Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chinese BBQ Pork & Homemade Pork Fried Rice

I love reading other people's food and baking blogs, especially when they have yummy recipes and lots of gorgeous pictures. I found this recipe, for Chinese BBQ Pork (Cha Siu) & Pork Fried Rice, while poking around on a cool family blog, The Woks of Life.

Here in Boston we have had one snowstorm after another - literally a snowstorm every weekend for the past seven weeks - it's been a truly awful winter (although the Pats did win the maybe that's a fair tradeoff!). So, what better activity on a blizzarding Valentine's Day weekend than to make Chinese BBQ pork from scratch and then homemade pork fried rice?! It was absolutely delicious! You can find the recipes here: Chinese BBQ pork and here: pork fried rice.

Here are my photos of the finished rice and then my step-by-step...

my finished rice

time for dinner!

First came the BBQ pork. I was excited to make BBQ sauce from scratch and it was dead easy. I'll definitely make this again!

ingredients for the BBQ sauce for the pork

I reserved some sauce for basting the cooking meat. The rest of the sauce got poured over the pork (in a ziplock bag) and then it's set in the fridge overnight to marinade.

the final sauce was thick and it smelled great

meat in a bag

in goes the sauce

smoosh it around and it's done for the night

After a night in the fridge, the pork is set on a rack over the pan (to allow air to flow around the meat). Cook the pork until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees, about 40-50 minutes at 450 (flip the meat over about half way through). My meat is much darker and more caramelized then the original time I will experiment with cooking at a slightly lower temperature to see if that makes a difference.

ready for roasting

done...OMG, delicious!

While the pork is roasting, you can cook the Jasmine rice. I actually made mine the day before since my rice cooker keeps it fresh for a few days.

we got pork, we got rice...pork fried rice, here we come!

The pork is done to perfection! Moist and delicious. It was really fun to cook a large piece of meat and even after making a huge batch of rice, we had lots of leftover pork. It lasted all week!

After a short rest, cut about the pork you'll use for the fired rice into bite-sized pieces. 

a few test slices for the cook

so delicious!

The pork is done so now it's time to make the rice!

First, mix up the sauce, then chop the onions and scallions and prep the rest of the ingredients. The only change I made to the sauce was to use sake instead of Chinese wine (because that's all I had) and skipped the "dark soy sauce" since I couldn't find any at the grocery store. I also added some green peas to the fried rice.

ingredients for the sauce for the fried rice

the finished sauce

chopping the onions and scallions

All of my ingredients are ready...just need to scramble up the eggs.

ingredients for the fried rice

scramble, scramble, scramble...ready

Now it's time to combine everything and make the fried rice. First, the onions are sauteed, then the BBQ pork is added.

adding the pork to the onions

stir and cook for a few minutes so the flavors come together

Next, the rice is added and then the sauce. I think I used much more rice than the recipe called for, so I should have upped the amount of sauce a bit. Will definitely do that next time!

stirring in the rice

and then the sauce

Then the rest of the ingredients are added...peas, then sprouts, then egg and scallions. Give it a good stir to thoroughly mix everything...and then that's it...done!

next I added the peas and sprouts

and finally, the cooked eggs and scallions

And...done! It was so delicious, can't wait to make it again soon.

the finished fried rice

so yummy!

Bye for now...

Rose's Alpha Bakers: Lemon Posset Shortcakes

Another blizzard this week in Boston, and another bake with the Rose's Alpha Bakers. Up this week is Lemon Posset Shortcakes. Similar to how I felt about last week's recipe, the Chocolate Pavarotti cake with Wicked Good Ganache, I had mixed feeling about this recipe. On the plus side, it gave me the chance to try making my own candied lemon peel for the garnish - and that was fun - but I probably won't make the lemon posset shortcakes again.

my finished shortcake

time for a bite

The posset cream was pretty interesting - the texture was sort of like a science experiment (as is a lot of baking!). When you scooped up the posset it became liquidy but after a few minutes of sitting on the shortcake, it became thick and creamy, with a texture almost like yogurt. It was kind of fascinating! It actually reminded me of oobleck...did you ever make that when you were little? 

my chilled lemon posset

I was less impressed with the cake which felt like an awful lot of work for the end result. I usually love a recipe with so many steps and different parts, but this one just didn't add up in the end, in my opinion.

To start, I didn't have the correct kind of flour (wondra flour), so I followed the recipe's note to combine my cake flour with cornstarch. However, the note said to combine equal amounts of both, which seemed utterly disgusting to me to bake a cake with so much cornstarch(!) so I only used a little cornstarch.

I also thought that, with even just a portion of the called-for cornstarch, the taste seemed off (which I attributed to using the cornstarch in the first place) and the cakes were dry. So, perhaps not using wondra flour (or half cornstarch/half cake flour) really altered my end cake or maybe I over-baked them? They were a bit more moist after adding the lemon syrup...but the syrup made them much more delicate so then I had problems trying to spread my makeshift glaze (which was the next problem).

I didn't have any apple jelly for the glaze so used some of my leftover apricot lekvar instead (which I made a few weeks back for some amazing coming soon). This was a big mistake. Even though I thinned out the apricot lekvar, it was too thick and the flavor was much too strong for these cakes. So, overall, this week was a big miss for me.

Here are my photos...

ingredients for the shortcakes

more problems...this time with making brown butter...
my milk solids never browned

my sifted flour and cornstarch

beating more and more air into the eggs and sugar mixture

nearly there

Before adding the butter to the airy egg and sugar mixture, you need to "lighten" it by mixing some of the egg and sugar mixture into the butter. Otherwise it will deflate all the work you've just done.

"lightening" the butter

Then the flour mixture is carefully folded in, then the cakes are baked.

folding in...very gently

folding, folding...


ready to bake...

...and done!

the finished shortcakes

The recipe made so much batter that I was able to fill a pan of mini rose cakes as well.

mini rose-shaped cakes

the detail on the rose cakes looks so much better in the photos!
It was kind of hard to see in person.

a look at the crumb, before the lemon syrup is added

my (still) too thick apricot lekvar

some posset on the plate and then a rose cake

a shortcake with lemon posset

Bye for now...

Homemade Candied Lemon Peel

I've been wanting to make candied citrus peel for a while now and I thought making them to decorate my Lemon Posset Shortcakes would be the perfect time.

There are tons of recipes available, but I used this recipe from Use Real Butter because they left the pith on (but I used lemons instead of oranges). The process is very easy...use organic fruit since you're eating the peel, then just wash the peel, separate the peel from the flesh of the fruit, slice the peels into whatever size you like, boil the peels a few times to soften them and get rid of some the bitterness, then boil the peels in a sugar syrup until translucent and let them dry. That is basically it! You can leave them as they are or finish them by rolling them in granulated sugar and/or dipping one end in chocolate.

I think I'll make them for Christmas gifts next year (or maybe candied fruit slices instead) since they are so easy and yummy.

juicing the lemons

now I'll just need to clean these rinds

I poured the extra lemon juice into baggies and froze it for future use

the peels are placed in a pot of cold water and boiled

 this process is repeated three times

making the sugar syrup

all done! My cooking chopsticks worked well for lifting them
out of the sugar water.

letting the finished peels dry

sweet and chewy candied peels

Bye for now...