Saturday, November 24, 2018

J's Homemade Bacon

So, several years ago, I wanted to try brining and curing my own meats. I did  couple of corned beef roasts but I've been wanting to try my hand at bacon. So here's my first, real attempt at homemade bacon. It's not too tricky but it does take some fridge space and a little while to do properly, so it may not be for everyone. Also, if you look up homemade bacon recipes on the interwebs, you will find everyone has a particular way that they insist is the only way to do bacon properly.  Well, I've tried about three different ways of doing it now and the one I settled on isn't how anyone says to do it that I could really find but it's how I brine most meats in our house so it's what I'm comfortable with.

First of all, you'll need to source some raw pork belly. Not every store will carry unadulterated pork belly and you may need to look around a bit. Also, some places may carry pork belly in different stages of processing. I was fortunate to have my local Cosco carry pork belly in a slab with the skin removed as well as packages of that slab cut into 3-4 inch strips. I opted for the strips because we have a meat slicer I wanted to use for my slicing and it was not large enough to accommodate the full slab of pork belly, nor did my fridge have that much free real estate.

There's two basic methods of brining when it comes to bacon: dry and wet. If you do some research, you'll find people are very particular about the method they use and they're more than happy to tell you why. I tried both. I prefer the wet method to the dry method and my reason is simple: I got more consistent coverage and even penetration than with the dry method. That's all.

You will also find people are very adamant about the use of pink curing salt (a.k.a. Prague Powder #1, butchers salt, Morton Tender Quick Meat Cure, etc.) which is common table salt with sodium nitrite and coloring added so that it isn't confused for regular salt. This should not be confused with Himalayan pink salt, which is pink due to the presence of trace minerals in the salt itself and doesn't contain sodium nitrite. Do some research, use what you like, don't use an ingredient you don't want to. There are natural alternatives to sodium nitrite infused salt but what I basically found is that those natural methods use ingredients (usually celery salt) that eventually break down during the curing process into...sodium nitrite. Consuming nitrites is like anything else in life: Large quantities = bad. Moderation = good.

Quick note: I used agave syrup and Puya peppers as my sweet and heat in this recipe because it's what I had around the house since I've been doing a lot of Mexican food recently. Used crushed red pepper flake and honey if that's what you prefer or get crazy. It's your bacon.

Been jamming to a lot of Osker recently so I'm going to go with their song Kinetic off of the album Idle will kill. Some classic, late-ninties, early 2000s skate punk.

J's Bacon
Prep time: 3-5 days
Cook time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: easy
Serves: depends on batch size
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt
  • 1/4 honey (I used light agave syrup cause it was around and I thought 'why not?')
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flake (I used Puya peppers since it's what I had readily available)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 lbs raw pork belly cut into strips with the skin removed
Get your red pepper flake, and cumin seed into the saucepan over a low flame.  Toast the pepper and cumin until they give off scent, a couple of minutes. You're just trying to wake up the oils in them and bring them to the surface so they will come off quickly in the water. 

Add the water, both salts, sugar, honey, and paprika to the pan and kick the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, stirring in the ingredients until they are all dissolved (except the pepper flake and cumin seed obviously). As soon as the brine comes to a boil, turn off the heat, and set aside to cool to room temp. You don't want it to be warm enough to cook the pork belly when you apply it.

Place your pork belly slab/strips in a gallon ziplock bag (I find the heavy duty freezer ones work best) or some other container appropriate for holding sweet/salty, porky water for a few days in your fridge without making a huge mess. Add the cooled brine. I like the ziplock bag because it allows me to expel most of the air from the bag making sure that the brine is in contact with the all the pork surfaces, all the time. That is one of the problems with the dry rub brine method is uneven coating and distribution of the season over time creates "hot spots" that are heavily seasoned and "dead zones" that have little seasoning by comparison. This method gives full coverage and full penetration.

Now just toss you pork belly in the fridge for 3-5 days depending on how salty you like your bacon. I prefer mine on the less salty side so I like the three day soak but try it out and if it's not salty enough or just doesn't give you that hammy/bacon kick you're looking for try a 4-5 day soak.

