Blackberry Sage Tea Ice Cream
Mexican Style Pulled Pork
I found a 10lb pork butt at my local butcher for only $11 and used just half of it for this recipe. If you already own the spices and then add in the price of tortillas, avocado, sour cream, and a side of black beans the total cost comes out to about $3.00 per person. Not too shabby! We enjoyed pulled pork for five nights in a row- though half of it could easily be frozen if you don’t want to go on a pork marathon or throw a party. (I think I will freeze some next time…I’m starting to see pork in my sleep!)
Serves 12 Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (Spice blend from Penzeys, optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
1 teaspoon Epazote
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Sweet Basil
1 teaspoon ground Chipolte Pepper
1 teaspoon Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt Braise:
2 Tablespoons Grapseed oil (or canola oil)
5 lb Pork butt (bone in or boneless), trimmed
1/2 cup Cider vinegar
1 Head of garlic, cloves peeled and trimmed
2 Poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/4″ rings
3 Anaheim peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/4″ rings
2 Jalepeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/4″ rings
1 White onion, chopped
28 oz can Fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup Cilantro, packed
1 Orange, cut in quarters
1 Lime, cut in quarters
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with the rack in the lowest position.
Mix all ingredients for the spice rub in a small bowl. Place pork butt on a flat surface and rub the spice mixture all over the meat. (This could be done a day ahead of time.)
Place a very large (6 quart+) dutch oven or ovenproof pot with lid over medium heat. Add oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Place pork butt in pot with the fat side down. Cook turning occasionally until all sides are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Remove pork from pot and set aside on a plate to catch the juices.
Add apple cider vinegar to the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze any stuck bits. (Try not to breathe in the steam or the vinegar will bother you for an hour!) Once the pan is deglazed, add in the garlic, onion, and peppers. Stir and cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Next add in tomatoes and cilantro. Stir to combine all ingredients. Push contents of the pot towards the sides to make a well for the pork. Place the pork in the center of the pot and pour any collected juices on top of the meat. Squeeze the orange and lime sections on top of the pork, and then nestle them alongside the meat. Cover the pot with a lid and place inside the oven for five hours.
Once pork is finished cooking, remove from oven and let stand covered to cool slightly. Scrape any soft flesh from the orange and lime rinds into the pot and then discard them. Use two forks to gently pull apart the meat. It should easily come apart in long strands and chunks. Feel free to discard any fatty bits. Once the meat is shredded, stir well to incorporate the other ingredients in the pot throughout the meat.
Serve pulled pork on top of steamed corn tortillas with any combination of avocado slices, sour cream, shredded cabbage, diced tomato, and a squeeze of lime juice. The meat will improve in flavor over a day or two, and could be used to make tacos, empanadas, burritos, enchiladas, the possibilities are endless!
Short Ribs Braised in Coffee and Chilies over Artisanal Polenta
Short ribs are always a treat and we had another batch in the freezer so this past weekend they made a repeat appearance. After really enjoying the Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with a Maple Rosemary Glaze, Mr. B requested a different approach for this batch- something involving coffee. I browsed around and found a great recipe from Mark Bittman of the New York Times for Short Ribs Braised in Coffee and Chilies. Mark’s self-appointed nickname “The Minimalist” held true in this recipe, which only relies on a few quality ingredients to make the short ribs shine. (Did you know that he was once a cab driver and a traveling salesman? Fascinating.) The smoky flavor of the chilies melded beautifully with a dark roast coffee and placed the focus of the dish straight on the deep beefy flavors of the short ribs.
In my mind polenta is pretty much the perfect supporting character for a meal of short ribs. With our dinner, it backed up the beefy and spicy flavors while keeping the heat from the chilies under control. Along with a large batch of sauteed Swiss chard you will have a flavorful and comforting dinner, certain to cure even the worst case of Spring fever!
Short Ribs with Coffee and Chilies over Artisan Polenta
Recipe from The New York Times
1 Tablespoon Oil
4 or 8 small short ribs
Salt and Pepper
1 Large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried pasilla chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 dried chipotle chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup strong coffee.
In a heavy pot that can later be covered, drizzle oil. Over medium heat, brown ribs well, adjusting heat as necessary to get a dark crust. Take your time, and season with salt and pepper as they cook. Remove them to a plate and turn heat to low.
