Snow is Coming! Bechamel your Pizza with Brussels Sprouts Pizza Carbonara from Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

Buckets of snow are coming to Jersey on Wednesday. Actually wet snowflakes are falling as I write this, a sneak preview to bigger event.

So béchamel your pizza for extra warmth with this Brussels Sprouts Pizza Carbonara recipe by Ina Garten from Modern Comfort Food (Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House- October 2020).

Brussels Sprouts Pizza Carbonara

Makes 4 (9-inch) Individual Pizzas

Brussel Sprouts Pizza (Modern Comfort Food photo credit Quentin Bacon)


For the béchamel:

1½ cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk ricotta (9 ounces)

2 extra-large egg yolks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Good olive oil

8 ounces pancetta, ¹⁄₈-inch diced

To assemble the pizzas:

4 (8-ounce) balls store-bought pizza dough

½ cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese

½ cup freshly grated Italian Pecorino cheese

12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (see note)


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven.

For the béchamel, pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly. Whisk in the hot milk, switch to a wooden spoon, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 to 5 minutes, until thick enough to leave a trail when you run your finger down the back of the spoon. Cook for one more minute. Off the heat, stir in the ricotta, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until half-cooked. Transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Flip over two sheet pans and put 12 × 18-inch pieces of parchment paper on each pan. Roll and stretch two of the pizza doughs into a 9 or 10-inch circle (they don’t want to be perfect!) on the parchment papers. Leaving a 1-inch border, spread ½ cup of the béchamel on each pizza and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of the Pecorino, and a quarter of the pancetta. In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the two pizzas evenly with half of the Brussels sprouts. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, including the bottom. Cut each pizza in six wedges with a large chef’s knife and serve hot. Repeat for the remaining two pizzas.

Note: To slice the Brussels sprouts, trim them and process through the feed tube of a food processor fitted with the slicing disk.


(* Recipe courtesy of MODERN COMFORT FOOD. Copyright © 2020 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photo by Quentin Bacon)

Pork Snow Balls, Time for One Pot Japanese Clay Cooking, Shiro-Mushi Dango from 'Donabe'

Time for one pot cooking the Japanese way with Donabe, Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking (Ten Speed Press, October 2015) by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore

Pork Snow Balls Shiro-mushi Dango

Serves 6 to 8 as part of a multicourse meal

Equipment: 1 large (3-quart/3 l) donabe steamer

These heart dumplings look like shiny snowballs, and they make me feel festive every time I make them. Pork meatballs are covered in sweet rice and steamed until the rice is perfectly sticky and the meat is fluffy. I like it with a tiny dab of yuzu-kosho for accent. Or you can serve them the more classic way, with soy sauce mixed with karashi (Japanese mustard) or ponzu. – Naoko

1 rice cup (3/4 cup/180 ml) sweet rice, rinsed

1 tablespoon sake

1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 pound (450 g) ground pork

1 large egg

3 medium-size dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, trimmed, and diced small

1/4 cup (60 ml) finely minced yellow or sweet onion

1 small clove garlic, finely grated

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons katakuriko (potato starch)

2 tablespoons sake

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Yuzu-kosho, for serving

Donabe_Pork Snow Balls

In a medium bowl, soak the sweet rice with enough water to cover the rice completely for 2 hours. Drain well and transfer it back to the bowl. Add the sake and salt and mix thoroughly.

To make the pork meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the pork mixture into 16 portions and shape them into balls (about 1 1/2 inches/3.5 cm in diameter) by hand. Dip each ball into the sweet rice and, using your hands, coat it completely with rice. Press down lightly on the rice so that it sticks.

Prepare the donabe according to the basic steaming instructions below, lining the steam grate with one of the suggested liners. Arrange the dumplings on the lining. Cover and steam over upper medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat and rice are cooked through. Serve with yuzu-kosho at the table.

Basic Steaming

Fill about 70 percent of the donabe body with water.

Set the steam grate in place and cover with the lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat.

3. Once the donabe steamer is ready, simply place the ingredients either directly atop the grate or on a plate or a bed of napa cabbage, green leaf lettuce, green cabbage, or bean sprouts. (This will help prevent the ingredients from sticking to the grate without clogging the holes, thus easier cleaning after use, and you can eat the bed, too!) Cover and cook until done. Other options for holding the ingredients are a bowl, a sheet of parchment paper punched with holes, or a mat of bamboo leaves.