Lastly, comes the smoke. Now, you can take your bacon out of the brine. Rinse it off under cold water and pat dry with some paper towels. Set it out on a cooling rack over a baking sheet so as to allow for air flow on all sides and to catch any drippings or whatnot and place it in the fridge for 12 hours (just toss it in overnight) prior to cooking. This drys the surface and forms what's called the pellicle that better captures the smokes flavors and colors on the finished product. If you can't let it sit overnight for some reason, some dry time is better than none. At least let it dry till the surface is tacky to the touch.
See the paprika and chili bits adhered to the surface of the meat?!

At this point your bacon could be finished in the oven, sliced and cooked and served immediately. However, I like my bacon smoked. So I soaked wood chips for smoking. I used 50% apple wood, 25% alder, and 25% mesquite. I smoked at 225 degrees on my little gas grill and 3 lbs took about 2-3 hours each time or until the internal temp reaches 145 Fahrenheit. Remove from the grill and let cool.

One tip I will give for slicing bacon is that it should be very cold before you attempt to cut/slice. As in, just on the verge of freezing is perfect. The warmer it is, the harder it will be to slice thinly. Once it is sliced, package and freeze or cook up a bacon feast. Do what you want. I'm not the boss of you. You just made your own bacon. You make the rules now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Blueberry Clafoutis

One mixing bowl desserts and cakes... you gotta love that, right!?  I came across a recipe via a Facebook ad thrown at my face that sounded sort of souffle-ish, sort of custard-ish, sort of cheesecake-ish... and I thought it sounded pretty good, but would be better with a few adjustments.  Lo and behold, it came out great first time around!  What I didn't know is that there is a name for these sort of dishes - the French call it clafoutis.  This is my version with blueberries... not super sweet, which is the kind of desserts we prefer.  You could most certainly sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar if you wanted.

Had a cover of a Depeche Mode song come on the speakers while I was typing this recipe out and I was like, "Who is this?!  I like this!"  Turns out, it was No Use For A Name doing "Enjoy the Silence".  Give it a go!  -jen


Prep Time: 10 minute
Cook Time: 50-55 (with an additional 30 to rest)
Difficulty:  Easy
Serves: 6-8

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1+1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1+1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9" round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray - bottom and up sides.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until smooth.  Add melted butter, ricotta, yogurt and vanilla, mixing until smooth.  Add flour, salt and baking powder  - mix until combined.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan.  Sprinkle blueberries over the top.  Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes.  Edges should turn golden brown and tester inserted in center should come out clean.  Cool in pan on baking rack for 30 minutes.  Serve room temp or chilled.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Strawberry Cheesecake Banana Bread

Oh, you read that right... Strawberry.  Cheesecake.  Banana.  Bread. 

Born from the need to use up very ripe fruit before it went to waste!  Truthfully, I was hoping the cheesecake would swirl into the bread more, but I think the cheesecake layer is just too runny for swirling into such a thick batter!  No matter!  It was just a delicious layer of strawberry cheesecake atop my banana bread!  I'm wondering if muffins would be a better form of this recipe?  To be tried next time!  In the meantime, I made it this way, I know it works, and I know it was bomb!

This band keeps popping into my punk stations on Pandora and when they come on, I'm always like, "Oh yeah, I like this song, who was this again?"  So I think it's time I buy an album or two!  The Loved Ones - Pretty Good Year.  -jen

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 75-85 minutes

Resting Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Makes: 2 loaves

Strawberry Cheesecake Batter 
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (use 3tbsp if you like it on the sweeter side)
  • 16-ounces cream cheese, room temp (2 bricks)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Banana Bread Batter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of ripe, mashed bananas (about 5 medium-sized)
  • 2 eggs, slightly whisked
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease two loaf pans (9" or 10") with nonstick cooking spray or butter and set aside.

Place sliced strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar, set aside.  In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; make a well in the center.  In a medium bowl combine mashed bananas, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and coconut oil, mix well.   Pour the wet ingredients into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix by hand, just until all of the flour is incorporated.

Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip softened cream cheese.  While the mixer is running add the 3 eggs and vanilla and mix until completely blended.  Then add the strawberries and all of their syrup and mix until just combined and most of the strawberries have broken up.  (It will look like Strawberry Quik!)

