Posts Tagged ‘pork’

h1

100% bueno. (SPANISH MEATS + TOMATO BREAD)

December 23, 2012

spain_meats

I need to share this photo. It is the most exquisite plate of cured meats eaten in one of Barcelona’s cute little xampanyerias. We sampled the house cava, meats and cheeses accompanied by lots of the tomato bread pa amb tomaquet  found all over the place in Catalonia. Cured meats are a big deal in Spain, so we did our best to really treat them like the special deal that they are, eating them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snack. It was the perfect thing to obsess over because eating a plate of charcuterie left some room so that we could stop short at any other good looking tapas we saw along the way to wherever we were going… which was usually to eat tapas.

Starting with the top right you are looking at chorizo, moving clockwise next is lomo, which is made from the loin of the pig and is therefore significantly leaner than the others but no less delicious. Lomo is followed by traditional Iberico (swoon), then salami-like salchichon, and in the center is cecina or ‘dried’ beef which was knockout.

Variations of these meats are available in the States but it’s just not the same. Sure when you are eating something local in a foreign place, it is the atmosphere and the sounds, the smell of the fabric softener, the sky color and all the other details that amplify the experience but I have a theory about a number of delicious European foodstuffs that are also exported to the U.S. and it is simply… they send us the good stuff but not the best. This is why I have my own personal French calvados dealers.

Adéu!

Be real Spanish and serve this bread with your next meat and/or cheese platter.

PA AMB TOMAQUET

1 loaf of your favorite bread

2 cloves garlic

2 ripe tomatoes

your best olive oil

salt

  • Slice the bread lengthwise and toast it lightly (optional). 
  • Slice each clove of garlic in half and rub it on the cut side of the bread. 
  • Slice each tomato through its equator and rub each half all over the bread until it is just skin. 
  • Arrange the bread on a platter and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

spain_bread

Together forever.

h1

Give me a braise. (PORK BELLY)

February 3, 2011

Step 1. Find a gorgeous pork belly like this one. (The butcher rolled and tied it which made for a lovely presentation.)

Step 2. Take a look at this entry on the 3rd Ward blog and follow the recipe which takes you on a journey through seasoning, braising and cooling.

Step 3. Slice and sear the belly and use it in a delicious creation, as we did in our Noodle Bowls.

Step 4. Enjoy!

h1

Leftovers 1. (DRAWING)

August 10, 2010

Leftovers is a still life series of drawings based on, well, leftovers. They are made with a mix of watercolors, ink, acrylic and pencil on leftover brown paper. This one is a bowl of Korean food and I enjoyed it twice.

h1

Food as big as Texas. (AUSTIN)

February 24, 2010

During a recent quick and spontaneous trip to Austin, Texas, we managed to amp up to a 4 meal a day regiment. The time we had there was scarce, our mission serious. Here are some of the biggest things we fit in:

Sam’s BBQ. 2000 E 12th St (Poquito Street) Austin, TX

Straight from the airport, we are welcomed by Brian the proud proprietor, a mac-and-cheese rectangular-table discussion and this plate of ribs, sausage and brisket (hiding underneath). Chef makes all the desserts to… in fact Brian is too formal. Call him Sweetie.

Polvos. 2004 South 1st Street Austin, TX

A jovial Austin staple, Polvos is ready for you at brunch with giant bloody marys and music on full blast for a total sensory overload in the best way possible. I sat next to this burrito (above), but ordered an enchilada (below). I wanted to learn what is the hype about the unassuming Tex Mex enchilada. It was damn fine, but fonder still is the memory of the amazing salsa bar with escabeche pickles.

Casino El Camino. 517 East 6th Street Austin, TX

Stylistically it reminded me of New Orleans. Casino El Camino serves big, big burgers and foot long hot dogs covered in all kinds of cheese, chili, bacon, hot peppers, etc. in fantastically raunchy combos. It was a perfect way to end the debauching weekend. After all the sunny friendliness, it’s kinda nice to pig out in a dark cave. I think they make some kind of chicken sandwich or something too.

Go.

h1

Fat New Year. (POPOVERS)

February 20, 2010

First morning of the year I made something I had been thinking hilarious for a while. A king-sized, over the top power brekkie I referred to in my head as the Elvis Popover. A popover is somewhat half biscuit, half inflated pancake. The eggy batter gets huge in the oven, full of nothing but its own hot air. Elvis enters the kitchen with his legendary love of the peanut butter, banana and bacon combo, a square meal if I’ve ever seen one and maybe the perfect candidate to fill the void (and cure the hangover) on this festive morning, 2010. Trashy though it may sound, with the ingredients upgraded to a food snobbery quality, it was pretty fantastic. I would do it all again even if one short week later wasn’t the King’s 75th birthday.

The base was inspired by my friend Megz, who had recently made a batch of gluten-free popovers for an afternoon gathering. Quite impressively, she took this recipe, plain as day, and swapped out all-purpose flour for spelt flour (1:1) to excellent results, pleasing immensely the guest who didn’t go that way. The melting butter and honey over the airy and dense pastry was ridiculously good and got me thinking of all the things one can put in the empty space that is the heart of a popover.

For this version, homemade peanut butter* consisted of honey roasted peanuts and almonds, the first layer on the split popover. Piled on top was bacon acquired from the kind, meat-loving hands of friends at Dickson’s Farmstand, which I like to cook -mess free- in the oven, intertwined with your everyday unlocal bananas. This heap was coated in raw honey from Clermont, NY. The jar reads ‘produced by the bees of Ray Tousey’ and every time I eat it I feel like I am being introduced to the honey and it is awesome. We can be friends with food.

