepared. 

Every year we throw a New Year’s Day brunch party. Over the years it has grown to about 40 people, complete with pounds and pounds of bacon, kick ass Bloody Marys, Hoppin’ John, crepes, pizzas and more. Two years ago, the party which started before noon, lasted well into the evening. We literally ran out of food (gasp!) with a dozen people still in the house. They didn’t go home until we ran out of booze. Alas, I was unprepared.

This year I vowed to be ready. What would be better to whip up in a flash but homemade spaghetti and meatballs?
A couple of days before New Year’s my mother shared with me her recipe and together we made 80 meatballs and a vat of sauce. The plan was to heat …

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Slow Simmered Pork Ragú With Handkerchief Pasta

September 26, 2011
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In Southern California summer starts early and ends late. Some people say we have no real “seasons” here, but that’s not really true. We have them, they’re just a little more muted than in other places. That, and we don’t have to suffer things like ice storms or 90% humidity, so really, I can’t complain. Still, as we head into October, I find myself craving those heartier dishes which say “Fall” even if the temperature outside is still hovering near 80 degrees.

Recently I made this slow simmered ragú using one of the last roasts from our pig. I decided to serve it with handkerchief pasta, a cut of pasta I’ve wanted to make ever since I had it at Delfina in San Francisco a couple of years ago. There are a lot of different recipes out there for a “traditional” Italian ragú; some have beef, some pork. Some …

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Grilled Flatbread with Figs, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Arugula

August 22, 2011
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There is a saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”

We had plans for this weekend, oh yes. Big ones which involved flying to another city, a nice hotel room and dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant with friends. We’d been planning it for months. Those four days were going to be the only getaway my husband David and I would have together this summer and we were both looking forward to it.

Then fate intervened.

A few weeks ago we noticed that one of our two cats, our boy named Basil, had a problem with his left eye. Over the next few weeks, David took Basil to see three different vets for tests to only figure out what it was not (an infection, a fungus, a virus, cancer spread to other organs). There was no real diagnosis, only that he had a mass …

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Slow Cooked Cuban Pork

May 23, 2011
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As I’ve mentioned, last year we bought a whole pig from a farm in Oregon. And while I love pork in all its forms, the one thing I could live without is a traditional cured ham. I’m talking about the kind of ham that’s served for Christmas dinner or the kind of ham on a sandwich. This poses a bit of a problem because our pig came with no fewer than 4 pieces of “fresh ham” ranging from about 4 to over 6 lbs each. What to do with the hams?

Basically, the cuts labeled fresh ham are just smaller pieces from the whole leg and can be cooked as a typical pork roast. Fortunately, one is not required to cover it with pineapple slices and cloves, and serve it on a platter while wearing pearls and a frilly apron. No, my ham is going to get down and dirty, …

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Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, Making Guanciale, and Charcutepalooza!

February 15, 2011
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Rome is one of my favorite cities on the planet. Each time I go I’m captivated by the beauty, the thousands of years of history around every turn, and of course by the food. If I had to pick a place outside the US to live, Rome would be in the top three.

One of my favorite dishes to eat in Rome is a pasta called Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. Ironically, this is not technically a “Roman” dish. As the name implies, it’s bucatini pasta in the style of the town of Amatrice, which is about 100 miles from Rome. Still, the Romans have made this dish their own and it can be found on almost every trattoria menu, which isn’t to say it’s common or boring. It may be a simple pasta with few ingredients, but it’s one of the most satisfying and tasty and I find myself ordering …

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