Month: April 2015

bungalow to go: beer braised pork carnitas tacos

Carnitas 6As some of you know, Bungalow Kitchen and Ocmulgee Traders (our local Macon grocery) have partnered to create Bungalow to Go, a meal that you prepare at home with portioned out ingredients, including local produce from Babe and Sage Farm. This week’s feature will gear you up for Cinco de Mayo and have your taste buds singing. Interested? Let Steve and Laura at OT know on their Facebook page or call them up at (478) 345-6162. Boxes available April 30-May 3.

Beer Braised Pork Carnitas Tacos
Serves 4, generously

8 stems of scallions from Babe and Sage Farm
4 lbs. pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
5 oz. queso fresco
24 oz. beer, dark porter
8 garlic cloves
spice mix (1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
24 small corn tortillas (5” diameter)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 avocado
1 lime

What You Need at Home:
aluminum foil
salt and pepper
1 dutch oven with lid
1 knife

STEP 1: Assemble Ingredients
Read over each step to familiarize yourself with the process of the meal.

STEP 2: Prep the Meat
Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks. Place all of the pork chunks into a dutch oven.

STEP 3: Bring Beer and Pork to a Boil
Pour the beer over the pork, then bring the liquid to a boil. While waiting for the liquid to boil, mince the garlic and thinly slice the scallions.

STEP 4: Add Ingredients and Simmer
When the liquid is boiling, add the spice mix, scallions, zest of the lime, and garlic to the pot and stir, then place the lid on the pot and simmer for 1 hour. After the hour is up, remove the lid, bring the liquid back to a boil, and boil for another 30 minutes. Much of the liquid will evaporate in this process.

STEP 5: Heat the Tortillas and Assemble Toppings
Heat the oven to 300 F. Wrap the stack of tortillas in aluminum foil and warm for about 15 minutes. Thinly slice the flesh of the avocado, crumble the queso fresco, slice the lime into fourths, and pick the leaves off the cilantro stems. Set aside. When the pork is finished cooking, line a plate with two paper towels and spoon the meat chunks out of the remaining liquid.

STEP 6: Assemble the Tacos
For each taco, double up the tortillas. On each double torilla, add about 1/4 cup (or a couple of chunks) of the pork, taking care to slightly shred the pork as you assemble, but leaving the shape mostly intact. Next, top with your choice of toppings: lime juice, queso fresco, avocado slices, and cilantro leaves. Because the tacos are smaller, serve each person three tacos (six small tortillas).

lunchbox life: chicken blt salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

image1(15)I know, I know–I’m getting a little too much into variations on the same theme. But people, I’m telling you: this salad in a jar business is going to change the way you think about meal prep and salad. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s another take on this idea.

While I’m thrilled that we only have four weeks of school left, I’m taking a deep breath this evening before we descend into four weeks of testing. You read that correctly: four weeks. This is all over Georgia, not just at my school. State politics aside, let’s just say that I speak for many teachers when I say that education shouldn’t be this way. Without getting too far into a standardized testing rant, let’s just say that I’ll need lots of good energy for sustained patience this week…and the next three.

This salad is a total crowd pleaser; it has accessible ingredients for less-than-adventurous palates with honey mustard, grape tomatoes, chicken, and bacon. It also features several local ingredients: raw corn kernels, green peas, and beautiful salad greens.

I used my go-to shortcut for the chicken this week: skinning and picking the meat off of a Kroger rotisserie chicken. I had about 1/2 cup of chicken leftover that I may use for dinner later this week, but at $5.99 for a whole chicken that’s been recently cooked for you, it’s a steal! The only thing I actually cooked was the bacon, then I threw together the dressing in about 60 seconds.

Send good thoughts to public school teachers for the next month–testing season is upon us!

