Zucchini Don’t Say Hi

One moment they’re still looking like little runt wieners in ruffled yellow skirts,

yet as soon as the clouds give way to the sun, the fields are suddenly littered as if it rained baseball bats.

This is my second year of signing up for a local CSA share, if you’re still new around here, hop on over to this post either now or later to find out why I started in the first place. Last year, zucchini season crushed me. I did okay with tomatoes, because they’re so damn versatile and especially the ones from ReRoot Farm since they’re so jam-packed with flavour they barely need any help. But zukes are different.

Some people like raw zucchini (zoodles, anyone?). But I think they’re really just trying to convince themselves that it tastes enough like nothingness to the point that it tastes like something else. Something about their spongy-cucumber-esque texture just really makes me miss the unabashed crunch of a real cucumber.

Yet if you will allow it, and if you’re willing to put in a tiny bit of effort, you’d find that they’re one of the unsung heroes of summer.

Here are some of the best traits of zucchini:

They caramelize very well.

Zucchinis, unlike cucumber, have quite a bit of sugar in them, similar to cauliflower and broccoli (which I also loathe when raw). However, in order to properly caramelize them, you’ll need to get the cut surface hot enough that the sugars caramelize before the heat breaks down its cellular structure and releases all the water stored up in each of the cells. In Layman’s terms, this means you want a rippin’ hot pan, so be sure to preheat your cast-iron.

They’re a sponge for salt and olive oil.

If you’re looking for some low-key luxury, literally need only a pound of small zucchini, good extra-virgin olive oil, and some sea salt. Bring a pot of well-salted water to the boil, add the zucchini whole, boil until tender (but not mushy). Fish them out onto a platter and douse immediately with the olive oil. Turn each zucchini so that all sides are coated and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Wait for 5 minutes for the olive oil to soak in, and eat as is, with some crusty bread to mop up any excess oil.

They’re silky, really silky if you do it right.

Yup, like chawan-mushi level. Which is crazy because it is a vegetable. But note the clause, so read on.

For everything comes from him

and exists

by his power and

is intended for

his glory.

Romans 11:36

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Zucchini Bacon Flapjack

This flapjack/pancake/giant fritter/fritatta thing uses zucchini as the basis for most of its body. By grating the zucchini, you’ve already crushed many of the cells in its structure and greatly increased its surface area. This speeds up the salting, whose purpose is mainly to remove the water from the zucchini, but also to add flavour. Last but not least, by incorporating it into the batter the steam generated from the zucchini as the pancake cooks helps the pancake rise, sort of like a souffle, which makes the final product custardy and light if served immediately when piping hot. Leftovers, however, are delicious pan-fried in a small skillet until crispy and heated through.

Zucchini Bacon Flapjack

  • 2 large zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c buttermilk
  • 4 thick slices of dry-cured bacon
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the zucchini and 1 tbsp salt until the juices start to collect at the bottom.
  2. Pour the zucchini into another bowl lined with a kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth (if you have a bag you use for straining nut milk, use that). Twist to squeeze out much of the water. No need to stress about getting it super dry, just do it until you’re left with about 2 cups of zucchini.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat your cast iron pan or a 9-inch non-stick skillet on medium low heat. Once hot, add the bacon and tease them to follow the shape of the pan. Flip the bacon a couple of times to lightly crisp them up, but mostly to render out the fat. You want them to be still pliable, as they will cook further later. Take them out of the pan as needed to keep them from becoming too crisp. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan.
  4. When the bacon is almost done, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs and buttermilk until it forms a thick batter, then fold in the zucchini.
  5. Increase the heat to medium so that the oil is lively and lightly sputtering. Scrape the zucchini batter into the pan over the bacon. Smooth out the top and let it cook for 2 minutes before reducing the heat back down to medium-low. Cover the pan with a lid to trap in the steam.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Once the oven is hot, remove the lid and tuck in the edges of the pancake so that you have a neat disc. Place the whole pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Take out the pan and tip the grease into a small bowl. Flip the pancake over (by inverting it onto a large plate, and be sure to wear gloves as the pan will be hot). Pour the grease back into the pan and slide the pancake back in as well (the bacon should now be at the top). Don’t worry if it rips, just piece it back together.
  9. Bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until golden, the edges and bacon are crisp, and the pancake is puffed up.
  10. Serve immediately, just don’t burn yourself too badly because I definitely didn’t.

Enjoy!

Green Eggs and Ham

“How dare I tamper

  with a recipe that

  literally breaks every

  Masterchef contender

  and elevates all

  Italian nonnas

  to culinary sainthood?”

