Khao kha mu: Thai stewed pork leg

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Khao ka mu


I’ve posted about Nong’s khao man gai (Thai chicken rice) before. When I saw Nong’s recipe for khao kha mu (Thai stewed pork leg) I wanted to try it. I’ve never cooked pork legs before and happened to be at the Asian market where pork legs are easy to find and incredibly cheap ($5-6 for >3 lbs). I’ve had khao kha mu from street stalls in Bangkok and one of the better Thai restaurants in San Francisco and thought it was time to try it for myself. I think many Asian cultures have their own version of stewed pork over rice: Vietnamese thit kho and Filipino adobo. The flavors are similar but nuanced to correspond with each culture. The Vietnamese version has fish sauce and caramel, the Filipino version is soy sauce and vinegar, and Nong’s recipe uses Coca Cola and oyster sauce. I also love the accoutrements: gai lan cooked briefly in the stewing liquid, pickled mustard greens, a stewed egg, and a spicy/sour/garlicky dipping sauce.

I have some leftover stewing liquid that I put in the freezer as a starter for the next batch. The next batch will probably only have half the amount of pork leg and the other half will be either pork belly or chunks of leaner pork shoulder. I can only eat so many jiggly cuts of pork before I start to feel a little sick. Because I like stewed eggs, I made 6 eggs but might up it to 8 next time. I also made a half-assed version of the spicy dipping sauce: vinegar, sambal oelek and some sugar to taste.

Categories: Asian, Thai

Dinner mashup: Polenta & meatballs

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Meatballs and polenta

We’re heading out of town so I’m trying to use all the produce before we leave. Last night’s dinner was supposed to be another batch of Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce but as we started prepping, I realized the eggplant had not survived. We’d already started the polenta using 1.25 bags of frozen corn kernels…so I looked in the freezer and luckily found a batch of meatballs. We made a fresh tomato salad with basil from the garden and pulled together a nice dinner that used what we already had.

The frozen corn polenta was not as sweet as the fresh corn polenta we made previously, but I must say this method requires a lot less stirring than dried/ground polenta and sure tastes better.

Read more…

Categories: Italian

Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Cookies

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Spicy cheese shortbread cookies


My cousin hosts a monthly potluck dinner party and this time, I volunteered for appetizers. I’ve made these once before and never documented but they’re too easy and good to forget about. The dough takes 3 minutes to pull together in the food processor, 20 minutes in the fridge to set, and then 12 minutes in the oven to bake. Very little effort for some super tasty cheese cookies that go well next to a plate of salami and olives. I like to sprinkle mine with some fresh cracked pepper and flaky Maldon sea salt before baking them in the oven. If you want a crispier cookie, make your balls a bit smaller. I was pressed for time (my nap lasted longer than anticipated) so my cookies were a little larger than usual. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, snacks

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

August 20, 2014 1 comment


I’ve been eyeing this eggplant recipe for a while and finally found some eggplant and corn at the local farmer’s market. A friend gave me a ton of fresh tomatoes from his garden and we were able to pull this recipe together on a weeknight within 45 minutes. 

Some notes:

  • Eggplant sucks up a lot of oil and you might be tempted to add extra oil when it initially absorbs the 2/3 cups you just put in. Don’t…some of that oil will come out again later in the cooking process. Trust the recipe.
  • I didn’t bother peeling the tomatoes. Summer garden fresh tomatoes are not to be messed with.
  • We didn’t have as much feta as we thought we did so we supplemented with a hodgepodge of other cheese we had in the fridge. The feta really adds to the meatiness of this recipe.
  • I’d probably drop the butter in the polenta down to 2 Tbsp. We didn’t add much corn water back into the polenta so that sped up the cooking time. 

Thank you to Clare for posting her version on Instagram and making me hungry.

Categories: food, vegetarian

Spaghetti & Meatballs

August 19, 2014 1 comment


It was my birthday recently and I told my friends I wanted spaghetti & meatballs. I found a recipe from our reliable friend Smitten Kitchen and as usual, the recipe was a keeper! I used 1/2 pork and 1/2 beef because Whole Foods doesn’t carry veal. I didn’t bother making fresh breadcrumbs–just a combination of Italian breadcrumbs I had laying around supplemented with panko. Our sauce (make sure to double the recipe) was thickened up with tomato paste and doctored up with extra spices. What resulted were some super tender delicious meatballs that got even better over the next week. Read more…

Categories: Italian, noodles, pasta

Savory Oatmeal

March 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Savory oatmeal

I generally dislike sweets–always have and it baffles my husband (and his entire extended family) to no end. I remember going to camp in 5th grade and being exposed to oatmeal for the first time. Thinking it would be similar to chao (rice porridge), I gagged on the sweet taste and gluey texture. In college, if cream of wheat was available in the dining hall, I would eat that with crumbles of bacon mixed in while people around me were dropping in brown sugar and (the most vile of vile to me) raisins. As a grown-up, I never order pancakes or french toast for brunch. The sweetest thing I’ll have in the morning is a mimosa or some fruit.

While I understand that oatmeal is good for me, I’ve never been able to get over the gluey texture I remember from camp. I imagine the gray pasty stuff is similar to what Oliver Twist ate or what the elderly with no teeth are resigned to. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but yesterday, I finally figured it out: savory oatmeal!

Instead of water, I use chicken broth on my steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s. I made sure my oatmeal wasn’t going to be gluey by using a smidge less grain than the recommended ratio of oatmeal to liquid. Once my oats were cooked down, I topped it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a few grinds of black pepper and a fried egg. I can imagine throwing some mushrooms on top or a dollop of kale pesto.


Categories: breakfast Tags: ,

Mushroom Farrotto

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Mushroom farrotto


We love risotto around here (9 posts to date) but try to minimize white grains in an attempt to dodge our shared genetic predisposition for diabetes (which both of our fathers had/have). Lately, we’ve discovered that when we eat gluten free, we generally feel better. Though farro is a wheat grain, there really isn’t a reason for us to be strict about eating gluten free and hey–it is a whole grain!

This farrotto took a bit longer than I would prefer to spend on a weeknight (an overnight soak of the farro and an hour on the stove) but because the grains are so sturdy, it doesn’t require as much stirring and attention as a traditional risotto. I’ve been roasting a big batch of mushrooms for the week to stir into salads or quinoa pesto bowls but if you don’t have any lying around, you can roast the mushrooms as you’re preparing the farrotto. I also had 2 tablespoons of pesto left over and also stirred that in but there’s plenty of flavor without it. If you’re wondering what the non-farro grains are, I had a 1/4 cup of leftover cooked brown rice which I also threw in after 30 minutes so as not to waste it. Read more…

Categories: Italian, vegetarian Tags: , ,

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