Pardon the long absence! Due to a combination of many factors (mainly that I have been focusing on finishing my dissertation!), we have neglected our duties as World Tasters for some time. However, I am now a full-fledged doctor (not medical), and we are ready to share our food experiences with you. Since, our previous post, in addition to my graduation, Tricia has relocated to Blue Bell here in PA. In our explorations of the area, we ran across a wonderful Korean Supermarket just down the road – Assi. Inspired by our trips to Assi, I recently decided to tried to make my own version of Korean BBQ (as you may know, BBQ sauce is a passion of mine). Brisket was a great cut for this recipe, but I think pork shoulder may also work well. The big secret is to cook it for a while to make sure the meat really cooks properly. The result is a deliciously tangy, slightly spicy, and wonderfully tender BBQ beef.
Sometimes I run into a recipe that catches me off guard by how different it is but how good it sounds. This was my reaction when I recently say Andrew Zimmern’s recipe for “Sweet & Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken.” With plenty of Thai chilies and KETCHUP, it sounded unique but absolutely delicious. And it was. I made a few minor tweaks, mainly because I couldn’t find lemongrass (I used a combination of lemon zest, ginger, and scallions). While my reproduction wasn’t exact, the essence of Zimmern’s recipe came through, and it was excellent. Although I used a few extra chilies to satisfy my spicy tastes, this recipes packs quite a bit of heat from the outset. The fact that I was able to use fresh peas that I had picked up at BB farms earlier in the weekend mad the dish that much better. Tricia and I enjoyed this dish over jasmine rice with some dry stir fried snap peas (also from BB) on the side. The recipe is here, and I definitely recommend trying it out!
Char siu is quite possibly the most famous Cantonese dish of all. Literally meaning “fork roasted,” char siu is pork (usually shoulder) that is marinated in a sweet and thick blend of sauces and then roasted until it becomes crisp and almost candy-liek on the outside. Traditionally, char siu is made over a charcoal fire with large cuts from the shoulder (usually a 1/4 shoulder). For my recipe, I cut much smaller strips of pork and did the entire thing in the oven (although I may try the grill in the future). The smaller pieces actually worked out well, as they led to more of the crispy end pieces that are the most delicious. To be honest, I was pretty impressed with myself for making char siu – it was my first try and it came out delicious (and good to look at too)! For those that have only had char siu prepared at a Chinese deli, I think you’ll be impressed by how tasty and relatively simple it is when made at home.
Pork tenderloin is a nice meat to work with because it cooks relatively quickly (due to its low fat content, it doesn’t need a long braise or roast), and if treated properly it is moist and delicious. It is also amenable to a variety of marinades and sauces. I decided to try and be fairly creative with my most recent preparation. Although unexpected by many, cocoa is known to compliment pork very well. I decided to make a cocoa-based dry rub for this recipe. For the “mocha” aspect, I paired the cocoa-rubbed pork with an espresso-based glaze. This was a fun recipe that ended up turning out really well. Give it a try!