Category Archives: Recipes

Paseo-like Cuban pork sandwich

And now for something completely different… Paseo-like Cuban pork sandwiches, using a recipe from the Seattle Times food blog, originally based on Paseo reverse-engineering done by Lorna Yee, presented in her cookbook The Newlywed Kitchen.

This took me about 1 1/2 hours of attentive cooking, but elapsed time was about 20 hours as most of the marination happened the night before.  It makes enough to feed six.

For the pork, mix in a gallon-sized, sealable ZipLoc baggie and let marinate overnight:

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or loin roast
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 C orange juice
  • 1/2 C lime juice
  • 2 T brown sugar (they recommend dark brown, which I didn’t have, so I added 1t of molasses)
  • 2 t dried oregano (they use 2T fresh. I couldn’t find any at the store)
  • 1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 2 bay leaves

For the garlic mayonnaise, also prepared in advance:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • 3 T sweet relish
  • Juice from one lemon. I also added the zest because zest is awesome.

For the sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch rings
  • 48 inches of baguettes, sliced into 6″ lengths. You can use banh mi-style bread, really crumbly and light.
  • Bunch of cilantro, leaves only


  1. Plop the pork into a roast pan and pour the rest of the marinade mixture around it.  (Obvious note: do not cook the bag.) Tent the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and cook at 300F for two hours.  Turn the meat over, remove tent, and cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Pull out the garlic mayonnaise so it can reach room temperature.

    Garlic mayonnaise.  I amended the recipe to include the zest because zest is awesome
    Garlic mayonnaise. I amended the recipe to include the zest because zest is awesome
  3. Cook the onion slices in a sauce pan until they’re browned

    Onions.  You can slice them thicker.
    Onions. You can slice them thicker.
  4. Remove meat from the heat and let it set about 20 minutes until it’s cool enough to manage.  I used a fork to shred the meat into chunks, then dumped the chunks back into the cooked marinade.

    I cut the loin into smaller chunks, then used a fork to pull them apart, but I did this in the cooked marinade where it could absorb more.  End result is shown.
    I cut the loin into smaller chunks, then used a fork to pull them apart, but I did this in the cooked marinade where it could absorb more. End result is shown.
  5. Sandwich assembly is simple:
    a) Spread some mayo on each slice

    Slices of bread, mayo spread, rhyme said, right Fred?
    Slices of bread, mayo spread.

    b) On one side, add cilantro leaves.  The other, onion.  I didn’t use the jalapeno Yee’s recipe called for because I didn’t want it to be too spicy for my kids.

    Cilantro leaves and onions, oh my!
    Cilantro leaves and onions, oh my!

    c) Add pork

    Add a layer of pork mixture.
    Add a layer of pork mixture.  Angelic singing to commence in three… two… one..

    d) Enjoy!

    Nom nom
    Nom nom

Initially, there’s a mild jolt as your taste buds try to figure out what kind of citrus is involved (orange, lime and lemon!), then you just enjoy the sandwich.

Very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Dumpling Cube

I love making gyoza, but because I am not adept enough at it to hand-make them at the rate my family consumes them, I wanted to try the Dumpling Cube my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  The result was my best batch of gyoza using the Classic Pork Gyoza from Japanese Soul Cooking as a starting point.  Of course, I would make a few changes:


  • 3 C finely chopped green cabbage (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 C seitan (optional, it was leftover from last week)
  • small bunch of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces woodear mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 carrots, peel the skins
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 C toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 T corn starch, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 square wonton wrapper, 3-4 inches in diameter
  • 1 T corn starch mixed with 3 T cold water
  • 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in a quart of water


  1. Chop stuff.  Given how much work is downstream, I relied heavily on the food processor.
    Chopper: Cabbage, chives, garlic, seitan
    Shredder: woodear mushrooms, carrots
    Hand-grated: ginger
  2. Mix with soy, 2T of the sesame oil, pepper, salt, sugar and ground pork.  Work it until evenly mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the corn starch into water. This is going to be used to help fuse the wrappers.
  4. Heat a sauce pan with 2T sesame oil to medium-high.
  5. Load the Dumpling Cube with four wrappers:

    In this photo, I used round ones.  just use the square ones.
    In this photo, I started with round wrappers.  Don’t.  Just use the square ones.
  6. Dollop a half ounce of filling into each wrapper.

