Pork

Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps

Ok, this isn't really a recipe. It's more of a "let me present you with a weeknight meal idea" kind of post. Because this is something I eat regularly. When I'm hangry. I usually have ssamjang in the fridge, and always grab the lettuce and thin pork belly at the store when I'm grocery shopping so they are awaiting their time to be called for duty. 

Looking at the ssamjang post, these wraps might look familiar. I never explained the method to my go-to meal madness, so that's why I'm breaking it down here. The attraction to pork belly (known as samgyeopsal in Korean) is pretty self explanatory. And I just prefer the thinner version, which is actually cut for hot pot. But let's shine a spotlight on the red leaf lettuce. It's the perfect flexibility while still retaining that refreshing crunch. It's a completely different experience from Romaine. And remember not to toss the smaller leaves and the sweeter core. Just dip those into the ssamjang in-between making your wraps. It's totally normal to have a snack during your meal.  

Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps

Gogijeon - Meat Pancake

Roughly, gogi means meat and jeon means pancake. I say roughly because pancake to a Korean does not bring to mind the classic Americana imagery of fluffy flapjacks covered in syrup. Instead, the batter is meant to be savory like with Kimchi Pajeon, or just some kind of egg coating.

I make mine with ground pork for the tenderness, and don't add salt because it's naturally salty, and will be served with a soy - vinegar dipping sauce.

Gogijeon - Meat Pancake

Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae  - Soft Tofu Stew

Jjigae. Ddukbokki. Japchae. And the more familiar, bibimbap. Music to my ears. It's not the names that make me chuckle as it does for some, but freaking out my auto correct as I'm writing this post because it thinks I can't spell a dang thing puts a smile on my face. 

I've noticed that many "halfies" like myself have lived daringly by slightly altering traditional childhood recipes. Really for me, it's about using what I normally stock in my kitchen and punching up the flavors that I love about the dish. As my momma says, "It must be a generational thing to add that much garlic to everything".

Works for me. 

Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae  - Soft Tofu Stew

Pork Chops with Rosemary Rice

I definitely judge my food by "lit candle" worthiness. 

Spending time in the kitchen making a meal is arguably a luxury. Take the luxury even further to sit down and enjoy the meal and you've crossed into blasphemy. 

No judgement here, as I too have the spot on the couch that's carved out with the shape of my body. No matter how long you spend on a meal, we all have moments where you want to turn off your mind by allowing time spent in the rabbit hole that is YouTube. Being accompanied by homecooking is a pretty huge plus. 

But sometimes, even if I'm by myself, I will light a few candles at the dinning table while patting myself on the back with a job well done. 

Pork Chops with Rosemary Rice

Braised Pork Country Ribs

We're gonna go country here. With pork that is. The meatiness and low cost of this cut makes this one of my favorites. It's probably also because we get to braise this hunk of meat low and slow to make it so tender that it falls apart when you're looking at it. 

That's right, don't be fooled and just try to pan fry this sucker for quick eats, because your jaw will hurt from chewing and fists will be shaken at the sky. Give this some of your time and love ... which really only takes about 20 minutes of prep and 3 hours of you giving it some space. Smothering does not make the heart grow fonder. 

The bones on the cut help to give incredible flavor, but I like to add some fresh aromatic herbs to bring this dish to another level. The smells that will come from your kitchen will be amazing. Guaranteed.  

Braised Pork Country Ribs

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

With the husband being vegetarian, I rarely put bits of meat into dishes anymore for flavoring ... mainly out of convenience of not having to make two separate meals. So when I am going to eat meat, it's the star of the show. Usually I'll go for the rib-eye or chicken thighs and of course the flavorful bone-in pork chop. 

I feel like adding a velvety dark glaze to this dish gives proper admiration to the chops. And the soft onions become a more than welcomed topping. Since we eat with our eyes first, this winning combination may bring jealousy among observers that you're not sharing with. Proceed with caution.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Onions

Again, I am thrilled to be able to share my taste-bud's experience with the rubs that the fine people at Dead Rooster Co. make. The first of the two varieties they generously sent me, I shared with you on some cod tacos. Now, feast your eyes on the second rub called Black Gold

This rub has a base of chocolate coffee grounds. What the what. How could a pacific NW girl like myself resist such a concoction? I can see this balanced mixture working on a variety of things, but I thought pork would have to be the first stop. I'm using a tenderloin because of the juicy, and of course tender, outcome you get in a short amount of time. Let's dive in. 

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Onions

Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Whenever there's a fire going, I turn cro-magnon. My mind whispers a chant on repeat: "must put meat on fire".

So when I first started using the grill, I would do just that - put the meat directly on the fire. This resulted in tough, overcooked, inedible burned mounds. After a few fist shakes to the skies, I did some research and discovered the beauty of two - zone grilling. Use the cooler side to cook your food thoroughly, even tenderize it going low and slow, then use the hot zone to sear your food to perfection. Genius.

Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Pork Baby Back Ribs

We're going low and slow in the kitchen today. The husband is still very much vegetarian so I don't have to worry about anyone stealing all my hard earned ribs. (When I say hard earned, I mean I practiced my patience skills because this recipe is ridiculously easy). I spend the three hours re-listening to my favorite Radiolab podcasts, cleaning the house, playing with the dog. Whatever I can do to get my mind off the savory piece of heaven I'm going to sink my teeth into. Only 10,800 seconds away ...  

Pork Baby Back Ribs

Tender Pork Butt Roast

Yes, please.

Sometimes when it's been rainy and cold, it's nice to transport to a warmer location through food. Don't get me wrong, I love the Northwest ... but sometimes there's not enough coffee to make the gray go away. 

On the flip side, when there's the uncommon sun break, I honestly don't know how to handle it. Again, I react with food. 

Just like a beef pot roast, pork butt can be made into fall-apart mouth watering pieces. And with all of the flavors packed into this dish, you'll feel like you're at a warm sandy beach. I do anyways. 

Tender Pork Butt Roast

Fettuccine with Bacon, Beet Greens and Capers

When I was younger, I never understood why some things were eaten, and some things were supposed to be thrown away. The ends of broccoli tasted fine. Parsley and cilantro stems had just as much flavor as the leaves. And there were the tops of beets. They looked pretty similar to chard, which is loved as a healthy vegetable. I needed to investigate.

Sometimes as home cooks, we just follow what the fancy chef with an unlimited budget tells us on TV. We also cut the turkey legs off every time we roast it because great great great great g-ma did it that way. They forgot to pass down the detail that g-ma's oven was tiny and there just wasn't room!

Fettuccine with Bacon, Beet Greens and Capers