I cooked lunch the other day for JoAnn, her grandson, and Christian.
Red Onion and Cucumber Salad – an old favorite of my mother’s. Thinly slice red onions and cucumbers, break up the onions and brine them with the cucumbers in the refrigerator for thirty minutes, drain off the brine and cover the vegetables with white vinegar, steep for thirty minutes in the refrigerator and drain. Serve cold.
Sous Vide Pork Belly – Ideally you’ll find a belly that’s not half fat although i love it either way. Cook it sous vide for seventy-two (72!) hours at 140 F with the Anova sous vide immersion circulator you bought yourself for your birthday. Take it out of the bag and let it rest for a few minutes before very carefully cutting it into thick slices with a very sharp slicing knife and serving it warm. Before i sealed it in the sous vide bag, i rubbed it with a mixture of salt and ground Sichuan peppercorn (椒, hua jiao, Zanthoxylum bungeanum), cumin, oregano, and a tiny amount of chile powder. I was going to dry it off and pop it into a 500 F oven for a short time to get a dark crust but quailed for fear i’d overcook it. As it was, it turned out fork tender and delicious, but next time i might try searing it in a film of oil in a very hot skillet for a short time. Oh, and that belly wasn’t from some tasteless fat lazy factory pig but rather from a lean country cousin they executed because he didn’t meet his work quota. More flavor but not tender until he’d spent 72 hours sous vide.
Cold Potato Salad – This is my own recipe that has been popular. I used whole baby Yukon Gold potatoes, lots of chopped red onion, and reasonable amounts of capers and chopped sweet pickles. And of course the traditional mayonnaise and mustard dressing. The secret to my potato salad, though, is using several times as much sliced hard-boiled egg as in the usual recipe.
Blanched Romano Beans – We’re having good fresh Romanos in the markets now, and i like to cook this seasonal delicacy when it’s available. With a different menu, i’d serve ’em à l’Anglaise, but considering the level of fat in everything else, i omitted the butter and just squeezed a lemon over ’em.
Sliced Sourdough Baguette – This is the Bay Area, and we have superb bakeries for this regional delicacy.
Willie’s Crisp – For this one i used a mixture of the last of this year’s yellow nectarine crop and the dwindling blackberries that grow along the riverbank behind my apartment, a great combination.
Meanwhile, since i failed to take a pic of any of that food, here’s a shot of the Rangpur lime bush JoAnn has growing in a pot. Small bush, small crop, but OMG are they ever delicious in a gin and tonic.