Tag Archives: pork belly

PHOTOS: Chef Ludo’s Confit Pork Belly

Last week I made Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Confit Pork Belly, in celebration of his new cooking show, The Taste (on ABC).

Prepping and cooking the pork was almost a three-day process, but SO worth the time and effort.

Best of all? I got to share it with Ludo, his wife Krissy and a small group of friends, who gathered at the Lefebvre’s home for the premiere. If you haven’t seen The Taste yet, you can view it online here.

Buying Pork Belly at Lindy & Grundy
I purchased the pork belly at Lindy & Grundy. Erte was kind enough to score the skin for me!

Pork Belly Brining
The first step is to make a brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. Chef Ludo’s recipe is on page 228 of his book, LudoBites.

Pork Belly Confit
Remove the pork from the brine, then confit in lard in the oven on a low temperature. The lard was also purchased from Lindy & Grundy.

Cold-pressing the pork belly
After it’s cooked low and slow, the belly must be cold-pressed in the refrigerator overnight. I used two glass casserole pans and foil-covered bricks to compress the pork.

Pork Belly almost finished
After cold-pressing the pork belly, gently cut pieces, transfer to a new pan and cook until golden brown and heated through.

Pork Belly w Glaze!
Make the Glaze
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
1/3 cup of reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Combine the honey, vinegar, soy sauce and five-spice powder in a heavy small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk the cornstarch mixture, then whisk into the glaze to blend and return the glaze to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cover to keep warm.

Ludo seasoning my pork belly!
I finished the pork belly at Ludo’s home and was thrilled that he (and all the guests) enjoyed it!

PorkBelly11Pork Belly w Glaze!
My Pork Belly Confit finished.

LudoBites Cookbook
The recipe is from LudoBites, available on Amazon or iTunes. I’ve cooked several recipes from the book, and have loved every bite!

Follow Ludo on Twitter

All about The Taste on FaceBook

Follow The Taste on Twitter

Go #TeamLudo!

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Filed under Recipes

Pressed Belly Of Pork

How to make Gordon Ramsay’s Pressed Belly of Pork.

Watch this video (a short clip from his show, the F Word).

Shop for the ingredients (per video recipe)
Pork Belly
White Wine (1 bottle)
Chicken Stock (1 cup)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

Then follow these next steps:

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Beautiful Pork Belly from Lindy & Grundy

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Score the pork belly, season with salt & pepper then drizzle with olive oil
Add garlic & thyme to pan, resting the scored pork belly on top
Pour about 1/2 bottle of wine around the belly
Cover with foil
Cook for 2 hours in oven

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Remove pork from baking pan

Pressed Belly Of Pork (making the sauce)
Make the gravy by first deglazing with the rest of the white wine
Reduce, add chicken stock, reduce again then sieve into bowl
Cover and put gravy in fridge

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Get two trays (I used two glass pans) and press together

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Weigh down with heavy cans, or use foil-covered bricks
Cold-press in fridge for at least 6 hours

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Remove weights and top pan (carefully)

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Cut into portions
Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Cook for 10 minutes or until crisped to your liking
Warm the gravy

Pressed Belly Of Pork
Gordon Ramsay’s Pressed Belly of Pork… DONE!

About Gordon Ramsay’s F Word

Follow Gordon Ramsay on Twitter

Lindy and Grundy Butchers

Follow Lindy & Grundy on Twitter


Filed under Recipes

Upcoming Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa 2011

Top Chef Master Rick Bayless was in town recently to help promote Food and Wine Magazine’s upcoming Food Festival in Ixtapa, Mexico. The event was held in Red O restaurant’s tequila bar, where Bayless is the consulting chef. Some of my favorite journalists (including the legendary Barbara Hansen) and lucky food bloggers (myself included) were there to learn more about the upcoming festival.

Food & Wine Ixtapa event at Red OEven though Bayless was only on hand for a short while (Top Chef Masters are busy of course!), my friend Brent and I had fun snapping photos (he’s a huge Bayless fan), and really enjoyed chatting with Jorge Gamboa Patrón, the L.A. Director of Mexico’s Tourism Board. I definitely need to spend more time (eating) across the border!

Travel Weekly writes: “The event, scheduled for March 26 to 28, is hosted by the magazine in conjunction with the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bayless and chefs and bartenders from throughout Mexico will lead three days of cooking demonstrations, tastings, seminars and intimate tours of the culinary scene.” (more via link below)

The festival schedule includes a Catamaran Tour to Zihuatanejo Bay, “Market to Table” with Rick Bayless, a Tequila Tasting, a Wine Seminar and a Celebration of Top Female Chefs of Mexico.

