Best Smoked Pulled Pork

I have mentioned my intentions for making more ice cream this summer.  About the same time I obtained the ice cream maker, I also acquired a smoker, which I haven’t used often enough.  I blame it on not being home all the time and rarely having a day when I’m here most of the day, but that might not be legitimate.  Either way, using the smoker has not been something I’ve done frequently.  There’s also the possibility that I’ll never be as good as my dad, just like there are a few recipes my mom makes that I refuse to do because I can’t get it quite right…

I decided to try and use the smoker a little more and when pork was on sale, I bought a pork shoulder and found this recipe on the Sweet C’s Designs website.  It was really good.  It had a nice amount of bark, and I really appreciated the additional flavor offered by the cardamom and cinnamon.  I heard on a podcast a couple weeks ago about the role of cardamom in recipes and this seemed like a fun way to add it.

So, for a week, I snacked on this pork.  I added it to eggs, salads, sandwiches, and ate it on its own.

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder or Boston butt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp seasoning salt
2 Tbsp ground pepper
3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp celery salt
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cardamom

Mix ingredients except for pork together in a bowl.  Remove the pork from package, pat dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.  Apply rub and refrigerate overnight.  Soak wood chips overnight in water.

Remove meat from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.  Prepare smoker.  When coals are glowing and gray, add the pork to the smoker.  Keep the meat as far from the fire as possible.  Add a handful of wet wood chips/block to fire.  Cover and let cook.  You’ll want to keep your temperature between 200 and 225 degrees.  It should take 12-14 hours to smoke a 7-10 pound butt.

Cook until meat is at least 185 degrees, but it will pull apart easier if it gets to 205 degrees.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

I was ready to eat a summery meal last week and was came across the recipe for Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons in the Ruth Reichl my kitchen year cookbook.  This is the first recipe I’ve made out of her cookbook, but as the academic year came to a close, I’m making a commitment to cooking at home with more real food.  I was about to make some sausages to eat and potatoes sounded really good.  I’m not always a potato fan, but the idea of putting some together seemed incredibly appealing on this night.  I had seen this recipe the day before in the cookbook and the idea of lemon with potatoes in a crisp form was exactly what I wanted.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukon

3 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes
3 c chicken stock
1-2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, smashed
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the chicken stock into a medium-sized pan and stir in the zest of a lemon or two and the smashed garlic.  Add the potatoes, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, reserving the lemon zest from the stock, and allow them to cool a bit.  Put them on a sheet pan that is liberally covered with olive oil.  Gently flatten eat potato, using the back of a chef’s knife, a rolling pin, or a small skillet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and the lemon zest, and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit more salt.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Summer is here!  With that, it’s salad season and I found several recipes I had written down for salads in one location or another.  This (very simple) recipe for blackberry spinach salad ended my day with some brightness and cheerfulness after several days of eating a quick meal here or there and whatever I could so glamorously shove in my mouth to either a) stay awake or b) provide some brief sustenance.  Then, as I planted my garden and saw the lettuce and spinach starting to appear, as well as some blackberry bushes I planted last year, I remembered this recipe and knew I wanted to put it together the next night.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Blackberry Spinach Salad

3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 pint fresh blackberries (or substitute strawberries, etc…)
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blackberries, goat cheese, green onion, and walnuts.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Raspberry Rhubarb Sorbet

With summer upon us, I think I am declaring this the summer of ice cream.  For a few years, I’ve had the attachment for my KitchenAid mixer that makes ice cream, but for a number of reasons I have not made much in terms of ice cream.  I’m ready for that to change.  So, when I came across this recipe on Pastry Affair, I knew I wanted to make it.  My love affair with rhubarb is well-documented here, here, here, here, and here.  So, the combination of raspberry and rhubarb in a sorbet that contains no dairy, sugar, and is pretty much real food-friendly was a no brainer.

Raspberry Rhubarb Sorbet.jpg

Raspberry Rhubarb Sorbet

12 oz rhubarb, chopped inch 1-inch sections
6 oz raspberries
1/2 c water
1 c honey
1 tsp vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb, raspberries, water, and honey and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and translucent.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Allow mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Chill for 3-4 hours or until cold.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.

Corn Dip

Every once in awhile, a recipe catches my eye and I know I want to make it.  This recipe, from the Iowa State Fair Cookbook was one such recipe.  I was looking for an off-the-beaten-track dip for chips and the combination of corn, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and other items (and that it was a refrigerated dip, not a heated one, was the right combination to pique my interest.

This was another recipe in the various recipes that I served to the students who came over to my house last month.  If you have a potluck or tailgating event to attend this summer, this may be the recipe you want to throw together.

Corn Dip.jpg

Corn Dip

2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2.25 oz can chopped ripe olives, drained
1 can whole kernal corn, drained
14 oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Beat together cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.  Add additional ingredients.  Chill several hours and serve with tortilla chips.

Lemon White Chocolate Puff Corn

Remember that student group that was meeting for 5 hours every single night for a week in order to hand out money for the student organizations?  Well, I know I mentioned the Gopher Bars I brought in one night, but another night I took in the Popcorn Granola I made and this sweet popcorn with white chocolate.  It’s a modified version of another recipe that called for cinnamon frosting, but in lieu of finding any of that, I thought I’d spread a little more springtime flavor and incorporate the lemon frosting into it.  It had just enough sweetness to the recipe to be full of flavor and sweetness without being overpowering, although I imagine had I really been not eating sugar for a while, this would taste a little over-the-top.  My mom has done a similar version during the holidays and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies to add that in.

Lemon White Chocolate Puff Corn

Lemon White Chocolate Puff Corn

1 square white almond bark
1 Tbsp butter flavored shortening
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 package lemon frosting
1 bag puff corn

Put puff corn in a large bowl.  Melt almond bark and shortening in double-boiler.  Add white chocolate chips and melt, stirring occasionally.  Mix in frosting.  Stir until well-covered.  pour white chocolate mixture over the puff corn.  Mix until it is completely covered or put the cover on the bowl and shake it!

Put puff corn on wax paper and sprinkle with sprinkles.  Leave on the wax paper until set.  Store in airtight container.

Black Pepper Pound Cake

When looking through the Iowa State Fair cookbook a few weeks ago, I was wanting to make some desserts for a group of students coming to visit.  I knew that there was one member of the group who was allergic to chocolate, which made this the perfect opportunity to try out the black pepper pound cake recipe I’d been eyeing for some time.  I didn’t know what to expect — would the pepper seem out of place?  I’ve tasted some great pairings of lemon and black pepper with chocolate, but what would this look like without the chocolate there?  Luckily, the recipe still had lemon flavoring within it.

I have to admit, I was pretty delighted with the taste of the cake.  The black pepper added some spiciness that was unexpected.  With dessert, I do not often think I want something that is hot, but this was a subtle heat that added to the cake, but did not distract from it.

Black Pepper Pound Cake.jpg

Black Pepper Pound Cake

1 c butter, softened
3 c sugar
3 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon extract
6 eggs
3 c flour
1 c heavy cream
Powdered sugar

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in pepper and extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour alternately with cream; mix well.  Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 70 to 75 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.