My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Favorite Fall-Apart Tender, Slow-Roast Pork and Cole Slaw

"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, than so is the ballet."
~Julia Child
I've made this a few times, using differing methods, but this is my favorite, by miles.  Many people make pulled pork in the crock pot with a bottle of barbeque sauce, and I like it (you can hardly ruin pulled pork!), but I LOVE this particular preparation.  I first had it this way at a restaurant in Tampa, Florida called Marlin Darlin's.  After that experience I only ever wanted my pulled pork done in the oven so you get those dark ends.  Slow cooking the rubbed roast in the oven allows for an amazing crust to form.    That's my favorite part and it cannot be duplicated in a crock pot. You may think it would dry it out, but in my experience, it hasn't at all.  You can FINISH it in the crock pot, or heat up the leftovers in there with some extra barbecue sauce, but starting it in the oven is imperative to creating that wonderful dark, spicy, crust.  This is great served on a bun with cole slaw and pickles, or plated with a side of Cuban black beans and Sriracha sauce on the side, JUST like I had it at Marlin Darlin's.  Ah, I love recreating a memorable meal at home!

The barbecue sauce was originally from my sister-in-law, Noreen.  Given to me many years ago, it has become the most beloved home-made barbecue sauce of our family.  Over the years I've tweaked it here and there, but minimally, and the taste is true to the original.

The cole slaw recipe is from my mother and is the one I grew up on.  The Mister and I are addicted to it and make it at least once a week, often topping a plate-full with a piece of fish for a low-carb meal.  It keeps great for 3 days.

My Favorite Fall-Apart Tender, Slow-Roast Pork and Cole Slaw
Serves 6-8
An Irish Mother original recipe

Dry Rub:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 4-5 pound pork shoulder

My Favorite Barbecue Sauce:
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 cup butter
1  cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
dash cayenne pepper

Cole Slaw: 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

4 cups shredded cabbage (I cut by hand)
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced green onion (or diced red onion)
1/2 cup diced green pepper

It is best to apply the rub the night before and let the roast sit (refrigerated) overnight, but it will still come out good if you apply it up to one hour before you cook it.

In a small bowl, stir together all rub ingredients.  
Apply rub very liberally all over roast, massaging in as much of it as you can.  
Allow roast to come to room temperature for a half hour.  Place on a roasting pan and bake in a 300 degree (F) oven for about 7 hours, basting occasionally, until it is fall-apart tender (usually when it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.)

NOTE:  At this point you have a lot of leeway.  I have started it in the morning in the oven for 6 hours to form a crust and then transferred it to a crock-pot with a small amount (about one-fourth) of the barbecue sauce to keep it warm until dinner time (even for several hours).  You could also choose to slow roast it at 275 degrees overnight, pull it, store it and heat it up later when you get home from work.  It's very versatile and you can easily adapt the recipe to what works for your lifestyle.  Gotta love that!

While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine the listed ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring now and then for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cole slaw dressing ingredients, cover and refrigerate so the flavors can marry for at least an hour.

When the pork is done, transfer to a platter, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  While the pork is still warm, you need to "pull" the meat.  
Using two forks, pull hunks of meat off the roast and shred them with the forks, discarding fat and bones.   Put the shredded pork into a crockpot, pour half of the barbecue sauce over, stir together and keep warm on a low setting until you're ready for dinner. 

To make cole slaw:
In a large bowl, mix together the shredded green cabbage, carrot, onion and pepper.  Toss with the dressing you made earlier.

Serve the pulled pork on a sturdy bun with cole slaw on top, or on the side.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad

"Keep bees and grow asparagus, watch the tides and and listen to the wind instead of the politicians.  Make up your own stories and believe them if you want to live the good life."
~Miriam Waddington
Driving Home: Poems New and Selected; Advice to the Young

This is the first recipe I'm sharing originally found on Pinterest.  It was linked to Clean Eating and you can check it out there.   It looked so fresh and inviting.  Apologies for the impromptu photo that does not do it justice!   The lighting is less than ideal, and I completely forgot to add the toasted walnuts, but you know how it goes when you're in the middle of hosting a party!  It was a side dish for Easter dinner yesterday and everyone enjoyed it.

Despite that, I have mixed feelings about sharing this recipe.  It was pretty.  It was healthful.  Everyone liked it.  But it was also a bit persnickety, and I see more than a few pitfalls that any given reader may come up against if they decide to try it.   If I post a recipe here, it's because I got excited about it and want to share it to be easily duplicated in your home for the enjoyment of you and YOUR family.  That said, YES, we loved this and will make it again!  BUT, be duly warned, shaving asparagus is a fussy business.  

On the one hand, you can make this salad 4-6 hours ahead (and it doesn't suffer at all), which is fantastically convenient for company dinners.  The recipe needs 2 full pounds of asparagus.  There is quite a bit of waste amounting to about 50% (I hate that).  You can turn these scraps into asparagus soup if you like (but I don't).  Choose young, medium stalks.  The tiny stalks will break, and the big fat ones will be woody on the outside.  The medium ones will render about 4 shavings per.  NEXT, you must have a sharp peeler.  I have two.  An old one that I love for peeling potatoes that is easy to use and makes thick peels, and a newer, sharper one that makes paper thin peels, but sometimes clogs.  The old peeler was useless. The stalks basically broke at almost every attempt.  The sharp one worked  beautifully, but I had to stop and unclog it occasionally.  I'm just putting it all out there for you because I don't want anyone to get frustrated and start cursing me!!

The recipe called for lemon and orange juices, olive oil, salt and pepper.  I prepared the shavings early and tossed them with this, so the citrus would help preserve the fresh bright green color of the asparagus.  Before I served it though, I made a small amount of vinaigrette to toss it with and everyone liked that.  Orange zest was called for, but not my preference, so I used a shredded carrot to give the pop of orange color.  
I'll give you the recipe the way it worked for me, but you can access the original by clicking the link above!

Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad
A recipe by Clean Eating
Serves 6-8

2 bunches fresh, young, medium asparagus stalks (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil (cut and added at last minute)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Dressing that I added:
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced

Lay asparagus on a cutting board and hold at thick end.  Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave asparagus from thick to thin end, right thru floret, making long ribbons.
Place ribbons in a large bowl and discard ends (there will be about a pound of waste).
Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil, the lemon and orange juices over, and toss to coat.  At this point, you may store the asparagus covered, in the fridge for  4-6 hours.  Add beans, onions, carrot, basil and nuts at the last minute.

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together, pour over all and toss together.  Withhold a few nuts and cheese shavings to sprinkle over plated salad.  Enjoy!