Vietnamese lemongrass pork

I made this pork about 6 weeks ago, and it came out OK, but not the way I expected or wanted it to be. It was very dark in color, sweeter than I’d like, and nothing like the delectable grilled pork I’d had in Vietnamese restaurants.

So this time I winged it, aiming for the flavors I crave. It came out much much better. And I am gratified to report that even though I did this to bone-in pork chops well over an inch thick, since that’s what I had and there was no time to butcher them into thin slices, the flavor penetrated well and the result was noms.

I used:
2 big-ass bone in pork chops, well marbled with fat

and stabbed them a bunch of times all over with my knife so the marinade could enter. Then I let them sit for several hours in:

minced lemongrass – I used the thick, tender 2-3″ of one stalk
several tbs fish sauce – I like this to be the dominant flavor
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
a squirt of agave syrup
1-2 tbs thin soy sauce (the regular stuff, not thick soy sauce which has molasses)
a drizzle of toasted sesame oil

Fire up the oven to 350F and start a cast iron pan on high but not full blast. Scrape the lemongrass bits off the chops. If you don’t have fatty meat, put a little oil in the pan. When the pan’s hot, sear the chops on both sides but be careful not to let it burn too much (the sugar will tend to char), then stick the pan into the oven for 10-25 minutes. Duration depends on how cooked they got in the sear, how thick they are, etc, so just poke them and if they are firm, they are done.

Pull them out, rest them for 10 minutes, then eat them up yum with rice and pickled veg, or make bun, or whatever you like to do with delicious fish-saucy lemongrassy pork.

anyone got peeps in Melbourne?

One of my foodwhore pals is going to be housesitting in Melbourne (Croydon, to be specific) for a month sometime soon, and she’s on the lookout for congenial types who might A) point her in the direction of delicious things and/or B) join her for a meal or grocery shopping junket. She’ll find things on her own but it is more fun to have random hookups occasionally with friends of friends (or friends of random internet food-obsessives who read my blog).

I have not had a comment on the blog for ages so I wonder if maybe it’s broken? If so, email me at foodnerd -at- paisleysky -dot- net.

i *heart* nigel slater

I have a new food-crush on Nigel Slater. I’d read a couple columns of his in Gourmet. I read his book Toast, which I very much enjoyed and recommend. But then I stumbled onto his web-column in the Guardian’s website, and I am smitten. I love his casual but unmistakably British tone, in which he can be offhand about leftovers, be elegantly particular about a technique, and talk about farting all in the same sentence.
But more than anything I love the recipes. They’re clearly the result of a fellow foodnerd who reads a lot of cookbooks and spends a lot of time just making shit up in his kitchen, and they are so very English somehow. How is it that no one in the States, myself included, has ever thought to put a goat-cheese mixed with pickles and pickle juice from the jar into a beet soup? (Maybe they have, but I’ve not found them yet.) There’s always a bit of marmalade or a bit of curry involved, in places I might not think to put them. Every single thing I’ve read on his column sounds absolutely gorgeous to eat. And it’s become a must-read site for me, at least of late… swoon.

putting into numbers what one can guess instinctively

A coworker forwarded this today, about how world consumption overshoots natural resource regeneration capacity each year: World Overshoot Day
It more or less boils down to the idea that since 1986, we’ve gone further and further into natural resource debt each year. Which i suppose explains why it feels like the world has been going steadily down the tubes without letup for my entire adult life. I do not like it, no sir, I do not like it at all.

Roundabout to the local

So it figures that I stumble on an interesting locally-written blog by reading about it in a Chicago-based magazine that FoodNerd gets delivered to the house. One of the more recent issues of Time Out Chicago makes mention of a blog on U.S. Food Policy (aptly named, U.S. Food Policy) written by a Tufts University professor.

FoodNerd is concerned that reading it is just going to make her depressed about how bad the policy in the U. S. currently is, but it seems like there’s also a lot of good stuff in the form of local info, resources, and news of good things that can be done and/or are being done.

Hopefully there’s enough balance so she won’t be upset that I posted it. I’ve found it a good read so far, but I’ve haven’t had the chance to dig through the archive yet and I’ve got to get back to work.