Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

One thing we love is a good pulled pork sandwich. We found a place up the road about twenty minutes or so called Goody Cole's. They smoke their meats. Absolutely delicious and reasonably priced.

I decided to give a go at making some pulled pork but obviously it would be smoked. I tried a couple different recipes and they were okay. Then I saw Tyler Florence make his on the Food Network and I adopted his recipe. I just do not put as much heat into the rub.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pan drippings from the pork


Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it's falling apart.

While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you're ready for it.

When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half.

Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

While the pork is still warm, you want to "pull" the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to "pull" shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.

**** Okay I take the lazy way out and use my crockpot. I flip the pork every 45 minutes. During the cooking process in the crockpot you end up with a lot of juices, so I tend to drain about 1/2 of the juices and then pour some sweet store bought bbq sauce in. I prefer my bbq to be on the sweet side.

As for the Buns I make the dough in my bread machine. When it is done I dump the dough onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and pull apart the dough to make the buns. When I'm done forming the buns I place a warm damp cloth ontop for about 1/2 hr. When done I brush with an egg wash and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Caprese Salad

There is one salad I have heard of but never tried. It is the simplest salad every. The Caprese Salad.

I have seen it on so many shows and in so many cookbooks. I always thought what is the big deal with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

I went to the fresh produce stand and bought the tomatoes to make this. When I got home I went to grab the mozzarella from the fridge and saw that it was past it's prime. Oh man, I thought. I guess I will have to wait til tomorrow for the salad. I bought some fresh mozzarella at the store this morning and made my salad for lunch.

Oh my was this delicious. I decided to use Giada's Lemon vinegrette for the salad. The lemon gave it such a fresh taste. I will be making this simple salad more often.

I don't have a real recipe since I watched her make it on a video through the Food Network online.

I squeezed half a lemon into a bowl, added salt, pepper and some EVOO. Whisked it and poured over the salad.

Paula Deen's Chocolate Dippity Donuts

Last night my youngest son and I were watching Paula's Party on the Food Network. The show was all about chocolate. Paula and her son Jamie were reminesing about his childhood. The Dippity Donuts he remembered very fondly.

After that segment was over my son looked at me and said can we make those tomorrow morning. (that was the deal breaker for him being waken at 6:45 to go grocery shopping with me. See my husband and oldest son was on a boy scout retreat climbing Mt. Washington (NH) so that left me and the little one (10 yrs old is not little by any stretch of the imagaination but when he wants to cuddle he will).

So I woke the poor kid up and we went shopping. We came home put the groceries away and he started in on the donuts. I heated the oil and helped put the holes in them. He stood there flipping the donuts and taking them out. In the meantime I was getting the toppings ready.

He did a great job on the donuts and they were delicious for something so easy.

Chocolate Dippity Donuts
by Paula Deen

Oil, for frying
1 can biscuits

For the sauce:
1 (4-ounce) bar sweet chocolate (recommended: Baker's German's)
1/2-ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate chips
Chocolate sprinkles
Toasted coconut
Colored candies
Chopped pecans
Store-bought glaze


Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to about 360 to 375 degrees F.
Remove biscuits from the can. Poke a hole in each one with your thumb. Form them into doughnuts. Drop them into hot grease and brown them on both sides until they were done about 2 minutes on each side. Don't forget to flip often.

For the sauce:

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir in the sugar, alternating with the evaporated milk, blending well. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, remove the pan from the heat.

Dip cooked doughnuts immediately into the chocolate mixture before the chocolate starts to cool.
Add topping/toppings of your choice.

Place the doughnuts on a plate and serve when the chocolate on the doughnuts sets, about 5 minutes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - Peach & Blueberry Crumbles

Wow I can not believe July is practically over already. Here in the Northeast we have had a mediocre summer so far, too much rain. I was kind of dreading making this dessert since the humidity has been up and I didn't want to heat up the house more. Thankfully yesterday was a cool day with a wonderful breeze to keep the heat down. So I took advantage of the coolness and made the crumbles for dessert.

This last recipe challenge for the month of July came from Aggie of Aggie’s Kitchen. It is a wonderful Peach & Blueberry Crumble found in Barefoot Contessa at Home on pages 197-198. I thought it was a very easy recipe.

Peach & Blueberry Crumbles

For the fruit

2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (6-8 peaches)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)

For the Crumble

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily.

Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well.
Gently mix in the blueberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into ramekins or custard cups.

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and back for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles int he refrigerator and bake before dinner. Serves 5 to 6.

******I have made this recipe before but I used fresh raspberries, black berries, strawberries and blueberries. I thought it was delicious then and even more delicious with the peaches.

As you can see by my picture my ramekins were larger than normal, so my recipe only made four desserts. (my boys will not eat this dessert. just more for me and my hubby).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

The more I try new recipes the more adventurous I am getting. Well maybe adventurous is not the word I should use, maybe experimental.

When I make salads I never give Arugula a thought. Arugula is a word that I had probably never heard of until recent years. (I lived life like I lived in a shell, seriously). I do agree that it has a bitter taste. I didn't pick up the peppery taste as I have heard it discribed as. One thing I thought of right away is that it tasted like a piece of grass. But what do I know, I'm not a seasoned chef. lol... Another thing I never would have thought about putting on a salad is roasted butternut squash. I think I ate more of the squash while it was cooling than in the salad.

One thing I did not do per the recipe was serve the dressing warm. I had a baseball game in the backyard to play. I love the sweet mustard flavor of the dressing.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
recipe by Ina Garten


1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Pork with Sweet Onion Marmellata

This recipe is from Giada's Kitchen cookbook by Giada De Laurentiis. I have been having a great time cooking through my cookbooks.

I love pork. I can not stand pork chops that are still on the bone. Not exactly sure why, but I do remember a couple of times eating the boned pork chops and chomping down on small fragments of bone. So now when the recipe calls for chops I use only boneless. Ya Ya Ya, I know the bone is where all the flavors are but I can not bring myself to buy them.

While the onions were cooking I had "taste" them... Oh my goodness I loved them. I don't normally eat marmalade but it made the onions oh so sweet.

I thought this was a delicious dish. I actually had some of the onions on my burger the next night.

Pork with Sweet Onion Marmellata


Onion Marmellata:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)

Pork Chops:

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 pork chops
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the onion marmellata, place a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the onions. Stir to combine and cook until starting to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to scrape up any brown bits. The onions should be a soft, jam-like consistency and a deep mahogany color.

Meanwhile, for the pork chops, combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, work all the ingredients together until well combined. Rub the herb mixture over the pork chops. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.

About 20 minutes before the onions are finished, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Grill the pork chops to medium, about 7 minutes a side depending on thickness. To serve, spoon the onion marmellata over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Halibut with Grapefruit & Fennel Salsa

While I have been making recipes out of my BareFoot Contessa Books I have also been trying Giada De Laurentis' Cookbook.

My boys seem to like fish. They especially love salmon but I wanted to try something that I have never had. I found a recipe that called for Halibut. Gee, would the fish market have Halibut??? I have never bought it or eaten Halibut. Yesterday the boys and I had a few errands to run and going to the fish market was one of them. Much to my surprise they had Halibut. I asked for about 2 pounds of the thick cut of fish. I was told it is similar to haddock but better. Great we all love haddock.

I made the salsa and let it sit in the fridge for a little while to marry. The fish was very simple. We all could not believe how white it truly is. The Halibut was a nice surprise of a meal. I will be cooking this again. The grapefruit salsa gave the fish a freshing taste. My husband thought there was too much fennel, but what does he know. lol..

Halibut with Grapefruit & Fennel Salsa


1 cup ruby red grapefruit segments (about 2 grapefruits)
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
1 fennel bulb, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pitted nicoise olives, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 (6-ounce) pieces halibut
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In small bowl combine the grapefruit segments, juice, and zest. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, thinly slice and add to the bowl. Add the olive oil, olives, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, place the fish on a parchment-lined roasting dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness.

Gently transfer the fish to a serving plate. Top with the grapefruit and fennel salsa and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Barefood Bloggers Challenge - Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

This weeks recipe comes from Cat of Delta Whiskey. She has chosen Ina's Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes recipe, which can be found in Barefoot Contessa Family Style on page 58.

I was excited to try this recipe. I have used sundried tomatoes once in a salad dressing. For some reason I was thinking this was a warm pasta meal. I was thoroughly excited to see it as a cool pasta "salad". I think this would be a great summertime pasta salad. Hmm, when are we having a cookout next.

Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.