30 August 2012

Pulled Pork Sandwiches


It's summertime and our thoughts naturally turn to pulled pork. Well, mine do anyway! Unfortunately, my current outdoor gas grill is not up to the task; so I made my indoor version. My indoor oven-barbecued pulled pork is a variation on my braised pork shoulder (I'll post that during fall or winter). As always, I used carefully sourced pork, not from CAFOs.

I don't know about you, but I don't like to dirty up every pot and pan in the house unless I have to. So I devised this recipe to be a no-muss-no-fuss-all-in-one-pan kinda thang. It makes enough for six big sandwiches or a dozen sliders. 

If you're making big sandwiches, whip up a batch of my homemade hamburger buns. If you're making little sliders (as pictured), try my homemade slider buns. Pulled pork can be made a day ahead. Just reheat, tightly covered, at 300 degrees for an hour before serving. I like mine without any extra barbecue sauce and with coleslaw on top of the meat. My husband likes his with extra barbecue sauce and the coleslaw on the side (in a separate dish, of course--he's like Monk, doesn't want his foods touching!).

How about you? Do you have any funny little food quirks? (I have a few, but I'll save them for another post!)

Oven-Barbecued Pulled Pork

(Serves 6)

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into about 5 strips
1 1/2 teaspoons organic canola oil


Dry Rub
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Rub
1 tablespoon lower sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Braising Liquid
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce


Sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce

1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Oil 12-inch straight-sided skillet (Mine is the All-Clad Stainless 6-Quart Saute Pan) with the organic canola oil. In small bowl, combine ingredients for dry rub; set aside. In another small bowl, stir together ingredients for west rub; set aside.

2 Cover pork strips with wet rub on all sides, then with dry rub. Arrange strips in single layer in oiled 12-inch straight-sided skillet. Roast 35 minutes; turn strips and continue roasting for 15 minutes, until well browned. Keep an eye (and nose!) on it. You want browned bits as the foundation of your braising liquid, but burned bits will ruin it! 

3 Transfer strips to plate; set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the pan and cook until soft, about 12 minutes. Over medium heat, add water and soy sauce and bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits.

4 Bring to boil and add strips; return to boil, cover pan tightly with foil and lid and simmer in 300 oven for 2 hours. The pork is not completely submerged in liquid, so the crispy edges formed by the initial roasting will stay that way. 

5 Transfer strips to 1.5-quart oval Corning casserole or something similar. Strain braising liquid into 2-cup glass measure, pressing out liquid from solids; discard solids. With small ladle, remove fat from top of liquid. Add water, if needed, to bring volume of sauce to 1/2 cup. Stir in barbecue sauce.

6 With two forks, shred pork in casserole, removing any large pieces of fat. Stir in sauce. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to reheat and serve.

23 August 2012

Afternoon Tea - The Queen Mary

Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary

Afternoon tea aboard a ship was not something I was ever going to experience. You see, I get seasick, and there is nothing to stop it. I know, I know, everyone has a story--about a particular ship, one with the world's best stabilizers, or about a particular medication, a unique combination of herbs or the latest drug--but there is no pill, patch or potion that works for me. But anyway ...

I found a way to have tea aboard a ship without hanging over the side and tossing my scones afterward! On holiday last week, I joined two friends for afternoon tea aboard the Queen Mary, the 75-year-old ocean liner now permanently docked in Long Beach (California) Harbor and serving as a hotel. Though the ship is stationary, looking out over the water one can imagine what it must have been like to cross the Atlantic in such style.

The Queen Mary Tea Room, pictured above, is located on the Sun Deck and has expansive views of the harbor and skyline. The Tea Room is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch as well as afternoon tea. Despite the elegant atmosphere, casual attire is accepted. But, of course, not by me! Our party of three drew lots of attention and comments from patrons who appreciated the way we dressed for the occasion--dresses, heels (nylons, too, but that might be TMI), hats and gloves. (The gloves were removed, of course. Wearing gloves whilst eating is simply not the done thing!)


The traditional three-tiered stand held an assortment of dainty tea sandwiches, scones and an array of miniature pastries. You will note I had only four sandwiches on my plate. Not a fan of either smoked salmon or gravlax, I gave my gravlax (with caviar) sandwich to one of my friends who loves it. The pastries were delicious as well as lovely to look at. The scones? One patron who came over to remark on our attire volunteered that he thought the scones were great. Of course, wherever I go, I always prefer my own scones. (Maybe they'll want to use my recipe and credit me on the menu ... hmm.) 


For reservations (not required) or further information, call 562-499-6695. Visit the Queen Mary website. For tea at home, see: How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea, Tea and Scones, and my review of the Zojirushi Water Boiler and Warmer.

Tell me about your favorite teas and tea foods and about your seaworthiness and favorite remedies for seasickness. My husband pops pretzels in rough seas, but my brother swears by dry Cheerios.

16 August 2012

Your First Comment at Delightful Repast

Is this post about chicken and dumplings? No. So why the photo? Just 'cause I'm all about comfort food. (I will give you a link to the recipe.)

To all you wonderful people who visit Delightful Repast every month: Thank you. To those who visit every week (I post just once a week, as a rule): Thank you very much! However (and I don't mean to scold, merely to invite), most of you never leave a comment! Probably only 1/4 of 1 percent of those who visit ever comment. So I thought I should take a moment this week to invite you to comment on one of the posts you read. 

Don't get me wrong. If you want to read my blog and not comment, you are more than welcome. Please keep coming back. But if you are so inclined, perhaps you could take an extra minute or two to say Hello. Maybe introduce yourself and tell me what you like to cook or whether you have a picky eater in your family. What your specialty is or if the smoke alarm goes off every time you cook (like my sister!). 

