“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~Julia Child
I love to experiment in the kitchen. Some trials are hits and some hit the trash can. Some are originals and others come from reliable sources like Food Network or Food and Wine Magazine. Super Bowl Sunday I found another homerun from the January 2014 Bon Appetit magazine, Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens Soup. I made it as a first course, but it could easily be an entree as well.
- ½ pound ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
- 1tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
- ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
- 1Tbs vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bunch mustard greens, torn (I used 1 bag pre-cut)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 8 oz. wide rice noodles
Mix pork, garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and cumin in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8–10 minutes. Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce, and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over.
Notes: If you can find rice noodles that come in 2 oz individual packages that works best. I made a double recipe of the soup and found that 8 oz. of noodles was perfect. I would recommend only making 4 oz. with a single recipe.
If you are specialty market challenged, as I am, Sichuan peppercorns may not be found. I Googled a substitute and this is what I found
Sichuan peppercorn is not a pepper at all. Substitute with black peppercorns.
That made no sense at all to me so I kept digging until I found one that made sense -use equal parts black peppercorns and anise seeds. Although the recipe was missing the “tingly mouth sensation” that Sichuan peppercorns are used for, it was still delicious.
So much zucchini, but what to do with it? Fried zucchini? Delightful, but fried. Grilled zuke? Awesome, but I am grilled out. Zucchini fritters? My mom makes the best so why even try to top perfection.
Here’s a super easy, equally impressive zucchini recipe.
2 large farmers market zucchini (or home grown. I am still waiting for mine)
1/3 cup freshly grated Italian cheese
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt (light on the salt, especially if your cheese is salty)
freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the cheese bread crumbs and spices in a mixing bowl.
Slice the zucchini into 1/4-1/2″ rounds
Sprinkle both sides of the zucchini with olive oil
Dredge the zuke through your breadcrumb mix. Pat on to get more to stick
Line your cookie sheet with zucchini and bake for 40 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
You can also serve with a side of red sauce for dunking or make a fresh tomato topping to serve like bruschetta.