 

This recipe is one of my weekday staples for one major reason –  it takes only 5 minutes which coincidentally happens to be what you need to poach your eggs and fry your bacon!

The trick is to par cook your rice in a reduced amount of water so that the center still has some bite. But if you just cook that further in the pan with stock until it becomes creamy, you’ll end up with congee, because the additional liquid means that the rice will eventually absorb more water and lose its perfectly cooked center. To fix this, we want to keep the amount of time the rice spends in the pan as short as possible.

But how do we get the stock to become creamy and “one” with the rice without the 20 minutes of stirring? Oldest trick in the book – corn starch. While I’m usually not a proponent for thickening agents in sauces (I prefer to either go through the pains of reducing it, or I’ll add some sort of ingredient that is meaningful in more ways than just to add body to the sauce), starch is a perfect fit in this case because the creaminess of a risotto comes from the starches released from the rice through relentless stirring anyway.

So there you have it – a risotto that’s essentially been segmented into

a) perfectly cooking the rice, and

b) adding liquid and adjusting the consistency

And how dare I tamper with a recipe that literally breaks every Masterchef contender and elevates all the Italian nonnas to sainthood? I’m a fourth-year UW student who can’t find it in her to shovel out 20 minutes to make dinner after a long day of class, that’s how. So if you want to go all traditionalist/purist/conservative on me, be my guest, just know that I am hangrily jealous of all that time you have on your wooden-spoon-holding, risotto-stirring hands.

Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.

-Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

Kale and Arugula Risotto with Poached Eggs and Bacon

Arugula and Kale Risotto with Poached Eggs and Bacon

Serves 2 to 4

Herb Puree

  • 2 c lightly packed baby arugula
  • 2 c lightly packed baby kale
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. To make the greens puree, bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil and add the baking soda. The alkaline baking soda will help intensify the green colour of the herbs.
  2. Blanch the greens for 10-15 seconds, or until wilted.
  3. Fish out the greens with a slotted spoon and plunge into an ice-bath immediately and stir until completely cold.
  4. Drain the greens and transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Add a splash of water to help the blades grab onto the greens if necessary, and be careful not to blend for too long – the heat caused by the friction from the blades will dull the bright green colour.
  5. Push the puree through a fine sieve and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days until needed.

Note: the water will separate out into a layer on top of the puree after a day in the fridge – I actually prefer to let the puree settle slowly in the fridge for that reason. When I use it, I can just pour out the clear liquid, and I’m left with an ultra-concentrated shot of chlorophyll.

Risotto

  • 1 1/2 c al dente cooked short-grain white rice, chilled**
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 c vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 batch herb puree (above)
  • Extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil, to drizzle
  • Poached eggs and fried thick-sliced bacon, to serve
  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the oil and garlic gently on medium heat until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the cold rice and stir to coat each grain in the oil.
  3. Add the stock, stir, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, meanwhile in a small bowl mix together the corn starch with 2 tbsp of cold water until smooth.
  4. Add the corn starch water and salt to the rice and stir until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the herb puree.
  5. Spoon into small bowls, top with a poached egg and a slice of bacon, then finish with a few drops of good olive oil.
  6. Serve immediately!

**to par-cook rice, reduce the amount of water by 25% to 33% depending on how much bite you like in your risotto. For example, 1 cup of rinsed uncooked rice should be cooked with 2/3 to 3/4 cups of water in the rice cooker (with additional water in the outer pot). If you don’t have a rice cooker, reduce the amount of water in your usual stove top recipe by the same amount. Once cooked and completely chilled, you can store the rice in the fridge for up to a week and turn it into risotto in under 10 minutes on any week night (or morning)! You’re welcome.

 

From here on out

Over these past few days, I’ve taken the time to read over all of my blog posts ever, from My Freestyle Kitchen which saw its last post in 2013 to the ongoing Coco et Cocoa which you are at the moment reading. I did this, not in a narcissistic way, because as any creative person knows all too well, looking back at earlier works of oneself is a torturous, nails-on-a-chalkboard sort of experience. If you still cannot sympathize the feelings it churned up in my gut, you can imagine it as reading aloud a stockpile sappy sweet love letters you once wrote to someone who you now realize is a pig gleefully rolling in its own excrement.

You get the picture.

I forced myself through each post with the determination to answer one question. Where to, from here on out?

Maybe it’s more than one question. They come, like a cluster of grapes – each tasting slightly different than the one hanging from its adjacent node, but all part of a whole. What is Coco et Cocoa about? What am I writing for? What draws out the strength in my voice as a writer? What is my style? And so on..

