Archive for pork

Cochon– lafille’s Culinary Kryptonite

Posted in Eat, Entrees, Photos, Restaurants, Reviews with tags , , , , , on 9 February, 2010 by la fille

Monsieur D just celebrated his birthday, so that was the perfect excuse to treat him to a fancy dinner while he was in town. Cochon was on the shortlist, but after sending a request for suggestions into the aether that is Twitter the answer was clear and I made a reservation.

Now, when it comes to ordering from a menu, I usually pride myself on being a terrific food-chooser. Upon trying the dishes of my dining partners, I inevitably say, “That’s good, but I like mine better,” which is always what you want to be able to say.

For some reason, though, my food choosing skillz vanish when I walk into Cochon.  I acknowledge that it’s a terrific restaurant– I love the concept, and lord knows I LOVE meat (har dee har).

Both times I’ve eaten there, however, I’ve CHOSEN POORLY.

To give Monsieur D an idea of the kinds of things Cochon produces, we started off with the boucherie plate, consisting of homemade bologna, tasso, head cheese, pork rillettes, pickled tomatoes, baby toasts, and creole mustard. Everything tasted delightful, but we were both mainly enamored of the head cheese.

Last time I dined at Cochon, it was springtime and they were running a crawfish special, which I ordered for my entree. While tasty, I later wished I’d just gone with some pig, and vowed to do so on my next visit.

Guess what? I didn’t.

I ordered the rabbit and dumplings, while my companion went with the smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad. Now, to be perfectly clear, there was NOTHING WRONG WITH MY MEAL. It just wasn’t my style– being raised on super-simple chicken and dumplings, I’ve never been a fan of the type that contains carrots, celery, and other sundry additions, which is what they serve at Cochon.

The presentation is lovely, coming out in hot cast-iron, but once again, too much going on for my tastes.

Monsieur D’s brisket, on the other hand, tasted like melty, savory heaven in my mouth and I may or may not have contemplated incapacitating my friend in some manner so as to have the dish for myself. So tender that I hardly believed it was cow, with a mouthwatering sauce that was intensely flavorful, but which allowed the quality of the meat to shine through as well. The horseradish tater salad wasn’t anything to sniff at, either.

Cochon’s got a nice beverage selection, and we got a bottle of Dona Paula malbec, which is a nice, inexpensive red that Monsieur D likes but can’t get in his neck of the woods.

The service was just the way it should be– attentive yet unobtrusive– and when I called to say we were running a bit late, the hostess was accommodating and pleasant. (We ended up being on time for the reservation, which of course made her even more accommodating and pleasant.)

So– super interesting concept, great menu and beverage list, good service, nice atmosphere, tasty food…Cochon gets a lot of attention, but it’s definitely warranted.

Most importantly, the birthday gentleman had a stellar time.

Cochon

930 Tchoupitoulas St

504.588.2123

cochonrestaurant.com

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Recipe: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple-Mint Salsa

Posted in Eat, Entrees, Recipe with tags , , on 5 June, 2009 by la fille

may09-08

Pre-salsa

One of my favorite things about warm weather is cooking outside. Growing up, Cap’n Will instilled in me idea that grilling isn’t just for special occasions– it’s super easy and works for weeknight meals as well as Sunday cookouts. Thus, I recently got a small charcoal grill and have been using it to make dinner probably about twice a week.

The other night I wanted something fresh and summery, so I picked up a pork tenderloin and a pineapple with which to dress it. What a nice meal! The pork was super tender and juicy, and the pineapple salsa had just the right balance of sweet, tart, and hot. I will definitely make this concoction again, but next time I want to chop up the pork and put the whole shebang in a flour tortilla, maybe with some white cheese or sour cream…similar to the much-loved burrito al pastor at Juan’s Flying Burrito. Now THAT would be delicious. Actually, I have to go find a snack now because thinking about pork and pineapple tacos has made me ravenously hungry.

Ok, where was I? Right. Pork and pineapple salsa onde grill.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple-Mint Salsa

serves 2 with some leftovers

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized pork tenderloin

1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil

salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

half a pineapple, peeled and chopped

1/4 of a medium-sized red onion, diced

1/2 to 1 green chile pepper, depending on your spice tolerance, minced

juice from half a lime

one sprig’s worth of mint leaves, chopped (about 1 1/2 tbsp.)

