Tuesday, March 31, 2015

JGE 35 – Cambodian Pork Belly and Collard Greens

Good Day,

Well I’m trying something new and I’m not sure what part of the world I should be in. Did I ever say that I like to cook?

Got me some Pork Belly and I got me some Collard Greens. So why not try Cambodian Pork Belly and Collard Greens.

My ingredients – Pork Belly; Collard Greens; Mushrooms; Garlic; Onion; Peanut Oil; Fish Sauce; Sugar; Salt; and some Freshly Ground Pepper.

I scored the skin and the fat of the Pork Belly.

I then placed the Pork Belly skin-side down in my hot, hot wok with some almost smoking Peanut Oil.

I wanted to make sure that the skin got crispy without getting burned. Once I browned all sides of the Pork Belly, without overcooking, I took it out of the wok, to let it rest and cool a bit. At this point I cut up the Pork Belly.

Next the Collard Greens.

My preparation of the Collard Greens was to wash them and cut out the central rib. I then chopped them up into a decent size.

I quartered the Mushrooms. For this dish I used just regular White Mushrooms. I suppose you, based on your own preferences, can use any other type of mushrooms or combination thereof.

I also prepped the Garlic and the Onion.

I tossed the Garlic and the Onion into the wok. Something to remember – Overcooked garlic can impart a bitter taste to the overall dish. But if you don’t know any different and have been doing it that way for some time, hey it’s your taste buds. I just do not like bitter tasting garlic.

Once the Garlic, the Onion, and the Mushrooms were done to my liking I threw in the cut up Pork Belly.

Next the chopped Collard Greens. At this point I added some sugar, salt, pepper, and Fish Sauce to taste. Mushrooms tend to soak up oil and liquid so I sort of monitor whether or not to add some more Peanut Oil and Fish Sauce… And if you are allergic to peanuts you can always use some other type of oil. Even Coconut Oil, eh ZC?

I allowed the Collard Greens to cook down a bit while carefully mixing the fusion. I then placed a cover on top and turned the heat down to allow the dish to absorb the flavors.  I did about 5 minutes.

And then I plated the Cambodian Pork Belly and Collard Greens.

I took a fork full and stuffed it into my mouth. Different. Good. Great. I’m sold. This is "a make again".

If you have any thoughts, questions, comments, ideas, please free to contact me via email at Jim’s Gotta Eat.

Be healthy and enjoy,


Sunday, March 15, 2015

JGE 34 – Pollo y Calabaza y Garbanzo

Good Day,

I wonder if I ever mentioned that I always have had an inherent craving for Calabaza. It probably comes from my early childhood, the Caribbean, and food. And so I bought a half an almost cleaned out portion of Calabaza.

From Dictionary.com the Calabaza is described as a squash, also known as tropical pumpkin grown mostly in tropical and semi-tropical climate. The description continues that is “a very large pumpkin-like squash with orange flesh that is moister and sweeter than pumpkin". It is also known as abobora, ahuyama, crapaudback,Cuban squash, giraumon, toadback, West Indian pumpkin, zapallo. Calabaza is the Spanish word for pumpkin.

The Calabaza is bloody hard.  I use a good knife...and it is a pain to cut off the skin.  It does take time.

In the bottom of my freezer I pulled out two ½ lb bags of what I thought were chicken breasts. I threw them into the fridge to thaw out overnight. Turns out that the chicken breasts must have ground themselves up during the night. And so I substituted the ground chicken for the what I thought were breasts.

And of course, I had to add, and chop/mince up some garlic and onion.

Into a medium-heated pot I add some Olive Oil and browned the chicken.

I then added the chopped Garlic and Onion and let that cook until translucent.  I did not want to burn anything... but if you like that charred flavor, be my guest.  Next I threw in some seasonings - Dried Oregano, Pink Salt, Pepper, and Cilantro.

I found a can of Garbanzo beans in the pantry. Next I added the drain and rinsed Garbanzo beans.

Just read this on the site The World’s Healthiest Foods  “The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.” Could explain my drop of 11 + 10 next day early morning blood sugar points after I ate this for supper last night.

To the mixture in the pot I added a large red chili pepper, some more spices.  At this point, if you want you can up the heat and add any types of other spices that you know may go well together.  Hell there ain't no rules...to go taste.  I did add a couple or three tablespoons of the Tomato Chili Sauce that I made the other day.  (See JGE 32 - Upside Down Vegetable Cake for that recipe.)

Next I added the Chicken Broth.  Because I used ground chicken breast I sort of thought that it would need some of that extra chickenie broth flavor.  Oh I think I added about 3 cups...or thereabouts.

After 5 minutes.
Gently stirred after 10 minutes.
After sitting at low simmer for another 10+ minutes.
At this point I took out about 1/2 cup of broth and mixed, to get rid of the lumps, 2 tablespoons of Cornstarch.

And then I heated up, in the microwave some left-over rice.  (Must have come with some Chinese take-out order.  I'm always throwing left-over rice into the freezer.)

