Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad with Crispy Pork Belly

3246364802_4c7c793966by Karen Frazier

I have to admit – I am not a huge fan of cucumbers except in certain circumstances. I won’t just sit down and eat cucumber – but I do like it as an acidic and refreshing counterpoint to something super spicy. So the other day, I picked up some organic cucumbers at the grocery store with the thought I’d do a refreshing and spicy dish of some kind. This is what I threw together today (I failed to take a photo of it – sorry), and it was super delicious.  I just put crispy slices of the pork belly right on top of the salad.

It’s low-carb, paleo, and can be Whole30 compliant, as well.

Crispy Pork Belly

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced like thick sliced bacon
  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Preheat a skillet on medium-high.
  3. Season the pork belly slices with the seasoning blend. Put in the hot skillet. Cook just like you would bacon, until crispy. Slice and put on top of the salad (below).

Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad

  • 4 organic cucumbers, spiralized into angel hair noodles (or just julienne them)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 1 cup julienned radish
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 to 2 thai chilies, minced (or 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon expeller pressed sesame oil
  • 1 packet stevia (optional – omit for Whole30 or add 1/2 finely chopped Medjool date for a bit of sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  1. Put the cucumbers in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Allow the water to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse the cucumbers and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the radish, scallions, and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the ginger root, thai chilies, garlic, Chinese hot mustard powder, sesame oil, stevia, apple cider vinegar, EVOO, and the remaining half teaspoon of sea salt. Blend on high until emulsified. Toss with the salad.

photo credit: Vilseskogen harvest via photopin (license)

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Crispy Pork Belly and Shiitake Mushrooms on Asian Slaw

IMG_2559.JPGby Karen Frazier

For the new year, I’ve embarked on a Whole30 30-day re-set through my Nia/yoga studio. Although I tend to eat fairly cleanly or suffer the consequences, my habits towards the end of the year slipped a bit, so a Whole30 clean eating re-set is the perfect way to banish some inflammation I know built up over the holidays. For today’s recipe, I use pork belly that I get from Tenderbelly. It’s as delicious as it sounds.

Crispy Pork Belly and Shiitake Mushrooms on Asian Slaw

For the pork and mushrooms

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced (about like thick cut bacon-width) and then cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or lard or another Whole30 friendly fat)
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, quartered

For the slaw

  • 6 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

For the pork belly:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pork belly.
  2. In a large skillet (I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet), heat the duck fat on medium-high until it shimmers.
  3. Add the pork belly and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork belly is crisp, about eight minutes.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, and green onions.
  2. In a small glass measuring cup, whisk together the garlic, ginger, cilantro, sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, orange, and olive oil until combined. Toss with the slaw.
  3. To assemble, spoon the dressed slaw onto a plate or into a bowl. Top with the shiitake and pork belly. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if desired.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

pork bellyby Karen Frazier

I love pork belly. I order ours online at Tenderbelly and cut it into one-pound slabs, which I freeze and use as needed. This tender meat is tasty and versatile. It’s also very rich, so I typically serve it with a side of something that is crispy and acidic, such as a slaw. The acidity and crispiness of the slaw cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the pork. The slaw here is a typical Asian slaw, but you can also try the recipe with a slaw made from julienned jicama or apples, which would taste delicious with an Asian vinaigrette.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

For the pork belly:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of pork belly
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

For the slaw:

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Cilantro leaves to taste
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Juice of one lime
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginggeroot
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the pork belly:

  1. Slice the pork belly into slices that are slightly thicker than thick-cut bacon. Put the slices in a large zipper bag.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, sesame oil, and gingerroot.
  3. Pour the marinade in the bag with the pork belly, sealing the bag and squishing it around to distribute the marinade and coat all of the meat.
  4. Refrigerate for one to two hours.
  5. Heat a large saute pan on medium high. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, cook the pork belly until it is crisp on both sides, three to five minutes per side.
  6. Serve the pork belly on top of the slaw with the scallions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and scallions. Toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, ginger, garlic, sriracha, mustard powder, and salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the slaw.

photo credit: umi nom pork belly adobo via photopin (license)

Crispy Skinned Pork Belly with Orange-Jicama Slaw

pork bellyby Karen Frazier

Pork belly is often difficult to come by, but if you can find it, snap it up. For those who don’t know, it’s essentially uncured slab bacon that comes with the skin on the top. With the unctuous fattiness of the meat and the crispy skin on top, it makes a delicious main course. Check with local ranchers to find pork belly, or dig around on the Internet and you’ll be able to find some to order.

In this recipe, the spices in the rub and the acidity of the orange, as well as the crunch of the slaw all serve as a delicious counterpoint to the sweet fattiness of the pork. When I made this, it was the first time I cooked pork belly, so I borrowed the crispy skin cooking method from The Clothes Make the Girl blog. Then, I added my own flavors and spices. Trust me, it’s really delicious and rich!

For the pork belly:

  • 2-pound pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener (or 1 packet stevia) (optional – omit for Whole30)
  • Juice from half an orange

For the slaw:

  • 1 jicama, julienned
  • 1 cup julienned cabbage
  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or sriracha to taste)
  • Juice from half an orange
  • Zest from half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

For the pork belly:

  1. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels. Score the pork skin in a cross-hatch pattern, cutting down to the meat but not through the meat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and sweetener.
  3. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic and refrigerate for about two hours.
  4. Thirty minutes before cooking, put the unwrapped pork belly on a foil-lined baking sheet with the skin-side facing up. Allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Just before putting the pork belly in the oven, rub the skin with the orange juice.
  7. Bake the pork belly at 450 for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for another hour, until the skin has browned and crisped.
  8. Rest the pork, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before serving. While the pork rests, prepare the slaw.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the jicama, cabbage, onions, and carrots.
  2. In a blender, add the avocado, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange juice and zest, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt, starting with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and continuing to add it until it is properly seasoned.
  3. Pour the avocado mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  4. Serve the slaw alongside the pork.

photo credit: linecook via photopin cc