So, hey kids. I’m back. Kinda. Just getting back into the swing of this, and I miiight have a not insignificant amount of recipes I should finally write up.

Basically: unemployment and depression are rough, and getting yourself stabilized after all of the above is even more fun. For now, I appear to be settled enough that I finally feel comfortable getting back to this blog. So. Sorry for kinda disappearing since September, and thank you for sticking with me.

Pork belly is becoming a thing right now, and luckily for me, I have several Asian markets in the Chicago area that do cheap as shit (and well cut) slabs of pork belly. I came across this recipe on Lucky Peach, and decided to give it a shot. One major note – the original recipe calls for you to brown it on top of the time it spends in the oven, but to be very honest, it’s perfect as is after it comes out of the oven.

Momofuku Pork Belly
Makes however much pork belly you want; above was appx 2.5 lbs

Ingredients

  • Desired amount of pork belly (again, above was in one package from their meat counter, about 2.5 lbs I would guess; original recipe said skinless, I got mine with the skin on, didn’t make any large difference)
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sea salt
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sugar
  • a dash of fresh ground black pepper

The night before you want to make your pork belly, season it with salt and sugar, and a few twists of black pepper from the grinder. Cover it (I used one of the many many containers I have lying around) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Day of, preheat your oven to 450. Put your belly in a pan, and then sear at 450 for about a half hour. Turn it down to 275, and let it roast slowly another hour or two (I want to say mine sat for closer to the two hour mark at 275), until it’s nice and tender (but not mushy. ew).

Let it cool to room temperature, wrap it up/put it in a container in the fridge to store, and then warm it and nom as you desire!

 

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Again, another simple, quick, and depending on the state of your pantry, reasonably cheap side dish. Farmer’s markets have lots of tender new potatoes for good prices this time of year, and if you live near a good Indian market (or, say, within a short train ride of Little India in Chicago), you can find ghee for reasonably cheap. From there, just add sea salt and pepper, and the sage to infuse the ghee with. 

Pan Roasted New Potatoes Browned with Sage Infused Ghee

  • 1 lb new potatoes (I believe these were red or fingerlings?)
  • 4 T ghee
  • ~20 fresh sage leaves, torn, if you have them – otherwise ~2 T dried sage
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your potatoes in, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (I went with 15), until fork tender. Drain the potatoes. 

In a medium sized pan (original recipe recommends a cast iron pan, this works just fine with a normal pan if you don’t have one/don’t want to get it out), melt the ghee, adding the sage as it melts. Add the potatoes in a single layer once melted, and cook over medium, turning/stirring the potatoes every four to five minutes or so, until they’re browned on all sides (which should take around 20 minutes). 

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and then enjoy your crispy potatoes!

This is a great, simple recipe that also happens to be healthy and light on the effort. And since green beans are in season and in glut at the farmer’s market, this is also excessively cheap – all you should need is a lemon, butter, and sea salt and pepper besides the green beans. 

Lemon Butter Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, destemmed (I probably got closer to two lbs and doubled the recipe accordingly)
  • 1 T butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Take your green beans, and destem them. If they’re particularly long, halve or third them. Once destemmed, rinse the beans in a colander. 

Put your beans in a large pan, and add about an inch of water (it will likely just barely cover the beans). Cover the pan, and heat over medium high heat, allowing the water to just barely come to a boil. Steam/simmer the beans for three to five minutes, until bright green and just barely tender (see difference between pic 1 and 2). Remove the beans from heat, turn the burner off, and drain. 

Return the beans to the pan and the turned off burner, and add in the butter, sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, and let the butter melt using the residual heat. Once melted, add the remaining zest and juice, taste, and add more sea salt and pepper depending on your taste.

This is a great quick summer toast, combining brie, bread, and tomatoes for the perfect morning flavor combination. Might have to try this before heading out the door for work in the morning here while we’ve still got good tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato and Buttered Brie Toast with Thyme and Honey

Ingredients

  • Slices of crusty bread of choice (sourdough, roasted garlic, whichever you like best!)
  • 2 T butter
  • brie, sliced to taste (or in these cute little brie bite sizes that I got from Trader Joe’s)
  • fresh thyme if you have it, otherwise, dried thyme to taste
  • heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced thin
  • honey and olive oil, to drizze
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Rub the slices of bread with butter, and place in the oven for three to five minutes, until lightly toasted. Layer on the brie and tomato slices, and then return to the oven to cook for five minutes, until the brie is melted and the tomatoes wrinkle slightly. Turn on the broiler for one minute after the brie is melted to crisp it up a bit. 

