Slow-Cooked Pork in Cream and Parmesan

by Anne Maxfield on October 16, 2014

Accidental Locavore Pork With CreamThe Accidental Locavore has always been curious about a traditional Italian dish: pork cooked in milk, so when Food & Wine had a pork dish cooked in cream and Parmesan, it needed to be tried out. This needs time and some attention at the end, but most of it is pretty easy. Serves 6-8.

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 heads of garlic, tops cut off (about ½”)
  • A piece of Parmesan cheese rind (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 small sage sprigs
  • One 5-pound, pork shoulder roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 4 small potatoes, quartered (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Accidental Locavore Pork With Fennel and PotatoesIn a pot, or Dutch oven, just big enough to hold the pork, combine the cream with the buttermilk, butter, garlic, cheese rind and 1 sprig of sage. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, leaving the lid open just a crack, and cook over low heat for about 3 1/2 hours, until very tender. Transfer the pork and garlic to a large plate; discard the cheese rind.

Cook the potatoes (if using) in a pot of water, until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Boil the poaching liquid over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste; keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a large baking sheet, toss the fennel, potatoes and the remaining sage sprig with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Place the pork on top of it and roast until the pork is deeply golden and the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Accidental Locavore Roast Pork With FennelPut the fennel, potatoes and garlic on a platter and top with the pork. Serve with the sauce on the side and enjoy!

My verdict: My husband walked by this dish while it was cooking at least three times and asked in not the happiest of voices, what it was and what was for dinner. Nothing like cooking for the non-enthusiastic. However, we both really liked the final results. The pork was tender, with nice crispy bits of fat and the sauce was delicious! I always forget how much flavor a piece of Parmesan rind can add to sauces and soups—definitely worth keeping around. This is more of a fancy, impress-your-friends dinner than a weeknight meal for two. I added the potatoes, but my instinct was to make some homemade pasta to serve with it—maybe next time. The thinner you slice the fennel, the better it will roast. Broccoli rabe would also go with this well. Make sure to squeeze out the garlic and mush it around with the pork and sauce, it adds another great layer of flavor.

 

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GIR: Cool Kitchen Gadgets & Pink For a Cause

by Anne Maxfield on October 13, 2014

Accidental Locavore Gir FlipAre you of the belief that there can’t be too many kitchen gadgets? The Accidental Locavore is always open to playing with cool new gadgets (especially when they look good and work well!). So I was excited when a big package from GIR (Get it Right) with all their new products arrived. I’ve had a couple of their spatulas for two years now and I use them all the time (and, as advertised, they look like the day I got them).

Now they’re adding “flippers,” a spoon, a scraper and five silicone lids to the collection of spatulas. What’s great about all the products (besides the fact that they come in a rainbow of colors – and a bacon pattern) is that they’re one piece of molded silicone, heat-proof to 464°,  and BPA and BPF free. You might not think much about the one-piece design until you start using them and realize how much easier/faster it is to wash them when you can just slide the sponge along it. All the new products will be available in time for the holidays.

Accidental Locavore LidsThe lids are a great addition to one of the weirdest and most useful kitchen items I own. It’s a silicone pig’s head that works as a lid for microwaving dishes. The snout has two holes in it which vents and allows you to remove it with a pair of chopsticks (it’s Japanese) or for the less adept, the tines of a fork. It replaces covering dishes with plastic wrap (not good for you) or paper towels (dries food out). The only drawback of the pig? One size fits most. The GIR lids come in five sizes ranging from 4” to 12” and work beautifully in the microwave, but also function as lids on the stove top or in the fridge. And not that you’d want to try this with your best china, but they stuck like crazy to the bowl I had berries in, to the point that I could lift the whole thing by the handle on the lid. Right now I’ve got one of them covering some cabbage on its journey to become sauerkraut.

Accidental Locavore GIR LidThe spoon scooped out a recent batch of boeuf bourguignon easily, scraping up all the sauce with the beef. What’s good about it is that it’s got enough of a bowl to scoop out liquids, but it’s not as deep or as hard to maneuver as a traditional ladle. Now I think it’s time to go buy a big steak and try the bigger flipper on the grill, where its size and heat resistance should really come in handy! The smaller one did well with some recent burgers, delicate filet of sole, and my husband’s famous omelets.

GIR would also like me to tell you that for the month of October, if you buy an ultimate spatula in pink, they will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Even if pink isn’t your color, treat yourself with a good spatula and support an important cause! You can order them from their website or pick one up at Sur la Table.

