Archive | January, 2012

Winter

28 Jan

My sister and I were lamenting today about how we needed some sunshine, here in the throws of winter in New York. Actually it’s not been bad this season, no snowpocalypses so far. (That photo is from last winter.) But you know how it is as the season wears on, feeling drab, exhausted, kind of sad, and cold. I think part of my problem anyway is the foods I tend to eat during this time of year. I mean, how many times can you eat pizza or chicken pot pie before things start to turn ugly.

I wish for mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables, gigantic tomatoes, basil that I can pick on my fire escape. And blueberries from Michigan. And my mom’s roasted vegetable medley.

Instead, I’m going to eat some grapefruit salad. Fresh, with olive oil, and arugula and salt and pepper. Then I’m going to go buy a box of clementines.

Maybe we all can get some Vitamin C that way until the sun comes out.

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Slow-cooked pulled pork

17 Jan

My brother bought me a crock pot for Christmas a few years ago. For some reason, I thought only people who couldn’t cook used them for things I traditionally want no part of. Like those little hot dogs with the barbecue sauce, for example.

However, I recently discovered the Crock Pot is awesome. You can put something in there that would normally take hours in your dutch oven, and actually leave your home. This concept is amazing. So with that, for all you people out there who use these things, or have them and don’t, here’s a recipe for easy pulled pork that Mom suggested when I told her I had leftover pork shoulder.

Depending on the size of your crock pot you can make more or less of this.

Pulled pork

You need:

At least 1 pound of boneless pork shoulder

1 onion

1 cup broth, either veggie or beef

BBQ sauce. You can make your own, but since we’re going for minimal trouble here, Mom suggests buying Open Pit and Sweet Baby Ray’s and mixing them both. It works. It’s delicious. I’m not ashamed to say it.

Hot sauce

Dice the onion

Cut the pork shoulder into chunks

Add both to the pot and add enough broth to partially, but not totally, submerge the pork.

Salt and Pepper

Put the lid on and let it cook on low for about 7 hours. *Drain the liquid from the pork, using a strainer, then put it back in and seperate it with a fork.* From there, you can add the sauces directly, which is what I do, and cook it another hour or so, or you can mix up sauce and put on the side for people to add as they like.

Coleslaw

I hate mayo, so my Mom offered up this coleslaw recipe in exchange. It’s tart and delicious on a sandwich with the pulled pork.

You need:

Shredded carrots, white and red cabbage. I’d say a cup of each.

Here in New York, the land of you-can-get-anything, they pre-slice this for me at the vegetable shop near my house. (Thank you K&Y) But for you suckers who lack access to such decadence, you have to shred yourself.

Yogurt, about three table spoons

Sour cream, 1/2 tablespoon

Whole-grain mustard, 2 tablespoons

White wine vinegar, about a 1/3 of a cup.

Mix the carrots and cabbage in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.

Pour into the shredded veg and mix:

I also make roasted brussels sprouts with this. Super easy. Heat oven to 400. Cut brussels sprouts in half

A light dusting of olive oil, salt and pepper, broil till brown and crispy, 30 minutes.

Easy party appetizers for that post-holiday empty space on your calendar

9 Jan

Welcome back after the holidays and happy 2012! 

Below are three really easy party appetizers that make you look good and make your guests happy:

Sauteed mushroom crostini, cannellini bean and parsley pesto crostini, and prosciutto and fig pizza.

I somehow lost the images I took while doing work for this little holiday party we had, so forgive me.

We’re talking about probably 30 crostinis total and one pizza, cut into small thin personal pieces. If you need more, double the recipe.

You’ll need:

Really good olive oil, first pressed. I’m partial to this type, which my mom sells at Dunning’s Market, if you are in the Chicago area you can buy it there, or they sell it here in Brooklyn.

2 baguettes

1 large flat bread, like this:

07-flat-bread.jpg

about a pound of crimini mushrooms

3 bunches parsley

2 cups cannellini bean (you can cheat and get canned, but don’t tell my mom you did.)

1 pound aged pecorino romano, grated

garlic, 1 bulb

shallots, probably 4

1/2 pound of prosciutto, doesn’t have to be super expensive but needs to be thinly-sliced

Fresh mozzarella cheese, probably 2 large balls

Fresh rosemary, 3 sprigs

Figs, preferably fresh but they’re not in season so get dried and I’ll teach you how my mom told me to reconstitute them. Boil water and submerge the dried figs for about an hour until they puff up slightly from where they were.

Food processor

Saute pan

good knife.

Crostinis:

You’re going to make two at the same time. Turn on your oven to 350. Slice the baguettes into small ovals and spread them out on large cookie sheets. Wash olive oil over the bread, salt and pepper it. Put it in the oven and keep watch, it takes about 15 minutes and you don’t want them too crispy. Yours won’t have grill marks, but you get the idea.

Cook the beans the night before so they’re already done, or if they are canned, don’t sweat it.

Cut the mushrooms

Mince about 4 cloves garlic

dice both bunches of  parsley. Set aside two generous handfuls.

Toss some olive oil in a saute pan (the kind I showed you a few weeks ago or something similar) and throw in the garlic, and a small handful of parsley, let it brown a few minutes and then toss in the mushrooms and let them sweat. Turn the heat down, medium to low.

While they are cooking, put the remaining parsley into a food processor with 1 clove fresh garlic, salt and pepper and a generous amount of olive oil. The pesto should be oily but not soupy. Blend until it’s a paste. Add about four large handfuls of pecorino romano.

Combine the pesto and the beans in a seperate bowl. Et voila.

Meanwhile, your mushrooms are cooking, cooking, cooking down. They start to smell really good. Add some salt and pepper. When they are 1/2 their size, or even smaller, turn it off and add a handful of cheese, and then another 1/2 handful. Let them rest. The mushrooms will turn a deeply rich color of brown. 

Remove the bread and spread the mixtures on the bread. Use your remaining handful off parsley to garnish.

Pizza: Credit for this belongs to my sister, Claudia. Genius idea. 

Rub olive oil on the flat bread and bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes, alone, remove.

Slice shallots and carmelize (which means saute slowly, with olive oil until they are translucent and soft and smell sweet) This process will take about 15 minutes or so at a medium heat.

Slice figs, probably 10

Slice mozzarella cheese

Dice rosemary

Assemble:

Olive oil, shallots, 1/2 rosemary prosciutto figs, then mozarella on the top and 1/2 rosemary.

Bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Let it sit and serve in slices.

I can’t believe I don’t have a photo, it was so beautiful!

Next time, I promise.