Rolling with it for Tokyo Thursdays #308

(*Reprinted with permission from Donabe, by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2015 by Eric Wolfinger)

Sweet, Smoky, Tangy Breakfast, Waffle Panini with Maple Butter, Bacon, Cheddar

Waffle that Panini for breakfast with this recipe from The Dairy Good Cookbook (Andrews McMeel, June 2015) edited by Lisa Kingsley

Waffle Panini with Maple Butter, Bacon, and Cheddar

PREP: 15 minutes COOK: 2 minutes MAKES: 2 servings

This simple breakfast sandwich hits a whole host of tastes—sweet syrup, salty and smoky bacon, and tangy white Cheddar. Pure maple syrup makes a big difference in the intensity of the flavor in the maple butter. Use leftover maple butter on toast, pancakes, or warm biscuits.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

4 frozen waffles, thawed

4 slices white Cheddar cheese

1 apple or pear

4 slices peppered bacon, cooked


1. For the maple butter, combine the butter and maple syrup in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Transfer to a 6‑ounce ramekin. If not using immediately, cover and chill until ready to use. (Any leftover butter can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; allow to come to room temperature before using.)

2. Spread one side of each waffle with some of the maple butter. Top the buttered side of two of the waffles with one slice of cheese each. If desired, peel the apple or pear. Slice the apple or pear into thin slices. Divide the fruit slices between the two waffles on top of the cheese. Top each with two slices of cooked bacon. Top with another slice of cheese. Place a second waffle, buttered side down, on each stacked waffle.

3. Melt about 1 tablespoon of the maple butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the panini in the pan. Weight with a heavy skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the waffles are toasted. Turn panini over, weight, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until the waffles are toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from  The 'Dairy Good Cookbook' Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families' -Andrews McMeel, June 2015- edited by Lisa Kingsley)

Kabob your Way to Dinner with Pineapple and Soy Twist, Grilled Pork Kabobs

Kabob your way to dinner with a pineapple and soy twist with this 2nd recipe from Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World (Andrews McMeel, March 2015) by Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim. 

Grilled Pork Kabobs with Pineapple and Soy 

Makes 8 Kabobs 

I struggled with whether to include this dish because it’s so cliché. But it’s so good! It’s a pork tenderloin marinated in homemade teriyaki (soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic), and then grilled on skewers with pineapple and mushrooms. It’s ultra-simple backyard barbecue food, but there are a couple keys to success. First, cut the meat into same-size pieces for even cooking. I like cubes about ¾ inch square. Second, skewer the food in the order listed and push it tightly together. You want a solid strip of food on each skewer to prevent overcooking and so that the pineapple is near the meat. That way, the pineapple bastes the pork, helps it brown, and keeps it juicy.

1 pork tenderloin, silverskin removed, cut into ¾-inch cubes

1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1-inch piece fresh ginger

¼ cup garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup (1 stick) butter

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stems removed

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces, about

2 cups Kosher salt


Place the pork in a zip-top bag and add the sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and the sugar. Peel and grate the ginger and mince 1 clove garlic and add to the bag. Squish to combine and coat the meat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out, zip the top closed, and place in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have time to marinate overnight, marinate at room temperature while the mushrooms are braising. The longer the marinade time, the more flavorful the pork will be.

With the wide side of a chef’s knife, crush the remaining garlic cloves, leaving them intact. You’re crushing just to release the flavorful oils. In a 1-quart saucepan, melt the butter with the garlic over medium heat until foamy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and mushroom caps to the pan and toss to combine. Cover and braise over medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. 

Remove the mushrooms from the braising liquid and reserve the liquid in the saucepan. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Skewer a piece of meat followed by a braised mushroom and then a piece of pineapple. Be sure to start and end with the meat. Keep the braising liquid warm over low heat. 

Heat the grill to medium or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the skewers for 2 minutes, basting with the braising liquid. Turn, baste, and turn again until all sides are charred, a total of about 8 minutes. When poked, the pork should spring back instead of holding an indentation. Brush the skewers one last time and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Worth Knowing: In Hawaii, they serve kabobs like this over steamed white rice and always with a side of cold macaroni salad. Yep, the same cold macaroni salad you find at church socials.

 (* From Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim, Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Look for a Lean Shoulder, Tacos al Pastor from Kevin Gillespie 'Pure Pork Awesomeness'

You'll need a shoulder to lean on for this recipe from Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World (Andrews McMeel, March 2015) by Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim. 