The left pan is swirled, right is about to be swirled.
Set aside 1 cup of the banana bread batter and pour the remaining mix into the loaf pans, half into each.  Smooth it out until even.  (If you have extra strawberries, I think I'd add a bunch to the top of the banana batter before this next step!)  Then pour the strawberry cheesecake mix on top of that.  Take the set aside cup of batter and spoon 1/2 down the center of each loaf.  Take a butter knife and just zig zag across the whole loaf pan once, from top to bottom.  (It doesn't swirl well, but I think it gives the cheesecake batter something to "hold on to".)  Bake for 75 minutes and use a butter knife to check for doneness - stick the butter knife straight down the center of one of the loaves (the largest one if yours are uneven), then pull it out.  If it comes out clean, your loaves are done.  If you're using 9" loaf pans, you may need 10 more minutes or so - just keep checking with a clean butter knife.

Allow to cool at least 30 minutes in the loaf pans - the cheesecake portion will need to "set".  Then remove from pans, slice and serve!  (Since this has a top layer of cheesecake, I store leftovers in the refrigerator.)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Thai Style Green Curry Pork

We love Thai food.  Seriously.  We have a giant Thai cookbook on our kitchen counter.  And we have galagal, kafir lime leaf, and ginger in our freezer along with fish sauce in our fridge and powdered lemongrass and fermented shrimp paste in our pantry.  Spring rolls are a staple in our diet.  Peanut sauce has morphed into a Thai peanut salad dressing in our house.And while we go out for Thai on occasion it's usually take-out and it's usually because we're lazy. 

So, since we also usually have a can of coconut milk in the pantry as well, little green curry paste was all that we needed to do up some Thai style Green Curry Pork with Quinoa.  Most of these things can be found at a large grocery store with a good Asian/Ethnic isle.  Fresh galangal may not be available to you but fresh ginger root can be substituted.  It won't taste quite the same as galangal has that floral aspect that ginger just doesn't posses.  Same goes for kafir lime leaf.  Lime zest can be subbed but it isn't quite as sweet or perfumed as kafir lime leaf.  We're fortunate enough to live in an area with a decent southeast Asian community and a Co-op that carries a lot of Central and Southeast Asian ingredients so I stock up on the good stuff when it's available.

So this curry sauce is classic Thai flavor and you can serve this with any steamed grain you like.  We went with quinoa because it's what we had in the cupboard.  Same goes for veggies.  Onions, carrots, pumpkin, and bell peppers are all traditional Southeast Asian curry ingredients but use what you have or what you like.  We tossed in some cauliflower and zucchini because we had it in the veggie drawer. Also, we didn't do much heat in this.  This is very mild as curries go so zip it up if you like.  Slice up a jalapeƱo or serrano and toss it in.

So, Guttermouth goes with Thai food, right?  And this was blasting in the car around the time I made this dish.  Love me some old, raw, hardcore Guttermouth.  Never got to see em live, though.

Thai Style Green Curry Pork
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 4-6


  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp galangal root, grated (ginger root can be subbed if you can't find galagal)
  • 2 tbsp green curry paste (in the Asian food isle of the grocery store)
  • 1 Kafir lime leaf (1 tbsp of lime zest can be subbed if you can't find Kafir lime leaf)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 cup acorn squash, chopped into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 lb pork shoulder chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • basil and/or cilantro chiffonade for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Toss cauliflower, carrot, and squash in 2 tbsp of the canola oil (set the remaining 2 tbsp aside for later), salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.   

When onion is translucent and fragrant, stir in the galangal, the kaffir lime leaf, and the green curry paste.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often until the aromas are strong and a paste is formed.

Stir in the red bell pepper, zucchini, and meat and stir to coat with the onions and spice paste.

Add the water, coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the meat is cooked through. 

Stir in the roasted veggies, lime juice, and taste for any final salt and pepper that may be needed.

Serve with rice, quinoa, or your preferred steamed grain and garnish with basil and/or cilantro.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

S'mores Lacey Cookies

These cookies were crazy good!  Thin with crispy toffee-like edges, some caramelized marshmallow and a soft, chewy, chocolatey center, and crunchy bites of Kit Kat and walnuts throughout.  They'd be so perfect for ice cream sandwiches, if that's your kind of thing! Or if you're just looking to make some cookies that stand out amongst others, these are a great way to go!

