Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pulled Pork

I've been totally slacking lately.  Not only have I not posted much, I haven't been baking much either.  And it seems like everything I have baked lately is a repeat from the past few weeks.  I made those grapefruit lemon bars two nights ago, but this time just with lemon.  They are a bit too tart.  So, I am going to share another dinner that I have made recently that Max and I thought was very yummy.  Crockpot Pulled Pork!!!  If that doesn't sound delicious, you need to get your taste buds checked.

This is a super easy, super yummy way to make pulled pork at home without a fancy smoker.  The ingredients are really easy, and you will most likely have many of them in your pantry already.  The one thing you may have to buy is a pork butt (pork shoulder, etc. There are a lot of different names but just something good for pulled pork).  I got mine at the butcher, but a grocery store may sell them.  We just don't have a lot of really good grocery stores in town and its sad :(

Now for the recipe:

Crockpot Pulled Pork
adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking 
*my notes in italics
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder*
  • 1 onion, sliced in rings 
  • 2 cups ketchup (a 24oz bottle seems to be exactly 2 cups) 
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I probably added about a tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (again, I added about a tablespoon and I used the Chipotle kind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more depending on taste)
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke
  1. Use a 6 quart crockpot
  2. Trim meat, and place into your crockpot. Add sliced onion. 
  3. Squeeze in 2 cups of ketchup, and then pour 1/2 cup warm water into the ketchup bottle and shake. Pour the ketchup-y water into your crock. 
  4. Add vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, Tabasco and salt.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
  6. Take the meat out and shred with two forks.  Pour some sauce over the meat and then more over it when you make a sandwich.  I wouldn't recommend  shredding the meat in the pot with the sauce because it may become too "sauced."
  7. Serve over rice, or make sandwiches on rolls or sliced bread.
*Note: Make sure you trim the fat off of your meat.  I made the mistake of not doing this and the sauce was a little greasy.  It should still be nice and tender since it is braising for such a long time in so much liquid.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grapefruit Lemon Bars

I went to the farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and bought two grapefruits.  I ate one and didn't feel like eating the other one.  So what do you do with one grapefruit and one lemon? Make Grapefruit Lemon Bars!  I've been on a huge citrus kick lately.  This is the third tray of lemon bars I have made in the past two weeks.  They are addictive and I'm sad that citrus and quickly going out of season :(  I am happy, however, that lots of other fruits will be coming into season soon!

About these bars: they have a wonderful shortbread crust with a creamy, yellow grapefruit and lemon curd.  Making the curd is a little time consuming (you have to whisk for a while)  but the results are SO worth it.  I had to grab a spoon and scrape the bowl when I had poured all of the curd onto the crust.  I even bought more lemons today so I can make a big batch of this stuff to put on toast, cookies, a spoon....

By the way, Max and our friend Luke gave these a big thumbs up!

Grapefruit Lemon Bars
From: OB Cookie 

Shortbread Crust
Adopted from Joy of Cooking
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks) softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. In large bowl beat all ingredients minus flour.  Stir in flour.  Light knead until blended. 
  3. In 8x8 baking pan with fingers press dough into bottom and up around the edges about ¾ in. 
  4. Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and darker at the edges. 
  5. While baking, make the curd filling.  
  6. Allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes and add the curd.  Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until cool and set.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Grapefruit Curd
Adopted from James Peterson’s Baking

  • Juice and zest from one ruby red grapefruit (about 1 cup juice)
  • Juice and zest from one lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into tablespoon pieces
  1. Set a saucepan of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  
  2. In a heatproof bowl that will fit over pan, whisk together eggs and sugar for about 2 minutes until pale.  
  3. Then whisk zests and juice.  
  4. Set the bowl over the saucepan.  Stir constantly with a whisk for about 8 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken (this took me about 12 minutes, be patient!).  
  5. Add the sliced butter, one piece at a time and stir constantly.  
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes longed.  Remove from heat. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  I didn't make anything Easter themed this year except for an amazing carrot cake.  Max and I went to a local Chinese food restaurant for my birthday celebration/Easter dinner.  It was really yummy and it was nice to have a quiet dinner with just me and Max.
So, back to this carrot cake.  This is from the Pioneer Woman, yet again, because her recipes are awesome.  It has a cream cheese frosting, which is supposed to have pecans in it but I usually leave nuts out of all my recipes because of my allergies and those of my family.  The frosting can be made in like 3 minutes.  The cake is moist and fluffy and so pretty with the carrot pieces.  I made this in a 9x13 Pyrex pan, but you can make it in pretty much any pan you want, just be sure to adjust your baking time. 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
from: Pioneer Woman
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots
  • For Icing
  • 1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
  • 1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese (I used fat free because its all they had left at the store the day before Easter!!)
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely
Preparation Instructions
  1. Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. 
  2. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and mix well.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joyed) pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake until done, 25 to 50 minutes, depending on the pan you use at 350.
  4. Cool completely.
  1. In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. 
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. 
  3. Spread on cooled carrot cake.
*Again, leave the nuts out if you want, I didn't miss them!!
**You may want to cut the frosting recipe in half.  I liked it, but Max thought it was WAY too much, so go with your preference.