1-0

It’s always good to start off the season with a win and I think everyone who made it out to the opener would agree that we won big time.   I went with the sure winner… pork tenderloin.  The loins were on sale and you literally cannot mess them up.  In fact I totally forgot what temperature I was supposed to cook them to and left them on the grill for an extra inning and they still came out bomb:

Pork TenderloinBBQ Pork Tenderloin

  • One Pork Tenderloin (~2lbs)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Hawaiian Salt
  • Tbsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Tbsp Fennel Seed
  • 2 Cloves of Chopped Garlic
  • Some rosemary if you like
  • 1oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Rub tenderloin with garlic, salt, pepper & spices.  Place in a gallon zip-lock bag.  Add olive oil to the bag, seal and place in the fridge over night.  Grill on medium heat till the internal temperature is 160.  (I spaced out and cooked these things till about 180 and nobody said anything and all of it was gone by the end of the night).

Q MVP goes to Jean & Don for the fruit salad.  I don’t even like fruit salad but I like this fruit salad.

Jean's Fruit SaladI’ll try to post the recipe.  I know it involved sorbet which is one of the few sweet things I like.  To me, eating your typical fruit salad is like trying to drink a warm orange soda -  so unrefreshing and you never end up finishing it.  This one was light and tart and most importantly…  sans pineapple (More on that in a later post).

Big mahalo to everyone who made it out and thanks for all the great contributions… wine, sushi, caprese… Shannon and I had a great BobbyQ leftover picnic at Golden Gardens on Saturday.  caprese

I hope I can keep the winning streak going.  I’m thinking of beer can chicken this coming Thursday but I’ve already received some flak about Alzheimer’s.  Maybe I’ll try to invent some aluminum free beer can chicken although if people are seriously worried about aluminum & Alzheimer’s, try looking at your deodorant’s active ingredient.  Peace out bean sprout.

BobbyQ05282009 007

Pork Souvlaki and Greek Spaghetti

Shannon and I love the Olympia Pizza II on 45th and every time I go there I get the same thing, pork souvlaki and spaghetti with browned butter. The marinated skewers of pork have a light tangy flavor and how can you resist pasta tossed in nothing but butter, garlic and cheese. I did my best to reproduce the classic Mediterranean dish and I thought it worked out pretty good. I used pork butt* instead of the usual loin which is more tender and probably would have yielded better results. None the less I thought this would be a quick, easy and inexpensive dish to serve at the first BBQ of the season.

  • Pork* (13 lbs)
  • Minced Garlic (3/4 Cup)
  • Dried Oregano (3 Tblsp)
  • Olive Oil (1/2 Cup)
  • White Wine (About 3/4 Cup)
  • Lemon Juice (About 1 Cup)
  • Salt & Pepper

Cut up the pork into one inch cubes and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. Then place into ziplock bags. Pour in lemon juice and wine, split evenly among the bags. Squeeze out all the extra air and let the meat marinade for at least a couple of hours. If you want to marinate over night leave out the lemon juice till the day of, otherwise the acid could turn your pork into seviche.

Browned Butter Spaghetti with Myzithra

  • Spaghetti (1 pkg)
  • Butter (1/2 a stick)
  • Minced Garlic (as much as you want)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Grated Myzithra Cheese (about 1 to 1-1/2 Cups)

Boil the spaghetti slightly al dente and strain into a colander. In a pan on medium heat, melt the butter and garlic until it starts to brown. Then toss the spaghetti together in a large bowl with the browned butter and myzithra cheese. Two laps around Green Lake should work off half a serving.

The $2.77 Pork Chops

When you walk down the protein aisle at the Wallingford QFC there is a small section near the end with a bunch of those Styrofoam meat trays filled with an assortment of meaty goodies all marked “reduced”. What this means is that everything in the bin has to sell today or they have to toss it. Shannon and I rarely shop at the Wally QFC anymore but the fact that it’s so close to our house earns it an occasional stop from time to time. When I’m there I always have to check the reduced section because sometimes there is a real steal… like two pork chops for $2.77, which is 76 percent off from the $16 pork chops from Wooly Pigs.