I was singing along loudly with the Bouncing Souls' "Lean on Sheena" whilst making these this afternoon.  -jen

Time:  10 min. per batch, about 50 minutes total
Difficulty:  Easy

Makes:  48 cookies
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups old fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 oz king size Kit Kat (or 2 regular sized ones), chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1.5 cups mini marshmallows (not big ones!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together.  Then add eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.  Beat together.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to the wet mix while mixing at a medium speed.  When the flour is combined, add the oats, coconut, and walnuts until combined.  Then mix in by hand with a wooden spoon the Kit Kat  pieces and the marshmallows.  Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Scoop 1.5 tablespoon balls of dough and place 6 to parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 3" apart.  Cookies will spread out thin so you want to give them plenty of space.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, until golden and edges are just starting to brown.  Remove and allow to cool on a baking rack.  Remember to put the dough back in the refrigerator in between baking.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Homemade Gyro with Tzatziki

Gyro Salad
I've lived mostly without gyros for the last 12 years in California.  In Chicago, there's a gyro joint on every corner.  In Humboldt County, there's one place and it's in the next town over.  It's the reason I wanted to figure out how to make falafel, which is one of my most favourite recipes... but these gyros are definitely going to rival the falafel. 

Now gyros are traditionally made with beef and lamb, but we don't eat a ton of beef and I'm not a huge fan of lamb, so my initial gyro recipe I thought I'd try going outside that box and used pork and turkey.  They were freaking amazing!!!  Thinking that beef and lamb must be better, I took my exact recipe and followed it again with the beef and lamb.  It was okay... but I gotta tell ya, I hands-down preferred the pork and turkey mix. 

Don't want the carbs you get with pita bread?  Gyro salads are also soooo delicious!

Listening to some No Motiv - "So What"... song is super catchy and keeps repeating in my head.  -jen

Time: 10 minutes to prep, 1 hour to rest, 1 hour to bake, couple hours to cool 
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes:  A lot
Equipment:  Food Processor

Gyro Loaf Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped large
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground pork, lean
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4oz pancetta (cubed if you can find it)*
  • olive oil 
  • tomatoes, onion, cabbage or lettuce, cucumber, pita bread to make sandwich 
Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce) Ingredients:
  • 1/2 a cucumber 
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cumin (optional)
*I used bacon the second time I tried the recipe, and it made everything taste smoked, not like gyro, so I would not substitute bacon.  You can use sliced pancetta if that's all you can find, it's just going to get ground up anyway.

Slushed garlic and onion
Gyro Loaf:
In a small bowl combine salt, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin and black pepper.  Set aside.  In the food processor add the chopped onion and garlic.  Process until slushy.  My food processor wouldn't process the two pounds of meat at once, so I added one of the meats to the onion and garlic, half of the salt and herb mix and processed until a paste.  Remove and set in large mixing bowl.  Then add the second pound of meat, the pancetta and remaining salt and herb mix to the food processor, process until a paste.  Combine both batches in the mixing bowl and with your hands, mix until both meats are thoroughly blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  (Great time to start making the tzatziki and getting your cucumbers draining!)

Preheat oven to 325 Farenheit.  Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with a light coating of olive oil.  Form meat into a loaf shape that's about 2" thick in center of foil - try to keep it uniformly thick so it cooks evenly.  Make sure you've packed it firmly to eliminate holes when slicing.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  (A meat thermometer is a fantastic cooking tool!)

Remove loaf and let rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.  Cut into thin, almost shaved slices.  (If you can bare the wait, we recommend cooling the loaf completely, then refrigerating for a few hours.  It helps in cutting the slices super thin.)  Brown slices on both sides in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Only takes a minute or two.  Serve on a warmed pita with lettuce or cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onion and tzatziki! 

Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce):
If using an English/seedless cucumber, leave skin on.  If it's a regular, waxed cucumber, peel to remove waxy skin.  Cut in half and reserve one half to slice or dice onto gyro.  Cut the other half lengthwise and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard - you still need to do this if you're using a "seedless" cucumber, that's where a lot of the liquid is.  Grate both deseeded cucumber quarters and set in a strainer over a bowl that will catch the liquid.  Toss grated cucumber with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the liquid drain out.

