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A Pork Cheeks Pig-Out

Wednesday, 12. March 2014 5:27

A.O.C's pork cheeks -- made in the comfort of your own home.

A.O.C’s pork cheeks — made in the comfort of your own home.

I’m not going to lie: This recipe takes a commitment.

To spend many hours cooking. To be willing to use a load of pots and pans, as well as multiple burners plus the oven. And to go the extra step of actually sourcing some pork cheeks in the first place.

If you do all that, though, you will be richly rewarded. Not only with a comforting dish boasting layer upon layer of flavors. But with the pleasure of enjoying a unique cut of pork, which when braised patiently, results in meat so succulent, sweet and tender that it can be eaten with a spoon.

“Pork Cheeks with Polenta, Mustard Cream and Horseradish Gremolata” is from the new “The A.O.C. Cookbook” Alfred A. Knopf), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Suzanne Goin, chef-owner of Lucques and A.O.C. restaurants in Los Angeles. Lucques is all about sharing food and wine with friends at the table over small plates and family-style dishes.

If you already have cooked from Goin’s first cookbook, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” (Knopf), you know her recipes are lengthy because of the meticulous directions she gives. As a result, you approach the book knowing that if you take the time, you can’t fail because she’s described the dish step by step with utmost care.

AOC Cookbook

After falling head over heels with beef cheeks when I cooked them recently, I couldn’t help but zero in on her recipe for pork cheeks. Of course, there was that pesky question of how to get my hands on those piggy cheeks. John Paul Khoury, corporate chef of Preferred Meats, Inc. in Oakland, became my go-to source. After having read my blog post on beef cheeks, he said I absolutely positively had to try cooking pork cheeks next.

So Preferred Meats, which sells wholesale to top Bay Area restaurants, including SPQR in San Francisco and Hopscotch in Oakland, offered to sell me pork cheeks at an unbelievable wholesale price. Not just any pork cheeks, either, but ones from heritage-breed Durocs from the Beeler family’s ranch, which has been raising pigs for five generations in Iowa.

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Category:Chefs, General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (14) | Author:

Forget March Madness; It’s Meat Madness at Fogo de Chao

Wednesday, 5. March 2014 5:26

Meat, meat and more meat delivered right to your table at Fogo de Chao.

Meat, meat and more meat delivered right to your table at Fogo de Chao.

 

Get ready for a parade of meat.

Fire-roasted cuts of beef, chicken, lamb and pork — 16 types in all — brought to your table one by one on massive skewers to be carved off onto your heaping plate.

That’s the carnivore carnival you’ll enjoy at Fogo de Chao, the newest restaurant to open in San Jose’s Santana Row.

All vestiges of the former Chili’s have vanished in this totally redone, 9,000-square-foot, 250-seat restaurant with white tablecloths and contemporary light fixtures.

Founded in Brazil in 1979, Fogo de Chao serves up churrasco-style cuisine based on the centuries-old gaucho tradition of roasting meats over an open fire for festive family gatherings. There are now 22 Fogo de Chao locations worldwide, with the next one set to open in Portland, Ore.

Pork ribs -- yup, as many as you want.

Pork ribs — yup, as many as you want.

I had a chance to check it out the night before it opened officially to the public at a special invitation-only dinner last week.

The concept is simple: It’s all you can eat. That includes all that meat, plus trips to the salad bar — all for $51.50 per person for dinner or $29.50 for lunch. If you want to enjoy only the salad bar, that will be $26.50 at dinner and $22.50 at lunch.

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Category:General, Meat, Restaurants | Comments (10) | Author:

Head to Tail Cooking? Here’s a Tail To Savor

Friday, 17. January 2014 5:25

Dig into beefy oxtails for the new year.

Dig into beefy oxtails for the new year.

At the start of a new year, do look ahead. But don’t forget to look — ahem — behind, too.

At the tail, of course.

That particular part of the cow just takes low-slow cooking to bring about its brash beefiness and tenderness.

Enjoy it in “Braised Oxtail Stew,” a recipe from “Spain: Recipes From the Verdant Hills of the Basque Country to the Coastal Waters of Andalucia” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

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Category:General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (10) | Author:

Beef Cheeks, Baby!

Monday, 4. November 2013 5:26

Happiness is beef cheeks -- cooked until tender as can be.

Happiness is beef cheeks — cooked until tender as can be.

 

I’ve found a new love.

Its name is beef cheeks.

Oh sure, for the longest time, I’d had a torrid love affair with short ribs, my favorite cut of meat for its unabashed tenderness.

But what can I say? Beef cheeks have that going on and more.

Braised for hours, their toughness gives way to pure unadulterated lushness. Best yet, they don’t have bones like short ribs nor any bits of fat and sinew left even after long cooking. They’re just succulent meat through and through.

It used to be that I could only enjoy these at restaurants. But now that Prather Ranch has started selling its primo, sustainable meats in the South Bay at farmers markets in Santa Clara and Campbell, they’re easy to come by.

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Category:General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (9) | Author:

Ramen Burger (Oh, Yes!), Beringer and Scharffen Berger Team Up, and More

Wednesday, 25. September 2013 5:25

Ramen Burger. (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Grand Hyatt)

The one and only Ramen Burger. (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Grand Hyatt)

Ramen Burger in San Francisco

Yes, it sounds crazy. But you know you want it.

The Ramen Burger, the trend that got its start in Los Angeles, is now in San Francisco — but only for a limited time.

The Grand Hyatt San Francisco’s OneUP Restaurant & Lounge is serving this mash-up for lunch and dinner, but only through the end of September.

The bun is indeed made out of fresh ramen from a local noodle house. It holds a beef patty topped with mustard greens, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and sriracha mayo.

The Ramen Burger is $18 and comes with fries.

Cook St. Helena Debuts Brunch Offerings

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Cook St. Helena has debuted a Sunday brunch with Italian influences.

The nine-year-old restaurant waited this long to serve brunch because it wanted to get its liquor license first in order to offer Bloody Marys and other brunch cocktails.

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Category:Chefs, Chocolate, General, Meat, Restaurants, Wine | Comments (6) | Author: