Saturday, March 04, 2006

pork and hummus

Just because I haven't written doesn't mean I haven't been cooking.

My girl bought me the "America's Test Kitchen" cookbook over the holidays. I really like it; the recipes are well-tested and taste great.

Two things I made recently: hummus (from ATK recipe book, customized ever so slightly), and pork in red chile sauce, based on a recipe I saw "Daisy Cooks!", a PBS cooking show.

Serves 2-4

My "trick" is adding cumin...this tip was in the recipe my first cookbook/textbook called "On Cooking". After looking at that cookbook today, I appreciate it more. I think I screwed up some of the recipes because I didn't measure accurately by weight and/or by volume, which is critical. You need to know when to use weight measure (dry ingredients especially) and volume measure (wet ingredients mostly). In any case, I also added another clove of garlic (preferred by Beckey); reduce it for a less garlicky flavor. Roasted garlic would probably also work really well in this recipe, if you like a mellower flavor. The cumin really helps break up any "metallic" flavor that canned garbanzo beans occasionally pick up.

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini (a special sesame paste you find in the ethnic food aisle)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin

Throw everything in the food processor and blend for 40 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. It will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge (if you don't eat it all).

Pork with Guajillo Chile Sauce
Serves 4

When I made this from my memory of the recipe of the show, I substituted some leftover BBQ'd pork ribs I had made. It still turned out great as a leftover dish, although the pork loin would probably be even better. The sauce really becomes a luscious, smooth and almost "creamy" after it reduces. It's got some kick, but it's not particularly hot.

6-8 dried guajillo chiles
1.5 pound pork loin, cut into 1" cubes
1 can (15oz) Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
1 yellow onion, sliced in half
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Cover baking sheet with foil, place onion and fresh tomatoes on baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, put cubed pork, bay leaves, and cover with just enough water to cover the pork. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, about 15 minutes.
  3. Tear tops off of chiles & discard tops & seeds. Heat a skillet on high heat and toast the chiles on each side about 20-30 seconds, pressing down with grill press, heavy plate or spatula; flip chiles, toast on other side another 20-30 seconds, and remove. Place chiles in bowl and cover with warm water (or microwave bowl with chiles & water for 1 minute), nest another bowl on top and add weight to help keep the chiles underwater while they rehydrate, about 20 minutes. Drain chiles well and discard liquid.
  4. Once tomatoes and onions are roasted, and chiles are rehydrated, add roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, onions, chiles, and about 1-2 cups of the pork braising liquid in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  5. Add blended chile mixture back into pot with pork. Raise heat to bring mixture back to a simmer, and simmer uncovered at medium-low heat for at least another 1 hour, or until the mixture reduces to a slightly thicker consistency.
  6. Server pork and sauce over steamed white rice.