Monday, March 25, 2013

Pork-y Goodness!

This past weekend I was on yet another mission to try a new cut of meat. I perused my farmer's meat list and finally rested my eyes upon: side pork. I did a little research, as is my usual habit, and found out that this cut is similar to pork belly, but is higher up on the side of the pig. It has a fair amount of fat, but not as much as pork belly.

I did some more research on the interwebs to find my inspiration. (I swear I spend hours pouring over online recipes to find which is the best to suit my tastes and skills. I keep telling Justin that I should start a recipe consulting firm. Who needs Google or All Recipes... just use me!) Apparently, side pork can be treated just like pork belly.

I settled on this particular jewel from The Clothes Make the Girl. (Quick aside, Melissa has an awesome recipe site. She also has a great Paleo cookbook called Well Fed.)

Roasted Side Pork


  • 2-3 pounds side pork
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • fresh lemon juice

  • Pat the side pork dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, score the fatty/skin side.
  • Combine the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all ober the pork, making sure to rub some into the score marks. Put the pork in a gallon sized plastic bag, try to push out as much of the air as possible, seal and put it the fridge. Let marinate from 2 hours to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Line a roasting pan with tin foil or parchment paper. Take the pork out of the fridge and place, skin/fat side up, in the pan. Spritz the pork with fresh lemon juice. Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and let the meat cook for an additional hour, or until the pork is well browned and the skin is crispy. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. (It should be 10, but Justin and I couldn't wait to dig in...) Cut the meat up and serve with your favorite side.
  • Enjoy!
I must say that this is absolutely FANTASTIC! It's like eating a more hearty version of bacon. The skin is perfectly crispy and the meat itself is fatty and delicious. The lemon juice adds just a little bit of acid to cut through the fat. We served ours along with some zucchini fritters.

If you're afraid of fat, than this dish is not for you. However, I encourage you to indulge in this recipe for a wonderful treat! More and more studies are coming out stating that a higher fat diet is good for your. So eat your pork fat!

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patty's Day!

It's been a little while since I've posted last, but fear not! I've been saving myself for a good recipe! I decided earlier this year that this St. Patty's Day I was going to make a completely homemade corned beef. The whole shebang! High quality brisket, brining, cooking... and I chronicled the whole process.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I initially browsed through a myriad of recipes, finally going with a combo of the one on Robb Wolf's website and the one on Caveman Bistro. I then set off on my corned beef journey with a grass fed brisket, cut in half. I think mine was 4-5 pounds weight-wise. 

I stuck it in a large stock pot and poured in my brine (recipe to follow). I then covered it with a heavy lid and stuck it in the fridge to sit for 7 days. Trust me, this is worth the wait...

Seven days later, I pulled out the brisket, drained the pot of the brine and rinsed off the meat. It's going to look somewhat gray. I know it looks a little gross, but I want to stress again that it's worth it.

I put the meat back in the pot with some fresh water, carrots and onions. Brought everything to a boil, reduced the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours.

After the two hours, I added the chopped cabbage and returned the mix to a simmer and let it cook for an additional 30 minutes. I added a little extra seasoning, to taste, and voila!

Corned Beef & Cabbage!

  • 1 4-5 lb grass fed brisket, cut in half
  • 2 + 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 TBS whole peppercorns
  • 1 TBS whole mustard seeds
  • 1 TBS whole all spice
  • 1 1/2  tsp whole cloves
  • 1 head cabbage, outer leaves removed and cut into eighths
  • 6 whole carrots (I guessed on this as my carrots were rather funny looking and all different shapes)
  • 2 onions, cut into large chunks
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • garlic powder/cinnamon/cloves/ground mustard seeds, to taste (and if you think necessary)
  • In a large stock pot, add the water, vinegar, garlic, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, whole all spice, and whole cloves, over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow the brine mixture to cook to room temperature.
  • Add the brisket to the pot and push it down so that it's submerged in the liquid. Cover the pot with a heavy lid and place it in the fridge. Leave it for 5-7 days. (I covered my pot with plastic wrap first and then a lid, as the cast iron lid I was using wasn't a snug fit. I let my brisket sit for the full 7 days.)
  • After done brining, remove the brisket and rinse it. Drain the pot of everything.
  • Pour another 2 quarts of water to the pot and add the brisket, carrots and onions, over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let cook for 2 hours.
  • Add the cabbage to the pot. Bring back to a simmer and let it cook for 30 minutes. Taste, adjust with the additional seasoning, if need be.
  • Take the pot off the heat and remove the brisket to a plate. Slice the meat against the grain in thin slices. 
  • Serve the sliced meat on plates with the chopped cabbage, carrots and onions. 
  • Enjoy!
This recipe takes a fair amount of patience and planning to pull off well. However, the flavors that come from this absolutely ROCK! I don't know if I can go back to eating other corned beef again... The meat was melt in your mouth tender and the cabbage perfectly cooked! Serve this up with a pint o' Guinness or cider and you'll be a very satisfied eater. (Plus, you can totally use the leftovers to make corned beef hash, reubens, or corned beef stew!)


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Birthday Treat

Monday of this week is my boyfriend's birthday. In light of this event, we decided to do dinner and a movie last night. This is a treat for us as it seems as though we rarely get a chance to do so. I tend to deal for my Dad's company on the weekends or we're too tired from work... or we're just being lazy... That being said, last night I needed to create something that was a little more special than our usual nightly fare. I splurged a bit and bought some beautiful looking skin on salmon fillets. (Again, this is a rarity for us. Fish can get pretty expensive!)

Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 6oz skin-on, salmon fillets
  • coconut oil, or butter
  • 1 large handful of cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil  
  • Place the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Puree everything until smooth. You can add as much olive oil as you like to get your desired thickness of the sauce. I prefer mine a little thicker, so I went with a couple tablespoons full. Set aside.  
  • Heat coconut oil/ butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Pat the two salmon fillets dry and sprinkle with a little salt/pepper.
  • Place the fillets skin side down in the pan and let cook for 3 minutes.
  • Flip the fillets over and let them cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your cuts.
  • Place them on plates, top with the pesto and serve along with your favorite side.
  • Enjoy!
I love this method of cooking fish. It's simple and oh so delicious and did I mention that it only takes about 5 minutes? Easy! I will admit that the pesto is a little heavy with cilantro flavor, but seeing as it's my favorite herb, I don't really mind. Feel free to adjust the sauce as you see fit. It's quite forgiving.