Bo Ssäm

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This is David Chang's take on the Korean dish, Bo Ssam, which is traditionally steamed pork wrapped in a leaf and served with a condiment known as ssamjang and topped with kimchee.

I've never had the dish but if it's anything like this it's seriously good!

David Chang is the chef/owner of Momofuku, which is an award winning Asian restaurant in New York City. I was steered towards this recipe by Josie on her One Kitchen, Two dogs and a Girl blog. She used the pork as a sandwich filling but after looking at other blogs featuring the recipe I decided to make the whole shebang as it is featured in the restaurant and in Chang's Momofuku  cookbook. I had a gift certificate and a coupon so I went ahead and bought the book and it's fantastic!

Instead of steamed pork this is a rubbed pork butt roasted low and slow (mine took about 10 hours) until it is easily shredded with a fork.. It is then served in a lettuce leaf with rice, kimchee, a ginger scallion sauce, Changs version of ssamjang and topped with oysters.

Oysters? On pork?  I admit my first reaction was not positive. I wavered on them because it sounded weird and I hate shucking oysters. Or at least I did many years ago when I worked in a restaurant that served platters of oysters and I would literally shuck hundreds in a night. But I decided to suck it up and bought a few oysters. I did not think they added a "wow factor" to the finished dish so you can skip the oysters. Unless you like a bit of slime in your pork.

I do suggest you plan a LOT of time for the pork. I thought mine would be done in 6-7 hours but it took much longer. The benefit of that is you have plenty of time to make the sides.

The ginger scallion sauce is to die for. It's not really a "sauce" as I define it though. Too chunky. It's also featured in the book served on ramen and apparently that dish is very popular. I will try that soon!

I also used store bought kimchee from the Asian grocery.
Anyway, we LOVED this dish! Loved it!

Bo Ssäm
adapted from Momofuku

Serves 6 to 10.

1 (8- to 10-pound) bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt

7 tablespoons light-brown sugar

12 oysters, shucked, for serving

1 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, for serving

1 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, pureed, for serving

1 cup Ginger-Scallion Sauce, for serving (see recipe here)

1 cup Ssam Sauce, for serving (recipe follows)

2 cups steamed short-grain white rice, for serving

3 to 4 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed well, and spun dry

Sea salt

1. Place pork in a large bowl or roasting pan. In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar and 1 cup coarse salt. Rub sugar mixture all over pork and cover bowl with plastic wrap; transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

3.Transfer pork to a large roasting pan, discarding any accumulated juices (or drain accumulated juices from roasting pan that pork is in). Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook, basting every hour with rendered fat in roasting pan, until meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork, about 6 hours.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together remaining tablespoon coarse salt and brown sugar. Rub mixture all over pork.

5. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Return pork to oven until sugar has melted into a crisp crust, about 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Serve hot with oysters, kimchi, ginger-scallion sauce, ssam sauce, rice, lettuce, and sea salt.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce
Makes about 3 cups.

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from 1 to 2 large bunches)

1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

3/4 teaspoons sherry-wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoons coarse salt

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl; let stand 15 to 20 minutes before using. Sauce may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Ssam Sauce

Note-I didn't have the Korean chili pastes so I mixed Sriraccha with the vinegar and oil to taste.

Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon ssamjang (soybean and chile-pepper paste)

1 1/2 teaspoons kochujang (Korean chile-pepper paste)

1/4 cup sherry-wine vinegar

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Sauce may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Chia Fresca

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There's no way to make this little powerhouse of a drink look good. But it is very good for you! And yes these are the same seeds that grow in the pets.

I first heard about the magic of chia seeds in the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, which is an amazing book even if you aren't a runner. The people in this tribe run 50 to 100 miles through rugged terrain as if it were a walk in the park. Their fuel is a paste made from the chia seed which McDougall compared to making a 'smoothie of wild salmon, spinach and human growth hormones.'

The seeds were essential in both the Mayan and Aztec diets and chia seeds and water were the main ingredients that fueled Aztec warriors in their conquests.

After hearing all that plus everything in THIS excellent article I had to try them!

I've been mixing about a tablespoon of seeds in my morning smoothies and oatmeal and they really do help me stay full longer. Some say they taste a little nutty, which I only noticed in the drink. Otherwise they really have no flavor.

You can find various recipes for chia fresca all over the web but I just soaked a tablespoon of seeds in water for about 15 minutes and added lemon juice. Apparently this is best consumed about 30 minutes before a workout. I don't think it will enable you to run a 100 miles a day but it will help you stay hydrated and give you energy.

I found chia seeds at the health food stores but balked at the price. I ordered mine online from NutsOnline but Amazon has a great price on them too.