I spooned a reasonable portion of rice on the place and then topped it with three large spoons of the Pollo y Calabaza y Garbano.

I ate. I was satiated. I wanted some more...but I held back. Leftovers. Period.

If you have any thoughts, questions, comments, ideas, please feel free to contact me via email at Jim's Gotta Eat.

Be healthy and enjoy,


Thursday, March 12, 2015

JGE 33 - Korean Shrimp Kimchi and Green Onion Pancake

Good Day,

I decided that I wanted something completely different. Hell I'll try any food that's different. Whether I'll like it or not... the adventure is in the trying.

Did I ever mention that I love food?  And this time I wanted to create meal fast.  (Yes I know that the English purists will insist on "quickly".)

For something new, I decided that I wanted to try cooking something with Green Onion Pancakes.  I had seen packages of them time and time again at my favorite Asian grocery store, MD Oriental Market on Flower Avenue in Tampa.

I had no clue as what to do with them and a quick Internet search offered me many ways to make them from scratch.  But the ones at the Market were pre-made and frozen.  Step number one, I bought a package.  Instructions for preparation appeared to be very simple...and without the mess.

But how in the hell do I use Green Onion Pancakes in a meal? Another Internet search and I found a number of Korean versions of shrimp and green onion pancakes.  I settled on a Korean Shrimp Kimchi and Green Onion Pie trial.

Apart from the Green Onion Pancakes I had some Shrimp,

Baby Bok Choy,

and Garlic.  Even thought the recipe did not call for Baby Bok Choy or Garlic, I couldn't see what I would lose out if I included them.

At Whole Foods I was able to pick up a jar of Wildbrine Korean Kimchi.  
I know that at MD Oriental Market there are rows of various types of Kimchi. 

And so with a fry pan set on the stove top I began the browning, in peanut oil, of the Green Onion Pancakes. 

I turned the oven on to warm so as while I cooked the pancakes I could keep them warm.

With a second fry pan, I threw the shrimp and garlic into some peanut oil, stir-fried and then removed the shrimp to a warm plate.  Next I pitched in the chopped up Baby Bok Choy and about half the jar of Kimchi.

I kept the heat on low and attempted to reduce the liquid by about half...  Oh and just a note for a second time, I'll probably use a bit of chicken and/or vegetable broth to cut down the somewhat strong vinegary taste of the Kimchi.

And to plate - Two Green Onion Pancakes topped with a couple spoonfuls of the Shrimp, Kimchi and Baby Bok Choy mixture. 

This supper was a completely different treat. Would I try it again? Hell yes...

All I can say is Jim's Gotta Eat.

Any comments, thoughts, ideas, question please email me at Jim's Gotta Eat.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

JGE 32 – Upside Down Vegetable Cake

Good Day,

I found this recipe for an Upside Down Vegetable Cake in Mollie Katzen’s book The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest. And I thought it would be an interesting challenge.

That was until I started working on it. Let me tell you this does take a bit of time to prep and create. It takes some time to cook, but I can tell you that it is definitely something I would try once again.  Only I'll eat it right-side up.

First of all there are three parts, not two, to the construction and cooking of this thing. And just to be sure I added a fourth part, the Tomato Chili Dressing. And the fifth part of course is the eating.

And this is a vegetarian meal with the addition of one egg. For those persons who are on one side or the other it may be considered “ovo-vegetarian”. (That’s a vegetarian who eats eggs.) Oh yes I did use butter…but I’m not going to make a distinction. I do not consider myself a vegetarian or what-ever class or level of vegetarians there are. I just occasionally like to eat stuff that can’t, or so it seems, look me in the eye.

The 1st Part – The Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onion, Green Onion, Carrot, Orange Bell Pepper, Peas, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Cheese…

I blanched and prepped what needed to be prepped. Oh yeah, there’s one hell of a lot of pots and pans for this one.

The 2nd Part – The Cake, actually Biscuit Topping – White Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Sugar, Dried Oregano, Dried Thyme, Fresh Dill, Egg, Yogurt, Butter

The cake, aka biscuit, mixture is spread on top of the vegetables and cheese.

The 3rd Part – The Cooking – 8-by-8 glass baking pan at 350°F for 40 minutes. I let it sit, once done ,for about 7 ½ minutes. Something like that.

The 4th Part – The Tomato Chili Dressing – I decided that I needed some dressing or gravy and so I decided to create a Tomato Chili Dressing.

I threw the following into the blender – Tomatoes, Garlic, Red Chili, Paprika, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Parsley… I just made sure that the concoction was just thick enough to spread on the plate.

The 5th Part – The Eating. Mollie Katzen suggested flipping the cake over so that it would be presented upside-down. Didn’t do that. I just stood on my head. Thank you Father William for being so incessant.

Different. Good. Very good. Damn good.

Any questions, thoughts, ideas, comments email me at Jim’s Gotta Eat. Oh yeah, Jim’s Gotta Eat has a new URL address – http://jimsgottaeat.com.

Jim’s gotta eat. Enjoy,