    Dollop about a half ounce-ish of filling into each.
    Dollop about a half ounce-ish of filling into each.
  7. Paint with the corn starch solution.

    Coat with corn starch
    Coat with corn starch
  8. Clamp down.

    Fold up the sides of the dumpling cube.  Easy-peasy!
    Fold up the sides of the dumpling cube. Easy-peasy!
  9. Repeat.

    Repeat a few times until you have a plate-worth ready to go.
    Repeat a few times until you have a plate-worth ready to go.
  10. To cook: in a large saucepan, add 2T of sesame oil. Add ~20 gyoza and cook about a minute on each side to brown. Pour in about 3/4 C of the boullion mixture and cover. Cook until the steam dies down.

    It's going to splatter.
    It’s going to splatter.
  11. Serve promptly.
  12. I didn’t have the usual dipping sauces (rice vinegar, soy, fresh ginger, sesame oil) because these were plenty flavorful.


For dessert, I made black rice pudding.

Black Rice Pudding.  This goes for $6/small cup at the local Thai place.  Much cheaper to make myself.
Black Rice Pudding. This goes for $6/small cup at the local Thai place. Much cheaper to make myself.


  • 1/2C Hei Mey (I got mine here)
  • Coconut milk (or coconut oil + milk)
  • 2T sugar

Simply cook the black rice in the Zojurishi rice cooker.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.

More Cheese Making

It’s been a couple of years since I took the Cheese-Making class at PCC, but while thumbing through their course list again, I had the urge to try it again.  The last couple of weeks have been experimenting with:

Yogurt – I picked up a used “yogurt maker,” which is a just a fancy hotplate with a timer that keeps the yogurt ingredients at  45°C for up to 15 hours.  It looks a lot like this:

Yogurt Maker (not actual size)
Yogurt Maker (not actual size)

Making yogurt is easy-peasy:

  1. Heat 1.25L of milk to 85°C.
  2. Cool to 45°C.
  3. Stir in 150 ml yogurt as seed culture.
  4. Pour into each of the seven glass jars and let it yogurify overnight. (Key point: leave it alone.)
  5. Eat.

The yogurt comes out slightly thinner than most grocery store brands, but tastes good.  I did look at milk powder to thicken it, but it imparted the odd milk powder taste.  I suppose if it really bothered me, I could sieve it through a cheesecloth.

Ricotta – As before, this was super-easy and super-tasty, but also super-expensive when using the super-awesome Pure Éire milk.  Since I was on a roll, I used it in the Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes recipe that was in the September 2013 Cook’s Illustrated:

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes (source: Cook’s Illustrated, 2013-09)

2/3 C (85g) all-purpose flour 1/2 t (2.5g) baking soda 1/2 t (2.5g) salt 1 C (250ml) whole-milk ricotta 2 large eggs, separated 2 egg whites 1/3 C (80ml) milk zest from two small lemons juice from two small lemons 1/2 t (2.5ml) vanilla extract 2T (30ml) melted butter 1/4 C (50g) granulated sugar
  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Make ricotta from scratch (see above)
  3. Mix ricotta, the 2 egg yolks, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, melted butter.
  4. Stir into flour mixture.
  5. Whip the 4 egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.  (But not this stiff.)
  6. Stir in half of the egg white mixture.
  7. Fold in the remaining.
  8. Cook the pancakes on medium-low heat.
The yogurt is good.
I’m Jim and I approve of this pancake recipe.



