Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BBQ Pork Lettuce Wraps with a Cabbage/Radish Slaw

BBQ Pork. Lettuce Wrap. Cabbage/Radish Slaw. It's pretty much the perfect marriage. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy with both a crunch and a melt-in-your mouth creaminess. It's what's for dinner.

BBQ Pork


3 1/2 - 4 lb pork shoulder roast
1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups, two boxes, of chicken stock
Your favorite sweet BBQ sauce
Sugar, salt, and pepper


Preheat oven to 450. Let pork rest outside the fridge for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel. Season all over with sugar, salt and pepper. Pour BBQ sauce in hand (about 4 TBSP) and rub all over meat. Layer sliced onions on the bottom of a heavy, oven safe Dutch oven. Add minced garlic. Coat with 2 TBSP off BBQ sauce. Place pork roast on top of onions.

Roast for 15 minutes at 450, to seal in juices. Turn heat down to 325. Add 8 cups of chicken stock to pan. Liquid should almost cover roast. Roast for 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove from oven. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid, and all of the onions. Place roast in large bowl. Remove any ties, and shred meat with forks. Add cooking liquid, onions, and 1 cup BBQ sauce to bowl. Stir.

Cabbage/Radish Slaw


1 large head of green cabbage, core removed and shredded
6 radishes, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, leaves diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 TBSP sugar

In a small bowl wisk sugar into vinegar until dissolved. Stream in vegetable oil while whisking. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss shredded cabbage, radishes, and parsley. Pour dressing over and toss. Let sit in fridge for several hours.

Lettuce Wraps


Butter lettuce, leaves removed and intact
BBQ pork
Cabbage/Radish Slaw


For each cup take one lettuce leaf, add heaping spoonful of pork, and top with slaw.

Sub"lime" Cake Bar

I am a self proclaimed horrible baker. Horrible. I have a half dozen desserts that I can do well, and I make them anytime I need to make dessert. For someone, like me, who is organized, specific, and loves to plan; baking should come easily.  Baking is about following directions, precise measurements, and sticking to the original. You know, everything I aspire to in everyday life. So it's shocking, honestly, how bad I am at it. And, conversely, how much better I am at cooking off the fly, ignoring recipes, and "feeling out" what ingredients work together.

All that being said, I got a bug to try a dessert recipe on my own. It's a little bit cookie bar, a little bit cake, and a whole lotta bit easy. I cheat a little bit and use a cake mix for the base, but that's how I bake, so bear with me.


1 box yellow extra moist cake mix
4 eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter
8oz cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened
Zest and juice of 4 limes


Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 pan.

Whisk two eggs in a bowl. Add cake mix and 8 TBSP melted butter. Combine. Batter will be thick and sticky. Layer batter in the bottom of the 13 x 9 pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, and softened 4 TBSP butter. When fluffy, add remaining two eggs, lime zest, and juice.

1 cup at a time, add powdered sugar. Spread mixture on top of cake batter. Place pan on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes. Cake should still jiggle in the middle when you pull it out. 

That's it! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chicken Apple Sausage and Artichoke Pizza with Roasted Tomato Sauce

As some of you might know, I'm obsessed with Specialty Produce. For those of you who don't...I'm obsessed with Specialty Produce. Like a CSA, without fees, and without a single farm produce limit, Specialty Produce provides you with fresh, organic, and locally grown fruits and vegetables each week. You can also add on meats, cheeses, eggs, butter, local/sustainable fresh caught fish, pasta, breads, chocolate, coffee, jams, local honey... you get the idea. All local, all vetted, all delivered to my door once a week. It's amazing. Plus, since I love to cook, I like being surprised by what was picked that week, and coming up with a meal to make out of it. (And, have I mentioned that we can feed our family of six for the week for less than $100?!?!) 

Along with the produce and fruit, this week I also ordered some fresh chicken/apple sausages, and fresh pizza dough. I had some tomatoes that were starting to soften and needed to be used, so pizza was the perfect vehicle.

This was by far my favorite homemade pizza I've done.  To quote the kids, "this pizza tastes expensive... I bet you could get $100 a slice!"

I used pre-made, but raw, pizza dough from Specialty. If you don't have access to the dough from Specialty, you could make your own dough...I have a recipe that I use.  But, to be honest, I find that Trader Joes and/or Whole Foods make an acceptable substitute, and cut down on the time it takes to make. If you want a recipe for your own, let me know and I'll get you mine.

Roasted Tomato Sauce


8 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
12 tiny basil leaves (I used the tops of my basil plants I headed to stop them from seeding)
6 large basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 450. In a parchment lined jelly roll pan, toss tomatoes, tiny basil, and garlic in enough olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tomatoes just start to brown. Empty tomatoes, basil, garlic, and juice into a bowl. Add fresh basil. Using an immersion blender, purée. Set sauce aside.

Steamed Artichokes


4 cups of chicken broth
3 limes, halved
4 cloves of garlic
Large handful (or a bunch) of fresh dill
4 artichokes


Bring chicken stock, dill, garlic, and 2 of the limes to boil in a large stock pot.

Meanwhile, remove stems of the artichokes and trim the top off.  Remove majority of outside hard leaves. Rub cut edges with the remaing lime. Place artichokes in the boiling liquid, bottoms up.

Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a knife in the bottom. It should be easily pierced. 

Remove artichokes from liquid and cut the heart from bottom. (If you were me, you would use this opportunity to scrape and eat all the artichoke yuminess from the leaves with your teeth, as you won't be using them on the pizza). Make sure to remove all the spikey choke from the hearts. Chop artichoke hearts and set aside.


3 uncooked chicken and apple sausages, casing removed
1 T of olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium high. Add loose sausage meat, and crumble while cooking. When browned, remove from heat and set to rest on a paper towel to drain the excess fat.



Pizza Dough
Artichoke Hearts, diced
Chicken Apple Sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups of shredded mozzarella 


Preheat oven to 400.

Stretch pizza dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or directly on a pizza stone if you have one. Spoon tomato sauce onto the dough. Sprinkle artichokes over sauce. Cover pizza with cheese. Top with sausage.

Bake on bottom rack for 10 minutes. Bake on top rack for 5 minutes, or until cheese starts to get golden brown.