Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Burmese red pork stew

I love it when you read a recipe and can tell exactly how it's going to taste. I love it even more when that taste is something you've been looking for but couldn't really find or articulate. This is one of those recipes, discovered in last September's Bon Appetit. For a kid who grew up in Southeast Asia, this is comfort food at its absolute finest.

But a word of caution, if you couldn't tell by the ominous appearance, it is not for the faint of heart. It's intensely spicy, salty, and porky (my faves, eee!). The heat is pretty strong, but the final dish is not nearly too spicy for us. The sambal oelek and chili oil function as major players in the flavor profile rather than just agents of spiciness (you should be able to find both at any upscale grocer, and many options of each at your local Asian market). That being said, I definitely wouldn't prepare this for anyone who couldn't handle some heat.

Like my mom's stew chicken, caramelized sugar provides the foundation for this dish. Add to that the sheer deliciousness of just garlic, ginger, chili, and just a little soy sauce, and the final dish is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spaghetti with turkey-pesto meatballs

This recipe is another favorite in my house. They're lighter than your average meatball, but the bread crumbs and pesto keep them extremely moist. It comes together very quickly, especially with the aid of a quality store-bought marinara. Of course you could use store-bought pesto as well, but I just don't like it as much as my own. I realize this is essentially admitting I make a crappy marinara... we all have flaws.

The other really great thing about this recipe is that it serves four and freezes beautifully, so I always make a full batch as written below and freeze half in a Ziploc, sauce and all. Simply defrost and reheat in a saucepan and dinner's almost ready on another night.