Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Crispy Pork Belly

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Pork Belly seems to be one of the most sought-after cuts of meat. The Iron Chef show is who really brought this cut to the forefront. In restaurants today, it’s become one of the hottest items to order. I mean, once you’ve ordered the Pork Belly, you’ll most likely always order it no matter the style it’s being served. It’s that delicious!  I sometimes think we may be a little slow when it comes to trying new things. Many Asian cuisines, have for many years, implemented Pork Belly into a variety of their dishes.

I have a great and easy way to prepare Crispy Pork Belly at home so it will come out tender, golden, with a crispy top. This recipe doesn’t require scoring the skin in any way. This will allow you to slice it later and it will retain its integrity. I think it’s worth mentioning, that Shaoxing rice wine is available in most Asian markets today.

If you love Asain cuisine and want to make delicious Asian dishes at home, Shaoxing rice wine should be a pantry staple.

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Kosher Salt

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 to 12 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes
Yields: 10 large pieces
Equipment: Roasting pan with rack

Ingredients:
1 (2-pound) pork belly
1 cup of Kosher salt, coarse grind

Marinade:
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of orange juice
2 cloves of minced garlic

Directions:
Using a paper towel, pat the skin of the Pork Belly completely dry. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour them into a rectangle style baking dish that’s just big enough to hold the pork belly.

Carefully place the Pork Belly into the baking dish making sure only the meat touches the marinade. The skin on the top must remain completely dry. If the marinade level is too high, then discard any extra by pouring some of it off. Place the baking dish with the pork belly and marinade into the frig for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Completely line a roasting pan with foil. Pour an inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Place a wire rack on top to hold the Pork Belly.

Remove the baking dish with the marinated pork belly from the frig. While the pork belly is still in the baking dish, spread 1 cup of Kosher salt evenly over the fat cap of the pork belly as seen in the pictures above.  Next, transfer the Pork Belly onto the wire rack. The Pork Belly will cook above the water and the drippings will fall into the water.

Note: If one part of the Pork Belly is slightly lower or shorter on one side, use an oven-safe item to prop up that side so the pork will cook evenly. Bake for around 40 minutes.

Adjust oven temperature to 470-degrees F.

Remove the Pork Belly from the oven. The salt should have formed a crust that can easily be removed. Refer to the side by side picture of the Pork Belly with the removed salted fat cap.

Place the Pork Belly back into the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. The skin should be bubbly and crisp.  Using an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165-degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Crispy Pork Belly is a great appetizer and one I know you’ll make over and over.

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The Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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There’s a technique believe it or not to making Perfect Scrambled Eggs.

Years ago, Melissa and I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and ate breakfast at their famous, Boma-Flavors of Africa, Breakfast Buffet. They are known for their scrambled eggs so, of course, I tried them. They were the most amazing scrambled eggs I’d ever had. The eggs were fluffy, but cooked through, and filled with goat cheese and chives. That’s when I made the decision to practice making scrambled eggs at home.

Beating the eggs for a longer amount of time and then cooking them low and slow is key to making the perfect scrambled eggs. The longer they’re over the heat will determine how you want your eggs to be cooked. Soft and fluffy will take less time than compared to dryer more well done scrambled eggs.

To see more of my video recipes, search Always Home Cooked on YouTube.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes (whisking the eggs is included in this time)
Cook Time: approx 10 minutes.
Total Time: approx 15 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sautèpan, large mixing bowl, whisk

Ingredients:
1 dozen large eggs (cage-free)
1/4 cup of half-and-half (substitute heavy cream or whole milk is fine)
1/4 cup of whipped cream cheese, room temperature (substitute 4 ounces of goat cheese, 4 ounces of feta cheese, 4 ounces of Queso fresco,  or 1/2 cup your choice of freshly grated cheese)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper together. Whisk for at least 5 minutes, allowing as much air as possible to be incorporated into the eggs. You want to see foam bubbles forming at the top of the egg mixture.

Preheat a 12-inch sautépan on medium heat. Once the egg mixture is ready to go, turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue whisking the eggs allowing the temperature of the burner to adjust. Add the egg mixture to the pan. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan, using a rubber spatula, forming large soft curds, continue cooking-pulling, lifting and folding the eggs, until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains.

Do Not rush this process, times may vary slightly, approx.10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat before folding in the cream cheese (goat cheese or feta) and fresh chives. Season with a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the eggs to a serving bowl. Best served hot!

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Candied Grape Tomatoes

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My Candied Grape Tomatoes are so delicious. They’re great in salads, a garnish for soups, over chicken or steak. even a nice piece of halibut. These little jewels are a staple in my frig and so easy to make.

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8-ounce Jelly Jar

Olive Oil

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Candied Tomatoes

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Yields: 16 ounces
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 2 (8-ounce) jelly jars, large mixing bowl
Shelf life: 7 days

Ingredients:
2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-fine sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.

Start by halving grape tomatoes. In a large mixing bowl add the halved tomatoes, olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Spread the grape tomatoes out into one even layer on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Slow-roast the tomatoes for 2 1/2 hours. Once out of the oven and still hot, sprinkle extra-fine sugar over the top, gently toss to coat. Allow the Candied Grape Tomatoes to cool completely before placing them into tightly sealed jelly jars and right into the refrigerator. These sweet little gems will be ready whenever you need them.

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