Sunday, July 31, 2011

Confit of Eggplant with Yukon Gold Puree & Fried Tofu

Can vegetarian food be sexy?  I've asked that question before.  Even strung together a bunch of coherent sentences on Blogcritics...

Dirty Sexy Vegetarian

There are many chefs on the blogosphere doing vegetarian right.  One such cook, Alisha from The Ardent Epicure, is lifting vegetarian cooking to a new division.  Her food is creative, bursting with flavor, and a feast for the eyes.

That's why we are lucky to have her as a member of our 5 Star Foodie Cooking group.  And, she has graciously accepted to guest post right here, during my extremely, incredibly limited, guest post series.

So inspired by Alisha, LC is veggie for one day....

Confit of Eggplant with Yukon Gold Puree, Fried Tofu & Cuban Espresso Ketchup

Ethereal, dare I say celestial, Yukon Gold Puree.  Thank you Chef Robuchon.  By the way, don't mind the fuckin' HAIR in the middle of the photo.  What a DISASTER.

The humble eggplant lifted to highs rarely seen by being slowly cooked in duck fat.  What?!  That's not vegetarian?!

Firm Tofu, Rice Flour, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Curry Powder, & Ground Cumin.  Tofu is bland?  Not this one.

Cuban Espresso Ketchup.  Recipe will surely not follow.  No chance!

Eggplant Confit

  • 2 Japanese eggplants - sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup good quality Spanish olive oil
  • 2 shallots - peeled & sliced thin on the mandoline
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbs agave syrup
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Leyenda del Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 1 tbs champagne vinegar
  • 2 bay leaf
  • fresh thyme - 2 sprigs
  • 2 tbs safflower oil
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the shallots, coriander, agave syrup, and a pinch of sea salt.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the tequila, vinegar, bay leaf and thyme.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggplant slices.
  5. Transfer to oven.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Turn eggplant slices.  Cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the eggplant slices to a wire rack.  Strain the cooking liquid.  Reserve.
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat.
  8. Sear the eggplant slices on one side for 1 minute.
  9. Remove to the wire rack to rest.  Baste with the cooking liquid.
Yukon Gold Puree
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes - scrubbed & cleaned
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter - cubed & kept ice cold in fridge
  • ground white pepper
  1. In a saucepan, add 2 quarts cold water, 1 tbs sea salt, and the potatoes.
  2. Bring to the boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Cover.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Until a knife can easily pierce the potato.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the almond milk, and almond extract.  Bring to the boil.  Take off the heat.
  4. Drain and peel the potatoes.
  5. Put the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a clean saucepan.
  6. Put the potatoes back on medium heat.  Stir the potatoes with a spatula to dry them of excess moisture.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Whisk in the ice cold butter, bit by bit.  Get the whole body into it.
  8. Slowly pour in the milk mixture, while whisking.
  9. Serve immediately.
That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Friday, July 29, 2011

5 Star Makeover Round Up: Farmers Market

This month's makeover theme was finding inspiration at the Farmer's Market.  Supporting the local, organic, sustainable and seasonal is the cornerstone of my cuisine.

I would like to thank my friend Natasha for her tireless work on our group collaboration.  I would also like to thank our group of talented cooks.  Your thoughtfulness and creativity with finding inspiration in fresh food at the farmers market shows remarkable range and talent.

Please click on over to the fantastic blog, 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures to see all of the farmers market creations.

My facebook friends know that I recently submitted my work to Kitchen Artistry.  If you would like  to check out my personal gallery on KA, just click on the icon to the right of this page.

I am very happy to have found this site.  The look and feel of the site is sleek and modern.  Plus it is user friendly for submitting photos.  If you want a new site to submit your photos, without having to deal with snobbish pricks, check them out.

Many of my friends have already submitted to KA.  If you do submit and are accepted, let me know, I will spotlight you on Lazaro Cooks Facebook Page.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Monday, July 25, 2011

5 Star Makeover: Florida Sweet Corn Soup with Minted Mushy Peas & Caramelized Pancetta

This month's makeover theme was finding inspiration at the Farmer's Market.  Easy enough for me, as I spend many of my weekends at them.

