Tag Archives: Pork

The Book, Like It’s Author, Big, Bold, Brash

Art imitating life. At least that’s how it looks.

BUY IT - Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It

Like the man himself, his book stands out from the crowd. It’s big (416 pages), it’s wildly colorful and it’s filled with food and stories that scream GUY! What would you expect from a chef who’s TV persona is larger than life. No matter what you may think about his culinary chops, it always looks like he’s living life to the fullest. I like that.

Reading though his latest cookbook, Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It, you get the sense that he loves his trade. I’m sure there are those that take one look down their nose at the cover and sniff. But, they should take the time to crack the spine. There is some serious business in there.

I don’t really have a set routine when it comes to evaluating a new cookbook. One thing I do know, I’m going to cook something from it. No preconceived idea of what that something might be, but, something. Whatever might catch my eye from a stunning food image (oh, I can make that) to a super engaging recipe title is fair game.

One thing that struck me as I was paging through this meaty tome, was the complexity of the recipes. This was not home kitchen fluff. These were complex, multi component recipes with some ingredients that most people don’t have stocked in their pantries. This isn’t a complaint, this is a pleasant surprise.

I consider myself to be a fairly competent home chef. One a scale of one to ten, I would give myself a seven (OK, maybe six and a half). I can perform most basic skills and have a pretty good idea of what should go with what. I also have a great array to toys (I mean tools).

My search for the perfect “Guy” dish ended when I turned to page 220 and saw the Watermelon Pork Tacos.

Watermelon Pork Tacos

This recipe has a bunch of great, but at the same time dissimilar ingredients. After I read through it a couple of times I thought, “OK, I can do this one”. In reality, it was harder than I thought.

The thing that makes this spin on the usual taco so unique, is the Asian influence paired with the decidedly not so Asian watermelon.


Fresh summer watermelon makes this a great seasonal dish.

Here’s a look at the pork. All trimmed up, sliced, marinated and ready for the grill.

Marinated Pork

Making the marinade is easy enough. Lots of ingredients. There was one thing that did get my attention when I was putting it all together. The possible heat potential of that marinade. A chopped Serrano pepper and red chili flakes are both in there. As you can see from the above image, there is chopped ginger and garlic too.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Looks great after coming off the grill. The cooking time was right on too. Three minutes per side, then three minutes resting. Want to see how it all turned out? Sure you do.

Watermelon Pork Tacos

WOW, is right! As Guy would say “Off the hook!”. They actually tasted even better than they looked. My worry about the heat level of the finished product was totally unfounded. It did not have a huge pepper burst to it at all. I think some of the Asian elements (sesame oil, oyster sauce and rice vinegar) may have tamed some of that. Just a theory.

Here’s How To Do It

Ingredients – Pork
1 whole pork tenderloin, silverskin removed & cut into 1inch thick slices
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
1 Tbsp. Serrano chile, seeded & minced
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Ingredients – Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil

Ingredients – Salsa
1 cup watermelon, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup English cucumber, seeded & cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Haas avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 head romaine lettuce

To make the pork, combine all of the pork ingredients except the pork slices in a small bowl. Mix well. In a gallon Ziploc bag, add the pork slices and the marinade. Seal and marinate for 30 minutes.

While the pork is marinating mix all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a small bowl. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all of the salsa ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette into the salsa and mix gently. Be careful not to crush the watermelon or guacamole-ize the avocado.

Trim off the dark green ends of the romaine and cut off the root end. Separate, wash and dry the leaves. These will be the “shells” for the tacos. Place in fridge until ready to use.

Heat your grill to medium. Remove the pork slices from the marinade. Grill 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and rest 3 minutes. Take pork to a cutting board and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Fill lettuce shells with pork, top with salsa and enjoy.

Serves 6

Watermelon Pork Tacos

Recipe Adapted From Watermelon Pork Tacos, Guy Fieri, Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It.

Notes: This thing looks and reads through easy enough, but, it’s deceptive. Lots of ingredients and a fair amount of prep. I think once you’ve made it one time, the next attempt would be a lot smoother. It was a nice light, summertime meal. I’ll be a repeat customer for sure.

BONUS: Since we only had two people eating a recipe sized for six, we had a fair amount of pork leftover. I’m not one to just pitch some great seasoned meat. So, day two, a more traditional taco, with the fantastic untraditional pork filling. This was great too!

Leftover Tacos

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you like Guy’s style both in the kitchen and on the tube, you’ll love his book. It’s him to a T. You won’t be disappointed.

Be ready for some challenging recipes. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of culinary security by the sometimes brief instructions. These dishes are worth the effort in the end. But, getting there can be a little challenging.

BUY IT - Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It


Author: Guy Fieri
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (May 3, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0061894559

Summer Is THE Time To Grill

There is nothing like a great summer barbeque, nothing.

Time To Grill

Just like a lot of families around the country, we do a bunch of grilling come summer. So much so, that we have to turn the oven on every once in a while just to make sure that it still works.

On weekends we’ve been know to grill for a pretty good size group. It’s not easy cooking burgers to order for fifteen or twenty people. During the week though, it’s usually a two or four person affair. Even though cooking for the masses is fun, you can do a lot more when it’s scaled back just a bit.

At the moment there are lots of great grilling books out there. Steven Raichlen’s Barbeque Bible, Seven Fires and one my my favorites, the Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbeque. Now, there’s a new contender for my grilling affection, Weber’s Time to Grill by Jamie Purviance.

The books contains great takes on old BBQ standards and features some brand new dishes. Each dish has a sibling. One adventurous version and one easy. This makes Jamie’s grilling guide a nice fit for grill tenders of all stripes.

One of the unique features of this book is a slick tech integration. The book is part traditional cookbook and part smartphone cooking app. The best of both worlds! For each recipe you can go to a mobile website on your smartphone or tablet, enter the page number of your recipe and viola, instant grilling aides. Have a look at some of the extra help you get.

Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops

Awesome, right? You get a recipe overview to have at the grill. Plus, cooking timers, grocery lists for your shopping trip and more. This takes the traditional cookbook off the kitchen counter and out into the backyard. This is the best integrated use of the technology I’ve seen yet. It really works well.

Onward to todays main event. As you can see above we’re going for Buttermilk-Brined Pork Chops with Whiskey-Braised Cabbage and Apples. An ambitious attempt (it’s from the adventurous side of the book!).

Lately, we’ve all become accustom to brining poultry as well as some cuts of meat. The usual process calls for a ratio of salt to sugar. And then maybe throw in some herbs or fruit. The brine for this dish uses buttermilk as it’s base. I was a little suspect at first, but, the results are fantastic.

Shred some red cabbage.

Shredded Red Cabbage

Course grate a nice tart Granny Smith apple.

Granny Smith

Add something that’s bound to make things interesting.

Jack Daniels. Never settle for less than the BEST!

And, you’re on your way to making a nice side dish for your chops. It’s really a classic paring for the meat.

Here’s How To Do It

Ingredients – Brine
2 cups cold buttermilk
1 cup water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Ingredients – Cabbage
2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
4 cups red cabbage, shredded
2 cups Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated
1/3 cup whiskey (I used Jack)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. celery seed
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

4 boneless pork loin chops (about 8oz. each & 1 inch thick)
Extra virgin olive oil

Whisk all of the brine ingredients together in a large or medium size bowl. Place your trimmed chops in a large resealable bag. Pour the brine over the chops. Seal and place in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours. Flip the bag over every half hour or so.

When chops have fully brined, remove the chops from the bag and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Lightly brush each chop with olive oil and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Prepare your grill to cook using direct heat, medium temperature (350 to 400).

In a large skillet add the shredded cabbage and apples. Sauté until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the whiskey, balsamic and celery seed. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender (10 to 12 minutes). Stir occasionally. When finished remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm while you grill the chops.

When your grill is heated, cook the chops over direct medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping a couple of times. This is where you can use that nifty grill timer on your phone. Grill until they are just pink in the center. Once cooked, remove from grill and let rest about 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve with your braised cabbage and apples. Great!

Buttermilk-Brined Pork Chops with Whiskey Braised Cabbage and Apples

Recipe Adapted From Buttermilk-Brined Pork Chops with Whiskey Braised Cabbage and Apples, Jamie Purviance, Weber’s Time to Grill, Oxmoor House.

The Bottom Line

Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling, is a fantastic addition to any barbeque cookbook collection. The recipes are geared towards all grilling skill levels, so there will be lots of things for everyone to cook. There are helpful hints and grilling advice scattered throughout the text, which also makes it a nice read as well as a useful manual.

Thinking about firing up that grill? I know you are. Let Jamie help you tame the flame.

BUY: Weber's Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling


Author: Jamie Purviance
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Oxmoor House
ISBN-10: 0376020601