Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Tag Archives: thyme

New York City 2012: Porchetta

DSC_1616Porchetta – the single, most carnal name ever allowed to grace a meat dish.

So if you happen to name your establishment after the hallowed Italian Roast Pork Of The Gods, I’m going to expect choirs of angels trumpeting my entrance into the shop till kingdom come.

Needless to say, my divine encounter didn’t happen, but I had this greet me, which was pretty darn close:

DSC_1615A bronzed, crackling Belly of The Beast.

I didn’t manage to sink my teeth into any while I was on real Italian soil (remember my shame for not asking for some while at Dario’s?), so this was the nearest thing to redemption, or perhaps the closest thing to self-pity. Either way, I’d rather not ponder further on that.

Pork belly, with boned-out pork loins stuffed in its core, rolled up in alternating layers of fat, meat, herbs, salt, and skin, is tied up with string and roasted till the moist meat yields to the slightest pressure of a butcher knife, here, in an oven here at Porchetta. I know, I know, I can’t help but feel that I’m still short-changing myself at the end of the day, having never tasted Italian Porchetta the Italian way (rhyme!), roasted over wood and hauled up to a wooden chopping board for a feast. But still, this is salty, salty meat, of the most primeval kind. I’m having it.

DSC_1613The star in all this is, of course, the meat. It doesn’t quite matter what else you have with it, or what vehicle you require to get it into your mouth. I went wild for the crackly chunks of skin, like salty nuggets of treasure among fantastically seasoned and flavourful meat. The herbs used were suitably earthy, presumably a mixture of some thyme, sage, rosemary, and garlic. Perfect.  I would have liked more skin. A lot more skin, and a lot more meat. Perhaps a larger sandwich.

Oh just give me the whole hog.

We shared a Porchetta Sandwich ($12), yet given the choice again, I’d pass on the dry ciabatta (which was unfortunate, really) and order up a Porchetta Plate ($15) instead. I also didn’t quite hear a choir of angels, not even a squeak, but I was somewhat pleased nevertheless. I would be content with a healthy serving of porchetta and garlic sautéed greens, which I’m assuming are broccoli rabe or some kind of chard or chicory, of the slightly bitter variety, perfect as an accompaniment to savoury meat.

Porchetta doesn’t have much seating since most locals do take-aways, but there are about eight seats inside. All things considered, this is still a rather pricey sandwich, but it’s probably the closest to Italy that I’ll be.

And if I had the chance to head to New York City again, I’d just live in the Lower East Side. That’s where all the food that you’ll ever need to care about reside. That was an unintended rhyme.

Porchetta

Address: 

110 E 7th St
(between 1st Ave & Avenue A)

Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta

Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta

I’ve been having something of a writer’s block lately. It’s crippling. There’s nothing worse than a backlog of posts and pictures to share of what I’ve been gorging myself with the past couple of weeks to remind me just how bad things can get when my muse runs out the door. But nevermind that, because here’s what I gorged myself with for lunch on Tuesday.

Eggggg.

Old as it may sound, the fancy meals I sometimes (ahem..rarely) whip up are because there’s some kind of complaint in the household. I don’t cook for myself, in fact, you don’t want to know the kinds of things I eat if I’m left to fend for myself for a meal. So it’s only when there’s some potential disharmony brewing under the roof, you know, things like “Why are we having boring steamed chicken again?”, “Can have some else or not ahhhhhhh”, or perhaps “I want pasta but I don’t want this kind of pasta” (and one is supposed to practice some form of divination to figure out what pasta the brother wants, or better yet, what he doesn’t know he wants but will like) But no matter. If there’s anything that will always be a crowd pleaser, it’s the coupling of caramelized onions and crisp bacon. ‘Nuf said.  Read more of this post

Europe Day 2 – Switzerland (Thun)

Breakfast!

The entire day before, I was silently anticipating breakfast the next morning, right from the moment Angela placed that very loaf of bread in the grocery cart and told me that was her favourite. I knew I would love it. Regardless, nothing beats the sweet smell of toasted bread in the morning – a rather frigid morning might I add, because all I’m really used to the moment I wake up is humidity a slight chill (that is if I am alive and kicking before 7am).

Hell-good bread. Industrial toaster.

I wandered into the kitchen naturally, and seeing the Weizenbrot Hell (which I thought was very aptly named because it was hell-good) all wrapped up in plastic and sitting demurely atop the kitchen counter, I knew I’d be making short work of the loaf in no time. So while Angela kindly brewed me some of her mighty espresso, I cut me up some slices and stared in wonderment at the…machine…next to the cutting board. Read more of this post

Lamb Shank Cassoulet

Lamb Shank Cassoulet

Say hello to my first night-time photos. 

If I could keep the sun up all the time, or better yet, summon it whenever I need it present for a proper shot, I’d be happy. Which is why I only ever bother with photos during the day (which all happen to be desserts D:). Shots of otherwise vibrant hues of Chicken Paprikash under sickly, stark, hospital-flourescent lighting? I’d rather eat my food while it’s still warm than bother ransacking drawers for daylight-balanced bulbs or a pocket-sized sun. 

But Mother’s Day dinner couldn’t simply be left uncaptured at all. Especially since I want to look back half a decade later and laugh and cry and remember how I bound myself to the kitchen for 4 concrete hours and how I burned a toe (Yes, a toe. The big toe on my left foot to be exact) when a splotch of molten white chocolate decided my foot to be a more desirable destination than the frickin’ bowl. 

Such are the joys of the kitchen. 

I planned a Main, a Side and Dessert. 

Nowhere did I bother to insert Taking Photos as part of the menu, short of risking dropping the Nikon into the pressure cooker while accidently getting spattered with scalding, popping bacon fat and impaling my palm with the jagged edge of the opened can of beans as I blindly reach for a towel amidst the spray of blood. I was this close to turning the night into something out of an episode of Happy Tree Friends, so if I only cared long enough to drag my room lamp downstairs and grab that black vanguard board for a picture, I’m glad the end product even looked like food. Although perhaps if you looked closely you’d be able to spot a severed fingertip among the chorizo sausages and beans… 

I’m known for my morbid sense of humour. Excuse me.  

Rest assured that I’m completely intact to type out a blog post.  Read more of this post