Pickled pig knuckles and a beer

Weekend eats. Drank plenty of Colt45 in the past but never together with pickled pig parts from the gallon sized jar that used to be found on the counter of most NewYork bodegas, though not so much anymore. My pickled pig knuckles came off the supermarket shelf. From my first and only mouthful of knuckles my whole face puckered from the vinegar brine that had totally infused the fatty meat. Right away it was not my taste, even the cold beer had to work to get noticed by my taste buds after that. Speaking with my southern in-laws about pickled pork they talk about it with so much love. Back in the day it was a cheep bar snack that was useful to the stomach for a night of heavy drinking much like Jamaica’s mannish water/goat head soup. This is not a delicacy only found in the south, it exists all around the world made with just about every part of the pig with any combination of spices and vinegar. If you see pickled pig parts in a bodega give it a try because it’s part of a vanishing New York.

Barbecued Rib Tips

My simple way to cook pork ribs, in this case rib tips! No barbecue grill needed!  I bought the ribs from my local Asian market here in Brooklyn. It was a long narrow strip so I had the butcher chop them into smaller pieces. Once I got them home I washed and trimmed away some of the excess fat. How you might season yours is up to you. This is how I cooked mine…

Ribs 800

1-lb of pork rib tips
½ tsp salt
3 cups of water
Two medium sized chopped garlic cloves
¼ tsp dried chili pepper flakes
1 tsp. Old bay seasoning or any rub that you like
1 cup of barbecue sauce
Scallions for garnish

Cooking directions

On the stovetop place your meat in a pot wide enough to spread out the meat. Add water, garlic, salt, chili peppers and Old Bay seasoning or any rub that you like.    The idea is to steam the meat so don’t let the water completely cover it. Bring to a boil then turn down to a very low simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes then remove from the heat. Transfer the liquid to another container; let it sit for several minutes or so to allow the fat to rise to the top then skim it off. Transfer the meat into a shallow pan and cook at 250 degrees in a pre-heated oven for another 45 minutes, if needed add a little of the juice that you set aside earlier to avoid it from drying out. At this point the meat is fully cooked and it’s now time to add the barbecue sauce. I used a sauce that came right out of a bottle but it was a little too thick for my liking so I thinned it just a little with some of the juice that was left after the fat was skimmed from it. Pour the sauce over the meat and return it to the oven to cook at 350 degrees for an additional 20 minutes. You can determine if you want to change the amount of time you cook the ribs at this point based on how thick the sauce gets as the moisture in it evaporates. I like mine with a lot of sauce although some people only need a hint of barbecue flavoring. When it’s ready to plate up add the dark green end of the scallions as garnish. The meat was tender, delicious, and nicely coated with the sauce. The chili pepper flakes gave the ribs a nice heat. I paired this dish with an ice-cold glass of Japanese Sapporo beer.
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Saw These Blue Crabs…

9 megs_blue crabs

















Produce store on Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.  These blue crabs caught my attention      because of the way they all looked at the bottom of a large deep plastic container.  Their shells were blue, seen that, but I had never seen rounded shells before.  Under the store’s florissant light they looked like little sci-fi creatures.  The raw color and texture of our food and the journeys it has to take on it’s way to our tables makes interesting photos.

Collard Greens

Collard greens

Collard greens wasn’t on the roster of greens I grew up eating.  I came to love them while living in New York and going to art school.  It wasn’t from the occasional side of collard greens in a dinner box that I gained my insight from.  Read more…