Food Porn


Welcome to our Food Porn page!

Zena:   As careless as I am with my writing, I am meticulous about my food.  I love to try new things, and I seem to be on a permanent food jag. I am a rabid carnivore. I eat healthy, but I do love my good fats.
I am a terrible baker.
I love to open my pantry and my freezer and make Garanimals out of what I find in there.  
Now for the disclaimers.

All of these recipes are my own, but when necessary I give credit to the original Chef.  I assure you that all have been cooked, ruined, made better and consumed by perfectly innocent humans many times before I publish them, none of whom were harmed or injured in the making of this Blog.
I hope you enjoy trying them, and maybe giving me some feedback if you want to. I would love to hear about how I made your efforts in the Kitchen easier and tastier. Complaints can go to Jules.
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PORK CHOPS WITH BOURBON MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE


Serves: 4
Time: 30, maybe 40 minutes

I think I'm a closet pyro. I spent weeks (and annihilated a pair of kitchen cabinets) perfecting Bananas Foster. I love to flambe. There's something so exhilarating about a self-induced fire. Some of our most hilarious family memories are, oddly enough, around me, the kitchen, and fire. Here's one:

Thanksgiving dinner, new house, 20+ people, no deck; the only escape is out the front door. I put the hated Green Bean Casserole under the broiler for what I swear was only a minute. Someone asks, "Do you smell smoke?" I open the oven door, slam it shut and shout,  "FIRE!"

It was pretty funny watching 15 people trying to cram themselves out the front door.  And even funnier noting the half dozen people who calmly sat around, poured themselves another drink and sort of stared into the kitchen commenting about how they always hated the g*d casserole anyways.

So, a little bit of fun on a boring Tuesday night. A little pork fat, a little alcohol and viola; a little flambe.

4 center cut pork chops
salt and pepper
vegetable oil and butter
1/4 C. bourbon
1/2 C. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard, make it a generous one
3 Tbsp. of heavy cream or half-and-half

Get your skillet really hot, add the oil, in this case a turn plus a small bit, you want them to really sear and get brown fast. Pat the chops dry, season one side with salt and pepper. Add the chops, seasoned side down, to the pan and cook about 4 minutes. Add a half tablespoon of butter, tilt the pan around, season with salt and pepper and flip the chops. Let them cook another 4 minutes. Remove to a plate, tent with foil.

Pour all the fat out of the pan. This is very important. It's fun to flambe, it's no fun to BE the flambe! Take the pan off the heat and carefully pour the bourbon in. Return to the flame, tilt the pan ever so slightly (making sure your long hair and children are a safe distance away), and ignite the bourbon.

Cook until reduced by half, maybe 3 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the skillet, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the mustard and cream. Whisk around a bit to combine, and let that simmer for 2 minutes. Taste it, it probably needs pepper.  Serve the sauce over the chops, and enjoy!
Best served over egg noodles, but rice will do just as well.
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THE DEVILS PORK STIR FRY



A bad day can either bring out the Angel Cook, or the Devil Cook.  The Angel makes comfort food.  The Devil tries dishes never before attempted.  Tonight was a Devil night.  And, She makes it spicy.

For all the years I studied the Chinese language, I never learned how to prepare Chinese food.  My brother was the entrepreneur cook in the kitchen; I was the comfort cook.  Now, I am thinking of cooking simpler and healthier.   And, I'm not gonna lie, faster.

So...the gorgeous red and yellow peppers in my veggie bin.  A few pork chops, thinly sliced, and a bit of the plethora of asparagus that is always lurking about.  A riff on the sauce from last night.

30 minutes.  Chopped, sliced, woked and served.  It was sweet, and spicy hot, and silky.  My kinda Devil.

Serves: 2 (if you're a Onesie, you've got lunch for tomorrow.)
Time: 30 minutes (for those of you chopping with one hand, and a very dull knife)

4 boneless center cut pork chops, sliced with the grain, as thin as you can
Canola Oil, (I splashed in some Sesame Oil when I did the pork at the end, just for grins.)

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (1/4 tsp. dried ground)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 thinly sliced yellow, red or orange pepper each
2 tbsp Anaheim peppers, finely chopped
1/2 thinly sliced red pepper
1/2 thinly sliced onion
4 thinly sliced shrooms, wok 'em if you got 'em
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
Instant rice. I'll say it till I'm blue in the face.  There is no reason to make any other kind.

Assemble the veggies.  Combine the honey through the pepper flakes in a bowl, stir till the cornstarch dissolves.  Set that aside.

Now, the key to tender meat in a stir fry is heat, and distribution.  So, put the wok or really large frying pan on the burner and add the oil.  I'm not sure when enough is enough, but I do know when too much is too much.  You can always add more, taking it back is always hard and usually painful.
When the oil starts to smoke, turn the water for the rice on.

Add the onions to the hot wok, and stir fry (which is a Chinese cooking term for push around the pan with a wooden spoon) and cook till they start to turn crispy (if this is not happening, your pan is not hot enough.)  When they are slightly brown at the ends, add the garlic and give it another minute.  Remove them with a slotted spoon to The Veggie Bowl.  Should take no more than 3 minutes, probably 2.  Give the pan a few seconds to start smoking again, and add the peppers and the asparagus, and wok for 2 minutes.   Add the mushrooms, if you are using them.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove these to The Veggie Bowl.  Add a splash more oil to the wok.

Add the rice to the pot and start to boil it.  Admire your crisp, colorful veggies while the wok heats up again.

Lightly salt your pork, take a pinch of salt, squeeze your fingers together and let half fall out.  Put the other half on the pork.  Hurl that into the pan, (the meat, not the salt) and stir like the Devil.  I try to push it up on the high sides of the Wok, because it makes interesting noises and I like dodging splattering oil.  That part is optional.

When the pork is a bit brown on all sides, add the contents of the Veggie Bowl in, and then pour on the Honey Sauce.
Bring to a boil and let it bubble away, scraping down the sides of the pan as it thickens.  Taste and correct, I found it needed pepper and a tiny bit more salt, but I use low sodium soy sauce.
Cook for a few more minutes, till the rice is done.  Taste the pork and correct the seasoning again.  Plate the rice, then the pork.  At this point I would ditch the slotted spoon and just pour the sauce over my plate.

That's what the Devil would do.  And it's her day in the kitchen.  God love her.
Z x

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JUST BANANAS FOSTER


All the warm, cool creamy deliciousness of vanilla, cinnamon, bananas and liquor. In the comfort of your own home. And, if you do it my way, you’ll have new kitchen cabinets and a cute, shorter hair style to boot!
Remember my motto: it’s fun to flambe, but don’t be the flambe. Put up your long, chemical saturated hair, ban the children and crate those pesky, leaping little dogs.

A fire extinguisher wouldn’t go amiss either.
Oh, and sign the brief and confusingly worded waiver at the bottom and fax it to my attorney. 
Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes
4 small bananas, sliced down the middle, lengthwise.  Peel them!  sheesh!
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ c brown sugar
2 or 4 tbsps butter
¼ c of dark rum, or some other dark liquor, warmed slightly
a tiny grating of fresh nutmeg, or, the mearest pinch of dried nutmeg
8 ginormous scoops of the best vanilla ice cream or gelato you can find.

Melt the butter in a wide yet shallow skillet over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar, and stir till it’s dissolved. Brush the bananas with a little lemon juice.

Add the sliced bananas, cut side down, to the almost brown butter. Inhale. That’s the smell that accidental babies are made of.

Let the little lizards sizzle for 3-4 minutes, then, with 2 salad forks, turn them carefully onto their backs. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for a minute, stir a bit, until they are brown, and syrupy looking, and smell to die for. Pour the rum into the pan.

Now, you can be safety-conscious, or, you can be reckless and do what I do.
Tilt the pan 45 degrees down onto the gas flame, and let the fun begin.  

I should caution you by telling you that there will be a huge WHOOSH, and that flames will burst from the pan, likely toward your hair, and you will want to jump back.

- BUT - DON’T MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVES!

Take a deep breath, (through your nose is preferable,) but usually it will be through your gaping mouth as your eyes assess the damage to your kitchen cabinets. Or, perhaps, you have already stopped, dropped and rolled, and are now soaked in warm rum, and squishy bananas. You smell strongly of singed hair, bananas, rum and nutmeg; and I want to eat you.

In this case, dial my number. I’ll be there in 10 minutes. Don’t move.
If you have not done the latter, but instead have managed to reduce the rum to a about a tablespoon and a half; scoop a generous portion of ice cream into a bowl and dump a fair amount of bananas over that. Use the 2 for me, 1 for you method.  

Spoon an obscene amount of sauce on top.

Sit on the couch, turn everything off, picture the sight of that flambe in your head, and take a bite.

I’ll be there in a minute. There had better be some sauce left for me. Else you will be Flambing all over again. Either way…I’m gonna lick you all night long.
Z  x 

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BAKED FRAPPLES

Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes

In my house, Apples are called "Frapples". I don't know why this is, unless it was caused by the extremely long, protracted and body altering birth I gave to this person who then proceeded to re-name everything in my Universe. Did that sound like a Rant? I hope not.
Funny how even though I only have one child, I'm still the Mom who screams out Vickie...Tori...Steve...Damian...dammit! whatever your name is, just DO IT!
Apple are frapples, apple juice is frapple juice, frapple sauce, frapple-n-pork... you get the picture.
Baked Frapples are a sweet and easy treat for the one who called me Sydney so often around her friends that they actually thought that was my first name. At least no one calls me Frapple.

4 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. walnuts or pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. butter

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Peel the top third of the skin off the apples and core them to 1/4 inch of the bottom. Mix the brown sugar through the cinnamon and set aside. Stuff the apples with the cinnamon sugar mix, and dot the tops with a quarter of the butter. Arrange in an 8x8 baking dish and pour the water around them (not over. That's important.) Bake 45 minutes, baste occasionally if you can remember. (I never do.)
They should not be mushy, but you should be able to cut them with a teaspoon.
Serve piping hot with a scoop of vanilla or ginger ice cream for extra "oooooos".
If you were really in a creative mood, saute and extra scant handful of the nuts in a bit more butter and the sugar cinnamon mix (I keep it prepared ahead, it keeps forever and is awesome on grilled pineapple or vanilla ice cream). Set the nuts aside and scatter them over the frapples and ice cream right before you serve them.


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SLOW COOKED PULLED PORK 


It's the middle of freakin' summer here...it's been over 100 degrees for weeks.  Everywhere you look the earth is brown, parched and cracked.  I read somewhere that Houston could lose over 66 million trees - 10% of our beautiful life-sustaining canopy of leafiness - over the next 2 years - due to this drought.   Fires are everywhere.  That scares me.

So...what does that awful statistic have to do with Pulled Pork? 

In times like this, when the color Brown makes one think dismal thoughts; it's good to be reminded that Brown doesn't always mean death, or even dormancy.  Sometimes, the color Brown means a warm, sweet, silky sauce.  A tender, melty sensation that slips into your mouth and dances around your tongue.  A lusciously spicy and tart slide down the back of your throat...
Even as you thrust the next mouthful past your saliva coated lips.

Am I writing about food, or foreplay?  Are you wet, cause I know I am!

This recipe for Pulled Pork is awash in the simplest of Bar-B-Que sauces.  Which, in my opinion, is the highest and best use of Ketchup.  In my classic style; which veers between the staggeringly lengthy and difficult meal versus the kind of recipe that a 5-year old could make...this is one that a 5-year old can make, yet it tastes intricate, complicated and time consuming. 

And, it makes killer breakfast tacos the next morning.

Serves: 4
Time: 8 hours  (DON'T PANIC) 

3-/12 Lbs. Pork shoulder, or pork loin roast, lightly trimmed of fat, cut into 4 equal pieces, (but I don't.  I just slog the meat into the slow cooker and hack away at it a few hours later.)
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup  (ugh.  this hurts.  but it's good.  but it still hurts)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
2 Tbsp. white vinegar

Combine all the ingredients except the pork in a slow cooker.  Add the pork, turn to coat.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove the pork and shred it with 2 forks, return it to the pot and combine with the sauce.
Serve about 1/2 cup spooned onto a sandwich bun.  I use a lightly toasted Ciabatta roll.

Manana Breakfast Tacos

1 Flour Tortilla
1/4 cup Pulled Pork
1 Tsp. roasted tomato hot sauce
at least 2 napkins

Warm the tortilla in a hot pan or in the toaster oven.  Drizzle the hot sauce all over it, dump the pork in the middle.  Roll the tortilla up.  Position one napkin carefully below the approximate spot that a taco, placed perpendicularly to your mouth, is likely to eject its juice.  
Take a huge bite.



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