Let’s see…the burgers themselves were turkey-feta, and ground brisket and pork. The toppings ranged from the classic cheese, tomato and lettuce to homemade double-dipped onion rings to…poutine. Yes, poutine. Our friends Jeff and Ruth are Canadian and well…they bought fresh cheese curds from Zingermans. Which made Jeff think he could also get gravy and fries. By that, I mean, he realized he could bring things to my house and I would make gravy and fries. Because I would. And I did. And then he topped the fries with the gravy. And topped the gravy with the cheese curds. And topped his burger with the poutine.
Wait, make that “Tortellini-Are-Little-Puffs-of-Heaven and Italian Sausage Stew.” Kind of a long name, though. I’ll work on it.
It’s been a very soup-y fall for me, for a couple of reasons. 1)Fall just seems to need soup. I don’t know what it is but for some reason, fall is a soup season. 2)Soup recipes make a lot and it’s great for pouring leftovers into a jar and taking it work a couple days for lunch. 3)I rarely made soup before last year because I was convinced I was a failure at it. I’m not nearly as nervous now. Clearly if I can do, any idiot can. But I repeat myself.
I know what’s going on. Your path to life has taken a sour turn. Your mojo is running out of juice. Food has lost its a-peel. And my pith-y jokes…well, they lack a certain zest today. But it’s okay. I’ve got the cure for what ails ya. Because, my dear friend, when life has given you lemons, sometimes you wonder…”What the hell am I going to do with this? Make lemonade? Uh hello, that is so 1956. Laaaame.” Well today, we are going to save your relationship with the lemon.
Because after all, the lemon is a little culinary powerhouse. There is nothing it can’t make better. Not only is it full of vitamin C, and not only is it an awesome little addition to homemade cleaning solutions, and not only does it bring out the delicious flavors of foods it’s paired with, but its own flavor is bright and tart and yummy. To steal a line from Genie, the lemon is “phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space.” Continue reading
It was ungodly cold in Michigan this weekend. A high of 14 yesterday. Fourteen. No, I didn’t really mean to type 41. The 1 and the 4 were in the correct locations. 14 degrees. Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, 14 is not a temperature. It’s an awkward time in adolescence, yes, but it is not a temperature. It is against everything that is right and holy in my world.
Luckily, to combat this, my office had a chili potluck on Friday, complete with 4 delicious chili concoctions to take the freezing edge off, as well as chips, cheese, cornbread, biscuits–all the necessary accompaniments–cookies and cupcakes. It was delighful. But all too soon it ended and I found myself on my own Saturday morning with the cold wind trying to slide into the creaky doorways of my house. My house is a delight. I enjoy it immensely. After all, we did strive to pick a house that we adored, because I intend to live there until I die and then I’m going to haunt it (although admittedly, indeed, I do plan on retiring someplace warm and sunny, but I still plan on keeping and haunting this house). But some days, the grand old house is a little less grand. Like days where it’s 14 degrees outside. My house is three solid layers of brick wall (so if that big bad wolf ever comes around, I’m golden)…and no insulation. And all wood floors. And single pain, 150 year old windows. It just soaks up the cold like a sponge. With Josh off playing some RPG game with friends, and the dogs out of the house playing at day care (you laugh but it’s the greatest thing in the world if you have a puppy, especially one that weights 95 pounds and is the size of a deer, like our mastiff), I knew that if I followed my instincts and just melted myself into the couch, cloaked in a blanket like a ghost and watched endless hours of the Cooking channel, eventually….wait, why didn’t I do that? That sounds awesome. Continue reading
This post is Not Safe For Vegetarians.
I had a delicious dinner last night. “But, Lauren!” you say, “You have a delicious dinner most nights.” And you’re right, you crazy kid, you. But last night was especially delicious. I dunno, maybe it was the Lauren-friendly sunny, hot weather. Maybe it was the light, fresh romaine salad straight from my Needle Lane farm share box. Maybe it was the company of my husband and the relaxed atmosphere of our very old house.
