Author: Dax Phillips

Orange and Radish Juice

Orange and Radish Juice

I remember years ago when I was into juicing. A juicer was given to me as a gift, and it would be my first time ‘juicing’. I actually enjoyed it, but it was a process, and the juicer itself was too large in size to […]

Award Winning Plum Pie Recipe

Award Winning Plum Pie Recipe

For whatever reason, I have been purchasing a lot of fruit from Costco. Of all places, Costco. My wife and daughter have been plowing down fruit like it is going to be the end of the world. It seems as though every couple of days […]

Filipino Tocino

Filipino Tocino

If you probably saw tocino on a menu as a breakfast side item you would probably say something like ‘what the heck is tocino?’ and quickly pass it up. Note to yourself… don’t pass up on the tocino. I was introduced to tocino many years ago, and to be honest I enjoyed it however I thought it was a bit too sweet (whether is was store bought or homemade), but it was good. Don’t get me wrong. What I learned over the years is that tocino is essentially ‘bacon of the Philippines. Sure the Philippines are known for their outstanding pork, and you can probably have a pork vacation of your dreams in any of their islands, but tocino is something very special and one that is commonly served for breakfast known as tosilog. In a nutshell tosilog consists of tocino, sunny side up eggs, and garlic rice. It’s a pretty bad ass breakfast and one that is right up my alley.

So, tocino… Do I have you interested yet?

Filipino Tocino Recipe
Filipino Tocino Recipe

Tocino is lightly cured with sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and either annato (would would be traditional) or red food coloring, stored to marinate and cure for a few days in the refrigerator, then lightly fried low and slow style in batches, and served alongside breakfast. Think of it as your American bacon deliciousness. You can also buy a package of Mama Sita’s Tocino mix if you just want to make your life easier. Granted I have not tried the mix but know many others that simply use that packet.

This is really easy to throw together and really the only labor intensive part is slicing pork shoulder into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick or so), and waiting for it to cure for a few days. Planning is necessary but plan to make a few pounds and freeze the tocino for later use.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, boneless preferred, sliced into 1/4 slices
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Start by adding everything but the pork to a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to break down the sugar. Set aside.

I prefer to place my pork in the freezer for about 1 hour prior to slicing. It’s a lot easier to handle and you can get some better slices when it is partially frozen. Your call, but I think it helps.

Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices. Think of this like bacon, but it will not be as uniform in some of the slices.

Filipino Tocino Ingredients
Filipino Tocino Ingredients

Add all of the pork into the marinade, and using your hands (food safety gloves a huge plus), otherwise use some tongs, and mix everything extremely well. You want to coat both sides of the pork. Place in a sealed bag, into the refrigerator, for three days.

After three days remove the pork from the marinade, however most of the pork will have sucked up most of the marinade, place into another bowl. This is the time to freeze some as it makes a lot. If freezing, place what you need into a sealed bag, seal tightly to remove as much air, and freeze. 

Now to the cooking. Consider eating this in a traditional sense which is sunny side up eggs, garlic rice (or jasmine), and tocino. Heck if not, the tocino can go in so many different ways and I will let you think of what to do on that front.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat.

Add about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Let that come to temperature, then lay a handful of slices, flat, into the skillet. Let this begin to cook. Remember it is just pork, however you do not want it to chewy. Remember the pork shoulder still has fat on it which is a thing of beauty, hence why this slow render in the skillet, along with the brown sugar in the marinade, will caramelize the fat, and the pork. It’s a thing of beauty.

Control your temperature, raising or lowering it gently to cook the tocino until you get nice caramelization and the pork cooks through. Really only a few minutes or more on each side.

Filipino Tocino Recipe
Filipino Tocino Recipe

Please keep in mind that if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen in the morning, by all means cook this on the grill. I’ve yet to go that route, but I’m certain the grill would be top notch and add a bit of some smokiness.

Regardless, this stuff is like bacon. If you want three pieces, you may as well cook seven pieces because you are going to want more and more of it, and when paired with creamy eggs and rice, well heck it takes you away to a wonderful flavor place, only for a short period of time and that is all good in my book.

