Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0244 (1600x1060)Sloppy joes are an old standby.  I usually brown the beef with chopped onions and add whatever comes to hand for a sauce – easiest is adding a favorite BBQ sauce but I rarely stop at that.  Ketchup, a squeeze of mustard, steak sauces, soy sauce – I’ve used all of these either singly or in combination.  A few minutes before serving, lay slices of cheese atop the mixture, cover, and let the cheese melt down.  Scoop a portion out with a broad spatula and slide it off onto a waiting bun.DSC_0259 (1600x1060)Mrs J called for grilled hamburgers now that the Weber is set up on the front patio.  I’m usually a pickle, onion, and mustard guy but I like ketchup on occasion.  This one has a slice of provolone that’s just starting to sag.  In a skillet on the stove top I let the cheese melt right on down but I’m not a huge fan of scraping burnt cheese off of a gas grill.

Brussels Sprout Salad

DSC_0238 (1600x1060)I found this recipe while looking for salad ideas and decided to give it a try.  It’s pretty good, not change your life good but it is a nice change of pace.  My mandoline doesn’t like the little fiddly jobs so I used a knife but it went pretty well, I didn’t do a whole lot of them.  I added a packet of Splenda to mine, and a splash of rice vinegar because I thought it needed just a tad more tart.DSC_0239 (1600x1060)The meat of the menu was this pork tenderloin all pounded thin and breaded.  I ate mine with a little chili sauce.  The plate was rounded off with more of that loaded potato salad.  I made a different batch with red potatoes this time but otherwise about the same.  I did drop a glob of yogurt in with the sour cream and mayo for the dressing.DSC_0240 (1600x1060)

Friday Recipe Exchange: Smokin’

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Last week I found a nice, small pork roast on sale and decided it would be perfect to make a slow-cooker pulled pork. That reminded me that it would be a good idea to revisit JeffreyW’s smoking adventures with his backyard smoker. I’ve pulled a few recipes, but if you search for “smoker” on the blog, you’ll find a whole lot more of his mouth-watering pictures and recipes.

Let’s start with my slow-cooker Easy Pulled Pork, I posted two ways to make it here.

Next up, JeffreyW makes an assortment of goodies in his smoker:

Here is his recommendation for a smoker and some tasty Ribs.

Homemade Pastrami (click here) – serious mouth-watering photos.

Smoked Chicken (photos and recipe here).

My youngest brother also jumped on the Smoker band wagon and sent me photos of a great meal that included Smoked Macaroni and Cheese (link here). He didn’t include a recipe, but I think it’s safe to say, make your favorite Mac ‘n Cheese, place in an aluminum pan, cover and smoke it for about 45 minutes to an hour at 165-180 degrees.

Smoker people seem very passionate, so if you’ve got the bug, hit the comments and share your experiences and expertise. What delicious things do you have planned this weekend? Anyone getting the grill out yet?

Tonight’s featured recipe from JeffreyW:

Smoked Brisket

I thawed a beef brisket and was thinking corned beef but changed my mind.  I have a fresh made pastrami on hand so I decided on a straight smoked brisket.  The procedure is much the same as with making a pastrami except you are starting with a fresh beef beef brisket rather than a corned one.  I suppose you could use the same dry rub for both but I wasn’t sure how the juniper berries in the pastrami rub would taste so I went with a more traditional rub.  I was tossing various ingredients in and didn’t keep track of the amounts of each so I can’t do more than list them from memory:  Black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, ancho powder, regular chili powder, fresh ground cumin, some powder out of a bottle of Goya “Adobe Seasoning” (it’s yellow – go figure), creole/Cajun seasoning, oregano, and probably a few more.

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I placed it on the top rack of my electric smoker, threaded the temp probe through the vent and into the thickest part, placed a drippings pan with an inch of apple cider under the meat, added the soaked hickory to the smoke chamber, closed the door and fired it up.  It’s been cold and snowy so I knew it would take a good while to get to the “done” temperature but I wasn’t thinking 23 hours.  That’s how long it spent in there before I pulled it.  The probe was registering 176 degrees.

I pulled the first drippings pan out because I think it was keeping the inside temperature in the smoker too low and replaced it with a dry pan after about 12 hours.  The quart of cider plus the drippings was reduced to what you see above.  If I could make it by the gallon I’m pretty sure I would be a millionaire in short order.  Awesome stuff.

