Pork Sandwich.

pork sandwich

Anybody out there watch the Walking Dead? Well, we are pretty hooked on the show, honest to goodness. Chris has read the comics since Issue 1, so he was stoked when they announced a TV adaptation. Me? I tend to watch the zombie movies/shows/etc just to make him happy. Me not whining seems to make him not whine, which in general is a pretty good thing. So when I can, I just keep my mouth shut.

If you know me, you might have chuckled a bit there. I am rarely silent.


Anyhow, maybe you can sense where I’m going here. I decided to watch the show with him, way back when. One episode in, and I was hooked. So dang glad I kept my mouth shut that time for a change. So somehow, we roped a few friends into coming over and watching some episodes with us. We called it a “shredded meat party”. Ha!! They got hooked too. And we got to eat a lot of pulled pork.

The second half of season 3 started a few weeks ago, and we set up the same system. Another party of shredded meat. We are such cheeseheads. But this time, the crazy sickness took a ton of our group, and by mid-afternoon it was determined that it would be the two of us, the show, and a bowl o’ pork. We even grabbed some “SF Beer Week” beverages while we waited.

As it turned out, we managed to eat this dish that week and into the following week. I froze a little and ate that a week or so later. It was interesting: I was glad to have it between just the two of us, but at the same time, man, this was an amazing dish. It would have been a great one to share. So maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it again. Zombie or no zombie.

aleppo pepper pork sandwich

Aleppo Pepper Pork & Fennel Sandwiches
adapted from Food & Wine, September 2011; serves 6

time commitment: 3 1/2 hours the day of (30 minutes active), plus overnight marinating

printable version



3 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder

1 T fine sea salt

3 T minced garlic

1/4 c plus 1 T Aleppo pepper

1/4 c white wine vinegar


1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

3 T fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large fennel bulb—trimmed, cored and very thinly sliced

4 cups (packed) arugula

6 toasted rolls, split, for serving


Make 6 cuts in the pork, 1 inch apart, cutting most of the way through the meat. Rub the pork all over with the salt. Rub the pork with the garlic and then with the Aleppo pepper, covering the meat completely. Wrap the pork in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Set the pork in a baking dish just large enough to hold it and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover the pork with parchment paper and then cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Pour all but 1/4 cup of the roasting juices into a bowl and reserve. Drizzle the pork with the vinegar, cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir the olive oil with the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Add the fennel and arugula and toss.

Discard any fat and gristle from the pork. Shred the meat into large pieces and toss with the pan juices and reserved juices. Pile the meat on the rolls, top with the fennel salad and serve.

How ’bout some Artichoke in your Hash

flank steak with aleppo pepper aioli

There is nothing like a Sunday without a list of to-do’s. I’d finished my homework yesterday, so Sunday was all mine (aside from weekly laundry) – which meant I got to make lunch and prepare a non-weeknight-dinner. I always try to cook something pretty hefty on Sunday, so we’ll have enough to last a couple of days for lunch. Since I wasn’t able to cook much last week cause of my birthday (well… and class of course), I turned into a cookin’ machine today. Fortunately, for the sake of my pants fitting, I did not bake the pumpkin biscuits as I’d planned. (but I think I cancelled that out with a piece of red velvet cake that jennifer made for my bday…. oh well. There is NO dieting in culinary school. None.)

aioli and steak rub

With tons of enthusiasm regarding my dinner plans, I hopped up out of bed and headed to the grocery store (and back!) before noon. If you know me, you know that THAT never happens. I am very much a sleep till 10, eat, drink coffee, and watch Food Network or DVR’d shows until 1-ish person. What made getting up and home before lunch possible was practically rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth, and quickly changing into the clothes on the floor (yep – no shower, no hair-brushing, and no coffee – Peets is right next to Whole Foods). And who needed a shower anyway, the storm outside was shower enough.

