Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Next Sandwich Trend: Global Sandwiches

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Sandwiches aren’t content with being just sandwiches anymore. Nowadays, they have to be artisanal or sustainable or made by a famous chef. Now another sandwich trend is underway: international or global sandwiches. Think Chinese bao, Latin American arepa, Cuban medianoche, Mexican torta, and Turkish doner kebab.

In San Diego, there’s a global fusion sandwich so frighteningly good, it may ignite a trend all on its own: the carnitas bao bao at Gaijin Noodle + Sake House, downtown. The carnitas bao bao is a mixed marriage: A delicate, pillowy soft Chinese steamed bun is stuffed with assertive, saucy, Mexican carnitas (slowly cooked pulled pork) and topped with tangy house-made pickled veggies and beet-juice stained sugar.

I asked Gaijin’s Executive Chef/Partner, Antonio Friscia (pictured below), what inspired him to make this unique sandwich. He mentioned that he was influenced by Cuban, Mexican and Chinese cuisines, all cultures that know “exactly how to make pork taste amazing.” His real reason for creating the sandwich though? “I like to see people smile when they eat my food. When I eat roasted pork sandwiches with salt, pepper, chili, lime and orange in a bun with pickle and crunch, it makes me smile.”

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It makes a lot of other people smile too, which is why Friscia recently added two more bao bao to Gaijin’s menu: A tamarind and Thai chili braised beef tongue and a brined karaage chicken.

So, will little bao be the next BIG sandwich craze? I asked Friscia for his sandwich prediction, and he said, “There is probably someone deep frying or sous viding [a sandwich], but I think that simple handheld foods from all cultures will always be popular.”

If there is someone deep frying or sous viding a sandwich out there, I sincerely hope it has bacon in it.

Photos courtesy of J Public Relations, San Diego, and West Group, San Diego.

How to Grill Pork Tenderloin

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For years I shied away from grilling pork tenderloin fearing it would dry it out and taste burned. Like most fears, mine was unfounded. Three times in the last 10 days, I have grilled pork tenderloin, and all three times it was fabulous. So fabulous that I may never roast pork tenderloin in the oven again. (Well, maybe I will in February when San Diego’s temperatures drop below 62 degrees.)

When done correctly, grilled pork tenderloin is exceptional — that charred, crackled exterior reveals a moist, pale pink meat so rich in flavor and juices you’ll swear it couldn’t have been grilled. And the best part is, it’s insanely simple!

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Here’s how to grill pork tenderloin:

1. Trim off excess fat and, if present, the “silver skin,” a shiny, silver colored piece of connective tissue. If making more than one pork tenderloin, choose ones of equal size so they’ll cook evenly.

2. Season the pork before grilling. Use either a dry rub or a wet marinade and marinade for a minimum of 4 hours.

3. Preheat gas grill for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Brush grill grates with a bit of canola oil before adding the meat. Grill with the cover closed, and flip once. In general, a 1-pound pork tenderloin takes 12 to 15 minutes to cook, whereas a 1 1/2 pound tenderloin takes about 20 minutes. Of course, cooking time depends on your grill. The tenderloin should be nicely charred all over. To be sure the meat is thoroughly cooked, use a meat thermometer, and remove pork when the internal temperature registers 145 degrees. (I usually remove it at 140 degrees; while it rests for 10 minutes, the temperature rises to 145.) Transfer it to cutting board and tent with tinfoil. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to become sealed inside the meat. (NOTE: Last year the USDA announced that pork can be safely cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.)

5. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve.

The 1-pound pork tenderloin you in the pictures was rubbed with a tablespoon Mexican seasoning and grilled for about 14 minutes.

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How about you? Do you like to grill pork tenderloin? How do you grill it? Please share in the comment section below.

Father’s Day, Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Tacos

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The other morning while I was sipping my Chai tea at a local coffee shop, I watched a 20-something dad reading Dr. Seuss’s beloved classic, Green Eggs and Ham to his 3-year-old girl, named Samantha. I knew her name and age because within seconds of my sitting down near her, she announced herself, proudly displaying her age with three chubby, chocolate-stained fingers. I went there to work. Instead, I ended up watching Samantha and her dad and listening to Green Eggs and Ham. Every time the dad said, “Sam I Am,” his daughter would interrupt, “Daddy! Daddy! He’s Sam too. Like me!” Her dad would chuckle quietly, delighted by her innocence and excitement.

Watching them made me realize that here they were, a dad and his daughter, on a random Monday in San Diego reading a story that has been read billions, perhaps trillions of times by parents to their children all over the world. (Green Eggs and Ham is the #4 best-selling English language children’s book of all time.) If green eggs and ham can make a persnickety eater like Sam I Am happy, then you know it’ll please most dads.

So, this Father’s Day, why not salute your dad with a breakfast of green eggs and ham breakfast tacos? They’re easy enough to make with children and if they help make them, they’re surely eat them. My recipe for green eggs and ham tacos is made with chopped fresh spinach, but there are many ways to green your eggs: stir in some basil, parsley, or cilantro pesto or salsa verde. Or chop up green bell peppers, avocados, green onions, or Swiss chard. It’s up to you (and your dad).

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Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Tacos

Makes 8 tacos

1 (1/2-pound) slab of cooked ham, diced

2 packed cups chopped fresh spinach, large stems removed

1 teaspoon olive oil

8 large eggs

A few shakes of black pepper

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican cheese

8 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas

1. Place the ham in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until lightly browned all over. Remove from pan and dice.

2. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. In a medium bowl, lighltly whisk eggs and black pepper. Add spinach and whisk until just combined. Pour into the heated pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, gently pushing the egg mixture from side to side, until lightly brown and no longer runny.

3. Place tortillas in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high and warm 1 minute per side. Or preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Fill the warm tacos with the egg mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Serve hot.

Photo credit: Top, FCC, edenpictures; Bottom, Susan Russo

20 Fabulous Father’s Day Recipes Featuring Pork

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Because nothing says, “I love you, Dad” better than a home-cooked meal. Especially one made with pork.

Father’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Recipes:

Dad will sprint out of bed when he gets a whiff of these Espresso-Maple Pulled Pork and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Pork, Knife & Spoon.

If you like lazing around in your pajamas on Sunday mornings, then take a cue from The Pajama Chef and make this deliciously simple Sausage, Apple and Egg Casserole.

Sweeten Dad’s day with these Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Frosting and Bacon from Created by Diane. (pictured above)

How about a breakfast panini of Salami, Prosciutto and Provolone from Panini Happy? Mangia! (pictured below)

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Pancakes are the quintessential Sunday breakfast with Dad. So get flippin’ with Serious Eats’ Maple Bacon Pancakes.

Think breakfast biscuits can’t get better? They just did: Bacon and Sweet Potato Biscuits with Smoky Honey Butter.

Even the manliest of dads will swoon at the sight of behemoth Chile Cheddar Bacon Waffles from Cooking with Amy. (pictured below)

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Father’s Day Lunch and Dinner Recipes:

Any dad would appreciate biting into this muscular Italian Sausage and Peppers Sandwich, which tastes best when eaten during a baseball game. Just sayin’.

Made with marinated pork tenderloin, these Quick and Easy Pineapple and Pork Tacos from Whole Foods, are simply luscious.

For the bacon-loving dad, try this manly Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Texas Caviar from Porkbeinspired.com.

Celebrate summertime peaches with this easy-yet-elegant Skinless, Boneless Pork Chops with Rosemary Peaches recipe from Food Blogga. (pictured below)

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A mammoth plate of spicy, porky, cheesy Ultimate Chipotle Pork Nachos from Just a Taste will show dad just how much you love him.

A crunch, crunch, crunchy Mexican pork and bean tostada from Porkbeinspired.com won’t disappoint.

Heat up Dad’s day with Grilled Pork Chops with Firecracker Salsa, made with sweet pineapple and fiery habanero chilies from Porkbeinspired.com.

Is your dad a burger guy? Make him Richard Blais’s famous Cuban Pork Burger piled high with tangy pickles, spicy Mojo sauce, crispy bacon and creamy Swiss. Burgers never looked (or tasted) so good. (pictured below)

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Father’s Day Dessert Recipes:

How about wrapping up  a box of this chunky Peanut Butter Maple Bacon Fudge to leave on Dad’s nightstand for a midnight snack?

Bacon Ice Cream. That’s all I need to say.

Does your dad prefer cake or doughnuts? He can have them both with these ingenious Maple Bacon Cake Doughnuts from A Cozy Kitchen.

Dads never tire of cookies, especially when they’re studded with dark chocolate chips and bits of crispy bacon. So here’s a recipe for Chocolate Chip-Bacon-Pecan Cookies. (pictured below)

What’s more American than an apple pie? One with bacon in it: Dad will love this all-American Apple-Bacon Pie with Gingersnap Crust from A Tasting Table.

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If you’re still looking for a quirky, fun Father’s Day gift for the pork-loving dad, I’ve got you covered here.

Photo credits: #1 Diane Schmidt, #2 Kathy Strahs, #3 Amy Sherman, #4-6 Susan Russo.

Great Father’s Day Gifts for The Pork-Loving Dad

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Dads come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have in common is a love of bacon. OK, there may be 5 or 6 dads who don’t love bacon, in which case, I don’t know what to tell ya. For the rest of the bacon-loving dads out there, I’ve got some perfectly porcine gifts for Father’s Day. Keep readin’!

Because Dad knows real men love bacon, why not give him a t-shirt from cafepress.com that says so?

Is Dad a baconaholic and chocoholic, no problem. Treat him to Vosges Haut Chocolat beer and bacon chocolate bar gift set. Yes, I said beer and bacon chocolate bar. I should just stop typing here. But I want to give you a few more ideas.

Does your Dad love making pancakes on Sunday mornings? Then get him a pig-shaped pancake pan. (Toss some bacon in the batter while you’re at it.)

Got a dad who likes to cook? Chopping vegetables is a lot more fun when done on a wooden pig shaped cutting board.

Dads love gadgets, so consider a pig-shaped bottle opener which would pair rather nicely with a razorback pig bottle stopper.

Some dads prefer bling. If your dad is one of them, he might appreciate a sterling silver pig ring.

Is your dad a finger-licking BBQ guy? How about a Pig of the Month BBQ Sauce Sampler?

Bacon Freak has lots of porky treats for Father’s Day including their and Big Daddy’s Meat Lover Bundle and their Bacon Jerky Gift Bundle. Yes, I said bacon jerky.

If you’re a relatively new wife looking for a Father’s Day gift for your husband, how about this t-shirt that says, “He Loves Me More Than Bacon“? If you’ve been married for a loooong time, then you might prefer the t-shirt that says “Bacon Saved Our Marriage.” It’s your call.

For the dad who has everything, consider Big John Grill’s E-Z Way Towable 10-foot square Sow Pig Roaster Rib Smoker for a mere $3,955.00. Hey, isn’t Dad worth it?

Photo credit: FCC, zheem.