Tacos al Pastor

Feeds 4

When I was 20, my Mexican friend Vincente took me to Mexico City for tacos al pastor. We walked up to this super-busy stall that had spits of marinated, sliced, and stacked pork rotating near a fire—almost like the meat for gyros. Pineapples rotated near the fire right next to the pork. The tacos are called al pastor because missionaries came from Jerusalem to Mexico and brought their Middle Eastern foodways with them. Over time, tacos al pastor became one of the most popular Mexican tacos. Go figure. Anyway, here’s my veiled attempt to nail down the spicy-sweet-savory flavors. The texture is nearly impossible to get right without 200 pounds of sliced pork rotating on a spit. Instead, I use trim and scraps of pork shoulder, cut them small, and then sear the pork in a smoking-hot pan. Garnish the meat with spicy salsa and some chopped onion and cilantro, and it makes a damn fine taco.

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes, about

2 cups, or 1 (20-ounce) can unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained

1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into rough chunks

10 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound lean pork shoulder, cut into ¾-inch chunks (see Worth Knowing)

3 teaspoons grapeseed oil or canola oil

8 fresh corn tortillas

½ cup sour cream

1 lime

1 bunch cilantro

58 tacos al pastro

Reserve ½ cup pineapple chunks and onion and refrigerate for later use. Combine the remaining pineapple, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend to a paste. Place the meat and marinade in a gallon-size zip-top bag, squeeze out excess air, and zip closed. Refrigerate overnight.

Strain the pork and discard the marinade.

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add just enough of the oil to the pan for a thin coating and heat until the oil just starts to smoke. Working in batches, add the tortillas in a single layer and heat just until starting to char, about 1 minute per side, then flip and cook for another minute. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add just enough of the oil to cover the pan, swirl to coat, and heat until smoking. Add the pork and reserved pineapple and cook for 1 minute, or until browned. Shake the pan to flip the meat and cook until the pork is cooked through and the pan juices have cooked dry, about 7 minutes, shaking the pan frequently.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream with the juice of ½ lime and whisk until smooth. Cut the remaining ½ lime into 4 wedges. Coarsely chop ½ cup cilantro leaves. Reserve 4 sprigs.

Serve the tortillas topped with the meat and pineapple mixture, reserved pineapple and onion, chopped cilantro, a drizzle of the lime sour cream, a lime wedge, and whole sprig of cilantro.

Worth Knowing:

Look for a lean shoulder roast for this recipe. It will be a piece of a boneless Boston butt. Get the smallest and leanest roast you can find, which will probably be 2 to 3 pounds. If you get a piece with excess fat, just trim it away before cutting the meat into chunks.

( * Recipe reproduced with permission from Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim. Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, March 2015)

Feed your Fire with Italian-American Classic, Fette Sau BBQ Joe Carroll 'Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwich'

Feed your fire with this Italian-American classic from Feeding the FireRecipes and Strategies for Better Barbecue and Grilling (Artisan Books, May 2015) by Fette Sau BBQ Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald...

Grilled Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

I generally recommend the hot variety over sweet sausage in this classic Italian-American sandwich. The best way to grill sausages is to lay them parallel to the grill grates so they nestle in between the bars—this gives you maximum casing-to-grill contact. Whatever you do, don’t turn the sausages with a fork as they cook; this will puncture the skin, letting fat (and flavor) ooze out and create flare-ups.

For extra heat, grill some pickled hot chile peppers (the long green ones from a jar) alongside the sausages, and add one to each sandwich. Save any leftover peppers and onions for scrambled eggs the next day.

1 large red onion, cut into ½-inch slices

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 green bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

4 hot or sweet Italian sausages (or a mix)

4 Italian hoagie or submarine rolls, split

4 jarred pickled hot chile peppers (optional)

Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwiches

1. Start charcoal and let burn until coals are glowing red and coated in gray ash, about 15 minutes. You can create two heat zones by adding different amounts of coals to each side of the grill (or leaving one half of the grill coal-free to create a cool side). For a hot zone, build a layer about two coals deep; for medium, one coal deep.

2. Brush the onion slices on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the onion slices over the medium side of the fire and grill, turning once, until lightly charred and softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the peppers on the hot side and grill, turning occasionally, until blistered and charred all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers and onions to a cutting board and let cool slightly.

