Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smokey Vinegared Greens

As summer comes on strong, the winter greens are still arriving weekly in my Community Supported Agriculture box of produce each week.  I'm becoming a professional at adding hearty healthy greens to other recipes, boosting the nutrition of the dish as well as using up all this great produce.

This dish was made to compliment the Summer Pork Roast with Stone Fruit and it did exactly that.  Smokey richness from the bacon is a classic addition to greens, the vinegar added a brightness which woke up the fruit flavors which had been mellowed from cooking for hours.

The two together make a really colorful and delicious meal.


Smokey Vinegared Greens
(serves 6 as side dish)

4 slices best quality smoked Bacon
3 bunches of Winter Greens (kale, collards, chard)
Salt to taste*
White Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons Cider vinegar

Cut the bacon into 1/8" bits and brown over medium heat in a large dutch oven.

Wash the greens, de-stem them and cut into 1 1/2" squares (or ribbons, your preference).

When the bacon is browned, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, set aside.  Remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat from the dutch oven.

Add the greens to the pan.  Toss to coat them in the hot oil.  Lower the heat to just below medium.  Put a lid on the pot and cook until the greens are to your desired tenderness (I like them with a little chew to them, others like completely tender).  This will take between 5 and 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar and mix to combine flavors.  Add the bacon and a little white pepper.  Taste and and THEN add salt if necessary or more vinegar if you want more brightness.

Serve with any roasted meat, but even better with that summer pork roast!

*Note: Bacon can have no salt or a lot of salt.... so please, wait until the end of cooking, taste the dish and THEN add salt if needed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Pork Roast with Stone Fruit Compote

A gluttony of summer fruit, what to do when you have too much of a good thing.

My kids love stone fruit.  They wait all year to get their fill of plums, nectarines, peaches, pluots & apricots.  I tend to fully indulge them when the season hits. We buy pounds of the sweet fruit and indulge all summer.  But sometimes our eyes are just to big for our stomach to keep up.  We buy too much of the sweet stuff and it rots.... FAST.

This year when a big bowl of peaches & nectarines were slowly softening by the kitchen window, I devised a quick plan, a delicious, slow-cooked plan!

Summer Pork Roast with Stone Fruit Compote
(serves 4-6 as main course)

2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
2-3 lb Pork Shoulder Roast (also called Picnic Roast)
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
Salt & Pepper - to season & to taste
1 Large Onion
3 Ribs of Celery
1 Large Carrot
1 Large Jalapeno
2 lbs. Overripe Stone Fruit
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 " Fresh Ginger Root
1 12 oz Beer

In a large dutch oven heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Rub the pork all over with the coriander and season liberally with the salt and pepper.
Brown the pork roast on all sides, letting it brown well on one side before turning to the next.
Chop the onion, celery, carrot & jalapeno into medium dice.
When the pork roast is on it's final side, add the vegetables to the pan.  Stir around to combine.  Lower the heat to medium.
Cut the flesh off the pit of each piece of stone fruit.  Slice coarsely into thick slices.
Peel & smash the garlic & ginger.  Mince thoroughly.
Add the fruit, ginger & garlic to the pan.  Stir gently for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Pour in the beer, fold into the fruit & vegetable mixture. 
Cover and Braise in the oven @ 325F  OR on the stove-top on low heat - for 3 hours.
Remove from the heat when the pork is fall apart tender.  Take the roast from the pan and put on a serving dish.  If the sauce in the pan is quite runny, boil it over high heat (do not stir or you will break up the fruit) for a few minutes to thicken into a sauce before serving.
Slice the pork, serve with the thickened compote and the Smokey Vinegared Greens.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bitter? Melon

This week's CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) box contained a few Chinese bitter melon. I haven't cooked with them before & was a bit hesitant. But now that I've prepped them & had a chance to taste them, I don't get it. Where is the bitter?  All I get is cool, slightly sweet & melony - dense cucumber.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Must Try: Curry Mustard

I don't know where I bought it. Keep on the lookout for it. We
finished our jar last night & I already miss the flavor. Yeah, it's
that good. Made in France. I know, not local. It's a special piquant