Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pulled Pork

I am fortunate. Because of where I live, there are some things that pretty much, it's the best ingredient I can possibly put on the table. Case in point: pork.
When I go to the butcher to get pork, any cut, it's worthy of a centerfold in Bon Appetit. End of story.
So, though I don't exactly cook using pork constantly, when I do, the recipe better stand up. I mean, what is the point of having access to such excellent product when the recipe to prepare it is only mediocre?
It sucks.
But, as I've said before, I can read a good recipe and taste it in my head and KNOW if it's going to be good or not. Sometimes my gauge is a little off, but rarely.
So, I set off for the quest to find the most wicked awesome pulled pork recipe, my arrival at this recipe means I have deemed it - kickass. It is WORTHY of Iowa pork. Thank you Tyler Florence.

And, seriously, it's easy. If you can make a rub, and you can throw a few things in a saucepan, you've got it nailed.

Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt

1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. (I always leave the rub overnight, I mean, just do it, this is a plan ahead meal anyway)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it's falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes.
While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.
While still warm, take 2 forks and "pull" the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat. (Put the amount of sauce according to taste, it is a very intense sauce...add a little at a time, then I serve some in a milk creamer to put on the table so people can add more or less according to their personal preference)
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hamburger bun. Add slaw or pickle or any other condiments your guests might enjoy.

This is the pork (I get Boston Butt if possible) with the rub, just out of the oven before it's been shredded. The rub and the hours in the oven have made this completely great crust of flavor all over the pork shoulder.

This is the sauce, simmering away on the stove. Now, seriously, make sure you scrape up all the burned bits of drippings on the bottom of the pan from the pork - deglaze the sh*t outta that pan, it makes the sauce taste ridiculous. And those "white" things floating around in it are the garlic cloves (which I usually double). This sauce is so good, I start just eating it with a spoon while hubby is shredding the pork, it is sinfully good.

You want a pulled pork sandwich right now, don't you? Yeah, me too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stop and Smell the Roses...

Well, the old-fashioned roses, but they don't have much for smell.

With our home improvement projects this year, I added a lot of perennials to a couple of flowerbeds once the construction was over.  I've really been able to work a lot outside this year since all the kids are finally old enough to entertain themselves in the yard without me needing to keep a constant eye on them for fear of someone running out in the street.

So, these are the best pics I can take until I get a macro lens, but really, I just like having pictures of the flowers that greet me when I go outside!  Enjoy!

As we head into fall, will you be doing any planting for next year?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rustic Apple Tart

I make a lot of dessert dishes with apples. Why? Because every single person in our house will eat them, even hubby who rarely eats anything sweet, he likes apple stuff.

This is a recipe I clipped from a flyer from my local grocery store. I've modified it some as the original recipe made too much filling for the pastry, I didn't even end up using it all, so I'm adding those changes to be closer to what I did use.

And, yeah, it was darn tasty.

4 apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 sheet (1/2 package) puff pastry, thawed
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 T. butter
1/3 C. sugar
2 T. orange juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract

1. Combine apples and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Toss together flour mixture and apple mixture.
2. Roll out puff pastry on a baking sheet. Brush pastry with beaten egg white; top with apple mixture. Dot with butter, and fold edges toward center.
3. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine sugar, juice, vanilla and almond until smooth. Brush glaze over tart. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Thank you to all the people who added me to their blogroll and readers!  I'm excited to get some great ideas and feedback from readers here about all the things we all enjoy - cooking, knitting, gardening, arts and crafts, and so on and so forth.

The winner of the $25 gift card to Williams-Sonoma is As American as Apple Pie!

Thanks to everyone and stay tuned for fresh new posts coming out of the oven soon!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Psychotic Hobbyist Relaunch!

I've moved all my posts from my old location and will now have recipes, knitting projects, gardening, and so on and so forth all here so I can have the entire list of my blogs in ONE SPOT! Yippee!

So, to remind you about this one over here and to start diverting the traffic where it is supposed to be, I'm having a giveaway. And it's not something I got paid or I'm regifting, no sir, I'm paying money out of my own pocket to give you something super cool. Because I want to build up this location to start some dialogue with other bakers, gardeners, knitters and crafters. It's what keeps me sane during the school year!

What you can win: a $25 gift card for Williams-Sonoma (because everyone has to eat, but not everyone has all the other hobbies)

How to enter:
  • Leave a comment on any post (besides this one), a recent dated post or a newer one, it doesn't matter. In transferring the posts, they are now commentless. So go comment on a post (not this one, go exploring...). I added the topics list on the sidebar if you only want to look at knitting posts or sewing posts, etc. Leaving a comment gains you 1 entry.
  • Add this blog to your feed reader. Leave a comment on this post saying you did, gain 1 entry.
  • Add this blog to your blogroll. Leave a comment on this post saying you did, gain 1 entry.
  • Mention this blog in a post on your own site, leave a comment saying you did, gain 1 entry.
This giveaway will end August 14th, 12PM Central time.

Also, if you have a hobby type blog yourself and want to swap links, let me know, I am building up my blogroll here too.

Thanks for stopping by, hope YOU win the $25 from Williams-Sonoma! Good luck!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Salami Salad

I'm always on the lookout for a unique salad. Especially when asked to take things to church for suppers and things like that, the same old same old simply won't do. So, this bread salad was perfect. And when I showed up at the church salad luncheon it was served at, my MIL informed me it was already gone and was the first thing to run out. Not bad!

Toasted-Bread Salad with Salami

1 loaf Italian bread, halved lengthwise and toasted

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

salt and pepper

4 large tomatoes, chopped

1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped

4 ounces deli-sliced salami, cut into thin strips

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1) In a large colander over a bowl or the sink, drizzle 1/2 cup water over the toasted bread to saturate. Squeeze the bread with your hands to remove any excess liquid, then crumble into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large serving bowl and drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.

2) Add the tomatoes, cucumber and salami to the bread and toss to combine. Add the basil and drizzle the red wine vinegar and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil on top. Toss and season to taste with salt, pepper and more olive oil.

Recipe from Rachael Ray magazine site