Please support your local producers.  I am not gonna preach here because I have done it plenty in the past.  If you'd like to read any of my work on Blogcritics click on the following links.

This weekend Laz found some...

Florida Sweet Corn

Peas & Mint - which became minted mushy peas

Corn Stock
  • 8 ears Florida sweet corn
  • 1 yellow onion - peeled & slice thin on mandoline
  • 3 garlic cloves - peeled & sliced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tbs whole coriander seeds
  • 2 - 4 inch pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  1. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the kernels off the cobs.  Reserve kernels for the soup.
  2. In a stockpot, combine all ingredients.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 75 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  You should have 4 cups stock.
Corn Soup
  • corn oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion - Peeled & sliced thin on mandoline
  • coarse sea salt
  • cane sugar
  • corn kernels - reserved from cobbs
  • 4 cups corn stock
  • 1 oz fresh dill - tied with butchers string
  • 1 tsp lemongrass puree
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter - ice cold straight from fridge
  1. In a stockpot, heat 4 tbs corn oil, over medium heat.  Add the onions.  Season the onions with a generous pinch of sea salt and cane sugar.  Cook the onions, stirring often to avoid BURNING, for 1 hour.  The goal is to create deep, rich, caramel flavor.  Keep with it.  Makes a huge difference in the final product.
  2. Add the corn, corn stock, dill, and lemongrass puree.  Simmer for 1 hour.  I like to allow the stock to reduce and concentrate.  
  3. Take off the heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot.
  5. Put back on the heat.  Check for seasoning.
  6. Whisk in the ice cold butter, very quickly, and vigorously.
  7. Serve immediately.

Minted Mushy Peas
  • 3 cups peas - shelled
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 tbs pancetta fat - reserved from cooked pancetta 
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbs champagne vinegar
  • caramelized pancetta 
  1. In a stockpot, bring salted water and the mint leaves to the boil. 
  2. Add the peas.  Cover with lid.  Cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Using a spider strainer remove the peas and mint.  Transfer to the food processor.
  4. Add the vinegar and pancetta fat.  Pulse to a rough puree.  Add a bit of the cooking water if needed to adjust consistency.
  5. Season with sea salt and black pepper
Bring the dish to your guest like this...

Minted Mushy Peas & Caramelized Pancetta

Then pour the soup at the table...

Finish with a flourish...white truffle oil..."fake but who cares, it's all good."


That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pan-Roasted Sablefish with Blue Crab Meat Mousse

Here's an upscale and pricey dish to serve.  Save it for a special occasion.

With that said, the combination of sablefish and blue crab meat is sublime.

This course has three elements I try to keep in mind when conceptualizing my food...
  • different textures
  • temperatures
  • contrasting flavors
Sablefish is one of our best sustainable fish.  For my money, the crowning jewel of the ocean's treasure trove of goodies.  Found in the North Pacific, sablefish has a rich, buttery flesh and is a SUSTAINABLE alternative to the over fished, Patagonian Toothfish or Chilean seabass.  You can buy fresh Sablefish from Marx Foods.  The quality is excellent.

Florida Blue Crab Meat is in season right now.  Flesh so sweet and tasty, perfect for numerous kitchen applications.  Here I made a smooth mousse to compliment our fish.

My talented friend, Faith from An Edible Mosaic, was nice enough to bring me back some fabulous spices from her Middle Eastern trip.  I included two in this dish...
  • Za'atar used to spice the sablefish 
  • Kebsa, a Saudi spice mix consisting of lemon, cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, cumin, cloves, black pepper and galingal, used to wake-up the blue crab mousse

