Saturday, August 13, 2011

I always forget to take photos of things I make when Caitlin is here, but lunch was fennel-stuffed pork belly with smoked hominy and tomatoes & okra.

Tomatoes & okra: put one chopped tomato and 3-4 chopped pods of okra in a pan with a pat of butter or drizzle of oil, and a healthy shake of Tony Chachere's seasoning (some kind of salt is necessary to break down the tomatoes). Cook on low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes if the okra is fresh; remove cover and cook long enough to reduce tomato juices, 1-2 minutes on high.

Smoked hominy: soak dry hominy (nixtamalized field corn - far and away the best hominy I've had came from the same Minnesota Ojibwe source as the best wild rice, but if you have a local source, use it) for 1-2 days. Pour soaking water off, cover in fresh water in a baking dish in a stovetop smoker, and smoke for a few hours, until fully cooked. Serve hot with butter and salt. (I used a bunch of smoked hominy in a batch of posole, too, which is lunch tomorrow.)

Fennel-stuffed pork belly: Brine boneless pork belly in saltwater with seasonings of your choosing - I used fennel and, believe it or not, a little Caesar salad dressing. An overnight brine is plenty - a few hours is fine, even. Slice fennel and onion very very thin (I used the Cuisinart) and saute with a little butter or pork fat until soft; let cool. Lay pork belly over a few long lengths of string, skin side down; cover with fennel and onion, roll up, and tie tightly. Roast for 45 minutes at 350, let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Dinner last night - fried taco pizza. Yep: preheat the oven and a cooking surface to 500 degrees. Deep-fry a circle of pizza dough for 3-4 minutes, until puffy and blistered, but not fully golden brown. Drain it quickly on a paper bag, take the preheated cooking surface from the oven, sprinkle it with cornmeal, put the fried dough on the cornmeal, and quickly dress it with chopped tomatoes, Mexican hot sauce (I used Valentina), shredded mozzarella, and crumbled ground beef (raw) seasoned with salt, cumin, and coriander. Bake for 7-10 minutes until fully cooked. Chop into pieces and serve with sour cream.

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