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Grilled Pork Kabobs with Pineapple and Soy

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DIFFICULTY: 2 of 5 (5 being hardest)

I struggled with whether to include this dish because it’s so cliché. But it’s so good! It’s a pork tenderloin marinated in homemade teriyaki (soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic), and then grilled on skewers with pineapple and mushrooms. It’s ultra-simple backyard barbecue food, but there are a couple keys to success. First, cut the meat into same-size pieces for even cooking. I like cubes about ¾ inch square. Second, skewer the food in the order listed and push it tightly together. You want a solid strip of food on each skewer to prevent overcooking and so that the pineapple is near the meat. That way, the pineapple bastes the pork, helps it brown, and keeps it juicy.

Celebration Pork Rack Stuffed with Dried Fruits

DIFFICULTY: 3 of 5 (5 being hardest)

The Heirloom Book Company in Charleston, South Carolina, sells rare antiquarian cookbooks like first editions of Escoffier. I was there flipping through a book on royal court cuisine for lords and barons, reading recipes for the most extravagant dishes you can imagine. One of these was a bone-in Frenched whole pork loin stuffed with apples, dates, and duck liver. That sounded pretty awesome to me. I adapted the idea here but replaced the duck liver with bacon fat and threw in a few more dried fruits. If you have duck liver, by all means use it, but it’s not a requisite. Serve this roast with your favorite mead, honey cakes, and frosted lemons. It’s perfect for Christmas, Easter, or any other royal feast.

Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon

DIFFICULTY: 4 of 5 (5 being hardest)

Banoffee Trifle is a layered dessert of vanilla custard, Candied Bacon, crushed shortbread cookies, fried bananas, toffee caramel, and chocolate ganache. You can totally make this at home. The layering makes it look awesome in a glass dish. Serve it with coffee and your friends will think you’re badass.

Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi

DIFFICULTY: 3 of 5 (5 being hardest)

If you’ve never eaten at a Korean barbecue restaurant, you gotta go. It’s fun. You grill your own strips of marinated meat, then add whatever spicy, sharp, and crunchy accompaniments you like. The requisite spread usually includes kimchi, pickles, chiles, and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. Beef is most common but there are pork versions too, which I like better. To simplify the dish, I pan-sear thin slices of pork shoulder and turn the accompaniments into a sort of slaw that you wrap up in the lettuce. You could brush a little hoisin in there before you roll it up, or squirt on some sriracha. Use whatever condiments you have or none.

Olive Oil–Poached Shrimp with Cucumber and Radish Salad

DIFFICULTY: 2 of 5 (5 being hardest)

This dish works best as an hors d’oeuvre, but it could be a light lunch too. It’s incredibly beautiful to look at and it can be made ahead in stages, so it’s perfect for entertaining. The shrimp are essentially confited, which in French cooking means that they are poached and temporarily preserved in fat. Here the fat is