Saturday, September 20, 2014

Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos

These tacos are my take on Korean barbecue. They certainly aren't authentic Korean food, but they do incorporate a lot of the delicious sweet, salty and spicy Asian flavors in an easy-to-make slow cooker recipe. These are delicious topped with sweet pickles, so I suggest making my refrigerator pickle recipe a few days out to have them ready to top these tacos.
Let's start with the ingredients.  You'll need a pork loin along with soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, Sriracha brown sugar, cornstarch, black pepper, fresh ginger and garlic.

Add half a cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, pinch of black pepper any where between half a teaspoon and a tablespoon of Sriracha (depending on how hot you like it.) to your slow cooker.

I highly suggest buying the toasted sesame oil. It's not cheap, but if you keep it in the fridge it lasts a long time. It is great in so many Asian dishes.

I like to use a rasp to grate about a teaspoon of fresh ginger and three gloves of garlic into the slow cooker. You could also chop it finely.

It sticks on the bottom of the rasp, but you can easily scrape it into the slow cooker.

Fresh ginger can be kept in a freezer bag and you can pull it out to grate as needed. 

Stir the mixture together and put in the pork.

Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours until the pork pulls apart easily with a spoon.

For serving, we'll use flour tortillas. You can use another type of flat bread if you prefer. I like to use matchstick carrots and fresh cilantro or parsley to top. If you'd prefer, you can grate or julienne the carrots yourself.

Fill the tortillas with the meat and sauce.

Get out those pickles we made earlier.

Add the pickled cucumbers, peppers and shallots to your taco. You could also have the topping raw, but I really think it needs the acid from the pickles.
Now let's add the carrots for crunch and a sprinkle of cilantro or parsley.
If you like, spoon a little more of the cooking liquid on top. Now serve.
You may not have some of these Asian ingredients in your pantry just yet, but it's worth it to get them. Having them on hand opens up a whole new world of cooking.

Bread & Butter Pickles In Minutes

Here's a quick way to make a version of delicious bread and butter pickles. No bread or butter involved in making these babies and you can have a whole jar of delicious homemade pickles in less than 30 minutes. They are sweet and sharp and delicious.
Let's start with the ingredients. I used a cucumber from my garden, some little sweet peppers and shallots.  You could also use hot peppers if you want a spicier pickle.
You'll also need salt, sugar, rice vinegar turmeric, mustard seeds, pickling spice and celery seed.
Put half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar (you could also use cider vinegar. I like rice vinegar because it has less of a bite.)
Now add 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt.

Then 1/4 teaspoon each of the spices. Dump it all in the pan and bring to a boil.

Now slice the cucumber thinly.
Then the little sweet peppers.

Now slice the shallots.
Take a jar and we're ready to start layering. We aren't canning here. These are just going the refrigerator. You don't need to heat the jar or seal it.

I like to start layering the veggies in the jar. You don't have to, it will pickle all the same. But I think it looks prettier layered.

Once they are nicely layered, you should be ready to add the pickling liquid.

Place a funnel in the jar. Preferably a better funnel that the one I have here. It's sort of falling apart.

The pickling liquid should be boiling by now. Give it a stir to make sure everything is combined.
Either line the funnel with cheesecloth or use a strainer to pour the pickling liquid through.

If the liquid doesn't quite cover the veggies, you can add a little water. All you need to do now is let them cool, put on the lid and let them wait in the refrigerator for about a week.

Congratulations, you have just pickled!