Recycle leftover ribs

July 22, 2009

pulled pork

The other day I barbecued way too many side ribs than we could consume in one meal. So, I reinvented the leftover ribs as pulled pork sandwiches. It was simple and delicious:
• I used a fork to shred the meat and take it off the bone.
• I spread the meat in an even layer in a foil container and drizzled over a little extra BBQ sauce (I used this yummy sauce from Manitoba).
• I covered the pan with foil and heated it over low heat on the grill until the meat was very hot.
• All that was left to do was to pile the meat and lots of tangy caraway-accented coleslaw on soft, fluffy Kaiser rolls.

Our tummies were happy and it took me only minutes both to prepare dinner and to clean up afterwards.

Do you have any favourite “cook once, eat twice” summer recipe ideas?

Mystery in my cold room

February 19, 2009

img_32791People often wonder aloud to me about what it’s like having two professional chefs under one roof. To be honest, it feels pretty normal to me to be one half of our domestic culinary team so I find the question a little difficult to answer.

While I reign supreme 75% of the time in our home kitchen (I’m around more often at meal time), Martin does contribute often by bringing home great ingredients I wouldn’t be able to get in a retail store. Our foodie interests are evident in other parts of our house, too. For instance, these sausages are currently hanging in our cold room; they hang next to two full sized proscuittos Martin’s dry aging. I have no idea how a family of three is going to eat this much cured pork, but I’m sure Martin has something in mind. I’m just going to wait and see!

If you’re in a couple, how do you and your other half divide up the culinary duties? Does one of you cook while the other eats or do you share in the shopping and cooking?

Inexpensive pork roasts

November 27, 2008


As I’ve been traveling across Canada this week, I’ve had an opportunity to talk to a lot of Canadians and one prevailing theme has emerged: With the economy uncertain, everyone wants tips that will help them keep their grocery budgets in check.

While cutting back can often feel like a hardship, presenting an impressive dinner party or Sunday roast is still possible. Although a prime rib roast can cost well over $10 per portion, pork roasts are much less pricey. The four-bone rack of Canadian pork pictured above was only $8.65 (just over $2 per portion!) and I purchased it at a fancy gourmet grocer! I don’t know exactly what this roast would cost at a national chain or a more mainstream independent store, but I bet it would be less.

I like to glaze pork roasts with gooey mixtures that make a yummy crust. As pictured above, this roast was brushed liberally with a blend of mustard, melted marmalade, minced garlic and chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. (Even better than marmalade is apple jelly, if you have it!)

I cook my pork roast until it registers between 155°F and 160°F when tested with an instant read thermometer. At that temperature the meat is still juicy, tender and a pleasant rosy pink colour.

Do you have a favourite way to prepare roast pork?

Bacon: a pop culture icon

June 2, 2008

From the development of the heritage pork resurgence to the proliferation of porcine centric restaurants (Montreal’s Au Pied du Cochon and New Orleans’ Cochon are just two examples) to the media excitement over Jamón Ibérico arriving in North America, pork is enjoying gourmet glory days.

While I certainly agree that pork is worthy of adoration (I’m a bacon lover), I can’t help but wonder about the timing of en masse pork love. Is this trend a chef driven culinary odyssey whose time had finally come or is there a darker, political message behind our cravings for pork? Consider that the rise of pork as a trendy gourmet commodity happened after 9/11 and it’s easy to speculate about how our subconscious minds might be prompting us to celebrate food that our ideological enemies eschew.

Regardless of whether that theory holds warm bacon fat, there’s no doubt that pork currently has a remarkable influence on not just menus but also on pop culture. For instance, band-aids that look like rashers of bacon are available at skateboard chain West 49 (I bought some for Martin as soon as I saw them!). Then there is this piggy snout mug. These products must be evidence that bacon is cool, right?

For more examples of wacky bacon products, check out this great slide show that includes gems such as bacon flavoured breath mints and even a bacon brassiere!

Feast your eyes on Ibérico pork chops

May 5, 2008

Seriously, take a moment and feast your eyes ‘cause you likely won’t get to eat them. This picture was taken by my husband of a dish he prepared earlier this month just after he received North America’s first regular shipment of Jamón Ibérico. Along with the jamón there were samples of fresh Ibérico pork in the package to be used for the launch party. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will be seeing the fresh version of this coveted pork on menus anytime soon.

Truthfully, if I hadn’t had a chance to taste fresh Ibérico pork, I wouldn’t really care that it will be scarce. Although much of the grocery store pork available to Canadians is flavourless and bred to be so lean that cooking a tender, juicy chop is almost impossible, I can get some pretty good pork chops from small artisan farmers who raise specialty breeds such as Berkshire. But the Ibérico pork chop puts even these noble pigs to shame. So juicy and tender, each bite is a little taste of pork heaven. And don’t get me started on the ribs, which are so rich and tender they needed no par cooking at all before grilling! We prepared them with salt, pepper and then a squirt of lemon at the end and they were Divine.

Why won’t we see Ibérico pork chops and ribs on menus or in the butcher’s case at specialty grocers? Our federal government has made it virtually impossible for businesses to bring fresh Ibérico pork into Canada by placing a 100% duty on this meat to protect our Canadian pork industry. Pity.

Is it wrong that I crave and lament the lack of a delicious food that has to be shipped from around the world? Is there ever a time when a crazy number of food miles are just worth the incomparable taste? Hard to say when the taste of Ibérico chops is still such a vivid memory.