Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kissing Summer Goodbye

Summer is my favorite season and I am sad that it has come and gone so quick I barely had a chance to enjoy it.    Today I sit at my desk and recall, 'What did I do this summer?'

- For the first time I grew my own tomatoes & herbs!  We do not have a backyard, but thanks to upside down patios which made it possible to grow a few on our small balcony.  Really, you can taste the difference of a freshly picked vine ripened tomato from one that has been sitting on the store shelf.

- I took my daughter to the beach for the first time, and it was magical!  I could never forget her amazement at the sight of the waves.  She couldn't wait to get on the water.  The cool breeze and the sound of the splashing waves alone made her giggle.

- We did a few trips to the Los Angeles Zoo.  My daughter is becoming more and more fascinated with animals and taking her to the zoo made her aware of many different kinds.  She was specially delighted seeing a live hippopotamus as she enjoys her book "But Not the Hippopotamus".

- We took strolls at the neighborhood park.  I packed snacks to bring to the park while Sophia played.  She loves the swing and over the course of the summer she has grown accustomed to getting on the slides.

- We had a lot of grilled meats for dinner this summer (steaks, lamb kebabs, pork belly, korean barbecues, etc).  Thanks to having a balcony at our new apartment!  For a long time our grill was parked at the garage and we had to improvise and cook our steaks on a cast iron.  Cast iron pans are great but nothing beats grilled steak.

I guess it was an enjoyable summer after all.  Summer, I will miss you....

Grilled Pork Belly 
(Inihaw na Liempo)


1 1/2 pound bone in pork belly (cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips)
1/4 cup scallions, cut very thinly
1 tablepoon juice of a lime

for Marinade:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2-3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoon steak seasoning (I like 21 salute seasoning from Trader Joes)
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
(note: 21 salute is a blend of the following - onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato granules, lemon juice powder, oil of lemon)
  1. Combine marinade in a large sealable plastic bag.  Add pork and coat meat evenly.  Let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature (or up to 1 day in refrigerator).  Heat grill to high, then add meat and grill over medium heat, about 16-20 minutes total. Watch grill closely as fat drippings from the meat can create flare ups.  If this happens, lower heat a little bit then when fire is gone, increase heat again.  Flip the meat as needed, constantly to get even browning on each side.  
  2. When meat is cooked through, transfer to platter and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Cut off pork skin and discard, then cut each strip into bite size pieces.
  4. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with scallions.  
  5. Serve with wasabi mashed potatoes, and sauted spinach.
on the side:
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes:
Boil 4 russet potatoes (peeled and cut ) in a pot of water.  Add salt and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash to desired consistency along with 1/4 cup cream and 2 tablespoons wasabi paste.  Add salt to taste.   

Sauteed Spinach:
Heat 2 tablespoons Olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add 6 cups spinach and 1/4 chicken bouillon cube.  Stir furiously for about 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted.

$ 11.00 ---  1 1/2 lb pork belly
$   3.00 ---  russet potatoes
$   2.00 --   spinach
Total : $16.00

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