Feta is in progress.  There were numerous idle moments, during which I binge-watched my accumulated episodes of Agents of Shield and Person of Interest.  The basic ingredients were:

2L goat milk

1 package mesophilic yeast

2ml liquid vegetable rennet

cheese salt

The recipe in the “Cheesemaking 101” book was pretty terse, omitting several specifics of the well-documented site here, so I’m curious to see how things turn out.

Given a choice, I would have liked to try this with sheep’s milk, but I couldn’t find any within the normal shopping radius.  The second choice, goat’s milk, was about 5-times the price of cow’s milk.  The guide book said one can also use cow’s milk, but I’d need to add some lipase for flavor and calcium chloride for texture.  Since I’m making a small batch, I went with the goldilocks compromise: goat milk.

As I started writing this, the curds just came out of the pot:

Pre-feta.  Needs to drain, ripen and be salted.
Pre-feta. Needs to drain, ripen and be salted.

After three hours of draining, The result was a nice, soft cheese blob.  Had I started this project earlier, I would have let them sit out for a few more hours to firm it up, but I need to go to soon.

After draining for a few hours, we have a ball of cheese.  Whee!
After draining for a few hours, we have a ball of cheese. Whee!

I cut the ball into 2cm cubes, lightly salted the result, and put them in the fridge for ripening the rest of the week.  I did give some serious consideration to brining (8% solution), but there was a suggestion that it might cause the cheese to fall apart.

Salted feta cubes, ready to ripen for a week.
Salted feta cubes, ready to ripen for a week.


One aspect that I hadn’t really thought about was how I was going to maintain a balmy 30°C.  The stove top temperature seemed to take freaking forever to get close to it.  Once there, it suddenly shot up and I had to remove it entirely.  It’s really too bad the yogurt machine doesn’t have a lower setting.

Peeking forward a bit in the cheese-making book, I noticed cheddar needs to be eaxed and then ripen at around 15°C for a few months.  As best as I can tell, the crawlspace would be the best location, but it’s unclear if that would lead to problems.


Pita bread for falafel and hummus

After typing up my random food dribblings on food trucks, and specifically Hallava Falafel, I remembered I previously posted a recipe on falafel and hummus nearly ten years ago.  I volunteered to cook this very same thing today, but as I was making the grocery list, I noticed that my recipe depended on store-bought pita bread.  WTH?

I must rectify that omission.  The recipe I used is from Emma Christensen’s The Kitchn.  She does a fantastic job laying out the steps.  It works as follows:

  • 1 C warm water
  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 3 C white flour
  • 2 t Kosher salt
  • Spray oil like Pam or Baker’s Joy 
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and give it 3-5 minutes to get foamy.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and liquid together until it forms a dough ball. Depending on a lot of factors, you may need to add flour or water.  The dough should be slightly tacky but not stiff.  I swirled it around my KitchenAid for about a minute.
  3. Spray the ball with a little Joy/Pam, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 1/2 hours at room temperature (20C).  While this was happening, I corralled all of the ingredients for falafel and hummus.

    Tahini sauce (l) and Falafel magic (r).  I am so happy we remodeled the kitchen.
  4. Gently pat down and divide the dough into eight blobs and gently mold them into a thick disc.  You can let them sit a little while until you’re ready.  Under no circumstances would I recommend stacking them on top of each other and watching “just a few minutes” of the 49ers/Green Bay game.  (They (pre-pitas) kind of stuck together… despite flour between.)
  5. When you’re ready to cook them, roll them out into flat disc.  I went with a smaller shape (6-7″) because I wanted them to be a little thicker.  For flatbreads, this would be great, but it limits how much goodness you can stuff inside.

    These look a lot like tortillas, except we’re not rolling them as thin.
  6. You can either bake them or use the skillet method.  I opted for the latter as it’s very much like making flour tortillas and I’m all about the crunch spots.   These cooked for about 30 seconds on the each side.  You know it’s ready to flip when there are a lot of bubbles.  I put the cooked ones on a rack and covered them with a clean dish towel until dinner was to be served.
The Final Product.

