Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The beginning of the end and some sardines.


This is the road I take to get to a highway to get to work. It is beautiful. It always makes me happy. Funny part about it is that it always is the picture postcard of whatever season it is. For instance, the picture above is summer. In autumn the leaves are a shock of color. In winter the trees are bare with only snow covering them. Spring is the excitement of seeing leaves return to the trees.

Ok, enough with poetic thoughts. Lets talk about what I have been cooking.


My garden is starting to give up its vegetables. Soon it will be dead. It is the beginning of the end of summer. I hate to see my pool covered up. I will miss the smell of suntan lotion and bbq. See those banana peppers in that bowl? Which one is the banana pepper? You didn't just ask that did you? It is the thing that isn't the tomato or tomatillo green thing.


These peppers were grown for one dish that we make. It is Rick Bayless's Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo (Asado de Puerco con chile guero, platano y piloncillo).


I have posted this recipe before but will do so again because it is THAT good.


It really is a pretty easy recipe. We made it for friends and since we were kinda drinking really strong Margarita's I didn't get pictures.


Last week also consisted of some Sardines that I picked up at a Portuguese fish store.


Not my favorite the way that I made them.


Oh, and I also tried out the stupid egg trick of separating the yolk from the white with a bottle. It works people. Then again so does your hand. Crack yolk into hand and let goo drip between fingers. I got a kick out of how everyone thought this video was some kind of amazing.

Here is MY version of video of the same thing. Viral video THAT.


So it is the end of summer. My favorite farm stand will close for the winter and all my chickens will go inside or be butchered or whatever it is they do to them. I pretend they are mine in the summer. In the winter I don't wanna think about it.


Soon no more sitting around the table on the patio. Goodbye summer. Never appreciated you as much as I do since leaving California.

Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo
Asado de Puerco con chile guero, platano y piloncillo

Recipe from Season 5 of Mexico--One Plate at a Time

1 small cone (about 1 ounce) piloncillo
OR 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound (about 6 medium) fresh yellow chiles (I prefer hot Hungarian wax or banana peppers here)
A 2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
One 18-inch section of banana leaf, hard spine cut off, plus an extra piece to line the serving platter
1 large (10-ounce) ripe plantain (it should be noticeably soft and yellow splotched with black), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small red onion, sliced into rings 1/8 inch thick
2 limes, cut into wedges

Fill a microwaveable measuring cup with 3/4 cup water. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and let stand until piloncillo dissolves, about 5 minutes. (The brown sugar will dissolve more quickly.)

Roast the chiles over an open flame or 4-inches below a preheated broiler until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let cool until handleable. One by one, clean the chiles: Cut off the stem-end, slit down the side from seed pod to point, and open out flat. Gently scrape out the seeds and discard. Flip the chile over and, scrape off the blistered skin. Cut the cleaned chile flesh into 1/2-inch slices.

In a large (7-quart) Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Brown the pork on all sides—it’ll take about 8 minutes—then remove it to a plate. Add the white onion to the pan and cook until richly browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape it into a bowl, set the pan aside.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. If a strip of the hard central rib is still attached to one side of the banana leaf, cut it off with scissors. Then use the leaf to line the unwashed Dutch oven (it will spill over the sides). Lay in the pork. Strew the onions over the pork, followed by chile strips and plantain. Drizzle everything with the piloncillo water. Fold the ends of the leaf in to cover the whole affair, secure the lid and bake until the pork is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a warm serving platter with a fresh banana leaf. With the aid of two spatulas, transfer the pork to the platter. Use a pair of tongs to break it into small chunks.

Remove the banana leaves from the pan, scraping any clinging goodness back into the pan. If there is a lot of fat on top of the juices, spoon it off. Taste the juices and season highly with salt. Spoon everything in the pan over the pork. Garnish with red onion rings and lime wedges, and carry to the table, along with plenty of warm tortillas for making very delicious tacos.


  1. The only reason I live where there are still four seasons is so that I'll appreciate summer when it gets here. I love the picture of your drive to work. It would make me happy every time I'd see those trees overhanging the road.

    I haven't seen the stupid egg trick, but yeah, I use my fingers. Works like a charm.

    Only boy chickens on egg farms get the axe (makes for good coq au vin) so I think most of your girls are safe. They'll just be tucked indoors where they'll continue to lay, just a little less often (at least that's what I hope).

  2. I get sad when summer is gone, too. I have to go back to work, put my light colored shorts away, and take out my dark colored shorts for fall. I actually saw a hint of haze in the air. It looks like school weather :(. I sure wish I could see the colors change with you...leaves, not shorts.

  3. Not so much amazing as hella-FUN. I dig fun. Now I want sardines and pork. xoxoxo

  4. I love your egg video!

  5. First, you remind me of my mom. I love that.
    Second, that roasted pork sounds incredible!
    Third, the egg video? Fascinating, but I like the hand technique myself, too.

  6. Awwww. What a great compliment. Thanks sweetie.

  7. The roasted pork sounds amazing. I am getting excited for the changing of the season. Pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters!