What the Hell is Porchetta-Style Pork

Porchetta-style pork
It doesn’t mean car, apparently.

That’s not a question. That’s what I thought when I first saw this recipe in Women’s Health magazine, so that’s what I call the recipe. And I’ll straight away that I used the wrong cut of pork but loved the marinade. I also was not a fan of the beans/lemon juice/rosemary thing, so I’m not going to post that recipe. You can follow the link and get it if you need, but consider yourself warned, OK?

1 Tbs fennel seeds

3 cloves minced garlic or 1 1/2 tsp jarred stuff

1 Tbsp rosemary

2 oranges worth of zest*

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 pork roast

salt and pepper, to taste (I always use fresh-ground pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 450º (My awesome new oven takes forever to preheat, so I set it to preheat the same time I take the pork out the of the fridge and let it come down to room temp.)

2. On a cutting board, mix the garlic, fennel, zest, and rosemary together and start chopping. The mixture will get clumpy (the magazine calls it “pasty” but they’re fancy and I am not). That’s when you should put it in a bowl and add the olive oil.
3. Marinate the pork with this. I always find it helpful to stab the pork with a knife a few times to let the marinade seep in, and this is especially helpful with the “pasty” marinade that doesn’t run down the meat in drizzles. This is almost a dry rub except, well, it’s oily.

4. After sufficient time has passed – and this is wholly and completely up to you, because I didn’t wait but five minutes and the recipe says you can let it sit for four hours (although really, you can let it sit for a few days, who the hell are you to decide, Women’s Health? You don’t know me and my pork proclivities!) – put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 35 minutes, depending on your oven and whether or not you, like me, don’t insist on well-done pork.

5. Once the pork has a minimum internal temp of 155º, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. This is NOT the part where you make that godawful bean recipe. This is the part where you heat a nice can of black beans or pour yourself an indulgent glass of montepulciano d’abruzzo.

6. Eat.

Oh, and “porchetta” means – loosely translated – savory, fatty pork. This doesn’t taste fatty at all. It tastes like oranges and pepper, which I love.

*Do yourself a favor and peel and section the oranges after you zest them, then save for later. If you forget, odds are in your favor to find two green moldy lumps in your fridge next week. #PersonalExperience

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina Flank Steak

Don't Cry For Me Argentina Flank Steak
I’m still not 100% sure why it’s called Argentinean, but I’ll go with it!

3 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp water

3 cloves garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp minced jarred garlic)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp coarse black pepper

1/2 c. olive oil

1/2 c. fresh parsley

1 lb. flank steak

1 bunch scallions

The thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for a marinade and it’s super-easy to make. Seriously:

1. Whisk the first five ingredients together, then add the oil and the parsley separately and in that order.

2. Trim the ends off the scallions.

3. Season the steak with salt and pepper, the place on a hot grill. For medium rare (our preference), grill it on each side for three or four minutes. Flank steak, I should note, tastes like leather when cooked to any higher level of done.

4. Place the scallions on the grill one minute before you flip the steak (they should cook for four-five minutes).

5. Drizzle, pour, or dump the sauce over the steak. Alternately, you can use it as a dipping sauce. I poured. Enjoy.

On an unrelated note: Black swallowtail caterpillars ate almost all my parsley, so it was barely a 1/2 cup for me, but the parsley is resilient and the caterpillars are all Kafka-esque now, so I should be good to go for the next time I make this.

Mayo Feta Corn on the Cob

Feta Mayo Corn
It’s better than it sounds. Honest.

There was nothing about this recipe that should have earned it a place in the “Try” file – in fact, this is a late addition to the month (and man, do I have a TON of leftovers). I added it because I mentioned seeing it in a magazine, and El Cap’s dad – El Cap-in-law, or ECIL for short – said he used to love mayonnaise on something like peanut butter. I may have blocked the actual words from my memory, because I am not a mayo fan.

OK, that’s not altogether true. I like mayo in three specific things:

1. Egg salad

2. Subway steak and provolone with black olives and oil

3. Ham sandwiches

And that’s all. I only really eat #1, and I use almost no mayo, so it almost doesn’t count.

And now I have to add a fourth, which, honestly, didn’t even sound appealing.