That’s it for this week. No Bixby update, but he turns 10 months old this weekend, so I’ll put something together soon. Have a great weekend. – TaMara

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Sammich Pr0n – BBQ Pork

DSC_0237 (1600x1060)Another homemade bun with some roast pork and Sweet Baby Ray.  I made the eggs with a dab of the tzatziki, mayo, and a whiff of sour cream.  There are chives in there as well as the dill from the tzatziki.DSC02186 (1600x1060)Bonus Kitteh!  Toby fled under the couch during a thunderstorm, here he is checking to see if it was safe to emerge.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Two Ways

Slowcooker pulled pork

This recipe is so simple and so very good. It’s great to make and then have ingredients for sandwiches all weekend. Eat cold or reheat, both are good.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

  • 2-3 lb boneless pork roast
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne or red chili pepper flakes (opt)
  • red wine vinegar
  • favorite barbecue sauce (JeffreyW and I are both fond of Sweet Baby Rays – I like the spicy)
  • favorite rolls (I like multi-grain hoagie rolls)

Slow-cooker

Remove the string ties from the pork roast. Spread the roast out, season all sections with salt, pepper and if you like, cayenne or chili pepper flakes. Roll back up and place in the slow-cooker (don’t tie it up again). Add red wine vinegar (about 2 tbsp or more as desired). Cover and cook according to slow-cooker directions – usually 8-10 hours on low. Keep that lid closed.

Once its cooked, remove the roast and pour off all but about 2 tbsp of the liquid and fat. Shred the roast and return it to the slow-cooker, add barbecue sauce, start with 1/4 cup and add more as desired. I eventually used about 1/2 cup and a little bit more each time I reheated.

Don’t want barbecued pork, how about Carnitas? Just change out the spices:

  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 orange, cut in half

Mix together spices and oil and rub over the roast liberally. Add the roast, garlic and jalapeno to the slow-cooker. Squeeze the orange over the meat before adding it as well. Cover and cook as above. No need to drain, just shred the pork and serve on tortillas.

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Mmm… homemade pita for gyros

DSC_0228 (1600x1060)We had gyros yesterday using store bought pita loaves and they just weren’t that good.  I’m guessing the turnover on flat breads isn’t very high and they were a tad stale.  I’ve made pitas before but it’s been a while so I looked up a recipe.  The NY Times recipe came up first and it looked to be easy.  We didn’t have any whole wheat flour, fresh milled or otherwise, so these are made with plain AP flour.  The only thing you need to watch for is getting them too brown.  The recipe warns:  “The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles.”  The brown parts are very dry and fragile and crack apart rather than fold.  I have a pizza stone in my oven, big enough to do two of these at a time without crowding.  A couple of them puffed up like little pillows but most of them just blistered here and there.DSC_0230 (1600x1060)The loaf is from Alton Brown’s recipe, as is the tzatziki sauce. I make a few alterations in his recipe, adding 1/3 part hamburger and several slices of bacon to the loaf recipe and this time I added fresh chopped dill to the yogurt sauce.  I haven’t used lettuce before but I thought it needed a little more green and we had no mint for a garnish.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

DSC_0222 (1600x1060)I see this on offer at the Kroger deli pretty often and I’ve bought, and liked it, but it seemed a tad too expensive so I looked for a recipe.  I found this one and used it for a guide.  This one has two  potatoes and the other ingredients are scaled to suit.  I used four slices of bacon and two or three green onions and a handful of a cheddar/Monterey jack mixture left over from another dish.  Use about 2 to 1 sour cream to mayo in a quantity sufficient to lube it all up.  I boiled 6 eggs to make deviled eggs for an additional side and Mrs J suggested adding a couple to the potato salad.  They work fine in there.  I saw a recipe that mentioned baking the mixture until the cheese melts but I went with a cold dish.  Made an excellent side for the roast pork sammich.

