Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Little Piggy Went To...

...the Dutch oven.

That's right. This is one of the tastiest and easiest things we've made thus far. We are talking about P-Dub's Spicy Pulled Pork (p. 94). Next to the Perfect Pot Roast, this recipe is our favoritest. Yep, we used a made-up word, it's that good.

Start with a food processor. Make friends with your food processor. It's about to make you some tasty stuff. Into the food processor goes onion, garlic, salt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Then stick your nose close to the top of the bowl, and take a whiff. You won't regret it.

Pulse the food processor five or six times to fully blend and emulsify the ingredients. You'll feel really chef-like using the food processor. Jo sure did. Lou gave it a spin too. We never out-grow our toys. We just change the type of toys we play with as we age. The mixture should be about the color of Oklahoma clay.

Next, take your pork shoulder (we ended up with a six-pounder)...

 ...and spread the mixture over both sides making sure all surfaces are covered.

Place this in the Dutch oven, pouring the remaining spice mixture on top. P-Dub calls for adding two cups of water. We had enough mixture left, so we added it along with just one cup of water. The liquid helps the meat to remain tender and moist as it cooks.

We put the lid on the Dutch oven and placed it in the oven at 300 degrees for about five hours. We have found with roasts a good ratio, generally speaking, is roughly an hour per pound. With this recipe you turn the roast about every hour of its cooking time.

Once it's finally done, it should be falling apart. We noticed it was slowly falling apart as we turned the meat the last couple of hours. We set the meat aside to rest a few minutes and joined a mariachi band.

Next we shredded the pork using two forks. We would be lying if we did not say we sampled a few bites. You know - just to make sure the meat was good enough to share. Unfortunately, it was.

The remaining mixture was still in the pot. We thought this could create a great sauce. Mr. Fabuful added corn starch and let it boil as it thickened. He also made refried black beans. That boy can make some mean food.

We readied the rest of our food: tortillas, lime wedges, queso fresco and alcoholic pineapple. Yes, that's right. That pineapple was not as fresh as we had hoped when Jo cut it up that afternoon. We wondered why The Bean made such a face when he tried the pineapple first. It tasted like there was a shot of bourbon in the pineapple. Weird. It perhaps was incorrectly advertised in the "fresh" produce department at the grocery store. That, or it fermented on its ride from Hawaii to Kansas.

See here the plated, finished product. *Sigh...*

Please try this. Or, if pork is not kosher to you, do a brisket.

Happily full,

P.S. Join us at the McPherson County Numana event, this coming Saturday, June 4! Register here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soul Food

So if it's not obvious by now, we and our fellas like food. We like to eat it. We like to make it. We like to look at it. And we like to eat it.

We also realize we are very blessed to live in the part of the world with an abundance of food. Living in the Breadbasket of America, food is often something that we can take for granted. Both of us have traveled to different parts of the world and have seen poverty and hunger first-hand. Since we're doing a food blog, we thought it would be a good idea to feature organizations that give everyday people like us a chance to make a difference, both locally and around the world.

El Dorado, Kansas, is home to an extraordinary organization called Numana. Numana helps local volunteers package meals that are sent to areas affected by disaster or dire poverty. For example, Lou volunteered with her local church to help package 137,000 meals for Haiti after the earthquake last year.

Numana's operation runs like a well-oiled machine. Volunteers are organized by table. Each person is given a specific job. The best part is anyone from age two to age one-hundred-and-two can help with this process. Each table is responsible for packaging meals containing rice, beans and spices. These meals are nutrient rich and are easy to prepare in places with few resources.

The fun part: wearing gigantic aprons and hair nets. The other fun part: the gigantic gong that is rung every time another 10,000 packets of meals are packaged. Will work for gongs.

If you are interested in volunteering for or donating to Numana, please check out their website.

Thankfully full,

Monday, May 16, 2011

You say potato. I say potato.

Yep. We say 'potato' the same way. This recipe is that good.

First, allow us to show you the inspiration for trying this recipe. *Girly sigh.* Uncle He-Man made a stop by Yoder Meats, and Mr. Fabuful made these pretty baby-back ribs tasty.

So, of course, we had to make something delicious to compliment the ribs. We went with P-Dub's Creamy Rosemary Potatoes (p. 204).

Jo started by slicing russet potatoes.

Then we really got busy slicing potatoes.

Vanna White, whoops...Vanna Lou will showcase the potatoes. We love our starches.

Next we poured a mixture of half-and-half and heavy cream over the potatoes, setting them aside to soak.

We chopped garlic. Start the mincing by the aggression-relieving practice of pounding the flat of the knife with your palm to release the flesh from its papery skin.

We added this and a diced onion to a skillet of melted butter. Next we prepared the herbs. We began by removing rosemary from its stems and chopping it.