3. Cut the onion slices into quarters and transfer to a medium bowl. Peel the peppers (it’s OK—even preferable—to leave some of the charred skin attached) and discard the cores, seeds, and ribs. Cut the peppers into long ½-inch-wide strips and add them to the bowl with the onions. Add the oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss well.

4. Cook the sausages on the hot side of the grill, turning them every couple of minutes, until browned all over and cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160°F), about 8 minutes. If the sausages brown too quickly, move them to the medium side of the grill.

 ( Recipe excerpted from Feeding the Fire by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2015. Photographs by William Hereford)

Luscious Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly, Brie Mac Cheese, Cilantro Glazed Carrots, More than 'Meat and Potatoes'

Following in footsteps of cowboy classic dinner of New Mexico Red Chile and Coffee Crust Tri-Tip from  Meat and PotatoesSimple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear (Clarkson Potter, July 2014) by Rahm Fama, here's a beer soaked dish.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly with Brie Mac And Cheese and Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

Serves 6

Pork belly is uncured, unsmoked bacon. No wonder. It’s unctuous, flavorful, and very easy to cook. Don’t be put off by the amount of pork needed; the meat shrinks dramatically as it cooks. Be sure to use a cast-iron skillet to sear it first so the little bits of crusty pork left in the skillet can be made into the luscious sauce with Hefeweizen (a wheat beer). It packs a spicy, citrusy kick and cooks into a lovely glaze for this tender cut. The mac and cheese is surprisingly delicate and a cinch to whip up, perfect with the light, bright glazed carrots.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly

 4 pounds pork belly
 ½ cup chopped white onion
 ½ cup chopped carrot
 ½ cup chopped celery
 2 12-ounce bottles Hefeweizen beer
 1 cup chicken stock
 1 bay leaf
 1 sprig fresh thyme
 Peel and juice of 1 orange
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220°F.

2. Set a cast-iron skillet or large heavy sauté pan over high heat and sear the pork, fat side down, for 5 minutes, then flip and sear the second side for 5 minutes, creating a thick brown crust on both sides. Transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown. Stir in the beer, scraping all the dark nubs off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the stock. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and orange peel and juice.

4. Put the pork belly in a roasting pan. Add the vegetables with the cooking liquid. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with aluminum foil. Braise in the oven for 3 hours.

5. Remove the pan from the oven. Peel off the foil and plastic wrap and set the pork belly aside.

6. Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Using a ladle or wide spoon, scoop out and discard any fat that has collected at the corner of the pan. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Season with salt and pepper.

7. To serve, cut the pork into 6 squares and drizzle with the sauce. Pass the additional sauce at the table.

Brie Mac and Cheese

 1 teaspoon salt
 1 pound elbow pasta
 3 cups whole milk
 1 white onion, chopped
 1 teaspoon whole cloves
 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
 6 ounces sourdough bread, sliced and toasted
 5 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
 ¼ cup chopped scallions, both white and green parts, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the milk, onion, cloves, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the stove and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the ingredients to steep.

3. Strain out and discard the onion and cloves and pour the milk into a blender. Cut or tear the bread into pieces and add to the milk. Puree the bread and milk into a creamy slurry.

4. Put the cooked pasta in a large pot, add the milk-bread slurry, and set over medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the Brie, one piece at a time. Serve garnished with the chopped scallions.

Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

 1 pound baby carrots
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 tablespoons honey
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the carrots in a medium saucepan with water to just cover. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender-crisp. Remove and drain.

2. Add the olive oil and honey to the saucepan, set over medium-high heat, and cook for 1 minute, or until the honey begins to brown.

3. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and toss in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

(* Reproduced with permission from Meat and Potatoes, Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear by Rahm Fama in collaboration with Beth Dooley-published by Clarkson Potter,July 2014- Photography by Jennifer May...Thanks to Blogging for Books for Review Copy)

Mash Up your Meatball Sandwich with Xiu Mai from 'Banh Mi Handbook' by Andrea Nguyen

Mash up your meatball sandwich with this recipe from The Banh MI Handbook,  Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches ( Ten Speed Press, July 2014) by Viet World Kitchen Andrea Nguyen...

Meatballs in tomato sauce

Makes about 30 meatballs, enough for 6 sandwiches ■ Takes about 1 and 1/4 hours

This tasty old school sandwich is a conundrum of sorts. It features delicate Viet meatballs called xiu mai, which are inspired by the filling for shu mai dumplings, the wildly popular Cantonese dim sum. The fragrant pork mixture is steamed as spheres, then put into a light tomato sauce bath. (Poaching the meatballs in the tomato sauce is my less fussy approach.) To distribute the meat in the bread and construct a sandwich that holds together, banh mi makers mash the meatballs when stuffing them into baguette.