Tidbits

We didn’t do anything in particular for Easter, the only eggs I boiled were for a potato salad.DSC_0198 (1600x1060) Now that the grill is out and tuned up we’ll be enjoying picnic style dinners more often.  These are some baby back ribs I finished off on the grill after cooking them in the oven for an hour.  I was afraid they would be falling apart and hard to transfer but they were still solidly attached to the bone so no problem.  They got a dry rub and then were basted with BBQ sauce for the finish.  Sides are slaw that came from a KFC copycat recipe and the potato salad I mentioned above.DSC02158 (1600x1200)Hi!  I’m Zelda!  This is my box!  I’m 7 months old.DSC02154 (1600x1060)This is MY box!!DSC_0206 (1600x1060)I made another batch of those buns.  Divided the dough into 8 parts and they are huge!  The last batch was cut into 10 and they turned out a tad too small.  I think maybe they didn’t rise as much as this batch.  The rings are from this recipe and they turned out great, again.DSC02002 (1600x1200)This is a 4 month old male and he has a twin brother – they named them Gabriel and George but no one there can say for sure which is Gabe.  They’ve had their shots and have been neutered and are ready to go.DSC_0215 (1600x1060)Thin sliced chicken breasts, dredged in flour, egg, and bread crumbs.  The pink looking spread on the bun is a sriracha aioli with a dab of sour cream mixed in.  Tasty!  I don’t remember when I bought that asparagus but it’s been in the fridge, standing on end in a tumbler in a few inches of water, covered with the plastic bag I brought them home from the market in.  Aside from a little loss of color on the bottom end they stayed in very good shape.  I’m sure it’s been over a week.DSC_0197 (1600x1060)Here’s another of those huge buns.  That’s a half pound burger and it looks puny in there.  And those fries!  I bought a bag of jumbo potatoes and pulled out a couple to cut for fries and they were the biggest I’ve ever brought home.  Look at that log!

See You Again

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Sweet Treats and Devilish Eggs

Green Chili Eggs

Big weekend, Passover, Easter, baseball Opening Day, Final Four…

We had a quick and wild storm pass through yesterday which left me a lot of time to cook. I wanted to whip up a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, but son-of-a-cheese-biscuit, I completely forgot to buy spinach when I was at the store, so I browned some ground beef, added diced tomatoes, carrots, green beans, garlic, onion, spices and barley to make a nice tomato-barley soup instead.  I might have forgotten the spinach, but I did find a small pork roast that was perfect to make a slow-cooker BBQ pulled pork for sandwiches for the weekend. It was simple and came out tasty, so I’ll probably post that recipe next week.

Next up, cupcakes. In January, my not-yet-year-old car had an issue. I was running errands with Bixby in the back, I got out, locked the car and it made a funny sound. When I went to try and open it back up, the door locks didn’t work. Not with the fob or with the actual physical key. Inside were Bixby, my purse and MY PHONE. I borrowed a phone from a total stranger, called roadside assistance and was told it would be 3 to 4 hours (!!) before they could help me. I live in a town where you can drive anywhere in less than 15 minutes. What the frack! I was more than frantic so they put me through to my dealership where I related my story (not nicely, may I honestly add). After the service manager verified everything, he and a driver drove an hour round trip to get Bixby and me. They jumped my car which unlocked my doors and we took it in to the shop to find out the battery was defective. Free new battery, treats for Bixby in the back of their shuttle van and we were back on our way.

I had planned on taking them treats for weeks, but a persistent cold kept me from baking for them. I thought it would be terrible to take them sweet treats laced with a virulent cold virus. So yesterday, I finally bought the ingredients for cupcakes and I’ll drop them off on my way out of town.

These are my favorites:  Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, recipe here.

And speaking of Bixbya quick update with lots of photos here.

Coconut Lemon Cake c2011 W4DS

Need something to take to a holiday dinner, how about this beautiful Coconut Lemon Cake, picture above and recipe here. I love it and am seriously thinking of baking one today.

How are you spending your weekend? What’s on the menu? What food traditions do you have for the holidays and/or sporting events?

For tonight’s featured recipes, I thought it would be good to have a couple of recipes for those Easter Eggs the Easter Bunny will be bringing. I love a good deviled egg, so here is the basic recipe with several variations:

Deviled Eggs

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (more if needed)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • smoked paprika for garnish

saucepan, bowl, plate

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
Carefully peel eggs, slice in half lengthwise and scoop yolks into a large bowl. Arrange whites on a large serving plate. In the bowl, mash yolks with a fork, add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well until mixture is creamy – add more mayonnaise as needed. Scoop or pipe into the egg white halves, garnish with paprika.

Variations:

Green Chili Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard boiled eggs, halved
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green chilis
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • dash of lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro leaves for garnish

Remove yolks to a bowl, add remaining  ingredients, except cilantro, mix together, add more mayonnaise as needed, until creamy.  Fill egg white halves and top with a cilantro leaf.

Tomato and Bacon Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard boiled eggs, halved
  • 1 small tomato, quartered
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard (or ground mustard if desired)
  • dash of vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove yolks to a bowl, add mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper mix together, add more mayonnaise as needed, until creamy.  Finely chop 3 of the tomato quarters, dice the final quarter into small pieces and reserve for garnish.

Gently fold in tomatoes and bacon crumbles and fill egg white halves. Top with small diced tomato pieces.

Finally, here is something to NEVER do with your Easter leftovers. Have a great weekend – TaMara

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