Roman Bacon: Part 1

I first heard about guanciale on Chopped.  It was a secret ingredient and for some reason I decided to look it up.  Oh my goodness!  Luscious pig jowl washed with wine and scented with black pepper and thyme.  This was something I had to try.

The word guanciale comes from ‘guancia’, which means cheek in Italian.  The jowl is the lower part of the cheek, the part that droops down, all fatty-like.  Mmmmm…  Supposedly the taste of the jowl is intensely porky, I would imagine because it gets a good workout from the pig chewing all day.  I won’t know for another couple weeks though, when my guanciale is ready.

To make the guanciale I cobbled together several different recipes (see my reference list down below).  My method relied on sensuality rather than strictness.

Kombucha Chicken

Marinating meat in kombucha is a delightful way to add tenderness and flavor. This Kombucha chicken recipe is fantastic, simple and just look how the glazed skin twinkles in the sunlight! This just proves how true it is that the simplest recipes with the most well loved ingredients are often the best.

Sour Radish Soup

I’ve finally put some time into sorting out most of my recipes on flickr, for any of you who haven’t been to my flickr page please check it out. It is quite a project, but will help me get organized for the recipe book.

As a result, I just realized I haven’t posted this favorite, incredibly delicious Burmese soup…. I used to crave it often years ago, so I was lucky Bo, my x-husband, really knew how to cook the best Burmese food. His mother trained him when she became paralyzed from an unknown cause and couldn’t move from her bed. Bo became her hands and legs as a young boy and would run around cooking up her favorite dishes.

Swedish Gravad Lax

The Swedish usually have this salmon on their smorgasbords and always serve it with this delicious mustard dip. I have altered the recipe slightly here to use honey instead of sugar for a GAPS and SCD friendly recipe.

Liver Paté

I never knew I could like liver until I had paté! Fantastic stuff, especially if you have the right combination of spices and a touch of lime or something sour. This recipe uses the wonderful combination of onions, garlic and ginger that I love so much from Burmese and other Asian dishes. Mix and match spices to find your own favorite combinations–don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand when flavoring it up!

  • 1 lb liver
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 head garlic, pounded
  • 2 inches ginger, pounded
  • fat for frying (lard, olive oil, butter etc)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 – 1 c butter, soft
  • 1 – 2 limes juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Burmese Fried Prawn and Bean Sprouts Salad

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You can get this salad at Bo Kyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar. Crispy and delicious!

Naomi Aung gives us the details and a translation of the recipe from this website.

Pazon Khwat Gyaw Thoke is a crispy nest of bean sprouts with shrimps on top. Make the salad with noodles and a sweet & sour & hot dressing. Comes with a hot clear soup. Very good, and you’ll even be full as if you’d had dinner 🙂

Pazon (pawn/shrimp) Khwat (cup) Gyaw (fried). It is Pazon Khwat Gyaw. If it is salad, it is Pazon Khwat Gyaw Thoke. The salad usually has shredded cabbage and cucumber.

Recipe translated from

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) of prawns/shrimps
  • 1.5 lb (650-700g) bean sprouts (side note: thin bean sprouts from mung beans, not soy bean sprouts)
  • 1 pk of tempura mix*
  • 1 onion
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Mix with water. (Naomi’s side note: Be careful about adding water. You can add more water later. Mixture should not be too thin.)
  • * – if tempura mix is not available, mix 3/4c bean (chickpea) flour and 1/4c of a 3:1 mixture of rice powder and sticky rice powder. (Naomi’s side note: it is a good idea to add a bit of baking soda if you are not using premixed tempura)
  • Method:
    Let dry the bean sprouts after cleansing. Thinly slice one red onion. You can use either cooked or raw shrimps. If raw, clean them and pat dry.

Kombucha Marinated Lamb Shanks

I have used yogurt for marinating various meats and it suddenly occurred to me that kombucha would make a good marinade. It did, the meat was so soft, it just melted in our mouths. This recipe is fantastic. The rosemary comes gently through the meat–it is just amazing how well rosemary goes with lamb.

Serves 2

  • 2 lamb shanks (grass-fed is best!)
  • 1/2 c kombucha (or thereabouts)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • 3 toes garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 c meat stock
  • 4 carrots, medium dice
  • 1/2 lb green beans, cut into pieces

Place the lamb shanks into a dish and cover them with the kombucha, add the rosemary and garlic and roll the shanks around. Place in fridge overnight.

Sweet and Sour Tongue

Tongue is delicious, moist and tender. I highly recommend it.

Serves 10-12

  • 4 lb fresh beef tongue
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 T flour
  • 2 c hot tongue liquid
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ c raisins
  • ¼ brown sugar
  • 1 T molasses
  • juice of 1 lemon

Scrub tongue well. Cover with boiling water, add peppercorns, cloves and vinegar. After it comes to a boil, simmer 4-5 hours or until fork tender.

Sauteed Chicken Livers

  • 1 – 1½ lb chicken livers
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • flour
  • 4 T butter

Wash and dry livers well. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and flour. Saute in butter until browned, 7-8 minutes. Serves 2-3 with rice.

Spiced Roast Vegetables with Tomato Sauce and Sardines

This is what I call poor man’s roast. Sardines are a great affordable way to get protein and fat if you are on a really tight budget. If the vegetables are roasted to the point of caramelization the flavor will be even better. This is actually a delicious dish even if you aren’t broke.

serves 4

  • 4 medium carrots, large dice
  • 2 lg onions, large dice
  • 1/2 head garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and large diced
  • 1/2 pumpkin peeled and large diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florettes
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tins sardines
  • to taste chili
  • to taste ground coriander
  • to taste cinnamon
  • to taste salt
  • oil