flank steak rub

I didn’t take any pictures at lunch, but I made roasted corn and goat cheese quesadillas. They were pretty good, and perfect for lunch. For dinner, I’d decided to make another meal from my recipe stack. The recipe itself was loooong and was rather intimidating, but it turned out to be pretty easy and really yummy. I think it was the artichokes that frightened me a bit. I have never cooked with artichokes. I always thought they were a little too funny lookin’ and was never willing to give them a chance. Anything that looks like brussel sprouts has potential to remain on the shelf and never get its foot (or any other part of itself) into my kitchen, and since they are green and round, they (artichokes) look like them (brussel sprouts). Once I realized that spinach artichoke dip, a lovely addition to any party, had artichoke in it (yeah, I know….) I realized that maybe I did like them after all and when I saw this recipe, I decided this would be the test.

sauteed artichokes

As it turns out, artichokes are mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed. They are especially tasty when cooked alongside potatoes. According to Wikipedia, hash is often a mixture of beef, onions, potatoes and spices that are cooked either alone or with other ingredients. Think corned beef hash. I tend to refer to hash as anything involving small pieces of potatoes and other ingredients, and apparently Bon Appetit does too. I wonder what the Food Lovers’ Companion would say? I forgot to look when I was at home…
What really made this dish though – strangely enough – was the aioli. The recipe uses Aleppo pepper, which is a medium-heat pepper from Syria. Whole Foods didn’t have it, and although I was up and at it early, I wasn’t in the mood for spice shopping, so I substituted a mixture of sweet paprika and cayenne in a 4:1 ratio. Don’t know if it tastes like Aleppo pepper, but it’s good nonetheless, and that’s what the Internet told me to do. And with it rubbed on the flank steak with thyme, it makes for a really scrumptuous flavorful dish. One of those dishes where all the flavors tie in together – the thyme in the hash and on the steak, aleppo pepper in aioli and rubbed on the steak, etc. But the aioli – what a tasty treat. It sounds fancy, but it’s really just mayo and garlic, plus anything else you add. Simple. And good. So damn good.

Go whip this up. And don’t be afraid of the artichokes, like I was. They are pretty wussy and don’t make all the fuss you hear about. Promise 🙂

Flank Steak w/ Artichoke Potato Hash & Aleppo Pepper AioliAdapted from Bon Appetit, April 2009; Serves 4-6

printable recipe


2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 t Aleppo pepper (or 4:1 sweet paprika:cayenne pepper)
1/4 t kosher salt
1/2 cup mayo (I used light mayo)
2 T evoo
1 t Sherry wine vinegar

1 1/2 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 t Aleppo pepper (or substitute above)
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1 1.5-2 lb flank steak
1/2 lemon
8 baby artichokes, stems trimmed
1 1/4 pounds unpeeled yellow potatoes
3 T evoo, divided
1/2 c water
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T heavy cream
1 T peanut or veggie oil
2 T chopped fresh chives (I didn’t have any, used scallions)

Mash garlic, Aleppo pepper, salt, pepper in small bowl with back of spoon (or use mortar & pestle if you have one) to form paste. Whisk in evoo, mayo, Sherry vinegar.

Mix thyme, Aleppo pepper, 1 t salt, 1/4 t pepper in small bowl. Rub onto steak and set aside.

Squeeze juice from lemon half into medium bowl of water. Cut 1/2 inch from tops of artichokes. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, break off dark outer leaves until only pale yellow leaves remain. Cut artichokes lengthwise in half; cut each half into 1/2 inch wedges. Place in lemon water to prevent browning.

Place potatoes in heavy large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to med-hi and boil until tender, 8-10 min. Drain and transfer to baking sheet until cook enough to handle. Halve or quarter, depending on size.

Drain artichokes; pat to dry then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 T olive oil in large skillet over med-hi heat. Add artichokes and saute until browned, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Cover skillet and simmer over med heat until artichokes are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover & boil until liquid evaporates, stirring often, 2-3 mins. Add remaining 1 T olive oil and potatoes; stir to coat. Add cream and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook until potatoes are heated through and browned in areas, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Season hash to taste. Let stand at room temp.

Preheat oven to 400. Heat peanut/veggie oil in ovenproof skillet over hi heat. Add stead and cook until bottom is brown, about 2 minutes. Turn steak over; transfer to oven and roast until desired doneness, about 7 mins for med-rare. Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil to keep warm. Let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rewarm hash gently over medium heat. Stir in chopped chives. Thinly slice steak crosswise. Divide steak and hash among plates. Drizzle aioli over steak.