The chives were chopped next. The kitchen smelled heavenly. Like a garden of herbs. Thank you, Captain Obvious. We'll be here all week.

Once the onions and garlic began to look translucent, we added cream cheese to the mix and did a little dance. This was melted together and created a great dip for crackers. Just sayin'. But, really, this was melted together and the half-and-half and heavy cream mixture was poured in.

You know how you were told in elementary school to read the directions at the top of your worksheet before beginning any of the problems? Well, apparently we didn't quite learn our lesson. The recipe calls for adding the rosemary and green onions (Say what?!) to the cream cheese mixture. Instead, we added the rosemary and chives. We get half-credit, right? Chives are the little cousins to the onion.

Next we sprinkled in Parmesan cheese.

We buttered a 9x13 baking dish and dumped our potato slices in.

This was then covered with the cream cheese mixture. Parmesan cheese was sprinkled on top. This is the point at which the chives should be the acting garnish. Welp. They weren't. Neither were the green onions. They were in detention in the fridge.

This was baked for one hour.

Despite flunking Cookbook Instructions: 101, the potatoes turned out quite tasty. We all enjoyed the fresh, rosemary taste. We will definitely be making these again soon!

Happily full,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feelin' Hot-Hot-Hot!

And we are not kidding, peeps. This particular recipe is not for sissies.

We don't consider ourselves to be super rough-and-tumble, but we do like spicy food. The final product turned out to be just right. The process, however, brought about tears, horrid coughing fits and much laughter. And did we mention coughing fits? We decided to make P-Dub's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers (p. 14).

We began with fresh jalapenos. These were sliced in half.

Next we removed the white membranes and seeds from the jalapenos. This is where the heat resides. Ree recommends using gloves. We didn't have any gloves, so we were tough broads and dove in bare-handed. Actually, we were very careful to not touch other body parts or kitchen surfaces while dismembering the jalapenos. We were sure to wash our hands well.

This, however, did not keep Lou from squirting jalapeno juice up her nose. Whoops. A decidedly unpleasant experience. Her nose became quite red. Yep. Rudolph she was.

Pepper fumes engulfed the kitchen, and soon both Jo and Lou couldn't breathe. We had to open the window, which wasn't enough. We had to stick our faces up to the screen and breathe deeply. We aren't even kidding. Here's the proof.

Next, we made the filling. Together in a bowl we put cream cheese, chopped green onion and cheddar cheese.

We used a hand mixer to blend these well.

Then we filled the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese filling.

Next we swaddled the jalapenos with bacon. Yassir. We decided to use turkey bacon because it is 63% less greasy than pork bacon - according to the package. Those are official stats, folks. The bacon was held in place by a toothpick.

These were placed on a tin-foil-lined baking sheet.

Next we basted them with barbecue sauce...well, after they'd been in the oven a bit we basted them with barbecue sauce. The jalapeno fumes had gone to our brains. The barbecue sauce is supposed to be added before placing the poppers into the oven. These were baked in the oven at 275 degrees for approximately one hour.

The baking takes the primary bite out of the jalapeno, creates a touch of crispiness to the bacon and tenderly melts the cream cheese filling. Gorgeous gooey-ness.

These little tykes were worth the respiratory distress. Happy Mother's Day to us.

Happily full,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Breakfast for Supper & Other Such Wildness

Yes, we love a good scandal. Nothing like eating breakfast food for supper. It just ain't proper. And neither is using the word 'ain't'. Oh, well.

Last Monday evening we made Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes (p. 76). Delightful. These were a huge hit with the fellas...this being just Mr. Fabuful and The Bean. Mr. Fabuful animatedly ate his pancakes with great gusto, while The Bean promptly shredded his into itty-bitty pieces. Well, to each his own.

We started by placing sour cream, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

These were mixed together until it resembled something that looked like flubber.

Next we whisked together eggs and a bit of vanilla.

The egg mixture was folded into the sour cream mixture.

Next we melted a tablespoon of butter in the skillet and used a small measuring cup to pour the pancake batter into the skillet.

We cooked them until bubbles began to rise through the top surface, then flipped them. We literally gasped with excitement at the golden-brown perfection in front of us. Ree's step-by-step instructions certainly made this possible. We hadn't ever made such pretty pancakes. We're used to pouring the batter directly out of the bowl. The shapes of the pancakes were usually somewhat reminiscent of Rhode Island. Good geography lessons for The Bean.

With this batch we made seven medium-sized pancakes. Two for each adult, and one for The Bean. The pancakes were fluffy yet substantial in texture. The sour cream gave just the right richness and tangy flavor. Next time, we're totally doubling it and definitely trying this variation again.

Mr. Fabuful made eggs-over-easy, and we fried up some turkey bacon. Voila! Breakfast is served!

Happily full,