Or maybe it was the pork wrapped pork with the side of pork-filled cornbread.
Oh yeah. You read that right. Pork wrapped pork. Pork filled cornbread.
This whole thing got started because a) Josh’s department was having a picnic-themed potluck and b) I found a recipe for Savory Prosciutto Muffins on EatingWell. I thought, hmmm, what kind of picnicky item can I make for Josh? Muffins. Muffins can be picnicky. Muffins are an anytime food. And these proscuitto muffins sound great. But you know what’s better than regular muffins? Cornbread muffins.
Cornbread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Continue reading
You know, I could wax on at length about this dinner and how it was all inspired by this recipe find of spinach artichoke hummus from Gimme Some Oven. I could tell you how I needed an end-of-the-week pick-me-up, healthy yet tasty, and how the mention of pork chops at work (which happens a lot more than you’d think) made me think I could combine my love of pork with my love of spinach, artichokes and hummus and sure it would be weird but it would also be awesome. I could tell you how easy this meal was to pull together, even though I had absolutely no idea what to do with the potatoes even as they were cooking; I just knew that I wanted them. I could tell you how fantastic thick center-cut pork chops are and how they’re even better stuffed with wedges of Cordobes sheep’s milk cheese, or how good potatoes are with meat drippings poured over them, or how surprisingly well spinach-artichoke-hummus can be smothered over said porkchops, cheese and potatoes.
I could do all of those things. But I will let the pictures speak for themselves: Continue reading
It was a busy weekend. On Friday I baked several pies for a charity bake sale. And on Saturday, well…
We needed to cut down a line of small trees by our driveway, as several were dead and falling down already. My mom and step-dad took the wood. As the trees were a fair-height and there were about 8 of them, Josh enlisted my step-dad’s help in the project, as well as our friend Brian. We also invited another coworker and his family to come watch the festivities. It was truly a feat and I’m sure that all the guys are duly sore now with all the lifting—luckily, no human limbs, dogs, fences, vehicles or power lines were harmed during the making of this blog entry.
To reward everyone for their help, I planned out a big work-party feast, which, I admit, was partially inspired by a trip to Costco. Ah, Costco–is there nothing it can’t do?
And I’m totally serious on this one. Josh and I were doing our monthly bulk-shopping trip when we stumbled upon the deal of a lifetime in the meat department—14 pounds of pork shoulder. For $20. 14 pounds. Twenty dollars. And lo, the Heavenly Choirs of Angels did exclaim in one voice: “Holy s***! That is a great deal!” (They probably didn’t say that—but they would, if angels ate regular food…or shopped at Costco.) Continue reading
Lisa: I’m going to become a vegetarian.
Homer: Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?
Lisa: Yes Dad.
LIsa: Dad, all those meats come from the same animal.
Homer: Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!
I think that says all the saying that needs to be said on this subject.
I have been inspired. By a delicious, delectable, delightful dish from Edible Aria: frijoles rojas. Now, this wasn’t by a long shot the first time I’d seen this dish but the pictures looked soooo good I could not resist. I know what you’re thinking: Lauren, dear, you are so magnificent. How do you ever find all of these tempting treasures? Oh, I shrug with a nonchalant sweep of the hand, I just stumble upon them. I love Stumble. I find so many fantastic things there. The internet is my vast, giant cookbook and Stumble is my faithful page-turner. Or something like that.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, right. Beans.
So I needed something to make for dinner. We had some tortilla chips leftover from Saturday…or Sunday…or one of those. It’s all kind of blurred together now. Anyway, I also had cheese, tomatoes, rice and some Spanish chorizo in the freezer, leftover from a trip to Eastern Market. I’d found the frijoles recipe a few days earlier and figured…that’ll work. Continue reading
I came across this blog post for the Angry Chef’s Garlicky Lemon Pepper Chicken and… all right, I’ll admit it: I drooled a little bit. But whatever. Who wouldn’t? Click on the link and I dare you not to.