Happy New Year! …it’s still new.

POPOVERS

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 450 F. With butter, grease a muffin pan that makes (6) large muffins.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour batter into muffin cups filling 1/2 – 1/3 of the way up.
  • Bake at 450 F for 20 minutes, then lower the temp to 350 F for another 20 minutes.
  • When the popovers come out of the oven, make a small slit the top to let off some steam.
  • Make an Elvis special out of them or don’t! Enjoy.

Though they are best straight from the oven, remaining popovers can be reheated at any hour for days to come. They won’t do any  science magic like swell up again but keep them in the oven until crisp on the outside and heated through. They will have great flavor and texture, just about begging for your jam and butter, or savory stuff like cheese or ham. Teatime!

* Process the nuts until smooth and peanut-buttery, you can fold in some coarsely chopped nuts afterwards if you are feeling chunky. I kept it smooth like Elvis’ early years.

h1

High lights. (FOOD ABROAD)

December 7, 2009

After embarking on a trip to Europe, recounting stories of all the good friends, good news and good times will take too damn long. Instead, here are a handful of delicious highlights (in pictures).

PARIS:

A villainous cheese plate:

The cheese that looks like a flower is some incredible stuff called tête de moine. It is cut horizontally with a special apparatus that shaves a thin layer  from the top of the cheese. As it is sliced in a circular direction, the cheese curls around itself. Then it melts in your mouth.

An adventurous charcuterie:

The light pinkish sausage at the top is French andouille… that lovely pattern is created by pig intestines and stomach. A little goes a long way.

BELGIUM:

Beeeeeeeeer!:

I guess I ate some stuff during the days in Belgian, but the beer! The beer is special. In this photo is a golden, delicious Tongerlo. Also among my favorites were the Westmalle beers and the rare and fantastic Wechelse Tripel. Locals say not to drink more than three. Decent advice, I guess.

AMSTERDAM:

Applecake:

Never again will I accept the expression ‘as American as apple pie’. We need to simply give up and let the Dutch have this one. Here is a photo of Dutch apple pie from a cute little eatery called Winkel that specializes in the stuff. This inexplicable pie will have me chasing the dragon until I get to try it again. (Noordermarkt 43)

Sorry France, sorry Belgium:

And here we have the little corner shop where I innocently bought some fries. I thought I would walk around and eat them but they were so so so good, I had to sit down on the nearest bench to believe what was going on in that little paper cone. When I looked up, everyone around me was eating them, all in devout silence. I got spicy mayo as my saus but i heard that peanut sauce is also a popular choice. Later still, I discovered the real people’s choice is a mix of mayo AND peanut sauce. Must immerse in local culture. Must. (Voetboogstraat 31)

h1

Food alone. (SAUSAGE + APPLE SANDWICH)

November 15, 2009

alone_sausage

This could be a new category on upchefcreek: ‘eating food alone’. As many/most of these entries are directly related to eating with and cooking for others, a constant ritual I am so lucky to partake in, I also take great pleasure in another side of eating, the solo mission. It is different when there is no one around to bend the taste toward, to impress, to please. I am not shy of eating alone. In fact, I hit restaurants by myself somewhat often as a form of relaxation and self indulgence. I cook for myself as needed, it seems I save elaborate meals for collaborative eating experiences, and let ‘quick and satisfying’ be my private mode. I do not skimp on myself, i.e. a box of cereal for dinner, but rather eat what I crave, which is usually (luckily) something pretty healthy. I guess whatever health-food-torture I went through as a kid was worth it because now I take great pleasure in eating nutritious things like green leaves, whole grains, and all that shmazz.

Tonight, dinner was one of those missions. It was just little ole me, there were few ingredients around and nothing prepared. I had two of these fancy organic chicken sausages in the fridge leftover from some sort of sausage, mushroom, dandelion, saute with quinoa. These things are dime(s) a dozen in the bodegas-turned fancymarts that are ubiquitous in Brooklyn. Good in a pinch, the sausages taste okay and, since I read labels as a hobby, I know its list of ingredients is not too scary. I am also usually stocked with this really nice, mysterious, wheat and oat bread labeled ‘Health Bread’ found all over my neighborhood and always very fresh looking. The combination turned out a hand-held meal, balanced with protein (sausage), fruit/veg (apple) and grain (good bread), three basic elements of a solid meal. Once the foil and the napkin were tossed, the only clean-up was the knife and cutting board for the apples. Impressed my damn self.

EASIEST SAUSAGE AND APPLE SANDWICH

1 link of your favorite sausage

1 apple, (gala, braeburn, fiji, jonagold, granny, mac) cored, sliced

1 swipe mustard

1 swipe mayo

a few dashes hot auce

1 piece of bread

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • On a piece of foil place sausage links with apple slices scattered over.
  • Bake until sausage is cooked (or heated through, depending if it is pre-cooked).
  • With the bread in your hand, put mayo, mustard and hot sauce on the bread and mix it together with a knife.
  • Pile sausages and apples on top and wrap in a napkin for proper eating.

There is a great book on the subject of what people eat when they are alone. I would have contributed one of my crazy breakfast porridges to it, had I the chance. I think there are forums on the web for people to share what they eat out of a public eye, very interesting, as well as some terrifyingly weird advice for people who don’t like to go out and eat alone. Here is my advice: enjoy yourself, be polite OR stay home and cook! Amaze yourself. Bon ap!