Strawberry Horchata

Strawberry Horchata

It’s one of my favorite drinks. It is something the waitresses bring to me when I arrive and have not ordered. It’s extremely delicious, and to boot it is just way too easy to make for the wonderful return. It’s horchata. But not like your […]

Panna Cotta with Strawberries

Panna Cotta with Strawberries

I’ll start by asking a question. Panna cotta, why have I not paid more attention to you? It’s weird how I think of making certain things during the week. For example this panna cotta with strawberries came about when strawberries bloomed in our garden. They […]

Greek Style Rice

Greek Style Rice

It’s seems as though some form of rice is on our dinner table at least a few times a week. Whether it is a steaming bowl of plain jasmine rice, or a Filipino garlic fried rice, it’s there. It is something all of my kids agree on, eat plenty of, and in its simplest form a very comforting dish. I actually love rice, and one of my favorites and one I default on all of the time is a jasmine rice. Don’t get me wrong though as I love eating sticky rice, and when I get into Indian cooking then my default is basmati rice, but the default is typically jasmine.

I know why I came up with this idea of a Greek style rice because I had mentioned to my wife that I was craving Indian food lately. A few days passed and I still had that thought in my head of Indican food. Then I began thinking of biryani. That is when I probably had enough of the madness in my head, and decided I would marinate a spatchcocked chicken, cooking it on the grill, with a side of this rice, and serve alongside some homemade hummus and flatbread. The dinner in its entirety was a hit, but this Greek rice dish really did shine.

Greek Rice Recipe
Greek Rice Recipe

This rice is really easy to make, and uses only a few ingredients. You could sub basmati with a long grain rice if you desire, but keep everything the same if possible. The real winner in texture is the orzo, making it a pilaf style which I like to surprise my wife with from time to time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dry dill weed
  • 2 whole lemons, juiced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

First start by rinsing the rice in a bowl. Rinse it well. I like to massage the rice a couple of minutes in the water to remove the starches. The water should not be cloudy when you are done rinsing and straining.  Soak the rinsed rice in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.

During this time heat get all of your ingredients together.

Head a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature for a minute or more. Sautee the onions and garlic, stirring them fora  few minutes. Once the onions begin to soften, add the orzo and lightly toast. This should only take a couple of minutes. Just be sure you stir the mixture frequently before adding in the remaining rice. Add the rice, the juice of one lemon, salt, one the stock.

 

Ingredients for Greek Rice Recipe
Ingredients for Greek Rice Recipe

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 18-20 minutes. Take a peak around that time, but no sooner, and the liquid should be fully absorbed. Your rice should be fluffy, not sticky. If it’s sticky, well it’s probably done. Something probably went wrong. Don’t get discouraged. It’s rice and trust me rice can be tricky.

The question you may have is should I just use my rice cooker? To be honest, I’m sure it would work fine. I’ve never used it for this particular recipe, but the rice cooker does wonders. If you have one and feel more comfortable, go for it and report back to me.

Once the rice if fluffy, remove it from the heat, keep it covered, and let is rest for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the lid, add in the juice of the second lemon, and the zest if you are using it.

Greek Rice Recipe
Greek Rice Recipe

Toss in the dill weed, parsley, and give this a good stir. Give this a taste and season with additional salt if necessary.

The result is a rice dish that is not only light in texture, but it pops so well with the lemon and dill. Let’s just say it is a really great dish for this time of year. Consider this a base recipe. Feel free to add in cooked chicken, or an array of blanched or charred vegetables to make this a family style main dish. However you serve it, everyone is going to love it. Even one of my suspicious eaters devoured the Greek style rice. This will be in our rotation for years to come. Hope you enjoy!

Greek Style Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup orzo
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dry dill weed
  • 2 whole lemons, juiced
  • 2¼ cups chicken stock (or water)
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. First start by rinsing the rice in a bowl. Rinse it well. I like to massage the rice a couple of minutes in the water to remove the starches. The water should not be cloudy when you are done rinsing and straining. Soak the rinsed rice in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.
  2. During this time heat get all of your ingredients together.
  3. Head a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature for a minute or more. Sautee the onions and garlic, stirring them fora few minutes. Once the onions begin to soften, add the orzo and lightly toast. This should only take a couple of minutes. Just be sure you stir the mixture frequently before adding in the remaining rice. Add the rice, the juice of one lemon, salt, one the stock.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 18-20 minutes. Take a peak around that time, but no sooner, and the liquid should be fully absorbed. Your rice should be fluffy, not sticky. If it’s sticky, well it’s probably done. Something probably went wrong. Don’t get discouraged. It’s rice and trust me rice can be tricky.
  5. The question you may have is should I just use my rice cooker? To be honest, I’m sure it would work fine. I’ve never used it for this particular recipe, but the rice cooker does wonders. If you have one and feel more comfortable, go for it and report back to me.
  6. Once the rice if fluffy, remove it from the heat, keep it covered, and let is rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove the lid, add in the juice of the second lemon, and the zest if you are using it.
  8. Toss in the dill weed, parsley, and give this a good stir. Give this a taste and season with additional salt if necessary.