Friday, July 31, 2009

Carnitas in the slow cooker

Our new strategy is sending Joey to the store on Monday where he picks up the cheapest cut of meat and then we figure out some recipe for it. This week's special was Pork Shoulder Boneless Country Style Short Ribs. It was 4lbs for $4, so we had a lot of meat. The meat is fatty and is supposed to be cooked a long time in order to make it delicious. We decided on Carnitas.

I searched the web for appropriate recipes and found 3. Joey helped me choose one of them. When we went to the store to get the remaining ingredients at 11:20pm before we were to cook the meat, however, we ran into a snag. Lard, which we had seen on the shelves plenty of times before was missing! We left the store disappointed with no game plan. I searched the web again and figured that we'd just use chicken broth based on the other recipes.

After 6 hours of cooking, the result was a fall-apart pork that I shredded. But it was bland and slightly dry too. We added some lime juice, some chili powder, some cumin. We drained the fat from the liquid...and yet, it still wasn't right.

I took a small handful of meat and tried frying it in some garlic butter--not bad but it just tasted like butter. Next time, I will try a different recipe or if I stuck with this one, I'd add a little butter.

3-4 lbs country style pork ribs (boneless) or pork butt
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
3 large strips of orange peel
1 T Mexican Oregano (we have a Mexican section in the store and this was only 59 cents!)
1 t ground coriander (we crushed whole coriander in a pepper grinder)
1 lb lard (manteca), we substituted 3 C chicken broth
salt & pepper

1. Trim fat. Sprinkle pork with oregano, coriander, salt and pepper. Place in a large bowl with cinnamon, bay leaves, and orange rind and cover. Refrigerate overnight.

2. (melt lard). Make chicken broth from bullion cubes. Layer pork in slow cooker and cover with lard (chicken broth). Add the cinnamon, orange, and bay leaves.

*at this point, if I were you I would also add a couple of cloves of garlic, some chili powder, a little cumin, some lime juice or lime rind.*

3. Cook on low for 6 hours. Shred pork with two forks and enjoy.

4. We had the pork with tacos--that made it more delicious with all the salsa and the onions and cilantro--but it still needed something

Thursday, July 30, 2009

1 Bean Salad

As another attempt to use the leftover vegetables from Sunday's dinner, I decided to say goodbye to 3 beans and just keep one in my life. The green bean.

Basing my ideas off a traditional 3-bean salad, I created a mock-3-bean dressing by combining balsamic vinegar, a little sugar, salt and pepper and herbs de Provence. I cut the leftover green beans into one inch pieces and doused them with the dressing.

The beans sat in Tupperware in the fridge until Thursday and I had them for my afternoon snack. The slight sweetness and tang of the vinegar keep me from want cookies so I call this a success!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sauteed Corn

My husband and I aren't good with leftovers. By the time we remember that we have them--or have the urge to eat them again, they are usually bad. Tonight, after boiling up some ears of corn we had the inevitable leftover pieces. Instead of letting them go to waste, I decided to saute them up and eat the corn as a side for my office lunches.

If you grew up with braces--you know how to cut corn from the cob. Stand the corn on the flat end (this my require you to break the cob in half). Using a sharp knife, cut closest to the narrow part of the kernals (toward the core) as possible avoiding the actual core. Cutting the kernels just in half will lose valuable sweetness from within the kernels.

Leftover sweet corn, removed from cob
1 T Butter

In a small frying pan, heat 1 T salted butter over high heat. Add corn and break up with a spatula into smaller kernel families. Add chives and salt to taste. Saute 5 minutes until fragrant. Serve immediately or store in individual containers for easy snacking.

Monday, July 27, 2009

London Broil

London Broil was on special this week so Joey picked up a couple of pounds. At first I didn't know what to do with it. My parents claim that London Broil is the Midwest tri-tip, however, the internet disagreed. They claimed that London Broil is a way to cook the chunk of meat and not actually a specific part of the cow. The internet also impressed upon me the importance of marinating this tough meat...again a sign as tri-tip requires no marination.

I looked up several recipes online but in the end, I sort of made up my own. Somehow (probably the enticement of free food and little decision making) we convinced my father-in-law to grill the meat for us for dinner so I wouldn't have to turn on the broiler in this hot hot heat wave we're having.

This morning, I combined 187 ml of Cabernet (also known as red wine in case you were in the dark like me), 2 spoonfuls of prepared garlic (you can chop your own if you like), 1 T English Prime Rib rub, 3 grinds salt (I'm bad with salt), 7 peppercorns. I put the meat in a 9x13 pan and covered it in the wine-marinade. The marinade smelled horrible--and all day the smell worried me.

The meat marinated for about 7 hours. I turned it every time I remembered [:). The meat was grilled to medium rare for about 40 minutes.

Served with extra salt, the meat was delicious, if London broil was again $1/pound I would not hesitate to pick up a couple.