Before I get into how these chops measure up to the $16 versions I have to tell you a little story. I used to shop at this QFC a ton. I used to know almost everyone who worked there: Dixie, Tammie, John, Alex on the night shift, Bald Paul in produce, and of course Kristy & Christine. I spent enough time there that Christine was not hesitant in hiring me to dig ditches in her back yard. Thanks Christine! One of my favorite times to shop there was after I closed down the bar, I’d usually roll in at 3am and do my shopping before I headed home. One particular early morning shopping spree I was standing in front of the “reduced” section when a sketchy looking guy came up to me and said, “You see all this stuff in here, it’s free… it’s all expired.” Sure enough most of the meat in the reduced section had just expired at midnight but was still sitting there waiting for the overworked night crew to get around to clearing it out. Regardless I was still curious how this bum was able to get the items for free. “I buy this stuff all the time and take it home and eat it, they never realize they are selling me expired meat.” the man went on, “Then I bring the wrapper back with the label and my receipt that shows they sold it to me past the expiration date and I demand a refund.” I knew supermarkets weren’t allowed to give away their expired goods, but this guy had figured out a loophole. I never actually had the stomach to attempt this scam since getting it for free doesn’t change the fact that the meat is EXPIRED. But to give this guy a break, he looked like he was very near the end of his rope and I suppose meat that was perfectly legal to sell 3 hours ago would be safer to eat than the $3.55 lunch special at China First which I have eaten on numerous occasions throughout my lifetime.

Now Back to the chops, I prepared them my usual way, this time paring them with some left over whole wheat penne that Shannon whipped up the night before. And how do they compare? I have to say I loved them, so much so that the visions I had of the wretched conditions that this poor piggy endured on mega farm X, the hormones, the pens barely enough to breath in, the brutal end of this miserable swine’s life at the hands of the pneumatic bolt gun all vanished as I savored every last bite. Sure the $16 chops from that happy Berkshire hog which frolicked in open pastures outside of Spokane tasted better but I would be hard pressed to say they tasted 420% better. It is just amazing to me how a large company can produce goods that cost less than 20 cents on the dollar next to some small local farmer. I hope you all think about this next time you buy something. Why is it it that cheap? The answer is it isn’t cheap at all, somewhere someone else is paying for it. And all the while there’s governments and a corporation to cover it up so we don’t have think about it. More about this later… until then I’ll just shut up and enjoy my pork chop.

The Sixteen Dollar Pork Chops

I’m at the University District Farmer’s Market buying pork from Wooly Pigs. I had $14 in my hand while the salesperson put a package of two frozen pork chops on the scale and told me “Sixteen Dollars”, about 1.3lbs worth. I pulled out the VISA card and bought them. I needed to know what the fuss is all about with Wooly Pigs. Shannon had told me that this local (Spokane) farm had gained national fame for purveying some really tasty pork. The Salesperson, who I believe was the owner of Wooly Pigs warned me that these were not the “Mangalitsa” breed, the breed of pig that gave Wooly Pigs their notoriety. Instead these pork chops were from a Berkshire hog which later research revealed was no slouch of a hog breed itself. Of course I already knew that they were Berkshire Chops because I ordered them from the sign that read (in large bold letters) “BERKSHIRE CHOPS $12/lb”, the guy had given me a pretty good description of what it is like to eat Mangalitsa and I decided that I wanted Berkshire. Wooly Pigs is the sole domestic farmer of Mangalitsa hogs in the United States and if you visit their website you will find a torturous amount of information about the Mangalitsa and pig farming in general, including some video of an actual hog slaughter (pretty darn humane one by relative standards). But anyway back to the pork chops. Now whenever they are mentioned they are called “The Sixteen Dollar Pork Chops”. How good were they? Well, my favorite breakfast is fried pork chops, potatoes, and two eggs over medium. I decided that that this is the only meal that will suit these babies.

Pork Chops and Eggs

2 Pork Chops about 1/2 lb each

2 Cloves Garlic

2 Medium Sized Red Potatoes (Preferably left over from last nights dinner)

2 Eggs

Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil.

Scallions for Garnish

Take the chops out of the fridge to bring them up to room temperature, Prep the Garlic and scallions and slice the potatoes into about quarter sized wedges. Salt and pepper both sides of the chops and rub with half the garlic. Heat a skillet to medium high and place about a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Throw in the potatoes. Heat another skillet to medium high drop another dab of olive oil in the new pan and place the chops in it. Cook the chops just a few minutes on each side, I actually forget how long but I’m gonna say like 4 minutes on each side (I could be wrong). Make sure you flip the chops just once. Before you flip the chops, toss in the rest of the garlic with the potatoes. At this time I usually whip out our egg pan and fry up two eggs over medium. If it’s a good day I can get the whole meal ready simultaneously.

How were they? They were good, If I were rich, I’d buy em, but I’m not rich so I suppose that $3/lb stuff at the grocery store will have to do for now. The real difference I noticed in these pork chops is the flavor of the fatty marbled parts, it is much more rich and distinct. I read the Mangalitsa breed has the tastiest and richest fat of any hog. This distinction in the flavor of the fat makes me think that bacon and other cured pork product is where these breeds shine. I think I’ll have to go back to Wooly Pigs and at least try the Mangalitsa pork once, it is even pricier than the Berkshire but I need to know.

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