This was my first visit to Red O, and the Partida tequila that bartender Steven Calabro was serving, certainly added to the fun evening. Check out his “Bartending Boot Camp” website, along with festival links below.


Chefs Edgar Vazquez, Rick Bayless, Victor Torres
Chefs Edgar Vazquez, Rick Bayless, Victor Torres

Chef Rick Bayless w my friend Brent
Bayless and Brent

with Top Chef Master Rick Bayless
With the Top Chef Master! (We chatted about my fan club for Ludo!)

Pork Belly Sopes, Salsa Negra, Sesame
Pork Belly Sopes, Salsa Negra, Sesame were fantastic!

Guests were given autographed copies of “Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends” (Thanks Chef!)

Event Date: 1/19/2011

Many THANKS to Lisa Kennelly (Curator PR) for the kind invitation to this event!

Food and Wine Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Festival Schedule

Top Chef Masters Chef Rick Bayless on Twitter Rick Bayless’ website

Barbara Hansen on Twitter Barbara Hansen’s website

Bartending Boot Camp

More photos on Flickr

Tequila Partida

Mexico Tourism Board
Email Jorge Gamboa Patrón jgamboa@visitmexico.com

Travel Weekly

Red O Restaurant Website

I haven’t dined at Red O yet, but check out these beautiful photos by Kevin Eats

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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

Great Pub Grub

Pub Grub @ Laurel Tavern

On those rare occasions when Peter and I don’t have dinner plans, we sometimes head up to Laurel Tavern, our favorite pub on Ventura Blvd.

It’s just a few minutes from our house, and even though they’re known for a terrific selection of beers, we actually go for the food.

After we hustle a couple of seats (it’s a popular joint), we check out the chalkboard on the wall for specials. Then we hunker down with cocktails and share a few plates of WAY above average pub grub.





Pub Grub @ Laurel Tavern
Chorizo Sliders

Pub Grub @ Laurel Tavern
Beet, Buratta & Citrus Salad, Chorizo Sliders, Pork Belly Skewers (we always get these!), Fries cooked in PORK FAT, Chorizo Fondue

Laurel Tavern
11938 Ventura Blvd 
Studio City, CA 91614
(818) 506-0777

More Laurel Tavern Photos on Flickr


Filed under Little Bites

Party at the Ox!

Most of the time, when Peter and I go out to dinner, it’s just the two of us at the table. While catching up on the day’s activities, we order cocktails and share a few dishes, trading plates after eating EXACTLY half. I think we’re pretty lucky because after fifteen years together, we still love hanging out, especially when we’re trying a new restaurant. Just look for the couple having the most fun in the room… it’s probably us!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1Every once in a while we go out with a group of friends, and two of our most recent gatherings have been at the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. The first visit was on January 14th after we attended an earthquake fundraiser at TiGeorges Haitian Restaurant on Glendale Blvd. Peter and I, along with our neighbor Nelson, met up with Charles and Robert to find a very successful charity event, but no food (they had just sold out). So after we all made donations, we decided to head downtown and check out the Lazy Ox.

We didn’t have reservations, but hostess Janna (who is gorgeous and super sweet) let us takeover a long, communal table. The giant mirror across the way made it perfect for checking out the entire room.

Our servers were both fantastic. At first “Q” took our orders and helped us decide on a few dishes from the $5 happy hour menu, then Rolando stepped in with recommendations from the regular menu. Having just come from the Haiti charity event, we were all in such great spirits and it showed in what we ordered. Lots of wine, lots of sharing and lots of laughs.

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1I started talking to Rolando about his “day job” at Sage Mountain Farm, and was fascinated to learn that he personally delivers his vegetables to the Lazy Ox. His passion really showed in the way he spoke about the produce, and it also made me slow down and pay more attention to the  food on the plate in front of me. Rolando also works with several other L.A. area restaurants including Locali in Silverlake.

Our second dinner at “the Ox” (as everyone now seems to be calling it), was a couple of weeks after the first. Another group dinner with friends Bob and Andrew, who were entertaining visiting relatives. Another fun night sharing almost unending plates of (albeit daring to some) delicious food.

My favorite bites so far have been the Bӓco (if you go, order this FIRST!), Pig’s Ears, Chicharones Skewers, Braised Beef with Cream of Wheat… oh HECK, just look at the photos below because I’ve fallen for everything on Chef Josef Centeno’s menu!