In a small mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh dill, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, cumin (optional), the drained cucumber (squeeze out remaining juice and discard) and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt.

Not only great on gyros but great in salads or as a dip for fresh or roasted vegetables, great with grilled meats.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Asian Meatballs with Citrus Sauce and Quinoa Cabbage Salad

I was craving Asian-anything the other night - I didn't care if it was Chinese or Thai or Vietnamese or what.  I think I kind of drew from a lot of different Asian cooking influences when I made these meatballs and they came out so bomb!  They remind me a little of the filling you get in pot stickers, and are, in fact, very similar to our pot sticker recipe, found here.  Lots of veggies in these suckers!  In fact as I was chopping all the veggies up and throwing them in the bowl for pics, Justin asked where the meat was?  He didn't see that it was in the bottom of the mixing bowl... just covered with a ton of vegetables.
The citrus sauce was Justin's idea.  I was just going to do a wine sauce, but we had some oranges and lemons on hand and I really liked the idea of the bright citrus flavour to go with the meatballs.  Way tasty!  And all served with a cold quinoa and Napa cabbage salad... because you're going to have enough cabbage for both the meatballs and the salad!  Might as well use it all up!  ( actually only used 1/2 the Napa cabbage and sauted up the other 1/2 with the rest of the red onion the next night!)  But the quinoa and cabbage salad was a great contrast - I liked the crunch and lightness of the raw cabbage, cucumber and onion in the salad to go with the meatballs and sauce.  It all came together really well and satisfied that Asian food craving!

We'll be headed to a DS-13 show next weekend, so let's listen to a little Swedish hardcore with, "I Don't Wanna Be A Skinhead".  Neither do I, dude.  Neither do I.  -jen

Napa Cabbage
Prep Time:  about 25 minutes
Cook Time:  30-40 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes: 60 meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots (3 medium)
  • 3/4 cup finely diced celery (2 medium)
  • 1 cup finely diced green onions (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup finely diced Anaheim or bell peppers (2 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used 3/4c cilantro, 1/4c basil, 1/4c mint)
  • 3 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (1 tbsp for less spicy - 2 tbsp just has a small kick)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese mustard
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • canola oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the canola oil and mix until combined.  If you have a food processor, I recommend throwing all the veggies into that to get them super-fine diced.  While it's not necessary, the meatball will hold together better the finer the veggies are chopped. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Form 1.5 tablespoons of mixture into balls.  In a large skillet, add enough oil to cover the bottom and heat to medium-high.  Brown in batches.  Space balls evenly in pan so that they're not touching.  I only browned tops and bottoms.  Remove browned meatballs and set on a paper towel to remove excess grease.  Once all meatballs are browned, arrange on baking sheet.  (Don't rinse out that skillet!)  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.

Citrus Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth (you'll want 3 cups total of juice, wine and broth)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (and 2 tbsp water)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (used the same ones as in meatballs: cilantro, basil, mint)
In the skillet that you browned the meatballs, you'll want about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  My pork was lean, so I had to add oil to the pan - if you got higher-fat pork, you may have enough oil in the pan remaining or you may even have to remove some.  Saute onions until translucent and tender.  Add garlic and saute for another minute.  Add your 3 cups combined of citrus juice, wine and broth to the skillet as well as the soy sauce and the citrus zest, making sure you scrape those browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.  Bring to a boil and let reduce for about 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry.  Whisk this in to the sauce until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and taste.  Add salt and pepper as needed and stir in fresh herbs.  Serve over Asian Meatballs with Quinoa Salad (see recipe below).

Cook Time:  20 minutes
Rest Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: about 5 cups
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 and 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced 
In a large sauce pan, over medium-high heat, add quinoa and cook about 2 minutes to toast - you'll see the quinoa start to turn a darker, golden brown and you'll smell that nutty, toasty deliciousness.  Stir in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, than cover, lower heat, and simmer for a total of 18 minutes, stirring half-way through.  After 18 minutes, turn off heat and let rest with lid on for another 10 minutes.  Uncover and fluff with a fork.  Transfer to a large serving bowl and let cool another 10 minutes.  Stir in Napa cabbage, diced cucumber and diced onion.  Serve at room temp or chilled.