Chicken BLT Salad with Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

1 whole rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded

8 slices of bacon

1 cup fresh green peas

4 corn cobs, corn sliced off of the cob

1 pint cherry tomatoes

5 cups salad greens

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar

2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook the bacon, let cool, then crumble. Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake vigorously, then divide evenly between five large jars. Next, add the green peas, then the corn, then the whole grape tomatoes, then the bacon, chicken, and salad greens.

tasty tuesday: pan roasted pork tenderloin, barley and mushroom braise, roasted brussels, spinach, onions

Pork barley

Man, it feels like it has been a minute since I’ve been here. Since my last post, we’ve had lots of great food, from authentic Latin American fair to farm-to-table classics and the best of Charleston. Through all of that, I found some inspiration to make tonight’s dish, combining flavors and techniques I’ve experienced from both Sean Brock’s Husk and Hugh Acheson’s Five and Ten. But really, its not much more that good ingredients, nicely seasoned, and simply prepared. That combination goes a lot further than you make think.

I love pasta dishes. I can’t escape it. And for some reason pairing barley or farro with pork and Brussels just stuck out in my mind. It is very similar to a dish at Five and Ten I had about a year ago and it just popped in my head as a very memorable dish. It goes well with the mushrooms I had at Husk, braised with broth and greens. Fantastic all.

As this blog turns two, we thank you for staying with us and helping us grow. Let us know what else you want to see!

On to the food.

Pan roasted pork with braised barley and mushrooms, spinach and onions, roasted brussels

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of any fat and connective tissue
1 cup pearled barley
1 quart chicken stock
5 portabella mushrooms
1 sweet onion, chopped into thin slices, 1/4 finely chopped
2 tbsb butter
1/4 cup spinach
10 sage leaves
8 brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved.
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper, white pepper
Olive oil to coat pan twice

Start with the barley. In a deep pan, melt butter over medium and add the grains of barley and two pinches of salt. Toast for 2 minutes. Add the fine onions and vinegar. Heat 4 minutes, or until vinegar is absorbed. Add 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cover 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop mushrooms into thin slices. Add to barley and add 1/2 the remaining stock and sage. Simmer additional 20 minutes, until barley is tender.

Season the pork with a heavy coating of salt, pepper and white pepper.

Heat a large pan to medium high and coat with olive oil. Heat oven to 300. Place the sprouts in the hot oil insides down and sear for 3 minutes. Turn and heat for 2 minutes. Place sprouts on a cookie sheet lined with foil and place in oven for 20 minutes.

In same large pan, add more oil to coat. Place the pork in the oil and sear 5 minutes per side (three sides). Reduce heat to low and cover pan for 2 minutes. Remove pork from pan.

In same pan, add more oil and remaining onions. Press garlic and add to onion. Add spinach and stir 1 minute. Add remaining stock and cook until spinach is wilted. Remove mixture from pan.

Cut the pork into very thin pieces. Return to pan with remaining pork and chicken stock mixtures. Baste with jus for 2 minutes, until pieces reach desired doneness.

Plate with spinach and onions in center of plate. Top with barley and mushroom mixture then pork. Place sprouts around the side and top with rogue brussels crispies and sage.


lunchbox life: rice noodle salad with tahini dressing, miso chicken, and veggies

image1(14)Sugar snap peas, bok choy, radishes, pickled cucumbers, a refrigerator door full of sauces, and no desire to go to the grocery store?

This is where I was yesterday afternoon, but what happy laziness it turned out to be.

I love a cold noodle salad, particularly when the weather heats up. When you’re watching your nutrition, though, it’s important to bulk up your noodle salads with lots of veggies for volume, fiber, and energy. In this recipe, I stretched 2 full servings of rice noodles over 5 lunches, making up for my noodle deficit with jewels from my farm share. The noodles are still there, but they’re not the majority of the dish. I’ve bulked up this noodles salad with veggies and chicken with a quick miso paste marinade.

This noodle salad is all about the umami–that mysterious 5th taste that combines the other four: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour–mainly from the base sauce of tahini, sriracha, soy sauce, and canola oil. The crunch from the raw bok choy, sugar snaps, and radishes welcome springtime with crispness and the rice noodles are a soft addition that bind the rest of the ingredients together. Yum.

The veggies I’ve used are just a suggestion based on my availability. I suggest at least one leafy green and one crunchy vegetable for texture.