Peter and I will be back soon, if we can get a reservation that is! Rave reviews (links below) and a recent mention on Jonathan Gold’s “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die” list will make it a bit more difficult to party at the Ox, but it’s definitely worth the effort!!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
The Bӓco: Grilled flatbread, crispy pork belly, arugula and poblano sauce

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Truffled Potato Croquettes. Only $5 on Happy Hour Menu

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Sea Bream is brick oven roasted, head on, with herbs, lemon, purple baby scallions, and chimichurri

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
White Soy Marinated Yellowtail with crushed avocado, crispy hash brown and creme fraiche

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Crispy Pig Ears with Horseradish Cream

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Whipped Jersey Cow Ricotta with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Toasted Peruvian corn, with spices and lime called cancha

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Pork Chicharones Skewers with poblano sauce at Lazy Ox Canteen. $5 on the Happy Hour Menu.
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Chicken Livers with Whole-Grain Mustard & Pancetta Crisp $7

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Charred Octopus with Pickled Shallots, Lima Beans and Smoked Paprika $15
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Salt Cod Brandade Fritters with Grated Mojama & Lemon Vinaigrette $8

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Braised Beef Paleron (pot roast) w/ cream of wheat, kumquats and red wine $23
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Turnips, Quinoa and Walnut Chile Tarator Sauce $21

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Hand-Torn Egg Pasta with Sunny-Side Egg, Brown Butter & Fines Herbs $11

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2

All my Lazy Ox Canteen Photos on Flickr

241 S. San Pedro St.
Little Tokyo, Downtown L.A. 90012
(213) 626-5299

Dining Dates: 1/14/10 & 2/6/10

99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before you Die by Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold’s Review on L.A. Weekly

L.A. Times Review

Jonathan Gold discusses Lazy Ox on KCRW’s Good Food

Check out Anne Fishbein’s BEAUTIFUL photos!

Haiti Fundraiser at TiGeorges’ Chicken

Sage Mountain Farm

Follow the Lazy Ox on Twitter

Lazy Ox Canteen on Urbanspoon


Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

Deeply Madly Marché

Marché Restaurant Sunday Supper [Visit 6]

When Peter and I fall in love with a restaurant, we fall MADLY. Especially so, when it’s just a few minutes away from our home in Studio City. Although we tried to show some restraint in the past few weeks, we have NOT been able to stay away from our (now favorite) neighborhood spot.

During our New Year’s Eve dinner at Marché (link below), Chef Gary Menes told us about his upcoming “Sunday Suppers”. Instead of the regular tasting menu (which we LOVE because we share multiple plates), there would be a 4-Course Prix Fixe dinner for only $30.

When we learned (on yet another visit) that Marché server Ashton Sullivan would be the evening’s entertainment, we decided to make this first “Marché Sunday Supper” a good old fashioned party.

It’s not a real party without my nephews (big brothers to the twins), so Camron and Cody (along with their girlfriends) drove out from Glendora in the pouring rain. Friends Emrah & Silma trekked into the valley from over the hill, and although Lisa & Dave could have easily walked the few blocks to the restaurant, the streets were just too wet for a casual Sunday stroll.

The atmosphere is so cozy at Marché, especially on a cold and rainy night. Our table of ten hunkered down for a few hours of great food, drinks, soothing guitar by Ashton and of course lots of laughs. As Lisa (@DailyWine) tweeted the next morning: “You’re doing something right when place is packed on a Sun in LA in the rain”. So true.

Sunday Supper #1 [visit 6]:

Marché Restaurant visit 6
1st Course: Romey Lettuce, Goat Cheese, Apples, Cider Vinaigrette.
2nd Course: Soup – Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, Truffle Scented Creme Fraiche.
3rd Course: Beouf Bourguignon (cooked sous vide for 36 hours at 60 degrees celsius), Pomme Puree.
4th Course: Creme Caramel, Coconut Butter Cookies.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
3rd course option (instead of the beouf bourguignon) was Blue Hubbard Squash, Wheat Berries, Smoked Pearl Onions, Sauce Soubise.