Real Simple magazine is not known for healthy food, so I can never make this a staple, but damn. And it’s pretty simple to make. I adjusted a few things because, well, that’s what I do. Here’s my modified Feta Mayo Corn (a/k/a ECIL corn) recipe:

4 ears corn, shucked

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 handful ripped fresh cilantro

4 tsp mayo

2 ounces crumbled feta

1. Heat grill (we used charcoal but however you go ahead and do how you do). While it’s heating – or earlier in the day – place the  corn, olive oil, and cilantro in plastic zipper bag; shake to coat.

2. Grill corn until cooked (just a few minutes, usually)

3. Spread mayo on corn

4. Roll corn in feta

That’s in. Seriously amazing. The mayo melts almost instantly but gives the feta a binder. I’m sure there are healthier ways to create a binder, but one bite of this corn and I honestly couldn’t have cared less about health food.

Note: You’ll notice the Real Simple recipe called for far more mayo and chives. I forgot the chives and the corn doesn’t need that much mayo. 

Randy Wayne White & The Sunshine Plate

The Sunshine Plate
From The New York Times, this recipe sat, unused, far too long in a binder.

Randy Wayne White. I discovered this guy in my twenties, when I was starved for Florida fiction and he happily provided. A few years back, he published a cookbook, and it has (among other things) one of the best recipes for a shrimp curry you will ever taste. I’m not posting it here because I feel strongly you need to buy his Gulf Coast Cookbook and test the recipes yourself.

White lives in Pine Island, which is near Sanibel without being anything like Sanibel. I wrote a piece about the cluster of small coastal towns that exist on the island once in 2009, for Visit Florida, and I called it “The Florida Time Forgot.” I wrote about it again on my non-food (mostly) blog, Just Keep Swimming, in 2010, and in my soon-not-really-soon-to-be-a-bestseller-book about Florida, I describe Pine Island as the tomboy little sister to Sanibel’s prom queen appearance. Lots of fishermen here, so of course I wanted the shrimp recipe when I saw it in The New York Times Magazine in 2010.

Of course, I didn’t make the Yucatan Shrimp (but I will) – I actually used the pork recipe beneath it. And, me being me, I modified it, and you can find my version of the pork with pineapple salsa below.

Pineapple Salsa

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and diced

1  jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons ginger (I used the jarred stuff)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce (You can add more if you want more heat)

Juice of one lime

One pork roast, cut into 3/4″ thick slices (the salsa will top eight pork steaks)

Salt and pepper (I use kosher salt and grind the pepper)



1. Season pork with salt and pepper and sandwich pieces of mint and cilantro between them. Set aside while you…

2. Mix salsa in bowl.

3. On a quite hot grill – makes no matter to me if you use charcoal or gas; we used gas this time but will use charcoal if the mood suits us and we aren’t too hungry to wait for the flames to start to die – grill pork about  3 minutes per side.

4. Top with salsa.

5. Share and enjoy!


The Recipe File, One Month of New Food, & Feta Shrimp Fusilli

Instead of a recipe box, try file folders.
Instead of a recipe box, try file folders.

I have a habit – I freely admit I get this from my grandmother – of collecting recipes. Not just online (thank you, Allrecipes.com, for making my recipe file feel lighter when, in fact, it’s just getting worse) but in real life, where my once-slim and once-tidy bright pink binder… well, it kind of exploded.

Once we finished the kitchen remodel, I moved my recipe books into my new pantry (Why would two adults need a third bath when what really matters is having a way to store baking goods, that’s what I always say. Well, not always, but this time.) One small problem… the binder wouldn’t hold all the recipes anymore. It was the metaphorical blister on the glossy new lips of my new kitchen.

And so I weeded. I tossed recipes I tried and hated, purged ones that no longer held any appeal, and filed the remainder in sleek file folders.

One folder, the “TRY” folder, taunts me. This month I vow to try each recipe and file or pitch it. If it’s worthy, I will post the results here.

Last night I made this, though, with rave review from El Cap, a/k/a The World’s Pickiest Eater.

Feta Shrimp Fusilli

  • 2 cups fusilli
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  •  1 pound Key West shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  1. Set water to boil for pasta and shrimp (two pots, people, this isn’t one of those Pinterest one-pot meals) and add a dollop of olive oil to the pasta water to keep it from boiling over the lip.
  2. Peel and vein shrimp (or have El Cap do it, as is my preference)
  3. Boil pasta to desired tenderness.
  4. Boil shrimp for three minutes.
  5. Drain pasta and return to bowl with one tablespoon olive oil.
  6. Crumble feta over pasta; mix.
  7. Add shrimp and tomatoes.