Sophisto Joes

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I haven't had a Sloppy Joe in years and this has been on my "to try" list forever. I wish I had made this sooner as it is the best Joe I've ever had. there are layers of flavors but none of them overwhelm each other.

Oh and like a traditional Joe it couldn't be easier. Not as easy as opening a can of Manwich (yuck!) but there's minimal chopping and attention required. This is an easy weeknight meal if you're pressed for time.

I'm expecting the leftovers will be awesome since the flavors will have marinated.

Recipe from Gourmet magazine, Oct 2007, HERE

Eating Well's Avocado Ice Cream

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This sounds weird but it's really really good! The recipe is from Rick Bayless. It's also fairly healthy as far as ice cream goes. Dairy free to boot!

If you want a kid friendly version replace the tequila with lemonade.

Recipe from Eating Well, March/April 2010 is HERE.

Alton Brown also makes a version I plan on trying but his has whole milk and heavy cream. I'm sure it's good. That recipe is HERE.

Weber's Beer Marinated Chicken Tacos

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I actually found this recipe on the Cooking Light message boards. This has got to be the tenderest juiciest chicken I have ever had. it's incredible!

I had no luck finding the beer by the bottle but I don't care because I will happily make this five more times. The beer actually tastes pretty good too. I associate dark beers with Guinsess and other bitter heavy beers. Negra Modelo is neither of those things.

Anyway you must make this! Often!

Beer-Marinated Chicken Tacos

Many Americans are accustomed to guacamole loaded with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and fiery chiles, but a more traditional version in Mexico and parts of Texas is simply mashed avocados with a bit of salt and lime juice. It's rich and buttery and a fabulous topping for these juicy chicken tacos.

For the marinade:
1 cup dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 4 ounces each

For the guacamole:
2 ripe Haas avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 flour or corn tortillas, 6 to 7 inches in diameter

To make the marinade: In a small bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

To make the guacamole: Cut the avocados lengthwise around the pits, twist the halves apart, and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and salt. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash the ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface to prevent browning, and refrigerate until about 1 hour before serving.

Remove the chicken thighs from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken thighs over Direct Medium heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut the thighs into thin strips.

Warm the tortillas over Direct Medium heat for about 1 minute, turning once halfway through grilling time. Pile the sliced chicken inside the tortillas. Top each taco with a spoonful of guacamole. Serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Mini Meatloaves

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Last night was meat and potatoes night. I've been craving meatloaf for some odd reason.
I also wanted to put my meat grinder to use.

This recipe for mini meatloaves is adapted from Ina Garten with modifications. She broke her portions down to 6 10oz loaves. That's not really "mini" to me so I broke it down further into 10 6 oz portions. Baking the meatloaf in muffin tins is also an option but I like the free form.

I also used ground sirloin instead of chuck because it's leaner and cut back on cooking time to accommodate both of those changes. Store bought bread crumbs have a billion unnecessary ingredients so I make my own from leftover good bread and herbs. And finally I added garlic to the sautee.

It was very good and the rest of the loaves are vacuum sealed and in the freezer for future use.

Recipe for Individual Meatloaves HERE

The potatoes are just steamed Yukon gold wedges, sauteed in garlic onion thyme and olive oil then smashed.

Moo-Less Chocolate Pie

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The pie is dairy free, the whipped cream is not.

The silken tofu really adds a nice texture and even supposed tofu haters like my boyfriend agree this is a great pie.

I used Kahlúa for the coffee liqueur. I'm really glad Bev Mo sells sample sizes because full bottles are expensive! But it's tasty stuff and if I were a drinker I would have bought a bottle.

It's also incredibly easy. Melt, mix, pour and chill.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown HERE.

Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce and my new Slimware

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My boyfriend is not a huge fan of salmon but he'll eat it. I was shocked when he asked for seconds. he loved it! I thought it was pretty tasty too!

I'll definitely make this again because it really only took about 10 minutes. Next time I will add cornstarch or arrowroot to the sauce as it was a bit runny. I'll state the obvious here and tell you I served it with steamed asparagus and brown rice.

You can find the salmon recipe HERE. Courtesy of Eating Well, March/April 2007.

Now let me tell you about the plates. They're from a company called Slimware. My mother sent them to me and they're supposed to help you with controlling your portions. Proteins go in the smallest circle, carbs in the middle and vegetables in the largest. Don't be too alarmed about the small protein size. The circle is for red meat but if you're eating healthy protein (fish, chicken) you can extend it to the design to the right.

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There are a lot of different designs on the website. They are melamine and are top shelf dishwasher safe. I handwashed mine.

Unfortunately, they don't work for casseroles, stir fry's, soups etc so I don't find myself using them every day. But I do like them!