Some recipes aren’t really written for the hasty cook nor for the cook that doesn’t keep a lot of basics on hand, so I usually end up abbreviating complicated recipes that require a lot of herbs or vegetables I don’t feel like running out to get. I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do with the pork belly because it sounded like the best way to cook it was braising, which can take a couple hours. I’m not a patient cook. I ended up using this Top Chef recipe because I figured you can’t really screw up pork belly, and I also had most of the ingredients for the braising liquid except rice vinegar. The recipe also calls for a large (for me, anyway) quantity of each ingredient, so I halved it and in some cases, even quartered the amounts. Rice vinegar was the only thing I went out specifically to buy, and the whole bottle only came out to about a cup of vinegar (versus the 4 cups the recipe calls for), yet I felt the overall result was a little too vinegary. Dunno why. It was still amazing.
The pork belly pretty much fell apart into this succulent, fatty mess:
And I served it on top of udon noodles with the Top Chef recipe herb salad (really just peeled celery tossed in vinaigrette, which might have been the actual source of the too-vinegary taste) sans herbs.
Per the recipe, I also heated up some haricots verts in the braising liquid. Haricots verts are becoming a favorite vegetable of mine. They’re super easy to steam or saute with olive oil and garlic, and Trader Joe’s now sells a refrigerated hollandaise sauce that is ready heated in 30 seconds. I ate a whole bag of green beans last night by dipping them in hollandaise.
While I was satisfied with the way the pork belly came out, I’ll probably try a more structured dish next time. The night before I made this, Tom and I ate at Gordon Ramsay at the London. Tom’s entree was scallops and pork belly, and the portion of pork belly was amazing. Just a small middle layer of fat with a crispy top, more pork flavor than the flavor of whatever the marinade or sauce was. Roasting? Sous vide? Ehh.
Happy Mother’s Day. I celebrated by attempting to make curry the way my mom made it throughout my childhood. Yup, that means some Golden Curry mix (when I was young, I thought it looked like chocolate and wondered if I could just eat the curry bricks).
Success. I used about 3/4 lb. diced chicken, three potatoes, half an onion, and six small to medium-sized carrots. Then only half the box of curry mix and a little over 3 cups of water. The result was a curry of the perfect consistency, not too watery and not too thick. I served on top of white rice, but now I have leftover curry and no leftover rice, so I’ll probably serve the rest on udon noodles. For the longest time, I didn’t realize that what I thought was Chinese curry is really Japanese katsu curry. The cheap sushi place I like to eat at serves little bowls of curry udon and it’s soooo good, but really, I can make it at home just as easily now!