DIY Mocha

I’ve been pretty happy with the AeroPress (thanks for the suggestion, Scott!) for in-home mocha making.  For the first several dozen cups, I dutifully followed the instructions. It worked pretty well. But as one who gets bored with routine, I experimented and spoke with other AeroPress owners who have deviated from the norm. The subject came up a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d elaborate with my own procedure.

First, get some coffee beans.  If you have access to raw beans, I’d encourage you to try roasting them (here are some instructions).  It’s fun, and you get to totally trash an old pot.

Pre-roasted beans are also fine.  While geocaching on Vashon Island a few weeks ago, We stopped into the local coffeeshop for lunch and coffee.  Both were excellent. On the way out, I had to pick up a pound for home experimentation.  I have a mini-grinder, but the woman behind the counter offered to grind them for me with their industrial-strength grinder.  (I know a purist would grind just before use.  I don’t always have the time.)

Vixen blend coffee
Taking a cue from beer brewers, Vashon Roasterie chooses an evocative name for their coffee: Santa's fourth reindeer.

Next, start some water boiling. There are enough tea drinkers in the household that we have an electric kettle. (Truth be told: when I heard about the concept, I thought it was … not the best idea. But now I love it.) There is no reason you can’t stay analog.

Electric water kettle

Assemble the Aeropress. Except… we’ll work top down. Put the plunger in a bit and turn it upside down.


Add two scoops coffee. The Aeropress comes with a plastic funnel, but I don’t want to have to clean any more than necessary. Besides, I can eyeball it well-enough. Usually.

Add coffee

The water should soon be 175°F;, but please feel free to experiment. I have found that warmer produces a bitterer coffee. (Let’s also note that you don’t want to pour cold milk in first – for reasons that I don’t want to go into.  (*cough* failed experiment *cough*)


In the immortal words of the Eccentric Alaskan Barista, “Pour, baby, pour!”

Pour, baby, pour

Now stir, baby, stir.

Stir hot water

This would be a good time to heat up some milk. I fill up a standard ceramic coffee cup and microwave it for 1 1/2 minutes.

Now, prepare thy travel mug. I used to use chocolate syrup, but discovered it’s just as easy to stir in sugar and cocoa. While Brownian motion is occurring, add the sugar to the travel mug:

Add Sugar

And now the cocoa:

Add cocoa

Put the paper filter disc in the plastic porous thingie and run under the sink to get it wet. Slide the filter around if necessary so it’ll come out even. Then screw on the filter thing.
Add the filter thingie

Be careful doing this because pressing too hard will spill precious coffee.

Position the Aerobie over the receptacle and gradually press! (Note to self: it’s really hard to do this and hold a camera without spilling a drink.)


Dispose of the grinds. (Note to self: see previous note to self.)) If I didn’t hate gardening so much, I would collect these for my garden.

Dispose of the grinds.

Clean up.

Clean up.

Pour in the cup of warm milk, stir, and enjoy on the way to work.

Stir and enjoy.


2 scoops finely-ground coffee
1 t of Pernigotti cocoa
2 t of sugar
1 C warm milk to top off the cup
Whipped cream (optional, best for in-home consumption)

Cherry Dutch Baby

Ah, cherry season!

You Know You Want It
You Know You Want Some

Cherry Dutch Baby

3/4 C flour
2 T granulated sugar
3/4 C milk
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
half stick butter
2 C pitted, Bing cherries
powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. (If using a convection oven, try 390°F)
  2. Combine flour, sugar, milk, eggs and salt in a blender until smooth.
  3. In a 12″ cast iron frying pan, melt the butter. Add the pitted cherries and cook 2-3 minutes until warm.
  4. Pour in the batter
  5. Bake 18-20 minutes, until puffed and golden.
  6. Serve, dusted with powdered sugar.

You’re welcome!