6.27.2009

Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas

Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas

I've found myself rather busy lately and without much time to sit down and cook. When I can peer into the future and see myself heading in eight different directions at once, I like to cut myself off at the pass and prepare a large batch of food for times when cooking is not going to be an option. Usually, this happens in the winter and large quantities of minestrone soup fits the bill. But seeing as it is now officially summer (and hot, hot, hot!), minestrone soup is sort of out of the question. Instead, I made this delicious little empanadas. Easy to make, and even easier to eat on the go, these little guys transport very well when you are no where near your dining room table.


2 lbs pork shoulder
3 cherry peppers
8 oz. farmers cheese
20 empanada wrappers
1 cup fresh cilantro, washed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2.5 cups orange juice
0.5 cups lime juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup grape seed oil
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seed
4 cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Several hours (or even the night before) you want to start cooking, grind up the allspice berries, cumin, and black pepper until they are every fine. Rub into the pork and let it sit (covered) in the fridge: at least 4 hours. Also, slice the cherry peppers thinly and place into a clean glass jar with 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup of cilantro. Screw on the jar and place in the fridge (for at least 4 hours).

Preheat your oven to 325F. In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and gently saute, but to not burn. At this point, also add the pork shoulder. Allow the shoulder to brown, turning it to get every side. When browned all over, add the remaining orange juice and the lime juice. Cover and place in the oven for 2.5 hours, or until fork tender. Let the pork rest for 30 minutes after braising. Then shred the pork.

I like to take the braising liquid, which now has a TON of flavor, and reduce it on the stove until it is just under one cup of liquid. I then pour this over the shredded pork and add another 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. It is only now that I would think about seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Next, heat up grape seed oil in a skillet for frying. While the oil is heating up, spread 1 tsp farmers cheese onto an emapanada wrapper. Top with a tbsp or so of the shredded pork, and a few slices of our pickled peppers.


Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas


Make sure you are placing your filling off center. Fold over the empanada wrapper and crimp the edges together making a tight seal. Gently fry each empanada for a minute or two per side, until nice and golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

6.19.2009

Sometimes

Yesterday, I told you about a great asparagus, lemon, and egg soup and how it was made by three people for something great. Well, it was all a part of a test drive for Baltimore's latest 'diy restaurant'.


sometimes


Announcing: Sometimes. Sometimes is an alternative dining experience dedicated to serving great food for those who prefer something slightly different you cannot get at a regular restaurant. Sometimes has a small staff (three cooks, two servers) which allows for greater flexibility in how and when meals are offered. Like the name, sometimes the restaurant is open, and sometimes it is not. So how do you attend? Check out sometimes and find out.


6.18.2009

Asparagus, Lemon, and Egg Soup

asparagus lemon and egg soup

Everyone remembers from grade school that the three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. What they didn't tell you as you were sitting behind your tiny desk is that they could easily have been talking about soup. In one soup bowl, you have neatly contained all three states of matter. You've got your solids (meat, vegetables, noodles, etc.) and liquids (broth, stock, cream, etc.) and even gas (the perfumed steam rising from the bowl.) Not only that, but soup (and rest) are pretty much the only medicine I take when I am feeling sick. But soup is not just another sick day cliche, it is great whenever you are great. And this soup in particular
(which was designed by myself and two other great cooks) was consumed during something great. (Check here for more details.)

This soup is a subtle one. The asparagus and lemon flavor is there, even though you are staring at a relatively clear broth. But the real treat is the raw egg yolk. By pouring the soup over the yolk, you are not only slightly cooking it, but you are creating a culinary bomb. When you go to eat the soup, you pop the yolk. This releases the still runny yolk into the broth, changing the seemingly thin bodied liquid into a rich and lip-smacking soup.


2 bunches asparagus, grilled
1 liter vegetable stock
2 lemons
4 raw egg yolks
parsley, chopped
salt and pepper


Bring stock to a boil in a large stock pot. While the liquid is warming up, grill asparagus until done and slightly charred. Remove hard part of the asparagus stem and place in a blender (reserve a few) with a ladleful of stock and some parsley. Puree until smooth. Add to stock and simmer for a few minutes. Zest and juice the two lemons. Add zest and juice to the stock. Stir well to mix thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Lastly, add an egg yolk to each bowl. Gently ladle the soup (which is warm but not too hot: allow the soup to stand for a few minutes if too hot) over the egg yolk and garnish with some parsley and the tips of the reserved asparagus.

6.13.2009

Chickpeas with Rosemary and Preserved Blood Orange

chickpeas with rosemary and preserved blood orange

Finally. Sorry for the delay with this. I have excuses, but I honestly don't even think they matter a whole lot. But, I finally got around to using my preserved blood oranges. As I mentioned before, I was interested in trying these out as a response to the lack of a thorough taste description of preserved lemons. Well, I still haven't had preserved lemons, but if they are anything like my little blood oranges here, you can just go ahead and sign me up as a preserved lemon lover as well.

So what do preserved blood oranges taste like? Well, to find out I simply cooked them with some chickpeas and rosemary. I didn't want anything too complex to cover up the flavor of the oranges so this time I restricted myself to two ingredients (plus some olive oil, salt, and pepper). I used the rind of one quarter of a preserved blood orange. You don't eat the flesh, it is simply too salty. The rind has a slightly squishy texture and the pith is translucent, like it has been candied. The first thing you notice about them is they are very, very salty. But that saltiness is immediately followed by an intense citrus flavor. Definitely orangey, but I really can only describe it as uniquely citrus. And in combination with the rosemary, the preserved blood orange still shined through, although the 'piney-ness' of the rosemary supported it very well.

This is definitely one to keep in the rotation. I'm sure you'll see more preserved blood orange on 6CD in the weeks and months to come. Until then, why not make your own?

6.04.2009

Notes From the 6CD Kitchen

First off, I haven't forgotten about you, dear readers. My recent move was relatively painless and I am in the process of getting my new apartment whipped into shape. I know that there are some people out there asking "where's the recipe this week?" "What about the blood oranges you promised to tell us about two weeks ago?" All in due time, my friends.

My excuse this week, aside from the mountains of boxes I must sift through and finding homes for each one's contents, is a mildly frustrating one. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I got a new apartment because my previous landlord lacked the knowledge (as well as funding) to complete even the simplest repair. So when I moved into my new pad, I was excited to know that everything would be working just great. Everything that is, but the oven/stove. Yup. Not hooked up to the gas line. So, deciding not to rely on the microwave for my meals, there has been very little cooking this week. Preparing cold cereal counts as cooking, right? Right?

But, fear not as the new (and decidedly more competent) landlord will be around this weekend to take care of everything. I have so much more faith in him. Let's hope he lives up to my expectations.

In the meantime, I have a request for you. Every week I offer you a new dish. Sometimes I hear back from readers (both near and far) about their culinary adventures. So, since I am sorry to say that I have no recipe for you this week, I thought I'd give you the chance to tell me about yours. What have you been cooking lately? Anything totally amazing? Something that changed the way you view your food / you life / your pets? Anything so awful you cringe at the very thought of it? Let me know! I'm all ears and I've got an empty plate.