You could say that my blogging self is going through a mid-life crisis, or a crossroad, or an epiphany, whatever. And you’re probably right. But unlike those who tame their symptoms through medication or hormonal therapy, I can’t do that. I owe it to my restless mind, to my readers, and the God who gave me hands to write (err type) and a brain to think, and a heart to feel injustice, and gratitude to not just continue, but to do so with more honesty, more purpose and yes, inevitably with more mistakes, but with no less passion.

You will still find all of the previous posts, because I will not allow myself the luxury to erase what I have already said, no matter how naive or childish I was the moment I hit the “Publish” button. But I’m here to announce the direction for Coco et Cocoa from this day forward.

But before that, a confession (the last interruption I promise): I don’t like writing about food. I know there are lots of insightful, intelligent bloggers, columnists, and writers out there who truly enjoy writing about the plethora of aromas, textures, colour, and excitement that make up the seduction of food, but it’s not my cup of tea. And trust me, I’ve tried to like it. 7 years… I think that’s plenty enough.

Don’t worry though, Coco et Cocoa will forever be around food, just as all of humanity’s greatest conversations are made at the dinner table. And that’s what’s going to happen.

I’m talking controversy, friends. I want this space to address the tough questions. Sometimes with answers, sometimes without. And afterwards, we can have our meal, like what real friends do. We challenge each other, then we hug it out over a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs or a slice of cheesecake. If romantic, it probably is, still I imagine societies of old and new to be born in this way as the lovechild of conversation and food.

In the comments below, give me your thoughts on the topic of the next post: do politics belong at the dinner table?

In view of this,

I also do my best

to maintain always

a blameless conscience

both before God

and before men.

Acts 24:16

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Radiatore with Cream of Pumpkin, Caramelized Bacon, and Fried Sage

Ever since I discovered radiatore, the peculiar hybrid between fusilli and conchiglie, it’s become my favourite pasta shape (for now, anyway). Why? Because all its nooks and crannies end up holding an obscene amount of sauce like nobody’s business. And when the sauce in question is a cream of kabocha, the egg-yolky, nutty-sweet, squash that’s steamed then whipped to a voluptuous cream, then enhanced with even more cream and a dash of nutmeg…let’s just say there’s no stopping me from curling up on the couch and turning on HIMYM with a bowl of the stuff – just the sauce – balanced between my thighs. But wait, there’s also caramelized onions, WHISKY caramelized onions whose smokiness is inherited both from the charred oak barrels and its narrow escape from being burnt by the blaze of the stove. And the bacon, thickly sliced and glistening in its own delicious fat, filling the house (and my hair) with its applewood smoke. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are the fried sage leaves, transformed like cinderella from its dusty miller self to a glassy sea-witch green. Now where was I? Right, Ted. He just got beat up by a goat.

Radiatore with Cream of Pumpkin, Caramelized Bacon, and Fried Sage serves 4-6

Cream of Kabocha

  • 750 g ripe, seeded kabocha squash, diced
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 500 ml 18% cream
  • 2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste
  1. Place the garlic and kabocha in a large pot, skin-side down in a single layer and add 1/2 and inch of water to the pot. Cover, and cook on medium high heat until the squash is completely tender when pierces with a knife and the water has completely evaporated. It’s alright if the natural sugars start to caramelize at the bottom of the pot.
  2. Pour in the cream and stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugars at the bottom of the pot. Once the cream begins to simmer, transfer to the blender and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Pass the squash and cream mixture back into the pot through a sieve, and season with salt and nutmeg.

Oops, I Burnt My Onions…Blame The Whiskey

  • 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 125 ml whiskey
  • salt, a generous pinch
  1. Heat a wide heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan and swirl until melted.
  3. Add the onions and salt and stir so that the onions are coated in oil.
  4. When the onions begin to brown and stick, add a splash of whiskey and continue stirring. Repeat until the whiskey is all used up, the onions are deeply caramelized and even burnt in some bits. Remove from the heat.