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Cody (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jade, Camron (my nephew) & his girlfriend Jennee at the first ever Sunday Supper at Marché Restaurant

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Peter having a laugh with Chef Menes

Marché Restaurant visit 6
Music by Ashton Sullivan
Marché Restaurant visit 6
With our good friends Emrah and Simla

Sunday Supper: $30
Quartino of Wine $5
Dining Date: 1/17/10 with Peter, Cody, Jade, Camron, Jennee, Lisa & Dave, Simla & Emrah.
Mentioned above:

Marché [Visit 5]
Marché Restaurant visit 5
Pig Candy: Applewood Smoked Bacon, Brown Sugar, Spices

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Veal Tongue Pastrami, Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Jambon, Butter, Pain Grille

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Local Yellow Tail, Honshimegi Mushrooms, Sugar Peas, Green Garlic

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Purple Top Turnips, Chantrelle Mushrooms, Hearts of Romaine

Marché Restaurant visit 5
Prime Beef, Pomme de Terre, Torpedo Onions, Haritcots Verts, Red Wine

Dining Date: 1/08/10 with Peter, Bob, Lisa & Dave

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter

13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

All Marché photos on Flickr

Marché [1 & 2]

Marché [3]

New Year’s Eve at Marché [4]

Marche on Urbanspoon


Filed under Eating Out

A Bossa Nova New Year’s Eve

Bossa Nova music makes me feel giddy and extraordinarily happy. You know that feeling you get from listening to childhood records? A sudden spike of joy deep inside your soul?

Dancing with my big sister Janet, OkinawaWhen my sister Janet and I were growing up in Okinawa, our favorite records were the ones we weren’t allowed to play. Dutifully, we listened to Disney records that our grandparents mailed from the states, but we most enjoyed sneaking into our dad’s immaculate record collection.

He never found out about our little secret because my big sister was absolutely brilliant (even at seven years old). When we decided on an LP that we wanted to hear, Janet would pull THREE albums partially out of the record shelf. The one we wanted to hear was in the middle, the two others on each side were place holders (so she knew where to return the treasured vinyl). Big sis never allowed ME to actually TOUCH the records, which was probably a really good idea.

Our very favorite albums back then were Herb Alpert, and the awesome Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66. We knew all the words to “Mais Que Nada” (still do), and would invite friends over for after-school dancing. To this day, Bossa Nova is always on my party mix. Just try listening to “One Note Samba / Spanish Flea” without dancing or bobbing your head.

When Peter and I first met fifteen years ago, we bonded over discussions of Bossa Nova music. Two years later on our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to Astrud Gilberto’s “Summer Samba (So Nice)”. If you don’t know the song, the lyrics begin with:

“Someone to hold me tight, that would be very nice
Someone to love me right, that would be very nice

Someone to understand each little dream in me
Someone to take my hand and be a team with me

So nice… life would be so nice, if one day I’d find
Someone who would take my hand and samba through life with me”

And yes, it’s been SO NICE!

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteFor New Year’s Eve, we like to do something low-key. Sometimes we spend it with family, sometimes we cook together at home or go out to a nearby restaurant.

We’ve fallen in love with chef Gary Menes’ cooking at Marche’ recently, and luckily the restaurant is just a few minutes from our house. When I read there would be a live JAZZ band on New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but I just assumed it would be modern or fusion jazz. Not my favorite, but I figured at least Peter would really enjoy it. Besides Bossa, I’m a big fan of New Orleans jazz (especially Preservation Hall, the legendary band we recently saw at Disney Hall).

We had a 9pm dinner reservation, and I knew the food would be fantastic (this would be our fourth visit) so I wasn’t going to let the jazz in the background bother me. The duo wasn’t playing when we were being seated, and after we settled in and put on our party hats, there it was…. glorious BOSSA NOVA!

Yes, it was an elegantly laid-back, truffle-filled (thank you chef Menes!) food fest of a New Year’s Eve at Marche’, but with our beloved Bossa Nova warming up the crowded yet cozy dining room, it felt more like a party just for two.

My very Last Bites in 2009:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Winter Black Truffle Risotto. Raviolli: Swiss Chard, Mascarpone, Reggiano, Chestnuts.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, Date Compote, Brioche. Romey Lettuce, Baby Beets, Goat Cheese, Pistachios.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Hokkaido Scallops, Cauliflower, Apple, Gastrique, Vaudouvan Butter.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Fennel, Orange, Pear, Forbidden Rice.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Peas, Carrots, Tendrils, Grits.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
A5 Grade Australian 100% Wagu eye of RibEye , Pomme Puree, Hearts of Romaine, Bunch Onions, Red Wine

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Calvados Brandy Cheesecake (plus lovely Caramel Apple Millefeuill, Apple Walnut Cake and Brown Sugar Ice Cream!) 

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter


Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteMarché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915

Dining Date: 12/31/09 [this page is Visit 4]

Photos of all my dinners at Marché

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Mentioned Above:

Bozza Nova from Wes Smith and Graham Dechter

All Marché photos on Flickr

More Okinawa Photos


Filed under Eating Out