In same pot, cook onions, garlic and chilies, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine and coffee and reduce over high heat by about half. Return ribs to pot, cover, and cook over low heat (or in a 300-degree oven) for 2 to 3 hours. Cook until very tender — beyond when meat falls off the bone — turning every hour or so. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Coriander, Fennel, and Star Anise
Celebrating Valentine’s Day seemed like enough of an event to break out lamb shanks, plus I was itching to use my red tagine again. Mr. B requested a savory preparation to complement the Gigondas he picked up recently so I browsed around to see what I could find. This recipe for braised lamb shanks with coriander, fennel, and star anise came up on Epicurious and surprisingly had over 30 five star reviews. (Usually there are at least one or two embarassingly bad reviews which say, “I made this recipe and it was only okay because I don’t really like lamb” or “I used chicken thighs and thought the flavors were terrible”.) I took the high rating as a good sign- and boy was it ever!
The ingredient line up
Preparing the Braise
If you want a “lollypop” appearance with the meat bunched up at one end and a nice bone showing, you will need to cut down to the bone in a circle all the way around the narrow end of the lamb shank. This will cut through the connective sinew that holds the meat in place, and let it ball up during the braise. Usually I do this when the meat is raw, but I forgot so I made the cut just after browning the meat instead.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Corriander, Fennel, and Star Anise
Bon Appétit, March 2006
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 large lamb shanks (about 5 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
10 garlic cloves, peeled
3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small leek
3 cups ruby Port
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 cups beef broth
6 whole cloves
2 whole star anise*
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Mix coriander, fennel, and peppercorns in heavy small skillet. Toast on medium-high heat until aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Transfer to spice grinder; process until finely ground. Rub each shank with 1 rounded teaspoon spice blend. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large wide pot over medium-high heat (I used a tagine, but any large dutch oven would work). Add shanks to pot. Cook until brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same pot. Add onion and next 4 ingredients; sauté over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add remaining spice blend and stir 1 minute. Add Port and simmer until liquid is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 15 minutes. Add both broths; boil until liquid is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. (This took forever, and I didn’t have enough space in the tagine so I reduced the liquids separately in pots and then added them in. Next time I will reduce the liquids while I am browning the shanks to save time.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Return shanks to pot. Add cloves, star anise, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper. Cover pot with foil, then lid. Place pot in oven and braise lamb until tender, about 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Uncover and cool slightly. Place in refrigerator until cool, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm in 350°F oven for 20 minutes before serving.)
Place 1 lamb shank on each of 4 plates. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce and vegetables over lamb and serve.
*Brown, star-shaped seed pods; available in the spice section of some supermarkets, at Asian markets, and at specialty foods stores.
Five Spice Feast
Recipe from Chowhound – with slight modification noted below
Add about 2 teaspoons of five spice to your favorite apple pie recipe
Recipe from Gourmet, Oct. 2008
Roasting a chicken added to the “comfort food” aspect of the meal, and the recipe from Wholefoods is one of my favorites for roasted chicken.
The Firecracker Sugar Snap Peas with Five Spice complemented the rest of the dinner nicely. Here’s my simple recipe for the peas:
Firecracker Sugar Snap Peas with Five Spice
1 bag of sugar snap peas (about 3 cups) – rinsed, strings and ends removed
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon five spice powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is warm, add sugar snap peas and 1/2 cup of water. Cover skillet with a lid and let cook two or three minutes until the snap peas are steamed through. Remove skillet and let water evaporate. Add oil and stir peas to coat. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir fry until garlic is golden and peas are slightly browned. Remove from heat and serve.
The pie and ice cream were delicious. I loved how the creamy cool ice cream contrasted with the warm flavors of five spice. The five spice apple pie was a good twist on an original that would still satisfy those who love classic apple pie. The ice cream recipe doesn’t call for five spice powder, but rather you make your own with, among other things: dried tangerine peel, star anise, pink Szechuan peppercorns. (You can mail order from Penzey’s – one of the best spice stores on the planet.)
So if you’re looking to explore five spice powder or just to cook up a weekend feast, here are several great recipes to get you started. Five spice is a perfect flavor for fall!
While I have not yet been lucky enough to travel to Tasmania, since I discovered Leatherwood Honey my tongue has made the trip several times. It started innocently enough, when I picked up the July 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine and started to read a feature article on Tasmania and honey (“The Secret Life of Bees”, pg. 108). The photos were stunning and I was pulled into the article by lush descriptions of a tiny island with a huge diversity of vegetation. Over 30% of Tasmania’s land is preserved and you will find everything from eucalyptus trees and temperate rain forests to dry grassland and alpine forests on this little island south of Australia.