Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crockpot Pulled Pork

It's getting nippy out there. Here in Boulder, it snowed about a foot this week. That means it's definitely time to break out the crockpot. Here's a delicious version of pulled pork for the crockpot.

Ronnie's Pulled Pork
(serves 6-8)

3 to 3 1/2 pounds Pork Shoulder (or use pork chops, but not too lean), cut into large slices if a roast
10 ounces Apricot Spreadable Fruit
3⁄4 cup Bottled Hot Style BBQ Sauce
1⁄4 cup Ketchup
1⁄2 cup Dried Apricots

In a slow cooker, place pork, apricot spreadable fruit, barbeque sauce, ketchup, dried apricots. Mix it all together and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. With 2 forks, pull the meat apart. Serve on rolls and enjoy!

Note: Pork Shoulder is also referred to as Pork Butt or Boston Butt

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Warm gooey cheesy enchiladas - what a great dish for a chilly fall day. Here's a basic chicken enchiladas recipe that is very easy and very tasty.

We've included a recipe for green chile sauce and, of course, we recommend you make your own, seeing as we are all about cooking from scratch. It's not difficult and takes about 15 minutes. Keep some in the freezer. It's also good on scrambled eggs, chicken, a burger. It lacks a lot of unnecessary processed "extras" that are added to canned green chile sauce. And, really, it tastes a whole lot better.

Green Chile Sauce (makes about 2 cups)

2 tbl Vegetable Oil, or butter
2 tbl Flour
8 ounces Chopped Green Chiles, use hot or mild or a mix of both based on your heat tolerance
1⁄4 cup Chopped Onion
1 3⁄4 cups Water
1⁄2 tsp Salt
1⁄4 tsp Ground Cumin
1⁄4 tsp Dried Oregano
1⁄4 tsp Garlic Powder
1⁄4 tsp Black Pepper

Heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Note: you can use fresh roasted and peeled chiles, frozen and thawed chiles, or canned chiles. The flavor is best with fresh or frozen but canned chiles are acceptable and readily available.

Chicken Enchiladas
(serves 4; total cost is $6.00)

1 recipe Green Chile Sauce, heated
8 Corn Tortillas
1⁄2 tbl Vegetable Oil
4 ounces Chopped Green Chiles
1 small Onion, diced
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1⁄2 tsp Salt
1⁄4 tsp Black Pepper
1 1⁄2 cups Shredded Cooked Chicken, about 8 oz before cooking
6 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (about 1 1⁄2 cups)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap the stack of tortillas in foil and place in the oven.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and green chile. Saute for 5 minutes, until onions are soft.

Dump onions in a bowl. Add chicken, cumin, salt and pepper, and 1⁄2 the cheese. Take the tortillas out of the oven and turn the oven up to 400 degrees.

Put about 1 cup of enchilada sauce in a 9x9" baking dish and spread in bottom of dish.

Remove a tortilla from the foil. It should be soft enough to roll up. Place it on flat surface and place 1⁄8 of the chicken mixture across the center. Roll the tortilla up and place in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. They will all fit if you squeeze them together.

Spread the rest of green chile sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stick to your ribs Kielbasa and Potato Stew

A simple, hearty stew perfect for fall or winter. You can use any kind of kielbasa - turkey, beef, pork, low-fat.

Serve with a salad. You can make it while the stew simmers.

1 1/2 cups sliced onions (1 large onion)
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound kielbasa, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1" slices
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
4 medium red potatoes, peeled or not, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (or use dried thyme or dried oregano)
1 1/4 cups water

In a dutch oven over medium heat, saute onions in butter until soft and yellow.

Turn up heat to medium-high and add kielbasa to onions. Saute until kielbasa browns.

Remove pot from heat and add paprika. Stir well. (The reason you remove the pan from the heat it because it can burn and become bitter.)

Add remaining ingredients. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove cover and cook for another 5 minutes until sauce is thickened and potatoes are tender.

Herbs - whenever you need them

Nowadays, many recipes call for fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are wonderful but unless you grow them yourself, they are expensive and quite perishable. We at the School of Eating Good try to use fresh herbs when we have them - we grow them in our gardens and have small pots of them in sunny windows for winter use. But, we realize that many people don't have access to fresh herbs. Therefore, we give you an alternative to fresh herbs, either with dried or frozen herbs, in our recipes.

The basic conversion rate for fresh to dried herbs is 3x fresh =  1 dried herbs. If a recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 Teaspoon dried herbs. Frozen herbs need no conversion. Certain herbs such as cilantro and chives do not dry well but they freeze quite well. Other herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano, Italian parsley, and rosemary also freeze well. Give them a rinse, allow them to airdry, then freeze them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, put them in a plastic bag for storage in the deep freeze. When you need some, just take out what you need and use like fresh. Since packages of fresh herbs at the market usually contain more than you'll need for a single recipe, this is also a great way to get the most out of those expensive fresh herbs.

Dried herbs have a long storage life but it's not forever. After about 1 year, they lose a lot of flavor. You should try to buy just a little at a time. Some supermarkets now sell dried herbs and spices in the bulk section where you can buy much less than a whole jar for a reasonable price. If you can only buy herbs in a full jar,  have a herb swap with your friends. Have a group of friends each buy a jar or two of dried herbs. Get together and divvy up the each jar among the group. Now you all have a little bit of all the herbs rather than each of you having a big jar of one herb that you'll never use up before it loses its punch!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Vinaigrette - you'll never want store-bought salad dressing again!

Vinaigrette is an emulsion of oil and vinegar, often flavored with herbs, spices, and other ingredients, such as shallots, raspberries, and cheese.  The basic recipe is to slowly add 3 parts oil at room temperature to 1 part vinegar, using a whisk, until it emulsifies into a creamy sauce.  Salt and pepper are added to taste and the addition of a small amount of mustard can help the keep the oil and acid in an emulsified state.  The typical amount per serving is 1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons.  I like to make up about a cup of vinaigrette and keep it in the refrigerator.  Basic vinaigrette will stay in the refrigerator for a couple weeks before the emulsion breaks down.  Here are my favorite recipes. 

But wait, here’s a trick!  Dampen a paper towel and put it on your counter under the bowl you are going to use to make the vinaigrette.  It will help keep the bowl from whirling around while you pour the oil with one hand and whisk with the other.

Basic Vinaigrette: put 4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard in a small bowl with ¼ cup vinegar (I'm a fan of white balsamic).  Slowly whisk in ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil until it emulsifies. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette:  put 1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses in a small bowl with 3 Tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar. Whisk in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Mix in salt and pepper to taste. Note: this makes a fantastic fall dinner salad with arugula, chunks of roasted sweet potatoes, chicken or turkey, pomegranate seeds, and shaved parmesan cheese.  Did you know you can freeze pomegranate seeds?  I do it every fall, so I can eat this yummy salad all year long!

Asian Sesame Vinaigrette: put ¼ cup toasted sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Whisk in ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil.