Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Cooking

Inspiration from Aida Mollenkamp: Blood Orange-Braised Pork Shoulder

How many blood oranges does a girl have to squeeze to get 1½ cups of juice? Nine. I won't forget it because the last one squirted into the bowl, yes, but also across the page that held the recipe for Blood Orange-Braised Pork Shoulder, thus christening my new cookbook.

The cookbook is Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen and I'm pretty sure that this won't be the last page to end up sauced or stained. Her cookbook is a wealth of information, and it's already taken a spot in our section of essential cookbooks, very close to Mark Bittman, Yotam Ottolenghi, and the classic Joy of Cooking. Actually, in one of the Amazon reviews, someone referred to Mollenkamp's book as a modern, updated version of Irma Rombauer's classic American cookbook. And I can see why.

There are more than 300 recipes in this book rife with tips and helpful illustrations on storing food, cooking, and stocking a basic kitchen. With each one, she aims to teach a technique with ways to riff off that technique and recipe.

But before she even gets to the recipes, Mollenkamp walks you through the grocery store and explains the cuts of meat on different animals and the ways to cook each piece. Pork shoulder is one of our favorite cuts of meat, and braising is one of the best ways to cook it. It's relatively inexpensive, easy to cook, and tastes good. Mollenkamp's recipe with blood orange juice, whiskey, and brown sugar gives the meat a sweetness that's balanced by herbs and spices.

She calls this "the essential reference for becoming a more accomplished, adventurous cook." I like that a lot. Who doesn't want to be those things? And let me tell you, as I lugged a 4-pound piece of pork shoulder, beautifully browned on all sides of course, from the pot to the plate, I felt accomplished. I've come a long way from the tough scrambled eggs in my freshman dorm.

Danny was impressed. And when my somewhat picky sisters visited the next day, we turned the leftovers into tacos. My youngest sister, Lila, said it was so good she couldn't stop eating. Not even long enough to talk to our mom on the phone.

So, how many cookbooks does a girl need to cook? I love our growing collection and wouldn't give it up, but I could definitely get by for a while on this one alone.

Ileana Morales is a writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with boyfriend Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, alittlesaffron.com. She can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

By Ellie KriegerI recoil at the repentant food chatter that crops up this time of year, dominated by words such as "cleanse" and "detox," which, from what I can tell, are just modern code for "extreme diet." But part of cultivating a healthy, balanc...
Published: 01/17/18
We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

I sat at my desk eating chunked pineapple straight out of the can, reading about how much fruit and vegetables we should all be eating every day: 1 1/2 to two cups of fruit, 2 1/2 to three cups of vegetables, at a minimum, per the United States Depar...
Published: 01/17/18
Taste test: pot stickers

Taste test: pot stickers

Whenever I order meals at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant I always look for pot stickers on the menu. The tasty Asian dumplings are filled with pork or chicken and veggies and cooked with a perfect balance of steaming and frying. The reason I order ...
Published: 01/16/18
From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

When I first made this soup, Florida was in the grips of a cold weather snap, the likes of which rarely happens in this part of the state. We’re talking a whole week of lows in the 30s. The 30s! It was everything I ever wanted and more — the rare win...
Published: 01/16/18
Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

By Drew JacksonBleeding veggie burgers, edible flowers and tree-based sparkling waters could be the most popular foods of the year.Whole Foods, the organics pioneer and Jeff Bezos-backed supermarket, peered into its crystal milk jug and unveiled what...
Published: 01/10/18
Tampa’s JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

Tampa’s JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

The Pillsbury Bake-Off is serious business and big bucks. Since 1949, the country’s most competitive home cooks put their thinking caps on: How can I use one of the designated Pillsbury products in a new, original — and here’s the tricky part — outra...
Published: 01/09/18
For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

When it comes to pork, most home cooks know the chop, the tenderloin, the loin roast, even the Boston butt. But because I am a sucker for the underdog and the oddball, I have a new favorite cut of pork: the country-style rib.Why oddball? First, it su...
Published: 01/09/18
From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

January brings a weird dichotomy. I’m often exhausted from December, a month packed with lots of travel and merriment and comfort food. But I also feel energized for the new year, fresh planner in hand and lots of lofty goals ready to be set.It’s the...
Published: 01/09/18
Dependable lentils are the star in this Thai Red Curry With Lentils and Tofu recipe

Dependable lentils are the star in this Thai Red Curry With Lentils and Tofu recipe

I take lentils for granted. I’ve had bursts of creativity using them, but for the most part they sit in my pantry while I reach for bigger, more tempting members of the legume family week in and week out. Until one day, I’m out of cans of chickpeas, ...
Published: 01/09/18

Taste test: Our favorite foods from the past six months

The following is a list of the foods our judges liked the best from our tastings the past six months. Some background on this column: We began publishing the list in 2004 after readers asked for a short list to carry with them on shopping runs. Our p...
Published: 01/08/18