Then, add your thyme (and oregano, if you’re me), and drizzle with honey and olive oil, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And then, enjoy your quick summer breakfast!

This is an amazing summer dish that I can’t recommend enough, especially now that we’re at the height of tomato season. I originally paired California black figs with this, but now that I’ve tried some more figs, I think that tiger figs might actually have gone better. (I’ve never tried figs before this summer. I’m still learning.)  Throw these roasted tomatoes in with burrata, and the end result is goddamn amazing. 

Marinated Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast

Ingredients

  • .25 c olive oil
  • 2.5 c cherry tomatoes of various types, halved
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • dash of thyme (fresh if you have it, dried if you don’t)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dried Greek oregano to taste
  • fresh figs, halved, to taste
  • 2-3 balls burrata
  • slices of sourdough, roasted garlic, or crusty bread of choice
  • olive oil and garlic clove for the toast

Preheat your oven to 225, and half your cherry tomatoes. drizzling with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Slow roast the tomatoes for three hours, until they’re nice and wrinkly and juicy. Then, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, and greek oregano. Add in your tomatoes, toss to coat, and marinate for 2-4 hours at room temperature, or just toss them in the fridge to absorb the flavors. 

When you’re ready to eat them, take your slices of bread, rub them in olive oil and a halved garlic clove. Hold your toast over an open flame, or in a grill pan, and heat until it’s lightly charred on each side, about 2-3 minutes a side. 

Slice your figs, layer them in a bowl with the burrata ball, layer the cherry tomatoes on top, and have a piece of toast on the side to dip into all the various juices, and enjoy the resulting amazingness!

Looking for something quick, and wonderfully cheesy and boozy at the same time? May I direct you to this lovely little splurge – melty brie, and a bit of prosecco jelly (courtesy of Eataly) smeared on top. The original recipe has a whole bunch of other stuff, but honestly, I just wanted something simple. This is amazing on those little brioche toasts that they have at Trader Joe’s, especially fresh out of the oven. 

Baked Brie with Prosecco Jelly

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel brie (6 to 8 oz)
  • .25 c prosecco jelly (also substitute champagne jelly; you can find this type of thing at Eataly, or the original recipe has a recipe for this if you’d like to try it)

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, and cut the top of the wheel’s rind off while the oven’s preheating. Spoon the jelly over the top of the brie. Bake for ten minutes, until nice and melty, then spoon onto a brioche toast, and enjoy. 

Nancy Singleton Hachisu recently put out a new cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way. Her previous cookbook was a favorite of mine, so I was excited to get my hands on this. It’s mainly themed on pickling and preserving, and this recipe came up right when I had a small fuckton of broccoli on hand, so I was eager to give this a try.

The resulting broccoli has a great flavor from being macreated in the soy sauce, dashi, and red pepper flakes, and the katsuoboshi adds a lovely savory flavor to it, too. I doubled the recipe because of the sheer amount of broccoli I had, but will include the original amounts below.

Broccoli in Soy Sauce with Red Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 6 T dashi (recipe here)
  • 8 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste (original recommends 3 dried red chiles, crumbled roughly)
  • 2 T katsuoboshi flakes (you can find these at your local Asian grocery)

Bring a mediumish pot of water to boil, and have a bowl of cold water waiting in the kitchen sink. While the water comes to a boil, cut your main stem from your broccoli heads and discard, and then cut up closer to where the florets start, so that it’ll break down into lots of nice sized florets. Cut the upper stems that are left over into similar sized pieces.

Drop your broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for three minutes. While the broccoli cooks, mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl with a lid. Strain the broccoli from the boiling water, and then immediately put in the cold water. Run cold water from your tap over the broccoli until cooled, and then pat dry.

Once dried and cooled, toss the brocooli with the dashi/soy/red pepper mixture and then cover, Let macreate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drain the mixture. If eating right away, sprinkle with the katsuoboshi and eat, but these can be stored for a few days in the fridge and still be good.

Nancy also recommends a version with yuzu or lemon peel at the end instead of the katsuoboshi, so I would recommend that if you can get your hand on it.