Perhaps you'd like to comment on my new site design. Can't think why I waited 2 1/2 years to do it! I knew from Day One that I was in it for the long haul, but perhaps there was one little part of me having more of a 'wait and see' attitude--due to the fact, I suppose, that there are a gazillion food bloggers out there, leaving me feeling a bit like a snowflake in a snowstorm!

Had the makeover done this week while I took a holiday. More about that later. Maybe an afternoon tea review next week. You know I never go anywhere without finding a great tea spot! In the meantime, check out the Chicken and Dumplings. Thanks so much for stopping by!

10 August 2012

Peach Galette / Crostata / Rustic Tart for Two - Pie Without a Pie Plate


Homemade peach pie is my favorite summer dessert. But it serves eight, and most days I'm cooking for two. Leaving me with three choices: 1) Don't make a pie, 2) Make a pie and waste at least a fourth of it because it really doesn't keep for four days, or 3) Make a pie and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner "so it doesn't go to waste." Some of you--and you know who you are--know what I'm talking about; I'm not the only one who does that!

The solution? Just make a little rustic tart (galette, if you prefer the French name; crostata, if you prefer the Italian). The rustic tart is quicker and easier than a pie or tart, so you really won't mind making one that just makes three or four servings. And my method of rolling out the pastry right on the baking sheet makes it a real no-muss-no-fuss project. Of course, you need a rimless baking sheet like this one, Calphalon Classic Bakeware 14-by-16-Inch Nonstick Large Insulated Cookie Sheet, to do that.

What is your favorite summer fruit, and what do you like to do with it?


Peach Galette / Crostata / Rustic Tart

(Makes one 7.5- to 8-inch round tart, 3 or 4 servings)

Pastry
1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, coarsely grated
3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon additional ice water, as needed


Filling
1 pound perfectly ripe peaches
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg

1 Place a piece of parchment paper on rimless baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with flour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2 In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. With fingers, work grated butter into flour mixture until it has the consistency of coarse meal with some pieces the size of small peas.

3 Mix the ice water and vinegar and sprinkle onto the mixture, tossing lightly with a fork. Use additional ice water if mixture is too dry. (If I were making a regular pie, I would at this point form the dough into a ball, flatten it into a 4-inch disk, double-wrap it and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. No need to do that for a rustic tart.) 

4 Turn dough out onto lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet. Form it into a disk and roll out to a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Don't worry about ragged edges; they'll add character. Place in refrigerator while preparing the peaches. 

5 Peel peaches or not--I don't--and slice into a medium bowl. I slice them like this: Quarter peach, cut each quarter into 4 wedges, cut wedges in half. If this were a fancy tart, I would not cut the wedges in half; would arrange the lovely wedges in a nice pattern. But this is a rustic tart, so no need to "arrange" anything! 

6 In a tiny bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar with the 1 tablespoon of flour; set aside. In another tiny bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar with the salt and spices; set aside.

7 Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Sprinkle sugar-flour mixture evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border uncoated. Stir the sugar-spice mixture into the peaches and pour them into the center of the pastry, spreading them out, leaving a 2-inch border.

8 Bring that border up over the peaches a little at a time, sort of "pleating" as you go. Don't worry about making it look good. It will be rustic and beautiful. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and well browned and the fruit is bubbling.

02 August 2012

Perfect Potato Salad - The Summer Classic Comfort Food


My potato salad recipe is one I can brag about and say it's the best because it isn't my own; it's my mother's. It wasn't just my opinion. All my life, everyone who tasted my mother's potato salad declared it the best they'd ever had and wanted to know the secret. She always said "There's no secret. It's just the typical potato salad ingredients."

Of course, she had no recipe. So one day when I was a teenager I grabbed pen and paper and settled in to watch her make it. As she finished chopping each ingredient, I measured it and wrote it down. Later I compared it to recipes in her vast collection of cookbooks that she read like novels and noted the differences.

The main differences were that she: 1) cooked the potatoes whole and unpeeled, 2) created layers of flavor as she went along rather than making a dressing and 3) used only Hellmann's/Best Foods real mayonnaise, never Miracle Whip or sour cream.

If you've been reading Delightful Repast for any length of time, you know I'm all about organic; still, I buy that mayo! Let's all write to the company and tell them to go organic! And do leave a comment and tell me what you like in your potato salad.

Perfect Potato Salad

(Makes 12 very generous servings)

5 pounds russet potatoes
6 large eggs
5 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet pickles
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper, patted dry
1/4 cup very finely chopped onion, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups real mayonnaise
3 teaspoons coarse "country" Dijon mustard

1 Cook potatoes whole with skins on in boiling, salted (1 tablespoon) water in covered 5-quart Dutch oven for about 40 minutes; drain immediately. Cool for about 45 minutes, then peel and cube. Put back in pan to mix.

2 Meanwhile, to hard-cook eggs, place eggs in 3-quart saucepan and cover with cold water to at least one inch above eggs. Bring to a rapid boil; remove from heat and cover tightly with lid. Let stand for 18 minutes. Cool at once in cold water.

3 Sprinkle sweet pickle juice over the cubed potatoes; stir. Add salt, pepper and parsley flakes (or parsley); stir. Add celery, pickles, bell pepper and onion; stir. Add mayonnaise and mustard, and sort of stir them together on top of everything else to mix well before stirring the combination into the other ingredients. (Note: Rinsing the onion takes a bit of the "bite" out of it and makes it edible to some people who normally can't eat raw onion.)  

4 Use egg slicer to slice eggs. Reserve 7 slices for garnish, then roughly chop remaining slices and add to salad. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer salad to 3-quart serving dish, garnish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I prefer to make it the day before).
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