Pork Party Overview

Pin It So the prep for the pork party started on Friday. I did all my shopping and rubbed the 11 lbs of pork with a dry rub consisting of: chili powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, mustard powder, crushed garlic, and lots of salt and pepper. It chilled in the fridge overnight. Then the next day, I browned the meat on the stove top, and placed it in a 500 degrees oven for about 30 minutes.

After that, I poured some Stone's Smoked Porter over it, covered it and placed it in the oven for about 3 hours. I checked on it a few times. Removed the lid and then placed some foil with holes over it to let it vent.

You then remove the pork from the oven, and the juices in the pan, and shred it. Meanwhile to the pan juices I added: ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 2 types of Dijon mustard, adobe sauce and several chilies, brown sugar, and more of the Porter. It reduced for about 20 minutes. I added the shredded pork back to the juices and let it cook for another 5 or so minutes.
In the end, it was very tender and delicious and it looked like this.

I also made some black beans. These were soaked overnight. Then I browned some Hungarian bacon, onions and garlic, added the beans, oregano, chilies, tomato sauce and a lot of other spices that sounded good. The beans cooked for about 5 hours.
And then we also made two salsas. Green and red. We roasted all the veggies first, blended them, and added lots of salt. By the way, roasting garlic on the grill or in the oven is so easy, and makes everything taste better.

Well, I am getting a bit tired going over all the cooking. But, just in case you were wondering, everything turned out well. And our friends even brought over some delicious appetizers consisting of melon, prosciutto, blue cheese, and a basil infused olive oil. What else are friends for?

Fancy Cubes

Pin It In preparation for the pork party on Saturday, I was making some ice. My friend was over, and she said in her whinny voice, you're not making the fancy type? So, then I had to make some fancy cubes so she'd shut up.

Fancy cubes are classy and simple. They involve hardly any work at all, and people are really impressed by them. Well, some people. For Saturday, I made cubes with little chunks of lime.

I have also made cubes with lemons, raspberries and blueberries. I like the raspberry cubes the best because they look like bloody little things in your drinks.


Ricecooker, MJ, and French Food

Pin It Last night, I had made plans to take my friend out to dinner, in exchange for her letting me borrow her rice cooker for my pork party. Then MJ died, so we had to go out and have a drink for him (or in this case a bottle of wine) as well.

My friend shows up with a rice cooker called "Tiger" from the 70s, her parents got it as a wedding present. It had some hilarious instructions about what crop of rice to use, what to do with a bad crop of rice and other very informative information about how to prevent rice from going moldy. Anyway, this thing is tiny, and as soon as I saw it, I told her, I'm taking you somewhere fancy, and this is what I get?

So we went down the street to one of our favorite local restaurants, it's called Devon, its frenchy. My husband and I got to know the owner pretty well, and my friend had never been, so we took a bottle of wine and walked over there. We decided to sit at the bar and watch some tv as we ate. Of course nothing was on besides MJ talk. So we ended up watching Larry King Live with special guests such as Corey Feldman, P Diddy, Cher, and one of the dudes from N Sync. It was ridiculously sad. I guess I just haven't really associated creepshow MJ with his awesome music from the past. So to me, he's been gone for a while.

Anyway, here's the deliciousness we ate: yellow bell pepper soup, crab cakes, deep fried catfish, and the chocolate.

The soup was surprisingly good. It was their first time making the soup, and I guess the lesson here is that if you add cream, it will taste good. It was peppery, and silky and had a nice ending. Although I tried to get my friend to try the black bear ravioli, that didn't fly. At first, she didn't actually make the connection that it was filled with bear meat, and once she did, she said she wasn't in the mood for bear that evening. Understandable. So we got the crab cakes, which were buttery and crabby.

But the star of the night was the whole deep fried catfish, purchased that very same day. And apparently, the biggest one of the bunch was served to us. And we destroyed it. It is deep fried with slices on ginger and served with soy sauce for dipping and tons of cilantro on top. I didn't have my camera with me, so I did my best with the cell phone. I hope I was able to capture its grandness.

After devouring this mini whale, we were stuffed, but I still had lots of wine to finish and insisted we get The Chocolate for dessert. Now I know my picture here does not do the dessert any justice, as you cannot see the color of the sauce, but take my word for it, it was very pretty, and muy delicious.

So, the dessert is this: a chunk of chocolate mousse, with a pistachio sauce. Simple, but this sauce is so tasty and amazing, that's it makes this my favorite dessert of all time. ALL TIME, people! My friend was impressed. As we watched TV and slowly savored the chocolate, she says, I'm going to think about this for the rest all night and not be able to sleep. I though she was referring to MJ, but she wasn't.


