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February 07, 2014

Off and Running: The Year of the Horse

Chinese BBQ Pork and Scallion Pancakes
Not ones to miss a holiday celebration, Mr. B and I look forward to kicking off the Chinese New Year every February. When we lived in San Francisco, it was a big event and since our apartment was a short walk to Chinatown, we were surrounded by the festivities--parades, feasts, and the palpable sense that something big was about to happen.

You've probably guessed--and correctly--that I know a thing or two about Chinese astrology. I've already researched how I will fare in the coming year, and while the forecast for Snakes is fortuitous, so far, the year has gotten off to a rocky start.

First, the kitchen accident that almost cost me an eye. After I cut open the bag of Kim Chi and dropped it on the kitchen counter, a spray of hot, fermented liquid spurt upward and right into my eye. Talk about burning-hot-fire-I'll-never-see-again pain that didn't subside until after a full 20 minute eye flush!

Then, and thankfully, this didn't happen until after I'd finished the pork, my beloved little white Amana's ignition mechanism bit the dust. Normally, I'd be pretty bummed out about it, but I've got to say, that oven has been, well, an absolute work horse for me over the last 5 years. There hasn't been very many days that I didn't work that oven, and there were many stretches when she literally stayed lit around the clock.

I'm not sure how the year will progress, but I'm fairly positive that once I steady my horse, I'll fly over the terrain. My little Amana will soon be fixed and ready for the ride and thankfully, my vision--and sense of humor is still intact.

Now, for the dish. I took my basic pork recipe for Skinny Crock Pot Carnitas and after the meat was shredded, I spread it out onto a sheet pan and tossed it with a spicy, sweet Chinese-style BBQ sauce and put the whole of it under the broiler until the meat was crispy and caramelized. I had Mr. B whip up a batch of scallion and cilantro pancakes that I based on a crepe recipe. Finally, what really made this dish sing was that after topping the pancakes with a big spoonful of shredded BBQ pork, I added an equally big spoon of Kim Chi.

Learning the ways of the horse may be difficult at first, but I'm confident that I've finally mastered the way of the pig!

Chinese BBQ Pork
1 recipe Skinny Crock Pot Carnitas
3/4 cup Soyaki
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons chilli sauce
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons of fish sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
4 cloves of finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons of butter
Chinese Five Spice, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

1. Place all ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickens; add butter.
2. Let sauce cool slightly, then toss with pork.
3. Spread out sauced pork, in a single layer, on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Broil, turning meat once or twice, until browned, caramelized, and slightly crispy.
5. Serve with cilantro and scallion pancakes and Kim Chi.

Scallion and Cilantro Pancakes
1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
2 eggs
water

canola oil
chopped scallions
minced cilantro

1. Whisk together the eggs, flour and sesame oil with enough water to thin to batter consistency.
2. Brush a small non-stick skillet with a light coating of canola oil and heat pan until hot.
3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of batter to the hot pan, tilting the pan to cover with the batter and create a round, thin pancake.
4. Sprinkle with a few pinches of scallions and cilantro.
5. Flip cakes and fry until golden brown and spotted.
6. Continue to make pancakes as directed above.

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