Flæskesteg (Danish Roast Pork)

"Can you make a Danish roast pork for lunch by 1 p.m.?" asked my boss one morning.

Just so you know, flæskesteg is a glorious roast pork dish typically served on Christmas Eve in Denmark. It was VALENTINE'S DAY. But no matter. 1 p.m., you say?  It was rather busy in the studio that day, but the recipe looked so simple that I figured the deadline would certainly achievable.

Thankfully, I had ordered a 5-lb. slab of pork from Ottomanelli & Sons down in the West Village the week before. (Apparently, from the recipes I've seen, a five-pounder is the most popular serving size for this dish.) The key is that the fat and rind must be intact. After all, the crackling is the prize here!

1 5-lb. slab of pork loin, with rind and fat intact
Dried bay leaves
Whole cloves
Sea salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. Pat the pork dry. With a sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch incisions into the rind and halfway down the fat.

3. In a small bowl, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of good sea salt with a teaspoon of dried cloves so that the aroma infuses. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Finish it with a light shower of freshly cracked black pepper. 

4. Insert a few bay leaves here and there into the cuts. You can also stud the pork with a few more cloves, if you like.

5. Roast the pork at 450 for 30 minutes. Best part is seeing the crisping in process.

6. After 30 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees and add 3 cups of boiling water to the roasting pan. Cook for an additional hour or until done to your likeness.

7. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes inside the oven.

8. Serve with Dijon mustard, boiled and buttered potatoes, pickles, and beets.

My flæskesteg wasn't ready until about 2 p.m.

"It would've been so nice if it was ready by 1 p.m." said my boss with a sigh, dabbing a bite of roast pork with mustard.

"If I were hired as a private chef, it would have been!" I said, with my hands on my hips, laughing. 

A Very #singlegirldinner Christmas

It was the evening of Christmas Day. I stood in front of a graffiti'ed door in Alphabet City with a bottle of Prosecco, a bottle of red wine, and a plastic bag containing crispy roast pork and BBQ ribs that I had just picked up in Chinatown. Chinese food and Christmas—it was ironic, I'll admit, but also festive and strangely apropos. Tyann's apartment was this year's urban orphanage, a place for us city stragglers to congregate. There was no buzzer so I had to call. "Hiii! I'm here!" I said into my iPhone, dancing around a little bit to keep warm. "OK, I'm coming down!" the voice responded. Ah. Kim.

Upstairs, there was a nest of activity. Tyann was flitting around the kitchen, preparing two beautiful red snappers and a sea bass to be roasted. (Tyann, and only Tyann, can pull off making dinner in a green velvet Peter Pilotti dress with no apron.) Charlotte and Preston were overseeing Spotify and YouTube with red plastic cups in hand. "Can we change this song?" said our hostess, while in full concentration on dressing the fish. Kim poured me my own red plastic cup of chilled white wine. "I had an open bottle in my fridge and decided to bring it over," she said. 

Happy holidays. Welcome to a very non-traditional #singlegirldinner Christmas, where Tito's Handmade Vodka is welcomed as though it were a bottle of Dom Perignon and vegan pumpkin pie replaces bûche de Noël as dessert. (And also where a bundt cake pan is just as good as fancy china, as seen in the pic above.) It's a gathering for those whose significant others are away with their family, those who are stuck in the city because of work, those who have a family but not really, those who are in "it's complicated" relationships, those who really are single, and those whose idea of Christmas is just being merry with good people.

Crispy Pork Over Rice

8 Bowery Street below Canal Street

My parents used to order a whole roast suckling pig for special occasions, so crispy roast pork has always been on a pedestal for me.  Oh, how I go weak for moist, unctuous chunks of roast pork with its crackled, crunchy, lacquered top, and hints of aromatic Chinese five spice powder seasoning. I can only find this in Chinatown and, contrary to what you may think, it's not offered at every BBQ restaurant. At Yummy Noodle, it's served over a big bed of jasmine rice, with a bit steamed cabbage and a small bowl of brothy seaweed & egg soup. There's also a side of hoisin sauce and ginger scallion oil for dipping. All of this for $4.95. You can also choose to add a fried egg on top for $1.50.