Overboard at BevMo!

Pin It Beverages and More is great. You can get some good booze there you'd normally can't find at other places. And, you can buy some cream soda at the same time. If you're into that sort of thing. Once a year, I am into that. Otherwise, I stick strictly to booze.

So, I went at lunch, to get some Stone's Smoked Porter for our pork party this weekend. I needed two 22 once bottles. But I left the place with: 6 bottles of white, 6 bottles of red wine, and 2 bottles of Cava. And of course the 2 bottles of beer I originally went for. I couldn't help it, they were having their 5 cent sale, buy a bottle, get the 2nd for a nickle. Usually, I can resist. But they had some really good stuff this time, at very nice prices. I'm a sucker for a good deal. A sucker who has enough wine for the summer!


Cold Springs Camping

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The springs were cold. The camping was cold. It was cold!
But, very pretty.
We went on a hike, and I almost died. Three hours later, I turned back, alone, had a delicious turkey sandwich and took a long leisurely walk back to the campsite, with my handy walking stick.
For dinner, we cooked steaks. I don't know if you can tell how large those really are from the photo. But they were huge.
And we also roasted potatoes in the campfire.
Dinner was served, and some people made a fuss about the purple potatoes, but I told them to shut it.
We went to the river one more time before the long drive home.

Stolen CA Pizza Kitchen Dough

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Well, no one actually stole the dough. But while we were unhappily waiting for our CA Pizza Kitchen food (see post below), my husband decided to read about the history of the place and its recipes. Then he whispered, you got a pen and paper? And I did. He then proceeded to copy a dough recipe from the book, and slip it into my purse like it never happened. Shhhh.

So, last Thursday he made the dough. It's an overnight process of waiting, but it was surprisingly good. We made some pizzas with prosciutto, artichokes, olives and fresh herbs. Pizzas were accompanied by a delicious salad and some Simpler Times beer ($2.99 for a six-pack at Trader Joes, perfect for pizza).


We Need Your Mouth!

Pin It So last night we made several attempts to have dumplings, before finally having dumplings. It was a lot of effort and driving. We met a friend out in Temple City to have dinner at The Dumpling House. Well, it happens that they are closed on Tuesdays. So there goes that.

We then decided to drive to Luscious Dumplings (this place is tiny, no website) in San Gabriel. Cash only. So I had to stop at the bank. We've been there before, very good. Very small, limited menu, lots of waiting. They were sold out of half of their menu, so, we walked across the street to Kingburg Kitchen.

There was hardly anyone in the place, so we hesitantly sat down and looked at the menu.

We ordered some dumplings, pork buns and noodles. The food was decent and cheap. I still prefer other dumpling places to this one though. What struck me about the place was the weird homemade flyers taped to the walls. Well, mostly just one that had huge lips all over it and said in red big letters "Your Mouth is How We Stay in Business." It just looked strange and I get what they are trying to say, but I know there's a better way to say it than with weird clip art lips and unattractive font. They need a new marketing strategy for sure.


RIP CH. 13

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After this digital conversion took place, our channel 13 disappeared. You might say, who cares? Well, I agree. There's really nothing exciting on that channel. But, they have the late night Seinfeld reruns, and House reruns, and awful Sunday movie matinees. And although I probably watch those shows/movies once a month, it's still nice to have that option. Know they are there. And since we don't have cable, every channel is precious.

Goodbye, ch. 13, you will be missed.


Pin It Last night I made some fried rice with the leftover brown rice we had from Asian Fest. It was pretty good, and healthy. The trick is ginger. Sometimes I forget to add it, and you can tell something is off.
After dinner, I went to Pavilions to do some shopping. They had rib eye steaks on sale. And I ended up buying three of the largest steaks I have ever seen for camping this weekend. I hesitated for a minute thinking, what if everyone (there's six of us going) wants to have their OWN steak. But, I decided that would pretty disgusting. Those three steaks can probably feed eight people. So, we'll just have to share.


Saturday Night Asian Fest

Pin It Our friend came over last night to cook us some Thai pork. It's called something or other. We first took a trip to the Arcadia Market for some Thai chilies and basil. And we ended up getting some supplies for starters.

Their (I don't partake in eating such slimy things) first course was oysters.

Then, as we waited for my chicken curry, we had a spicy tuna salad to hold us over. I prepare the tuna with some chili powder, wasabi and a tiny amount of mayo.

My curry takes about 40 minutes or so. You first cook the chicken in some curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, chilies and garlic. Then you add the veggies and coconut milk.