RECIPE

Note: My grill technique is very, shall we say, organic. I don’t really have any guidelines or hard-and-fast rules I go by– I just cook it ’til it’s done. So I apologize, but you’re on your own as far as grill tips go.

1. Stir together the oil, cumin, salt, and pepper, then rub it on your meat. That’s what she said. I let it sit for an hour or two, but you can season the pork right before you cook it as far as I’m concerned.

2. Stir together pineapple, onion, chile pepper, mint, and lime juice. I muddled it just a little also, to make it a bit juicier.

3. Cook the pork loin until it’s just barely pink in the middle, remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. Slice and serve with the salsa on top.

Recipe: Pork with Strawberry-Herb Sauce

Posted in Eat, Entrees, Recipe with tags , on 25 March, 2009 by la fille

It’s been several days since I made this dish and its memory is still making me salivate. I don’t really think this post needs to be bogged down with lots of words expounding on the tastiness of this meal.

Just make it.

Pork with Strawberry-Herb Sauce

(inspired by the recipe of the same name in Food and Wine‘s 2006 cookbook, but slightly modified)

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 pork chops, 1-1 1/2 in. thick

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp. butter

1 shallot, very finely chopped

3/4 c. chicken stock

2 tbsp. strawberry jam

scant 1 tsp. chopped thyme

1 tsp. creole mustard (or Dijon)

RECIPE

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the pork with s&p and cook over high heat, turning once, until it’s browned and just barely cooked through, maybe 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the same skillet you used to cook the pork. Add the chopped shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the chicken stock, strawberry jam, and chopped thyme and cook over high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, reduce heat to low, and then whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season sauce with s&p. Return the pork chops and any juices on the plate to the skillet, turn the meat to coat with sauce, and serve immediately.

For the love of all that is good, cook this tonight.

Recipe: Roasted Pork Chops with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Posted in Eat, Entrees with tags , on 2 March, 2009 by la fille

The other day at work the most intense craving struck me. I’m not sure from whence it came, but all of the sudden I could think of nothing but my mother’s barbecued chicken. Determined to satisfy this desire, I hurried up to the grocery after work to pick up all the accoutrements.

The great thing about my mom’s barbecue sauce recipe (aside from its high level of deliciosity) is that it’s super simple and concocted from ingredients I almost always have around the house. Thus I really only had to purchase the meat and side items.

Brother O’Mara isn’t the world’s biggest chicken fan–he feels it doesn’t excite his tastebuds enough to warrant actively preparing it. Personally, I like to think of it as a blank canvas to adorn with whatever flavors I want, but I had no problem picking up a couple of good pork chops for this meal instead. I was actually very pleased with the way they turned out–I slow-roasted them at a low heat while continuously basting them with the sauce. The resulting entree was moist, tender, and very flavorful.

For a side dish, Brother O’Mara sauteed some zucchini, onion, and yellow squash, which we served over a bed of couscous.

All the flavors in this meal went incredibly well together and really hit the spot for both of us. It felt like a standard lafille famille weeknight dinner from my childhood. I guess I needed some comfort food!

Barbecue Sauce à ma mere

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

ketchup

yellow mustard

brown sugar

purple onion

The thing about this recipe, is that I just add all of the ingredients bit by bit until I’m satisfied with how it tastes. Very roughly, I’d say it works out to something like this:

3 parts ketchup, 1 part mustard, 1-2 parts brown sugar, 1 part onion

Whisk it all together and there you have it!

Now for the pork chops:

RECIPE

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season two 1-inch thick center-cut porkchops with salt and pepper and place in a small roasting pan. (I use mon pere’s special seasoning salt blend, but I don’t know what’s in it and suspect that even if I was privy to that intelligence, it would be with the caveat that I couldn’t blab it all over the internets.)

2. Brush liberally with the sauce and throw those suckas in the oven. Baste with remaining sauce every 15 minutes or so, and cook for 40-50 minutes, or until your digital meat thermometer (you do use a digital thermometer, right? Right?) reads 155 or thereabouts.

Viola! Super simple barbecued pork!