Blue Crab Mousse
  • 6oz blue crab meat - picked through for shells and broken bits  
  • 1 tsp kebsa
  • 2 tsp fresh dill - chopped
  • coarse sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter - softened to room temp
  1.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the crab meat, kesba, and dill.  Season with sea salt and white pepper. Pulse to incorporate.
  2. With the motor running, steadily stream in the heavy cream.  You are looking for a nice smooth consistency.
  3. Transfer to a glass bowl.  Add the butter.  Mix with a spatula.  Check for seasoning.  Add salt & pepper, if desired.
Pan-Roasted Sablefish
  • 8 oz Sablefish fillet - skinned
  • coarse sea salt
  • white pepper
  • za'atar
  • Wondra flour
  • safflower oil
  1. Remove fish from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.  Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture.  Season both sides of the fish with salt, pepper and za'atar.  (Note: take care with the za'atar, do not overdo it.)  Sprinkle both sides with the Wondra flour.
  2. Heat 1/8 inch safflower oil in saute pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to shimmer, gently lay the fish on the pan skinned side down.  Cook for 2.5 minutes.  Using a fish slice, flip the fish.  Cook for 3 minutes on second side.  
  3. Remove to a wire rack to rest.
Note: Insert a metal skewer into the fish.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Put the skewer against the back of your hand, if...
  • the skewer is cold, the fish is raw
  • the skewer is warm, the fish is cooked to perfection
  • the skewer is hot, the fish is fucked

Summer Relish
  • 1 medium cucumber - seeded & diced
  • 1 mango - diced
  • 1 shallot - sliced into thin rings on the mandoline
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 tbs champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • coarse sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ground coriander
  • fresh sorrel - chopped
  • micro greens
  1. In a glass bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, mango, shallot, capers, oil, vinegar, and lime juice.  Mix to incorporate.  Season with salt, ground coriander and ground pepper.
  2. Fridge overnight.
  3. Before service, add the chopped sorrel to the relish.
  4. Garnish the blue crab mousse with micro greens.

    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Organic Grass-Fed Bison Lasagna

    If you are totally against eating game meat, then you just won't try it.

    However, how could you possible become a better cook if you're unwilling to expand your horizons?!   The limit and boundaries of your cuisine, which you impose on yourself?!  Think about it.

    Organic Grass-Fed Bison Lasagna

    Organic Grass-Fed Bison or American Buffalo is a fantastic beef substitute.  The meat is coarser in texture and has a deep red color.  Bison is actually healthier than beef, with more protein, less cholesterol, and half the calories.  With that said, it still packs a rich beefy flavor.

    Bison can be purchased in most of the cuts you're familiar with NY steak, tenderloin, rib-eye, flat iron steak, London broil, shoulder, short ribs, spare ribs, etc...

    No recipe today.  Just try and mix in some bison the next time you make a meat lasagna.

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Pork & Beans

    Classic culinary combination going all the way back to the wild west cowboys.

    Pork & Beans

    My modern updated whimsical spin

    Pork - Pork Belly what else?!  The absolute best part of this glorious animal.  There are so many ways to cook the belly, and I have experimented with a lot of them.  Here's my latest go-to cooking method for the belly.

    Beans - Edamame of course right?!  This is the young green soybean in pod generally found in most Asian markets and Whole Foods.  The cooking of fresh edamame is simple...boiling water, salt, boil for 4 minutes, plunge into ice bath to stop cooking process.

    This dish has a few integral components that piece together a mosaic of sweet, tart, and spicy.

    Coriander - Refers to the seeds that produce cilantro plants.  Coriander seeds pack a lemony citrus punch when crushed.  Toast them quickly on a dry pan to add a rich nuttines.  This is the big flavor on the pork belly.

    Shiro (White Miso) & Lime Ponzu - Shiro is a white miso that has slightly less umami flavor.  The taste is sweeter and blends well in the edamame puree.  Lime Ponzu brings the salty, citrus tang.  Both of these ingredients can be found in most Asian stores.

    Blended Sriracha Sauce - Sriracha is a spicy sauce made from sun-ripened chilies which are ground into a paste.  In this particular course, I make my own blend of sriracha sauce adding Chinese chili sauce, and a bit of this and that.  Spicy goodness.

    My Pork & Beans course will be sent to Nancy from Spicie Foodie.  I just recently found this very professional blog.  I recommend you check out her beautifully photographed blog.  To celebrate her 2 year blogversary she's hosting a recipe contest.  The prize is her cookbook An Epiphany of the Senses.

    Oven Roasted Pork Belly:
    • 2 lb pork belly - skinless
    • ground coriander - toasted & freshly ground
    • sea salt
    • black pepper - toasted & freshly ground 
    • white truffle oil
    Remove pork belly from fridge.  Dry the pork belly with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.Liberally season both sides of the pork with coriander, sea salt, & black pepper.Place the pork, (skin side up) on a wire rack set over a plate, for 30 minutes.  To allow the meat to come to room temp. (Do not have the pork sitting in the excess juice drip off.)

    Preheat oven to 270 F. Place the pork, (skin side up) in an oven proof dish.  Drizzle with white truffle oil.Roast pork in oven for 4 hours.  Meat should be tender but not falling apart. Remove pork to the wire rack.  Rest for 15 minutes.  Slice accordingly.

    Belly slicing:  This extra step is if you want more uniform slices.  The belly slices easiest cold.  Takes some time though.  Wrap belly in plastic wrap.  Fridge for 3 hours.  Slice belly cold.  Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Warm the belly for 1 minute on each side.

    Edamame Puree
    • 1 cup edamame - shelled & cooked
    • 1 tbs lime ponzu
    • 11/2 tbs shiro white miso
    • 1 tbs organic honey
    • 1 cup bacon dashi
    In a food processor, add the edamame, ponzu, shiro msio, and honey.  Pulse to puree.  Add the bacon dashi 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved.  Should have a smooth puree.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

    Blended Sriracha Sauce
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup cane sugar
    • 1 cup sriracha
    • 1/2 cup Chinese chili sauce
    • 1 tbs lime ponzu
    • 1 tsp lemongrass puree
    In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, over medium heat.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients.  Turn down the heat to medium-low.  Simmer until reduced by half.  You should have a thick fiery sauce.
    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    La Fe

    “La Fe” in Spanish translates to “The Faith” in English. With hints of banana, chocolate, and citrus this drink is an ideal poolside libation. Have faith that this cocktail will do three things...
    1. Go down easy
    2. Cool you off
    3. Knock you on your ass if you have too many.

    La Fe

    Banana Simple Syrup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup cane sugar
    • 1 banana - peeled & sliced
    1. In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium heat.
    2. Cook until the sugar is dissolved.
    3. Remove from the heat.
    4. Add the banana slices.  Allow to infuse for 24 hours.
    5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
    La Fe
    • 30 ml Bacardi Superior rum
    • 30 ml Dailys non-alcoholic triple sec
    • 30 ml banana simple syrup
    • 15 ml creme de cacao
    • 15 ml banana liqueur
    • 15 ml Goya mango nectar
    • 1 cup crushed ice
    • 1 slice caramelized banana garnish
    1. In a cocktail shaker mix all ingredients except for the garnish.
    2. Shake well.
    3. Pour into serving glass.
    4. Top with caramelized banana slice.
    5. Enjoy in moderation.
    If you'd like to go next level...

    Vanilla Infused French Toast with La Fe Bananas & Pop Rocks.

    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Ropa Vieja con Risoni

    The phrase Ropa Vieja in Spanish literally translates to Old Clothes in English.  A helluva name to give a dish.  If that doesn't get your salivary glands flowing, nothing will.

    This course is a Cuban classic.  My version's a bit different from Grandma's.  Why? Because I am incapable of following recipes and have a compulsion with adding my spin to everything.  Actually, I've been playing with this course for years.

    Braising is magic.  The cook skilled in the dark art of the braise, takes disparate ingredients, and weaves them into an elevated culinary experience.  Braising is Holism, where the properties of a flavor profile cannot be explained by its component parts.  In its place, it must be viewed as a balanced complete system that determines how the ingredients come together. Braising is unquestionably my favorite cooking method.

    Flank steak slowly cooks in a warm spa of Voyager Estate Shiraz, organic homemade reduced beef stock, and sofrito water.  Note:  Only cook with wine you would actually drink.  If you would not serve it to your guests, don't put it in the food.

    Ripe plantains and Boniato (Cuban sweet potato) offer the desired sweetness balance, whilst providing a starchy natural thickener for the sauce.

    Instead of serving it over white rice, I like to serve it over risoni or orzo.