Later, I also add some peas, bamboo shoots, fresh ginger, and thai basil. In the end it looks something like this.
Towards the end, my friend made her ground pork dish, it took about 10 minutes or so. And we had it with a side of kim chi.
Everything was tasty and by 9 pm, we were stuffed, and settled down to watch Platoon.

Neko and Crepes

Pin It On Friday night, I finally got to enjoy my last birthday present (from April!) by attending a Neko Case concert. The evening started off a little shaky with a trip to CA Pizza Kitchen. You might say, KK would never go there! You'd be right. You know me well, my friend. But, I had a gift certificate, and I'd never been there. So, we went. The wait was 40 minutes. Apparently, white people love to wait a long time for pretty crappy food. Who knows, maybe the wait makes it taste better.

So we got some stuff to go, pizza and some fake spring rolls, with tortillas as wrappers. Nothing was awful, but it wasn't good either. So, I'm going to go ahead and pretend it never happened.

Once we got to the concert, at the Greek Theater (I had never been), I was in better spirits. It was pretty and we had good seats. Until, two tiny loud lesbians sat behind us. They looked like they were in good shape, so there was no way I could take them both, but I thought about it. One sang back up through the whole concert. Sigh. Besides that, the concert was great. Neko was funny, and her voice amazing.

The next morning, my husband made some crepes. They were pretty delicious.

And here he is assembling one. For our second crepes (yes we each had two), we spread some good strawberry jam on the crepe first, and it made it even better.


You don't know my blog!

Pin It Some people refer to this blog as a food blog, but what do they know. Sure I like to eat and cook, and eat, but my housewife fantasies extend beyond food, like onto the couch, where I can sit and enjoy some tv and read my Rachel Ray Magazines (thanks N- for getting me a new subscription for my bday). I love me some free magazine subscriptions.

Anyway, so today, although I'm not quiet able to make it out of the kitchen, I'm not going to write about food. Instead, let's talk granite.

I usually enjoy tedious tasks like cleaning out storage spaces, organizing, dusting and what not, but I HEY-te sealing our granite counter tops. For some reason I didn't think this through when researching new counter tops. I mean I looked into cement, but that stuff was pricey. So now, every 6 months, I have to dedicate a few hours of my life to smelling some chemicals, and applying the sealer over and over on the granite, so that it can last forever and ever. It bores me. So that's why I'm boring you too, so you can feel my pain as you watch tv tonight after work, and think of me, buffing and buffing with a pout on my face.

In case you don't recall the ugly tile that used to be in my kitchen, here's some flashback photos, of the before and after.




Sunday, Busy Sunday

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So the boys brewed some beer on Sunday. And after a trip to the Asian market, I was inspired to do some cooking.

First, I made some pea ravioli from a Martha Steward recipe I found years ago. It's pretty easy and delicious. I froze these for quick dinners later. You boil the ravioli for a couple of minutes and finish them off by sauteing in butter, and serving them with mint sprinkled on top. But I guess you can also top them with cheese, and tomato sauces as well. You boil peas and shallots in some wine and water, puree, then fill dumpling wrappers with the mixture. Not so hard.
(As you see, I cook while drinking whiskey and ginger ale. It inspired me.)

Then, I started on dinner for the evening with a soup by crazy Giada, who never gains a pound, not even when pregnant. It's a Tuscan white bean soup with fresh sage. Again, not very hard. I doubled the garlic and sage it called for, but we all agreed it could have used more of the two. Ahh, Giada, you should try your own food before publishing a book of recipes. Eat woman!

For the main course, I made a pistachio and parsley fettuccine with seared shrimp. First, I made a quick pesto with the pistachios, garlic, Parmesan, and parsley. Then I heated up some heavy cream, lemon zest and juice and added the pesto and pasta, and ended up with a tomato free dish, safe enough for everyone present to enjoy.


Armo snack (or breakfast)

Pin It Armenians love to eat watermelon with feta cheese. Sounds a bit strange at first, but it's a perfect combo. Seriously. I've converted many of doubters. Try it, and then tell me you don't like it. And I probably won't be your friend. But that's okay.

I had some for breakfast with morning, as I watched young Martha Steward baking a fancy-ass cake with Julia Child. It was funny. Martha is very serious. All the time. I kind of like that. I bet she even laughs all serious.


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I love pasta, especially if it's just a little chilly. And it's been kind of overcast all week, so I decided to get some parpadelle pasta and make a hearty sauce with it for dinner last night. I bought some spicy italian sausage, and used green olives and artichoke hearts and 30 minutes later, my tummy was content.