Assembly

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 strips meaty thick cut dry-cured bacon, diced
  • 1 handful sage leaves, separated
  • 2 lb dried radiatore pasta, but conchiglie, fusilli, and penne would work well too
  • caramelized onions
  • cream of kabocha
  1. Bring a half a large pot of water to a rolling boil (this prevents your pot from boiling over). Add a good handful of salt and add the pasta. Stir for 30 seconds to prevent any sticking then cook for 8 minutes.
  2. Warm the cream of kabocha in its pot over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. As you wait for the water to boil and the sauce to warm, heat up a small saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil and bacon. Cook until rendered and caramelized but not yet dry and crunchy – you want it to stay meaty and crisp, like the edge of roasted pork belly.
  4. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Add the sage to the bacon grease and fry until crisp and bright green. Fish them out and drain on paper towel.
  5. Once the pasta is done – it should be noticeably short of al dente, add it to the sauce and stir to coat. DO NOT DISCARD THE PASTA WATER!!! Add a ladle or two of pasta water if necessary and stir over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens, becomes glossy, and the pasta is tender. Fold in the caramelized onions.
  6. Divide among 4-6 warmed pasta plates (it should be loose and slacken on the plate like a risotto) and top with the crispy bacon and sage. Season with more nutmeg and black pepper if desired and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Peasantly Rich

For a girl like me, it’s the little things that make me smile. It’s the things that you probably don’t even realize you’re doing that make me feel like my day suddenly got a little bit brighter. It’s the things that come almost as if purely granted that make me feel like the happiest person in the world.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m too lucky, that I can find so much happiness at nearly no cost in this world where people expect nearly always something in return, where any goods acquired probably means some other given up.

But I know it’s more than luck, it’s love.

So don’t worry about these things, saying

‘What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?’

These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,

but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Matthew 6:31~32

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Ingredients for the split pea and ham soup:

1 large onion, finely diced

3 ribs celery, finely diced

2 c dry split peas

1 c ham, finely diced (if you can get your hands on smoked hock or bacon ends, even better!)

6 c water

1/2 to 1 tsp white pepper, to taste

sea salt, to taste

To make the split pea soup, layer the ingredients in the slow cooker by the listed order, with the onions at the very bottom, then celery, and so on. Do not add the salt! (It will make your peas tough.) Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for 6 hours. Season generously with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.

I serve this with an american pie grilled cheese: thin slices of Granny Smith, extra old white cheddar, and a dash of cinnamon between two slices of dark sourdough rye, then grilled until the cheese is nice and melted.

Keep life simple, enjoy!

Dude..

You’ll laugh when I tell you this.

I had a dream. Back in late October, so like seven months ago. And you know, in dreams, fantastical mash-ups happen. You end up sitting in public transit petting some queer hipster’s siamese cat who stares at you and asks “How you doin’” and you answer that the weather’s lovely. And then you wake up an feel this second hand embarrassment crawl up that touchy part of your collar bone and into your ears which by then are burning like the nichrome wire in your grandmother’s toaster oven. I dreamed of this strange group of four.

And what do all of us do when we wake up from a dream, of course, we draw it out. Literally, on the first sheet of paper scavenged up by our eyes. But after I blueprinted this beast of beauty, I was succumbed by a loud trumpet-blast of guilt. It was so bad. Like bad, you know, like you want to share it with someone very badly, but you can’t because it’s so darn bad.

But the thought consumed me at last, and I finally did it.

And it suddenly struck me..

as if a dream…

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Ingredients for the devil’s food cake, makes 2 layers:

1 3/4 cup AP flour

3/4 dutch processed cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 cups granulated sugar

2 free range eggs

1/2 cup grape seed oil, or another mild oil (canola is my go-to substitute)

1 cup buttermilk (I just mixed a cup of regular 2% with 1 tsp white vinegar)

1 cup strong black coffee

2 tsp vanilla

To make the devil’s food cake, line the bottom of two round 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack in the middle.

In your stand mixer (or simply a large bowl), using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (There’s nothing wrong with doing this manually, then you can boast it’s 100% hand-made!)

In another bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs and oil until thick and pale. Stream in the buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and start mixing on low speed to prevent splashing, as the batter will be thin, then increase the speed with confidence finishing with about 5 seconds at the highest speed. I find that this will break apart any little lumps of flour without giving time for the gluten to develop, hence yielding a finer cake without  the crumbs being so delicate that the cake falls apart.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool completely and unmold the cakes by running a butter knife along the sides of the pan then inverting onto a big piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the cake snugly and refrigerate for up to a week (as you make the other components of the bacon cake) or give yourself even more chill time by freezing the cakes for up to 3 weeks. For this cake I only used one chocolate cake layer.

Ingredients for the adapted Momofuku’s banana cake:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 free range egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk (see above recipe), at room temperature

2 tbsp grape seed oil

1/2 tsp vanilla or spiced rum

2 ridiculously ripe bananas (to the point where they are black), pureed

1 1/3 cup AP flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

To make the banana cake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with the rack placed in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of two round, 9-inch cake pans with parchment.

Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (I have not dared try this recipe with a hand-held mixer, since Momofuku specially advised me not to) and using the paddle attachment, cream the contents until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, mix on low speed until creamy. Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Continuing on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla very slowly so no separation happens. Stop, scrape the bowl, then add the banana puree slowly with the mixer running.

Meanwhile, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the mixer bowl, and start on stir speed, so flour doesn’t fly everywhere, and increase it to finish at high speed (8) for about 3 seconds. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pans, and bake for 35~40 minutes, or just until done; a toothpick inserted should come out with moist crumbs.

Cool completely, run a knife along the side of pan to remove, then wrap snugly in plastic wrap. Chill up to 5 days or until ready to assemble. Wrapped, the cake can freeze for 3 weeks or so.

Ingredients for the bacon praline:

400 g thick double-smoked bacon (the good stuff from your local butcher), diced

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

To make the praline, first heat your heavy-bottomed frying pan to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the bacon (a hot pan prevents sticking). Once the fat starts to render out, reduce the heat to medium-low. Be patient and let the bacon crispen gently; you want all the moisture to be gone. When you get to the point where the bacon begins to caramelize, and you feel like you really really want to eat a piece, add the sugar. Stir until the sugar melts and begins to foam. Take the pan off the heat and spread the praline onto a piece of parchment to cool completely. The sugar will harden as it cools.

Reserve 16 pieces of the praline, and put the rest in the food processor and pulse it to little bits – you will need this for the frosting.

Ingredients for the salted peanut butter buttercream:

1 cup smooth unsweetened unsalted peanut butter (I used Kraft – the nice natural stuff won’t do here)

1 cup unsalted butter or shortening, at room temperature

1 tbsp fine sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

To make the buttercream, cream together the butters with the salt and vanilla in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl, then with the motor running, stream in the cream, until very thick and smooth. This buttercream is rich and soft when you make it – if it seems a bit dry, add about 2 more tbsp heavy cream. Mix in the bacon bits. Use immediately.

To assemble the cake, put a banana cake layer on your serving platter. Frost the top. Add a chocolate cake layer. Frost the top. Add another banana cake layer. Frost the top, then the sides of the entire cake. Put any remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a ride round or star tip and pipe 16 little mounds onto the edge of the cake. Garnish with the reserved bacon praline.

Enjoy!

Taiwanese Pork Candy

As a kid I was never huge on lemon drops and lollipops. Those types of sweets, to me, have no depth and therefore were not all that addictive. Instead of sugary sweets, I always begged my mother to buy me sausage-on-a-stick from a Black Bridge window shop a block from our apartment. These were Taiwanese sausages, which are not pan-fried, but gently roasted upon open flame. They are also sweeter than any type of western sausage, so through roasting, the sugar sweats through the casing and caramelizes on the outside. The pork fat also renders out, and together with the caramelized sugar, forms an irresistibly crisp-golden skin enrobing a juicy, delicately spiced pork filling.

It’s been a decade since I first moved to BC, since then I’ve never tasted another sausage quite like the ones I so loved. One time, a recipe for pork jerky happened to fall into the hands of my mother from an old friend. Quite naturally, we tested it out, and to our pleasant surprise, it bore commendable similarities to my nostalgic cravings. Before you know it, we had tweaked the spices to the perfect balance, and the result was better than bacon. Unbelievable.

It’s not pork jerky, it’s not sausage, it’s not bacon.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you…

pork candy.

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Ingredients for one sheet of pork candy:

454g organic lean ground pork

80g dark brown sugar

30g oyster sauce

10g fish sauce

5g rice wine

5g garlic, mashed to a fine paste

To make the pork candy, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with the rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix just until the pork becomes stringy. Spread the mixture into the sheet pan to a 1/2 cm thickness, using a spatula.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until caramelized, and the edges are crisp. If it doesn’t seem to be browned sufficiently, increase the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool completely before peeling off the parchment and cutting into squares. These will keep for up to a week wrapped loosely in parchment then closed in a cookie jar, or freeze in a sealed bag for up to two months.

Because of its surprisingly long shelf life, they have become a staple in the care-packages I mail to my brother who lives in Ontario. He requests them every time, and makes sure that they are always gobbled up long before the cookies start disappearing. Pork candy is also delicious sandwiched with fresh pickled cucumbers between toasted slices of white bread that’s been brushed with honey on the inside.