Archive for June, 2011

Asian Braised Pork Belly

Asian Braised Pork Belly

We had a pound of cubed pork belly in the freezer that I wanted to cook. I looked around at a number of different recipes and combined them into this. It turned out great!  Pork belly is bacon without the smoke or salt cure.

This recipe is for pork belly that been slowly braised in a salty-sweet liquid for hours and hours, until both the fat and the meat melt in your mouth.

We served it with brown rice, steamed broccoli and Sauerkraut.  My husband was skeptical, but he loved it too.

1 lb pork belly

2 tablespoons Organic sugar or rapadura

½ organic Onion peeled and roughly chopped

1 cinnamon stick

1 Organic Orange, quartered (with peel on)

1 large piece of fresh ginger

1 star anise

3 tablespoons Organic soy sauce (wheat free for Gluten Free)

2 tablespoons sake

2 cups of homemade beef or chicken broth or water

Cut the pork into cubes about 1 inch or so square. If the skin is still on, leave it on. Heat up a large pot with a heavy bottom. Sauté the pork belly cubes, without any added fat (you don’t need it…) until browned.

When the meat is browned, scrape it to one side and put the sugar in the fat that’s accumulated on the bottom, and stir around until it’s a bit caramelized. Stir and toss so the meat gets coated by the sugar.

Add the rest of the ingredients, you can chop the orange into four quarters.  I peeled a bit of the rind off one quarter and also squeeze the juice out of the same one and added it all to the pot. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Put a lid on and let it simmer gently for about 3 hours, turning occasionally.

To serve, dredge the pieces carefully out of the oily cooking liquid, and peel off the thick layer of fat that’s on the skin side of the meat, or just the skin. Drizzle a little bit of the cooking liquid over the cubes.

Serve with very steamed vegetables, like broccoli, steamed rice and a fermented vegetable like pickles or Sauerkraut would be great too.  To eat, take a small piece and put it on top of your hot rice, and let the sauce and fat sort of melt in. A little goes a long way.  Enjoy!

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What We Can Do

What we can do!

I wanted to add some updates to “what we can do” to work towards ending GMO’s in our food supply. There are a lot of people starting to take action and it’s making a difference.

First, if you, or your family and friends have not yet seen the movies The Future of Food and The World According to Monsanto, you can watch both for free.  Watch them and then share the links with everyone you know.

Knowledge is power!

The Future of Food can be watched here:


The World According to Monsanto can be watched here:


Then get involved!  There are so many ways to get involved and even spending a few minutes here and there can make a difference.

The best place to start is with your grocery shopping.  Tell your store managers you don’t want GMO’s in your food. GMO’s in our food are showing serious health risks for everyone and they are being hidden in most of our food. (read more about their health risks here:

Vote with your fork!  Buy heirloom and organic varieties from your store and local farmers market. Buy pastured and 100% grassfed meat. Corn fed meat is fed GMO corn, unless it’s organic.

The Institute for Responsible Technology has a number of free letters and flyers you can use on their Action Tool Kit page here:

Join Organic Consumers, Millions Against Monsanto campaign.  They are working on petitions, action groups, and much, much more.

If you live in California, there’s a labeling campaign going on.  You can find out more here,

If you want to learn to teach others about GMO’s, Jeffrey Smith gives wonderful and affordable Speaker Training Courses, online and in person.  More info here:

It’s time to take back our food supply.  Together we CAN make a difference!



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Beneficial Garden Bugs


This week we have a guest post by Jakob Barry.   Thanks Jacob!    Mom


Garden Insects worth Keeping Around

While out in the garden you may come across a variety of bugs that are strange looking and others downright scary. Nevertheless, it’s important to distinguish between the good ones and the bad ones, as the former can positively affect the state of your crops by acting as a natural form of pesticide and killing and eating the latter.

This often means cultivating a hospitable environment for the good ones so they’ll enjoy your yard and keep fruits and vegetable plants healthy without the need for chemicals.

However, before inviting the little critters in to your organic reserve it’s probably a good idea to get to know a little about who they are:

Lady bugs: Beloved by gardeners, most are completely harmless to humans. They love eating aphids and many other small bugs attacking your plants. They are attracted to certain herbs like dill and flowers full of nectar and as long as they have plenty to eat they will be faithful to your garden.

Lacewings: They also love nectar, can be attracted by lots of flowers such as dandelions and sunflowers, and in many cases one lacewing will eat up to 100 aphids a week. Multiply that by even 50 and you have some hearty helpers!

Dragon flies: Primarily found near marshland or other moist areas their larvae are aquatic but eventually crawl out of the water and mature into these truly remarkable insects. You may find dragon flies eating some of the other good bugs but know they will mainly feast on the pest population.

Hover flies: They look like tiny bees and give off the appearance they are hovering even though the anti-gravity pose is simply a result of their wings moving very fast. Hover fly larva are an early spring savior for gardeners and <a href= > landscapers </a> killing aphids where bigger bugs can’t or won’t go because it’s still too cool for them outside.

Spiders: Garden spiders generally won’t discriminate between good and bad garden bugs but will kill larger amounts of the ones you’re trying to get rid of.

Praying mantis: They are valuable predators that will kill anything small enough to be caught but won’t harm people or pets.

Bees: They are not in the predator business like some of their insect peers but as they move from flower to flower their importance in the realm of pollination is unparalleled.

Slugs: While they are unwanted in most parts of the garden because of the destruction they will bring one place where they are welcome is in compost bins. There they are great consumers of organic matter including animal matter such as other dead slugs.

Worms: Like bees their contribution to the garden is different but no less unique. Rather, their tunneling through soil gives it composition and important drainage. As a fertilizer their feces do wonders for plant growth and pest control and provides the soil nutrients against disease. While they enrich soil they also like enriched soil so keep dumping compost in the garden and they will be happy to stick around.

Jakob Barry writes for, a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects. He covers various home improvement topics including <a href=[]=496#type=tabs&category[]=496 > Green Living </a> and <a href= >grounds maintenance</a>.

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