Yes, a smashed meatball sandwich based on a dumpling is a crazy-delicious banh mi.


1¼ pounds (565 g) ground pork, about 85 percent lean
⅓ cup (2 oz / 60 g) finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup (2.25 oz / 70 g) finely
chopped water chestnuts
2 tablespoons finely
chopped cilantro sprigs or green onion (green part only)
¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
About ½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1½ tablespoons regular soy sauce
1½ tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (see page 67)
1 large egg
A 14.5-ounce (410 g) can peeled whole tomatoes in juice (1¾ cups / 420 ml)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup (240 ml) water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup (2 oz / 60 g) chopped shallot
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mashed meatballs banh mi handbook


For the meatballs, in a bowl, combine the pork, onion, water chestnuts, and cilantro, stirring and mashing with a fork. In a smaller bowl, beat together the pepper, salt, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, and egg. Pour over the meat mixture. Use the fork, a spatula, or your hand to vigorously mix into a sticky, compact mixture. Cover and set aside.

Put the canned tomatoes in a bowl and use your hands to break and mash them up; discard any skin or hard stem ends. Add the 1 tablespoon sugar, ketchup, and water. Set aside.

To cook the sauce and fit all the meatballs in one layer, select a big, wide pan, like a 5-quart (5 l) Dutch oven or deep skillet. Heat it over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant and no longer raw smelling. Add the tomato mixture.

Bring to a vigorous simmer. With wet hands, form meatballs the size of ping-pong balls (about 11⁄2 tablespoons each), gently dropping them into the bubbling sauce as you work. You’ll have about 30 meatballs total; toward the end, gently shake the pan or nudge semicooked meatballs to make room for new ones. When done, all of the meatballs should barely be covered in liquid; add water if needed.

Vigorously simmer for 10 to 20 minutes to cook through and reduce the sauce. When done, the meatballs should be about two-thirds covered by sauce; if you coat the back of a spoon and run your finger through the sauce, a line should hold. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. Cool for
about 15 minutes to further concentrate the flavors. Skim the orange oil that gathers at the top or leave it for richness. The warm meatballs are ready for banh mi.


Line the bottom of the bread with some sauce and smear mayo on the top portion; drizzle on a little Maggi, if you want.

Add the meatballs, breaking and mashing them with your fingers or a spoon to distribute well; or mash the meatballs in the sauce before adding them to the bread. Add any of the pickles, cucumber, cilantro, and chile. Eat your Vietnamese meatball sandwich fast or it will get soggy.

To make ahead, cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days; warm the meatballs in a saucepan or microwave oven.

(Reprinted with permission from The Banh MI Handbook by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Food Photography credit: Paige Green © 2014)

Fill your Belly Burmese Way, Kaeng Hung Leh Burmese Style Pork Belly Curry from Pok Pok

Back in December, I shared Sweet and Spicy 'Som Tam Phonlamai' Thai Salad from Pok PokFood and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2013) by Andy Ricker of Pok Pok restaurant with J.J. Goode.

Here's a meatier recipe.

Kaeng Hung Leh
Burmese-style pork belly curry

Flavor Profile Rich, complex, sweet, tangy, and slightly salty

Try It With Kaeng Khanun (Northern Thai young jackfruit curry), page 166, or Yam Samun Phrai (Northern Thai–style herbal salad), page 65. Needs Khao Niaw (Sticky rice), page 33.


Up to 1 week in advance: Make the curry paste and the tamarind water
Up to a few days in advance: Make the curry
Up to 2 days in advance: Make the fried shallots


A Thai granite mortar and pestle

Serves 6 to 8 as part of a meal


1 ounce thinly sliced lemongrass (tender parts only), from about 4 stalks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14-gram) piece peeled fresh or frozen (not defrosted) galangal, thinly sliced against the grain
7 grams stemmed dried Mexican puya chiles (about 4), soaked in hot tap water until fully soft, about 15 minutes
1 1/2 ounces peeled Asian shallots, thinly sliced against the grain
1 1/2 teaspoons Kapi Kung (Homemade shrimp paste), page 274