Rice Noodle Salad with Tahini Dressing, Miso Chicken, and Veggies

2 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. tahini paste

1 Tbsp. sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 Tbsp. water

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

1/3 cup miso paste

2 stems of green garlic, chopped (you may substitute green onions here)

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 bunch of baby bok choy, cut into 1/2 inch ribbons

2 cups sugar snap peas

6 radishes, sliced into thin 1/4-inch coins

1/4 cup pickled cucumbers (or fresh), sliced

Combine the chicken and miso paste in a plastic freezer bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes for a quick marinade. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, then add the noodles and cook according the package directions (approximately 5 minutes). Next, remove the noodles from the hot water and rinse in cold water; set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan and add the green garlic or green onions. Next, add the miso and chicken to the pan and spread the chicken pieces out in one layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then turn off the heat.

In a small jar, add 1 Tbsp. canola oil, tahini paste, sriracha, soy sauce, and water, twist the lid on tight, and shake vigorously to combine. Evenly divide the sauce between 5 tall mason jars (about 3 Tbsp. each). Next, evenly divide the rice noodles, then the sugar snap peas, radishes, bok choy, pickled cucumber, and chicken. Screw on each lid and enjoy when you’re ready by dumping the contents out in a bowl and stirring to combine.

meatless monday: broccoli fritters with spinach and fried egg

image2(6)Some of you know that one of my favorite bloggers is Deb Perelman of smitten kitchen. Alex and I got the chance to meet her a little over two years ago at a book signing at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, and I was taken aback at how down to earth and cool she was. I was almost a little worried to meet her since I’d been reading her blog religiously; some people say to never meet your heroes so you won’t be disappointed. I can certainly say that I wasn’t disappointed and that I was so glad that I got to chat with her for just a few minutes as she signed my cookbook.

Deb recently re-posted a recipe for broccoli parmesan fritters on her Facebook page, and I felt like she must have read my mind (or refrigerator). I almost always order the broccoli from our CSA, and I almost always roast it up as a side dish. Why not make it the main event on Meatless Monday?

Deb’s description of her broccoli-dense fritters with a little dose of flour and parmesan was so appealing to me that I knew I had to make the little discs of goodness. I added a little more garlic and parmesan, but mostly because I always add more garlic to recipes because we like it so much. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, and I was so happy to do so. I set three fritters on a bed of lightly dressed greens (olive oil & balsamic) for each plate, then topped both plates with a fried egg for protein and deliciousness.

Deb’s recipe is here for your viewing pleasure. Check out her other great stuff, too!

lunchbox life: chicken, black bean, and brussels sprouts nachos

image1(13)Healthy nachos…oxymoron?

Not necessarily. I had two agendas with this week’s lunches: consume more protein and not in a boring way (chicken breast and broccoli). This is what I came up with, and after having it today, I’m digging it.

So, here’s the deal: everyone knows that when you go on vacation, you eat rich food, and not in small quantities. Then you return to the real world and feel like you need to detox. For me, this usually means bumping up lean protein and leafy greens, so I went looking in my refrigerator for inspiration. I had six boneless skinless chicken thighs and half of a package of brussels sprouts. I also had some enchilada sauce in my pantry. Enchiladas? Tacos? I’ve had several variations of those before. What about nachos? No, nachos are too unhealthy, I thought.

And then I decided to make it work. I went to the store, picked out some cilantro, black beans, and organic tortilla chips, and made a game plan. While the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce simmered away in the slow cooker, I devised a plan to count out an actual serving size of chips (for this package, it was 14 chips) for each day, then place the other ingredients in a separate container to mix together just before eating. The stewed chicken has tons of flavor from the enchilada sauce, and this and the cilantro flavor the other ingredients. You can use the chip to dip the chicken mixture, break up the chips and toss them in with the other ingredients, or heat the ingredients over the chips on a plate.

I know what you’re thinking–where’s the cheese?

You could certainly add some cheese here, but you really don’t need it. Again, my goal for the week was to reset my system from overindulging last week, so I thought I’d leave the cheese out…this one time.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Brussels Sprouts Nachos

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 19 oz. can enchilada sauce

1/2 lb. brussels sprouts

1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

56 corn tortilla chips, separated out into groups of 14

Cook the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high (or you could bake them and shred the chicken). Thinly slice the brussels sprouts, disposing of the woodsy stems. In five bowls, set up your four quadrants: chicken, brussels, black beans, and cilantro. Pair each bowl with one set of chips.