    Ropa Vieja con Risoni

    For the Sofrito Water:
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves - peeled & degermed
    • 1 leek (white & light green parts only) - sliced
    • 2 tbs chipotle sauce
    • pinch of sea salt
    1. In a food processor, add ingredients.  Pulse until liquified.  Strain through fine mesh strainer.  Should have 1 cup of liquid.
    For the Braise:
    • 2.5 lb flank steak - finished weight after trimming
    • 2 tbs grapeseed oil
    • 1 tbs butter - unsalted
    • Sea salt
    • Black pepper
    • Ground coriander
    • 6 strips bacon - cut into lardons
    • 1 yellow onion - sliced thin on a mandoline
    • 1 green pepper - seeded & diced
    • 1 cup boniato - peeled & diced
    • 2 ripe plantains - peeled & diced
    • 1 cup mango - diced
    • 2 cups Voyager Estate Shiraz
    • 1 cup reduced beef stock
    • 1 cup sofrito water
    • 2 tbs champagne vinegar
    • coarse sea salt
    • 1 tbs ground cumin
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • cane sugar
    • Fresh oregano
    • chives
    1. Remove the steak from the fridge.  Pat day with paper towels.  Season both sides liberally with sea salt, ground coriander and black pepper.  Place on a wire rack at room temp for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 275 F.
    3. In a Dutch oven, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat.  Add the butter.  When the butter foams, lay the steak in the Dutch oven.  Sear for 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to the wire rack to rest.
    4. Pour off the fat from the pot.  Leaving the browned bits behind.  Add bacon and render over medium heat until crisp.  Add the onion and green bell peppers.  Season with coarse sea salt.  Cook for 8 minutes.  Stirring constantly to avoid sticking or burning.
    5. Deglaze the pan with the wine.  Take care to scrape all browned bits off the pan.  Brown bits are flavor.  Add the sofrito water and beef stock. 
    6. Add the plantain, boniato and mango.  Mix well to incorporate.  Season with ground cumin, dried oregano, pinch of course sea salt, pinch of cane sugar.  Add the champagne vinegar.
    7. Return the steak to the pot.
    8. Cover and braise in oven for 4.5 hours.
    9. The meat should be incredibly tender.  Easily shred apart with forks before serving.
    10. Finish the Ropa Vieja with fresh oregano and chives.  Garnish with chiptole mayo and edible flowers.
    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Raspberry Risotto with Prawns & Rum Soaked Raspberries

    Raspberry Puree
    • 6 ounces Fresh raspberries
    • 1/2 tablespoon Caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon(s) Lemon juice - fresh
    • 1/2 Lemon - zested 
    1. In a food processor, add the 6 oz raspberries, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Process until smooth.
    2. Strain through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.
    3.  Fridge for 12 hours

    Rum Soaked Raspberries
    • 6 Raspberries - halved   
    • Agave syrup
    • Havana Club light rum
    1. In a small saucepan, combine equal parts agave syrup and light rum.  Cook until a syrupy consistency is achieved.
    2. Place the halved raspberries in a glass bowl and cover with the agave/rum syrup.  Take care each raspberry is submerged.
    3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow to sit at room temp overnight.

    Raspberry Risotto
    • 32 ounces Homemade chicken stock
    • 1/2 tablespoon Butter - unsalted  
    • 1/2 Yellow onion - sliced thin on a mandoline
    • 1 cup Carnaroli rice  
    • 1/2 cup Raspberry puree  
    • Sea salt
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons Butter - unsalted, cubed & ice cold
    • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese - grated 
    • 4 21-25 ct prawns - boiled, peeled, deveined, & butterfiled
    •  Chive tips
    1. In a sauce pan, heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer.
    2.  In a small sauce pan, gently heat the raspberry puree over low heat.  DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
    3.  In a risotto pan, melt the 1 1/2 tbs butter over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook slowly for 5 minutes, DO NOT ALLOW TO COLOR.
    4.  Turn the heat up to medium, and add the rice. Stir until all the grains of rice are covered in oil and onion. It is important to get the rice up to temperature before adding liquid.
    5. Once you add the first ladle of stock the process should take 18 minutes to cook the risotto. Keep the risotto at a steady bubble while you continue adding stock, stirring, and letting it absorb, before adding more stock. Stirring is important, the bottom of the pan is hottest, so keep the rice moving to avoid burning.
    6. After 15 minutes, start checking the doneness of the rice. It should be plump and tender, but still retain a slight firmness to the bite.  Add the raspberry puree at this point.  Mix well to incorporate.
    7.  Rest: Take the rice off the heat. Allow to rest for 2 minutes without stirring to prepare it for the emulsification. If the pan is too hot, when you add the cold butter and cheese they will melt too quickly and split.
    8. Mantecatura: Working fast beat in the ice-cold butter and gruyere cheese. Get your whole body into it. Move your hand quickly, shake the pan. The point of the exercise is to be left with a creamy, rich, and emulsified finished product.
    9. Garnish: Top the risotto with the prawn, rum soaked raspberries and chive tip.