Update: The lids are available for pre-order on Kickstarter through November 18th. Click here and get your holiday shopping done now!

 

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Naomi Pomeroy’s Wedding Chicken

by Anne Maxfield on October 9, 2014

Accidental Locavore Wedding ChickenThis is a chicken dish supposedly so delicious that Naomi Pomeroy served it on her wedding day, so the Accidental Locavore had to give it a try. It’s a pretty simple dish and I made it easier by eliminating a lot of chopping. It does need time to marinate, so plan ahead. Serves 4 if everyone gets two pieces. I had some surprisingly huge thighs, so one apiece was plenty.

  • 10   garlic cloves
  • 4   serrano chiles, with seeds, quartered
  • 3½” piece ginger, coarsely chopped (peeled if you like)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 lemons, sliced, plus wedges for serving
  • 6   sprigs thyme
  • 8   skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3½ lbs.)

Accidental Locavore Chicken MarinadePut the garlic, chiles and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor and process until chopped. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and salt and process until combined. In a large Ziploc bag put the marinade, lemon slices, thyme, and chicken thighs. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°. Remove chicken from marinade, shake off excess marinade, and place, skin-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh should register 165° and the juices should run clear), 25–30 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasting ChickenMy verdict: While I wouldn’t serve these at my wedding, they were tasty! They’re certainly easy enough just to pop in the oven for dinner, if you marinate them the night before, or even in the morning. I cut back on the fish sauce and the olive oil (the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons and 1 cup respectively) because a little fish sauce goes a long way and with the already fatty thighs I didn’t see the need for all that oil. If you’re a confirmed white-meat chicken person, you might want to add some more olive oil.

Grilling the thighs would also be a great option, in which case I would start them skin-side down and flip them halfway through. We served them with jasmine rice–keeping the Oriental theme going.

 

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An Evening at Baluchi’s FRESH

by Anne Maxfield on October 6, 2014

Accidental Locavore Chicken and Tofu TikkaDid you know that the staple of India restaurants – chicken tikka masala – isn’t even Indian? This was one of the many interesting things the Accidental Locavore learned over a fun tasting dinner at Baluchi’s FRESH, a new fast-casual Indian restaurant.

Accidental Locavore Baluchi's Fresh InteriorAccording to Rohan, Baluchi’s president, it’s a British interpretation of butter chicken and is actually the national dish of Britain (wouldn’t have been my first guess – you?). That doesn’t stop them from having two fine versions, one of which is actually tofu tikka masala. Since the curries come two to a plate with basmati rice and naan, you can try both versions, or switch it up with classics like lamb rogan josh or saag paneer.

Accidental Locavore Subz MiloniBesides sourcing as much as they can locally, Baluchi’s is offering specials a bit more off the beaten path. When we were there, there was a terrific dish, subz muloni, made from a variety of peppers in a peanut sauce – a bit spicy and quickly devoured!

Accidental Locavore Lamb RoomaliIn addition to the curries, there is a selection of roomali rolls, an Indian version of a wrap, but using a much thinner “handkerchief” bread which is enough to hold in a variety of fillings (we had a nicely spicy lamb one) without being overly bready (my issue with wraps – nothing but bread at the ends). A mango lassi was great for cooling off the heat from the lamb.

Accidental Locavore Bhel PuriMy favorite dishes were what they call “Extras.” In my opinion, these should be renamed “Essentials,” as you’d be crazy to walk out of there without trying the best dish we had, the bhel puri. It’s a cold dish of crisped rice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, mint chutney (made fresh daily), tamarind and the spice mix known as chaat masala – fabulous! The other surprise was the aloo paapri. Also cold, it had a base of potatoes and chickpeas covered with yogurt, tamarind sauce and cilantro chutney. You can’t go wrong with either one of them and at $4.95 each, a steal in midtown Manhattan!

Accidental Locavore Aloo PaapriBaluchi’s FRESH is open for lunch and dinner. Seating is at rough-hewn picnic tables in a spotless dining area, or you can take a picnic to nearby Bryant Park. Prices are extremely reasonable, the most expensive item being the curry combo at $9.95 and delivery is available. Rohan wants you to try some of the lesser-known dishes as well as the seasonal items they’ll be cooking up (pumpkin is rumored to be making an appearance shortly), so the staff is happy to give you tastes. Go for the real Indian food, you’ll be glad you did; I know I was!

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