I had been having trouble with my smoker and maintaining the heat in it while cooking. One of the suggestions I had gotten was to cook with lava rock on the heating element, and so I set out to Grill Works in Marion to pick up some lava rock and because I had read that I might not want to put the lava rock onto the heating element itself and damage the heating element, I ended up adjusting and turning the heating element upside down. This resulted in not getting as much smoke and while the temperature stayed constant, it didn’t seem to heat as much as I would have liked it to heat. Next time, I’ll likely try putting less lava rock with the heating element facing the correct direction.
Nonetheless, this recipe from Food and Wine 2009 tasted delicious. I was so glad to bring it into work to share with others and then continue to eat. I even considered adding it to a pizza, but didn’t end up making the pizza.
Carolina-Style Pulled Pork
1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 1/2 lb bone-in pork shoulder, skin removed and thick layer of fat scored
3/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c yellow mustard
2 Tbsp honey
In a bowl, mix the brown sugar with the paprika, chile powder, dry mustard and 2 Tsp each of salt and black pepper; rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Refrigerate the pork, covered, overnight.
Light a grill (smoker). Set a drip pan in the center of the grill bottom and surround with a single layer of lit coals. Place the pork fat side up on the grill over the drip pan. Cover and cook for about 8 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 175 degrees. Replenish with a layer of lit coals every hour as needed to maintain a steady temperature of 200 to 250 degrees inside the grill. Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 30 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey, and 2 teaspoons of pepper. Pull the pork from the bone in large shreds. Add the pork to the mustard sauce and toss. Season with salt and serve with the buns.
In addition to last week’s brown sugar bacon crackers, I made this hot saltine hack. It’s a nice spiced-up saltine cracker that you can eat with a beer or on its own, without automatically going for a cheese or other flavor. This recipe is from Alton Brown’s Every Day Cook. It’s not an every day recipe for me, but it is a good recipe to make when you need something simple and easy to take with you without needing too many ingredients.
Hot Saltine Hack
2 Tbsp clarified butter, melted
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 sleeve saltines (about 40 crackers
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk the butter, hot sauce, and dry mustard together in a large mixing bowl. Add the saltines and toss to coat. Spread the crackers on a half sheet pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the saltines just start to brown.
After having made the coleslaw with apples and pineapple a few months back, I came across this similar recipe from the Roots cookbook and thought it looked worthy of exploring. I’m still not a fan of coleslaw, but this one had a bit more of a vinegar taste to it and could use some fresh apples, in season. It tasted great on its own and on top of a pork sandwich, so definitely worth trying. I don’t know that it’s automatically better than the other coleslaw recipe, but a nice alternative.
Carrot, Napa Cabbage, and Apple Slaw
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp poppy seeds
8 oz napa cabbage, cored and finely shredded
8 oz carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks
1 crisp red apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 Tbsp finely snipped fresh chives
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, salt, and poppy seeds. Set aside while you cut the vegetables, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, and apple. Spoon the dressing over the top and toss the slaw to distribute the dressing evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the chives and serve immediately. The cabbage and carrots can be cut up to 8 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to toss the slaw. It is best to cut the apple right before adding it to the slaw so that it doesn’t discolor.
I made a meal and took it into work for a group that was having trouble finding a meeting time during an especially busy week. It was a week when dining services wasn’t in service and so I promised them food. One of the individuals had just returned from his family’s house in Virginia and so I wanted to provide a few snacks that were inspired from the south. The most popular item I brought to eat were these crackers from The Southerner’s Cookbook.
Brown Sugar Bacon Crackers
12 bacon slices (not thick-cut)
48 saltines or buttery club crackers
6 tsp dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup. Cut the bacon slices in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise to create 4 long strips.
Arrange the crackers on a work surface and wrap a bacon strip around each cracker, overlapping the ends on top.
Carefully sprinkle 1/8 tsp brown sugar on the top of each cracker, pressing it to help adhere (avoid getting sugar on the cracker or it will burn).
Set a perforated rack on the top of the foil-lined broiler pan and arrange the crackers seam-side down 1/2 inch apart in a single layer and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the bacon is at your desired level of crispness. Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.
I thought I had couscous in the cupboard to use up, but it turns out what I had was quinoa. Lots and lots of quinoa. But, I’d found myself excited for this recipe, so I decided to make it, adjusting for quinoa instead of couscous and craisins instead of golden raisins. This was from the Bonne Femme Cookbook. It was a nice, slightly sweet, grain recipe.
Slightly Honeyed Couscous
1 c water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 c quick-cooking couscous
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 c golden raisins or snipped dried apricots
In a medium-size saucepan, bring the water, salt, and olive oil to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Transfer the couscous to a serving dish. Wipe out the pan. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and the raisins. Return the couscous to the saucepan; cook and stir until warmed through and the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout. Return to the serving bowl and serve.
A few weeks ago, the broccoli in my garden was ready and nearly out of control, so I decided to incorporate it into my breakfast frittata for the week. I had a recipe from Beyond Bacon that I had been wanting to make and so I was excited to put it together. So, on Sunday evening, I found myself making this frittata. It was from a paleo cookbook, which I can appreciate, but I do wish it had a little bit of cheese in it. I think if I was to make it again (despite trying to eat mostly paleo/clean), I would add a little cheese for some additional tastiness.
1/2 c milk (recommend full-fat coconut milk)
1 lb Italian sausage
1 c broccoli, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp chopped oregano
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. In a skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage from the skillet to a towel-covered plate. Drain the fat from the skillet, except for 2 tablespoons. Saute the broccoli, onion, and garlic, until the onion pieces are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Return the sausage to the skillet and add the parsley and oregano. Stir to combine. Whisk the eggs and coconut milk together again until bubbly and frothy.
Pour the freshly whisked mixture over the top of the sausage, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until the top just starts to brown.
More from the using up what is in the cupboard…I came across my nut stash and found a bunch of pecan pieces, so went looking for a recipe. It also helped that I was cooking for some folks who had a chocolate allergy and I wanted to make sure I had a bit of a dessert for them. Thrilled to not have to make a trip to the grocery store, I put together these Oatmeal Pecan Cookies from the A Taste of Hope and Prayer cookbook.
Oatmeal Pecan Cookies
1 c butter or Crisco
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 c oatmeal
2 c chopped pecans
Cream sugars and shortening; add vanilla and milk. Beata eggs and add to the mixture. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; add to above mixture. Add oatmeal and pecans; mix thoroughly. bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until browned.