    That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

      Saturday, July 2, 2011

      An Expedition of Pork Sandwich

      If you don't like pork, thank you for stopping by, but this post is not for you.  See you next week!  If you are cutting weight or calorie counting, Peace!

      For the rest of us gluttonous pork lovers, lets journey through this lovely beast.

      Pork is a true gift to the culinary world.  So many wonderfully flavorful bits to enjoy.  Here I decided to combine 3 different parts of the animal, each with a different cooking method, in a sandwich.  Sounds nuts but man was it tasty.

      Pork Tenderloin:  For all the people that say pork is too "fatty" the tenderloin is one of the leanest meats money can buy.  The cooking method used to cook the tenderloin was frying.  I portioned the tenderloin in 4 ounce portions, then lightly pounded the meat to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  The breading used was a combination of seasoned & herbed AP flour and Cuban cracker meal.

      Pork Belly:  One of my absolute favorites.  If you've read this blog, you know how much I love the flavoral and textural cornucopia that is pork belly.  My pork belly is cured in a combo of sea salt and cane sugar for 24 hours, then roasted to crisp perfection in the oven.  Low and slow of course.

      Pork Shoulder: More low and slow cooking here, to produce melt in your mouth tender meat.  Add some homemade BBQ sauce and now you take this sandwich to a whole new flavor stratosphere.  The tender pulled pork contributes another textural contrast the sandwich is begging for.

      Serve this at your next BBQ, cookout or dinner party to your pork loving friends.  Trust me, you'll be an absolute star.

      I think a well rounded cook should be able to combine different cooking methods within courses.  The more you can do in the kitchen, the better.  I am not talking about complex techniques, or molecular gastronomy, but perfecting basic cooking techniques can take your food to a whole different league.  Always remember to push the boundaries of your personal cuisine, it is the only way to grow.

      PSA now over.


      Toasted Wheat Bread, Salsa de Aguacate - Avocado Salsa

      Fried Pork Tenderloin

      More Salsa de Aguacate - (sorry I can't get enough)

      Roasted Pork Belly

      Roasted Onions

      BBQ Pulled Pork Shoulder

      Crumbled Goat Cheese - (odd addition but somehow it works)

      If you are worried about mouth clearance, it's about 3 fingers.

      An Expedition of Pork Sandwich

      Looks like a mess but tastes great!

      For the Pork Belly:
      2 lb pork belly - skinless
      sea salt
      cane sugar
      ground coriander
      ground cumin
      ground black pepper
      onion powder

      Rub both sides of the pork belly with equal parts sea salt and cane sugar.  Wrap with plastic wrap and fridge for 24 hours.

      Remove pork belly from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Season both sides of the pork belly with coriander, cumin, black pepper, and onion powder.  Place in roasting pan.  Cook for 1 hour, fat side up.  Baste with rendered fat after 35 minutes.

      Reduce oven temp to 250 F.  Cook for an additional 80 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

      For the Salsa de Aguacate:
      1 Florida avocado - diced
      3 tsp Spanish olive oil
      1 tbs Meyer lemon juice
      1 tsp champagne vinegar
      sea salt
      black pepper

      Add the avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil to a blender.  Blend adding small amounts of water as needed for desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Process to combine.

      I really pondered posting my BBQ sauce recipe...

      That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!