Category Archives: Pork

Larb Quesadillas

I’m a huge fan of larb. Often referred to as laab, larb, laap, or lahp, it is a minced meat dish that can utilize chicken, pork, beef, or heck, even shrimp for all I know. The real key to larb is the combination of the ingredients that really make this dish shine. You get fresh herbs, toasted rice, and shallots, chilies, and lime that when brought together gets you wanting more, and more. Larb could possibly be one of my favorite dishes to eat along with Thai sticky rice.  My kids are a big fans of larb as well, and when I make it for them, I typically leave out the fresh chilies and serve them on the side. This past week I made a fairly big batch of larb and had plenty of leftovers. That’s when it came to me, well it came to me as I was looking at the leftover larb and grated cheddar cheese in the refrigerator that I would make a larb quesadilla. It was awesome.

Larb Quesadilla

Get started by making your favorite larb.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of toasted rice powder
  • 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Begin by adding the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground chicken and begin cooking until it is fully cooked. This is will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients. If you have never toasted rice before, add about 1/2 cup of rice to a dry skillet. Bring it to medium heat, and give it a good shake about every 2-3 minutes. Your goal is to brown the rice, and once brown, add it to a coffee grinder to make into a course powder.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, make sure you break it all up with a wooden spoon as you do not want any clumps. Drain off any excess water from the chicken, then add the chicken to a mixing bowl.

Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.

How to make a larb quesadilla

To make the quesadilla, add a flour tortilla to the bottom of a skillet, and keep on medium heat.

Add 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese to the tortilla. Add about 1 cup of the larb on top of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese, and place the second tortilla on top. Lightly press. Cook for a few minutes, or until the tortilla lightly chars. You should be able to smell it, if not, lift with a spatula to check. Flip over, and cook on the remaining side, for another few minutes.

Remove, and slice, or eat whole, you’re call.

This larb quesadilla was was ridiculously good. It had everything you love in a classic quesadilla, but elevated with great Thai flavors. Give this one a shot, and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!

Larb Quesadillas
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
  • ½ cup of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ⅓ cup of toasted rice powder
  • 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Begin by adding the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground chicken and begin cooking until it is fully cooked. This is will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients. If you have never toasted rice before, add about ½ cup of rice to a dry skillet. Bring it to medium heat, and give it a good shake about every 2-3 minutes. Your goal is to brown the rice, and once brown, add it to a coffee grinder to make into a course powder.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, make sure you break it all up with a wooden spoon as you do not want any clumps. Drain off any excess water from the chicken, then add the chicken to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.
  5. To make the quesadilla, add a flour tortilla to the bottom of a skillet, and keep on medium heat.
  6. Add ½ cup of the cheddar cheese to the tortilla. Add about 1 cup of the larb on top of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese, and place the second tortilla on top. Lightly press. Cook for a few minutes, or until the tortilla lightly chars. You should be able to smell it, if not, lift with a spatula to check. Flip over, and cook on the remaining side, for another few minutes.
  7. Remove, and slice, or eat whole, you’re call.

 

Ham, Cheese, and Pineapple Egg Rolls

As you might have seen from my last post regarding my Root Beer Glazed Ham, it is obvious that I had plenty of leftovers due to the size of that beast. As my son pretty much devoured much of it through the next couple of days, I made sure to save a bag of scraps, if you will, for my own pleasure as I had a couple of ideas up my sleeve in terms of recipes. I’m not going to kid around, and I will be honest in admitting that I love ham. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and now, with this idea, I can eat it as a snack.

As I normally do during the weekend hours, I snoop around my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, taking a more detailed inventory as to what I have in stock. I do this to come up with ideas for recipes during the week, but also come up with quick ideas as to what I can remove on a more immediate basis and throw something together. That’s when I saw my leftover bag of ham, a package of spring roll wrappers, a can of pineapple, and well, cheese sticks. This is why I am now serving ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls.

Ham, Cheese, and Pineapple Egg Rolls

I also made these because, well, I love egg rolls. Hands down one of the simplest and most delicious things to eat, plus you can get super creative when it comes to stuffing these bad boys.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Spring Roll Wrappers, thawed
  • 4 Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 1 cup of cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 pineapple ring, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooking oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Now let me just say that I was never a fan of the ham and pineapple combination, especially when it came to pizza, however there is something to be said about the combination whereas the the pineapple really does cut through some of that fatty and oiliness. I knew this would be a great combination, and it was.

Start by preparing all of your ingredients, then heat a small pot, with the oil, on medium heat.

As the oil is heating, start making your egg rolls. I’m a huge fan of Tyj Spring Roll Pastry wrappers from Spring Home, and as a matter of fact, they are my go-to wrappers, but you use what you like.

How to make ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls

Lay a spring roll wrapper onto your plate, and add a cheese stick near the middle of the wrapper. Make sure the point of the egg roll faces you (See how to roll an egg roll), then add a quarter of the diced ham, and pineapple, laying along the cheese stick. Roll, fold the edges, then brush the top point with the beaten egg. Roll and seal.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Place in the preheated oil, about 350 degrees. Deep fry until they are golden brown. Remove with tongs, and place on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Dig in.

These ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls were pretty awesome. They are everything you love in a ham and cheese, but then you get that sweetness from the pineapple, and that just locks in the deal. It’s a wonderful surprise of flavor! These are perfect any time of the day if you ask me. Hope you enjoy!

Root Beer Glazed Ham

I’m still here, don’t worry about me. It seems like it has been an eternity since my last post, and there are reasons for that. One is that I have been busy, and too is that our family was on vacation. We went to the great state of Kentucky, just south of Paducah to do some fishing with the kids and relatives. The trip to say the least, was fun, but only a handful of fish, unlike we were expecting. We took the road trip back on Saturday morning, just in time to wind down for Easter Sunday. The last thing I wanted to do, in all honesty, was cook on Sunday morning. I had a hankering for some Mexican food, however I woke up early and decided to hit the grocery store, and do what a man’s gotta do, and that was make an Easter meal. The classic ham and scalloped potatoes. I couldn’t resist.

Jet holding a crappie

Jet holding a crappie

With that said, we came back from our vacation with things that the other members of the family did not want, and one of those things was an almost full 12 pack of A&W Root Beer, something my kids would normally drink, but not for my wife and I. As I stared down at that soda, I decided I was going to use that product and great a sugary, savory glaze that I knew would just be amazing, and it was.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pound bone-in ham
  • 24 oz A&W Root Beer
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Simple, and delicious, I know.

Start by cooking your ham, according to the directions. During this time, start making your glaze. Combine all of the ingredients (with the exception of the ham, of course) into a sauce pot. Mix, and cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the sauce reduces by half. You want a thicker glaze. Reduce the heat about 40 minutes in, and stir frequently to prevent any sugars from burning to the pot. Also keep in mind to keep an eye on it. I know this as I stepped away only for a few minutes and my daughter yelled from the kitchen “Dad, I think you want to come in here now!”. I knew exactly what that meant, and yes, it was boiling over. A bunch of cleanup I was not looking forward to, but it happened, and I moved on.

About 30 minutes before the ham is cooked, begin glazing the ham with the sauce. Remove the ham from the oven, and begin brushing on the glaze, all over the ham. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, and repeat. Continue until the glaze is done (or reserve some to pour on your ham), and the ham registers 145 degrees in the thickest portion.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

Slice and serve. My family devoured (and I know they totally appreciated it) the root beer glazed ham, and loved it. One of my kids is a ham junkie now, and he made about 8 sandwiches that day, because lord forbid he eat the scalloped potatoes!

Lao Crispy Rice Salad – Nam Khao

I was first introduced to nam khao while living in Dallas, Texas many years ago. It was served at a Thai/Lao restaurant, and when I read the ingredients, I could not resist. I was being adventurous in dining when living in Texas. The city was loaded with authentic Mexican food, Vietnamese, Thai, and middle eastern cuisine, and I was all in when it came to eating. It was this dish that blew my mind though. After eating nam khao, I researched what it was all about, and realized that the funky and delicious nam was actually a fermented pork sausage, along with the khao, or rice for that matter, that was crispy rice. Basically a crispy rice salad with tons of herbs, chilies, and loaded with awesome flavor. You are going to love this recipe, I guarantee it.

Nam Khao

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of jasmine rice, cooked, and cooled
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten with 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups of ground pork, cooked, and cooled
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole lime
  • 1/2 cup of roasted peanuts
  • green cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp red chili flakes (reduce for less heat)
  • 1/2 cup of nam, fermented pork, chopped
  • Thai bird chilies, optional
  • 2 cups of cooking oil

Start by combining your cooled rice, the eggs with soy sauce, curry paste, salt, sugar, cooked ground pork, and coconut into a mixing bowl. Making sure everything is combined, form into baseball sized balls.

Next, heat the oil and let it come up to about 350 degrees. Add one ball at a time, and cook until completely golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and let it rest on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil.

How to make nam khao

Repeat with the remaining balls.

During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients into a serving bowl.

Take the crispy rice balls, and break apart into bite-sized pieces, adding them into the mixing bowl. Once all of the balls have been taken apart, mix everything together.

To plate, add a mound of the nam khao to a serving plate, and serve alongside cabbage or lettuce leaves, fresh lime, and whole Thai bird chili peppers.

Lao Crispy Rice Salad - Nam Khao

The result is amazing. My wife fell in love with this dish. The fresh herbs, the awesome crunchiness of the rice and peanuts, and when folded into the cabbage leaf and drizzle with a bit of lime juice, need I say any more? It always warms up very nicely for any leftovers, and who doesn’t love that during a busy work week!

If you are looking for adventure, give this one a shot. It is really up there with one of my top five lettuce wraps and Asian recipes.

Lao Crispy Rice Salad - Nam Khao
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai, Lao
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of jasmine rice, cooked, and cooled
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten with 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups of ground pork, cooked, and cooled
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup of shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole lime
  • ½ cup of roasted peanuts
  • green cabbage leaves
  • ½ cup of fresh mint
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp red chili flakes (reduce for less heat)
  • ½ cup of nam, fermented pork, chopped
  • Thai bird chilies, optional
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Start by combining your cooled rice, the eggs with soy sauce, curry paste, salt, sugar, cooked ground pork, and coconut into a mixing bowl. Making sure everything is combined, form into baseball sized balls.
  2. Next, heat the oil and let it come up to about 350 degrees. Add one ball at a time, and cook until completely golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and let it rest on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  3. Repeat with the remaining balls.
  4. During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients into a serving bowl.
  5. Take the crispy rice balls, and break apart into bite-sized pieces, adding them into the mixing bowl. Once all of the balls have been taken apart, mix everything together.
  6. To plate, add a mound of the nam khao to a serving plate, and serve alongside cabbage or lettuce leaves, fresh lime, and whole Thai bird chili peppers.