Friday, April 5, 2013

Post 110: Collaboration with Whisks & Ruffles - Pork Belly, Part 2

In my previous post, I shared the first part of my collaboration with Angelina Ang Lee of Whisks & Ruffles.  This post will continue with more pork belly deliciousness.  Rather than braising this time, I grilled some thinner cuts of the pork belly.  And so continues the life of an inner fatty...

I used thin cuts of pork belly strips with beautiful fat on the trim.  The pork belly was marinated with a mixture of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), a bit of soy, sesame oil, chopped perilla (sesame seed leaves also known as shiso), and sesame seeds.  I added some ground black pepper too, but salt is not needed since the gochujang and soy sauce provide enough of that saltiness.

I faux grilled the pork belly using a Korean stone wok, which works great because it heats up quickly and retains the heat even after the stove is turned off.  The strips were cooked at medium-high heat.  The temperature must be hot enough for the fat to sizzle.  Must... hear... sizzle! Like... cooking bacon! Mmmmm... Flip the meat once only, and cook until it's brown and crisp on both sides.  If the heat is high enough, the meat will be fully cooked through because the cuts are not very thick.

Tiffany, my Chinese-American from Taiwan but also raised in Korea friend, came over for a taste test.  We ate the pork belly wrapped with fresh perilla leaves, raw sliced garlic, jalapeños, and diagonally cut scallions (see instructional clip by yours truly).  We also had sides of kimchi, yellow pickled daikon, and kimbap (Korean sushi or rice rolls) from the supermarket.  See Angelina's post on homemade kimbap to prepare your own.

I have been cutting down on some carbs lately, but the grilled pork belly would also work really well with steamed rice.  No worries, I could never cut carbs out entirely, but for now, meat and greens are good enough for me.  If the jalapeños aren't spicy enough for your taste, an extra dash of Sriracha hot sauce also helps add a spicy yet sweet flavor to your dish.  Or try Angelina's method, which is to add dried hot peppers... Indonesian style. 

Check out what Angelina came up with in the Lee kitchen using pork belly two ways.  Her double recipe storm includes a pork belly braised low and slow, which looks absolutely mouth watering.  Her second recipe is something that her mom used to make in Indonesia called babi kecap, a simmered stew of pork belly, tofu, and hard boiled eggs.  Ah, Mom's home cooking... my mouth is literally drooling right now...

Great job, Angelina.  I truly enjoyed our coast-to-coast collaboration.  Let's do it again soon! Until the next collaboration, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20130221

Monday, April 1, 2013

Post 109: Collaboration with Whisks & Ruffles - Pork Belly, Part 1

I began this year by meeting and collaborating with food bloggers on S.O.F.A.T. posts.  My first official collaboration (Gordon Ramsay BurGR) was with local Vegas food blogger Amber-Rose Kawawehi of Cheer Up With Food.  It was great to meet fellow food lovers from around the country, so I continued meeting more food bloggers on my trip to New York last month.  I met The Girl Who Ate Everything Robyn Lee, one of the inspirations for starting up S.O.F.A.T. Blog.  Also on this trip to the Big Apple, I got a chance to meet up with Angelina Ang Lee.  She creates recipes in her home kitchen, cooks for herself and her super busy doctor husband Brian, and posts her masterpieces on her blog Whisks & Ruffles.  The pictures of her food are ridiculously beautiful.

Since Angelina's posts are primarily of home cooked meals, we decided to do a kitchen collaboration.  With the help of some more bad ass local New Yorkers, we settled on a battle of pork belly.  What would Angelina and I cook with pork belly in our own kitchens? Well, this is the first of what I came up with in my tiny kitchen back in Orange County...

A beer braised pork belly with mango jalapeño salsa and an apple and pear mint salad.  Yum.  The thick cuts of pork belly were marinated in light soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, green onions stalks, sliced jalapeños, and Sriracha.  They were all thrown into a Ziploc freezer bag for a few hours.  Check out this video on how to use green onions made by yours truly.

To braise the pork belly, season them with salt and pepper.  Then they are seared on each side.  An entire bottle of OB, a Korean brand of brown lager, is added to the pot.  To the beer I tossed in the marinade.  It took a good 20 minutes or more for all of the liquid to simmer down.  The result was a spicy, sweet, and flavorful reduction sauce.  So good.

While the beer reduces down to a condensed sauce, chop up some ripe mango and jalapeños for a quick and simple salsa.  Throw in some cilantro and season with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It may need a bit of oil to bind together, but I used the mango jalapeño jam from D-Lish Jams.

For simple and refreshing salad, slice up apples and pears, and toss with freshly chopped mint.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice to keep the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown.  Any types of apples and pears will do.  I love Fuji apples and Korean pears because they are fragrant and crisp.  Parsnips can also be used as a substitution for the pears.

After all of the beer simmers down, let the pork belly sit for a few minutes to cool down.  The juices need to redistribute equally throughout the meat before slicing.  I placed the slices of pork belly over strips of scallions for some bite and crunch.  And the final reduced sauce can be drizzled over the top of the meat and around the plate for an extra touch of flavor and presentation.

The dish would have been great with a starch, either rice, noodles or even potatoes or steamed buns, but I decided to go without them this time.  The salad and salsa were both great ways to cut the grease from the pork belly, so that was good enough for me.

I will post Angelina's kitchen creation on the next post (Pork Belly, Part 2).  In the meantime here is a pork belly recipe and a mango salad from the Whisks & Ruffles archive.  Some of my favorite posts by Angelina on Whisks & Ruffles include her seafood cioppino, her master recipe of Japanese ramen, and fancy mac & cheese.  Angelina was born in Indonesia, and her husband Brian is Korean-American, so you may find some Indonesian and Korean influences in her home cooking.  Yum!

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog collaboration.  Until then, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20130221