So I figured…yeah that’ll do for an end of the weekend dinner. Only, of course, I more or less just did my own riff on it and because I haven’t had them in awhile, I figured I’d substitute a good couple of porkchops in place of the chicken. So this is more or less what I did. If you want to try your own version, I highly suggest visiting the link up there and trying it out for yourself. Continue reading
So I’ve come across a few recipes for cha siu bao in the past few months and thought, this is fascinating. Sure the closest I’ve ever gotten to actually seeing one in my own life was while watching Hayao Miyazaki films. That doesn’t matter. I could make these.
The pound-plus of barbecue pulled pork meat I had leftover from slowcooking on Saturday lent itself pretty well to my plan today to make these buns. I also maybe cheated just a tiny bit by buying a fresh ball of pizza dough from the store instead of making my own. I won’t apologize for that, though; it speeded up the process AND you know how much I hate to knead dough. But either way, they were pretty easy to make! And quite tasty. The great thing is that you make quite a few with a recipe and you can very easily make and freeze them for later. They steamed up in 15 minutes and were fabulous dunked into some extra barbecue sauce. Josh thinks they’ll be ever better baked, and with some cheese added. So basically what Josh wants is an empanada. But he enjoyed them anyway.
I like to think that, if in some alternative fictional universe, dear well-meaning Charlotte was not so successful in her humanitarian efforts and Wilbur, instead of meeting horde of little gray spider babies, met a slightly more gruesome fate, that at the very least Fern could rest easy with the knowledge that “some pigs” can also make delicious, delicious hoisin pork.
Okay, maybe that’s a little morbid. But still. Hoisin sauce is that good.
If you’ve never had hoisin sauce, it’s a Chinese dipping sauce, kind of like a barbecue sauce, made with vinegar, soybeans, sugar, water, red pepper and a few other things. It’s got a gorgeous dark color and a deep, velvety taste. Very delicious. Continue reading
Do you know those nights where you’re not really sure what to make for dinner, so you just sort of throw together things you find in your fridge and cupboards? That’s pretty much where this meal came from. Next time I’ll make up a better story about how it was actually delivered to me on a silver platter by a band of angels singing the song that never ends, but alas, that’s never happened. Yet. Continue reading
Barbecue. Is quite possibly my favorite. food. of all time. Now read it back again but like Will Shatner.
Seriously, I love barbecue. I could eat it all the time and, like any good connoisseur, I have my opinions about what constitutes good barbecue. For starters, throwing a chicken breast on the grill and slathering it in Open Pit is not barbecue. Cooking ribs on a grill over very low heat for hours until soft and sumptious and falling off the bone–that’s barbecue. Or smoking a nice meaty pork butt spiked with herbs and spices. Mmm. I am so hungry.
I generally only do “real” barbecue a few times a year. Sure, about once every six weeks or so, I rub down a pork roast with spices and put it in the crockpot and after about 8 hours, introduce it to some great sauce and a good hefty bun and that’s my “barbecue” fix but it’s not the really real thing. I only do it during the summer, because I consider the grill to be absolutely necessary for the process. And I only do it a few times in the summer because if I’m going to do it “right,” it normally takes me about three days.
Yes. Three days. This tickles Josh to no end. My usual process involves a bath in garlic, onion and olive oil, followed by a lengthy rubdown with a generous helping of homemade dry rub, followed by a day of slow cooking over low heat on the grill while delicious, tangy sauce is carefully applied at regular intervals until the meat is falling off the bones and I’m about ready to just stand there at the grill, tearing pieces off with my hands in some sort of deliciously primal haze. Continue reading
Cumin-Crusted Pork Quesadillas
Feeds One or Two
4-5oz pork tenderloin filet
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp garlicky steak rub
1/5 stick of cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium (or taco size) flour quesadillas
1 c. refried black beans
2 tbsp hot salsa
2oz shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tbsp chopped green onion Continue reading
(bone-in pork shoulder roast)
(lemon, spice mix and olive oil)
(combine and marinate in a bag over night)
(wrap tightly in tin foil and place on grill over medium heat; lower lid and cook about 4 hours)
(barbecue pork roast!)