Spam Misubi is an Hawaiian-Japanese adaptation of a rice ball dating from WWII. Daughter Eilene loves them, but mother, Jan, will not allow Spam in the house. Jan is teaching a night class, so I thought I would make Eilene spam misubi for dinner.
Category Archives: Pork
Many weeks I will spend the entire week thinking about and planning Sunday’s dinner. I have had a rough week—broken car, broken shower, broken refrigerator—and I did not feel I had it in me to plan an elaborate meal ahead of time. A plain ham steak, steamed green beans, a simple coleslaw, and a baked sweet potato would have to do. While this is a meal that started off simply, I got carried away.
Adapted from a Just One Cookbook recipe
Friday night my family had dinner at a new Japanese Ramen restaurant. While the atmosphere was fairly authentic, the ramen was more than disappointing. The soup was tepid, the noodles under done, and the egg was icy in the middle. Although I have never made anything but instant ramen before, I knew I could do better.
Jan’s “old” brother—long story involving 23&Me—and his wife are stopping by for breakfast. He has few teeth left and they have very standard “American” tastes—so nothing too chewy or exotically spiced. I decided that biscuits and gravy would be to their liking.
In the 1970’s I was working for a diving company based in Belle Chasse, LA. I can’t think about N’Orl’ns (one word) without thinking about the food. For two years I lived off of Muffulettas, Shrimp Etouffee, boiled crawfish, and Jambalaya. Louisiana food generally falls into two main cuisines Creole and Cajun, which roughly corresponds to city and country. I have posted a Cajun jambalaya, but today I decided to go Creole.
I love twice cooked pork, but to make it requires that you have some slow-cooked, Asian-flavored pork to start with—highly spiced Mexican pork will not do. Many American Chinese restaurants start by boiling pork belly, then slicing it, and frying it to make a very fatty dish. In China, what I was served was usually made with lean pork. Traditional, twice cooked pork is basically a Chinese leftover dish—or as my Chinese students called it “peasant food.”
I decided to get creative with this week’s Sunday dinner. A bit of this and a bit of that to create a new sauce to roast my pork shoulder. It is not strictly a Chinese dish, but more of an Asian influenced roast pork.
When Safeway has a half price sale on hams (after a holiday) I buy a half a ham and cut it into ¾ inch ham steaks to freeze for later. A ham steak is pretty much just a slab of meat. The trick is what glaze do you put on it to dress it up. I have been experimenting with ways to use my marmalades—in other ways than just slathering it on toast and pancakes in the morning.
When my family does not issue me a challenge—a new cuisine, a particular meat, or an untried vegetable to explore—I sometimes struggle to come up with something new for my Sunday dinners. This dish came up in a roundabout way. Jan, my wife, mentioned the other day about how she really liked fresh pea soup. You might ask, “How does pea soup turn into Asian cabbage rolls?”
Jan asked for this dish in the morning, as a result, I was not able to pre-soak my beans overnight. This left me with the “quick soak” method—bring a pot of water and beans to a boil and then let them rest for an hour off the heat. My variation to this method is that I make a rich ham broth and then soak the beans in this flavorful, salty liquid.