June 23, 2013

Crispy Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos

Digging myself out of the pit of overdue posts, I present these amazingly flavorful carnitas (aka: pulled pork). They were a bit spicy, but in a good way.  That heat in the back of your throat way, which I can deal with more than the singing my tongue all the way through way.  I pinned these courtesy of Gimme Some Oven, which is a rising star in my favorite recipe sites.  An honor well earned, if this recipe is any indication for you.

Also?  Tacos are REALLY hard to photograph.  Just sayin.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4.5-lb lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed (of which there was much in my particular cut; I actually find that to be the norm), cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of beer (Mmmm, beeer.  Note this is not a full can- you get to drink the rest!  Bonus!)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (and yes, this does make a difference; don't cheat with regular)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (see?  we use two kinds for a reason!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sear the pork on all sides until browned (6-10 minutes total).  Remove pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a crock pot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, with a gentle stir to mix.  Cook on low 6-8 hours until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.  Shred all of the pork.
  3. Once the pork is cooked, preheat your broiler.  Herein lies the crispy magic.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and with a slotted spoon transfer the pork from the crock pot to the baking sheet.  Reserve the remaining liquid.  Spread the pork into a single layer, using two baking sheets if necessary.
  4. Broil 5 minutes or until the edges are crispy but the pork is still juicy/not dried out.  Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the reserved juice from the crock pot, and gently stir to coat.  Broil another 5 minutes, remove from oven, and ladle with another 1/4 cup of reserved juice.
  5. Serve with tacos, burritos, on sandwich buns, on salad, etc.  I personally think the soft taco approach is a home run.

June 22, 2013

Pasta with Spinach Sauce

First off, let me apologize for neglecting my blog so much lately!  It's actually been for a good reason.  I'm operating at a bit of a less-than-whirlwind pace the last couple months, and spending more 1:1 time with my son, so I count that as a good thing.  Now, I've still been trying new recipes and projects around the house, so I actually have a backlog of posts.  Once those start to pile up, I can get a bit immobilized by the "oh noes, where do I start?" feeling.

Anyway, jumping back into it with this SUPER tasty dish.  Giada never steers me wrong.  I'm pretty sure my cooking trinity right now are Martha, Giada, and the Barefoot Contessa.  Also helping: reading The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster.  Hilarious and great.

  • 1/2 box of pasta (I stuck with Giada and used penne this time)
  • 1 garlic clove (I used 2, and it was WAY too much; stick with 1 for these proportions, and I'd even shy away from the full 3 in the original, larger batch recipe)
  • 1 ounce goat cheese (though being generous won't hurt HERE!)
  • 1/2 ounce cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, in generously salted water.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, prepare the spinach sauce.  Let me prepare you now: it is going to be a startling shade of green.  Like, you're going to think you're serving Slimer from Ghostbusters on your pasta.  But it's HEALTHY!  ;)
  3. Mince the garlic in a food processor.  Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and half the spinach.  Blend until smooth and creamy, and set aside.
  4. Place the remaining spinach in a large bowl.  Scoop 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside.  Drain the pasta when cooked through, and add the warm pasta to the bowl with the spinach.  Add the spinach and cheese mixture, and stir until pasta is completely coated, adding the pasta water to the mixture as needed to make it smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese to serve.