July 18, 2010

A new use for the local library

The hubs and I go through phases with the library. We frequent it for a while, then we forget about it. The past 6-9 months though we've been using the library weekly. DVDs, CDs, Audio Books, and my new favorite reason - Cook Books!

I've been slowly making my way though a variety of cook books from the local library system and it's really the best thing I think I, personally, as someone who likes to cook, can use the library for. I love cookbooks, but I buy buy buy. And usually end up donating a pile of them back to the library in the end because there just isn't really anything I end up making out of them. This way, I check them out, pick out some recipes, make them while I have the book for 3 weeks, and if I'm sold on the cook book, then I can buy it. It's been great!

Last weekend I made something from Thai, the Essence of Asian Cooking book. And you know what, it was REALLY REALLY GOOD! But after pursuing most of the book, I realized this really is the ONLY dish I'd want to make out of here or isn't similar to something else I have already in another book. So now I know I don't need to buy this book. But I've got this great recipe from it so it was a win-win all around.

Do make this, it as quick, easy and most delicious. Great when you really have a hankering for some Chinese food.
Pork Belly with Five Spices

1 large bunch of cilantro * the recipe calls for using cilantro roots, but I just used some of the stems with it*
2 T vegetable oil
1 garlic clove
2 T Chinese 5 Spice Powder
1 1/4 lb. pork belly cut in to 1 inch pieces
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup hot water
2T soy sauce
3 T Thai fish sauce
2 T sugar
1 lime, halved.

1. cut off the cilantro roots. chop five and freeze the rest (again, I omitted this and just used some of the stems). Chop the stalks and leaves and set aside. Keep roots separate.
2. heat oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic until golden brown. Stir constantly and add the cilantro roots and the five spice powder.
3. Add the pork and stir fry until the meat is thoroughly coated in the spices and has browned. Stir in the tomatoes and hot water. Bring to a boil and stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar.
4. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the cilantro leaves and squeeze the lime juice over it.

Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy! I also served with steamed broccoli, sugar snaps and carrots that I flavored with fresh ginger and soy sauce in the steam pouch.

So easy, quick and tasty.

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