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ounce peeled Asian shallots, thinly sliced with the grain (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons mild Indian curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pound skinless pork belly, cut into approximately 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into approximately 11/2-inch chunks
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai black soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid from Thai pickled garlic (straight from the jar)
1 1/2 ounces palm sugar, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons Naam Makham (Tamarind water), page 274
2 cups water
1 (1-ounce) piece peeled ginger, cut into long (about 11/2-inch), thin (about 1/8-inch) matchsticks (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces separated and peeled pickled garlic cloves (about 30 small cloves)
4 ounces long beans, trimmed and cut into 11/2-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
6 tablespoons Hom Daeng Jiaw (Fried shallots), page 273

Kaeng Hung Leh (Burmese pork belly curry)


Combine the lemongrass in the mortar with the salt and pound firmly until you have a fairly smooth, slightly fibrous paste, about 2 minutes. Add the galangal and pound until you have a smooth, slightly fibrous paste, about 2 minutes. Drain the chiles well, wrap them in paper towels, and gently squeeze them dry. Add them to the mortar and pound them, then add the shallots, and then the shrimp paste, fully pounding each ingredient before moving on to the next.
You’ll have about 1/2 cup of paste. You can use it right away, or store the paste in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat until it shimmers. Add all of the paste, breaking it up slightly and stirring occasionally, until it’s fragrant and turns a slightly duller shade of red, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the shallots and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 minutes, then add the curry powder and turmeric powder and stir frequently for a minute or so to bring out their fragrance. Add the pork belly and shoulder, stir to coat the pork, and cook for a few minutes, so the pork has a chance to absorb a little of the flavor of the paste. You’re not trying to brown the meat; crowding the pot is fine.

Stir in the fish sauce, black soy sauce, and pickled garlic liquid, then add the palm sugar. Increase the heat slightly to bring the liquid to a simmer, cook until the palm sugar has more or less completely dissolved, then stir in the tamarind water along with the 2 cups of water. Increase the heat to high, let the liquid come to a strong simmer, then immediately decrease the heat to low and cover (or partially cover, if your lid doesn’t let any steam escape), adjusting the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, stir in the ginger, then remove the lid and cook at a steady simmer until the pork shoulder is very tender but not falling apart and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 45 minutes more. The curry should still be fairly soupy (not gravylike and dry) with a layer of reddish liquid fat near the surface. You want some of this fat, but depending on the pork’s fattiness, you might have too much; use your discretion and spoon off as much as you’d like.

Stir in the pickled garlic cloves, cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the long beans and cook until they’re just tender but still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes more. Let the curry cool to warm (it’ll taste even better after half an hour), then taste it. There should be a balance between sweet, salty, and sour flavors, with sweetness taking the lead. If necessary, season with more palm sugar, tamarind water, and fish sauce.

At this point, the curry will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days (it actually tastes better the day after you make it).

Before serving, gently reheat the curry. Just before serving, top with the fried shallots.

(* Reprinted with permission from Pok Pok by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc, Photography: Austin Bush © 2013)

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney from 'Smokin' in the Boys Room'

Most of what, if not eveything, you wanted to know about smoking, hogging and flavoring meat, shall be found in Smokin' in the Boys' Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue (Andrews McMeel. April 8, 2014) by Memphis Barbecue Co Melissa Cookston. 

Smoke and chutney is on the menu for this first excerpt.

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney

Serves 3 to 4

I spent many a summer day crawling through weeds and fighting off chiggers and snakes just to pick a bucket of luscious blackberries. Blackberries are the flavor of my youth, and I still try to sneak out in June, when the berries are at their plumpest and juiciest, and pick a few to make into cobblers and jellies. This chutney uses blackberries to bring a rich sweetness and beautiful contrast to the pork.

Blackberry Chutney

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 jalapeos, finely diced (seeds removed for a milder chutney)
1 pound fresh blackberries
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pork Loin

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless pork loin
3 tablespoons Grill Seasoning
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard


To make the chutney, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the jalapeño and blackberries and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll serve it hot here, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and reheated for serving.

Prepare a smoker to cook at 250°F with cherry wood. Rinse the pork loin and trim off the silverskin and excess fat. Sprinkle with the Grill Seasoning, slather with the mustard, and massage it into the loin.

Place the loin in the smoker and cook for 2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 150°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from the smoker, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, slice into 1-inch chops and top each with a tablespoon of hot chutney.

(* Recipe from Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston / Andrews McMeel Publishing, LCC 2014, Photography by Angie Mosier)