March 31, 2010

Pulled pork

Melissa Mead, 21 March 2010, PWYF forum

Our local butcher, who is awesome, found us a beautiful 3-4 lb Boston Butt on sale for $5. We took that home. I mixed up 1 cup of cider vinegar, 1 tsp each liquid smoke and garlic powder and ½ tsp Smokehouse pepper and chopped up 2 sweet onions. We put all that in the fridge overnight.

At 6 AM we set up the crock pot. We put 1 onion on the bottom, then the pork, then the other onion, shook the liquid, and poured it on top. We covered the crock pot, set it on High and went back to bed.

By 10 AM the house smelled like meaty, oniony goodness. We tried to make a sauce, but it burned. Oh well. At noon we took out the pork. It split into 2 pieces, and the shoulder blade came out clean.
You know how you should be able to pull apart the pork with 2 forks? I only needed 1. This stuff was so tender I think I could’ve pulled it with a spoon. I was eating it straight out of the pot.

A dressing

Melissa Mead, 2 Jan 2010, Recipe Thread

I’m not much of a cook, but here’s a dressing I made up with one of Penzey’s blends yesterday. I really like it. Measurements are approximate, because I kept tasting and tinkering.

¾ cup mayonnaise (I’m thinking of using yogurt next time.)
lemon juice to the “lemon juice” line on my dressing maker.
(maybe ½ cup?)
1 tsp. finely minced sweet onion
1 generous tbsp dill weed
2 shakes (1/4 tsp?) Sunny Spain salt-free blend (lemon pepper mix)

Salt-free pickles

Melissa Mead, Recipe Thread, 10 Jan 2010

One of the things I’ve really missed since I put myself on a reduced-sodium diet is pickles. (My mom makes the best sweet-and-sour pickles ever.) The salt-free pickles in stores contain potassium chloride, which isn’t safe for some people. And it has a nasty aftertaste, at least to me.

For Christmas, my husband and parents gave me a cornucopia of salt-free seasonings. One was Sauerbraten spice. I sniffed it and thought “This smells like pickles!” ( http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/sauerbraten-spice-blend- I see they have “real” pickling spices too.)

Yesterday I tried the following experiment:

1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tblsp Sauerbraten spice
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients together, heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. (Don’t inhale the steam!)

Slice approx 2 cups of cucumbers into a glass bowl. (Our store’s pickling cukes didn’t look so great, so I used a bag of “snacking cucumbers” that looked like baby European ones. A bit pricey, but they had a nice crunch.) Pour the liquid over the cucumbers (is it called a brine if there’s no salt in it?) and refrigerate overnight.

Given my track record with cooking, I expected that today I’d find that I’d ruined some beautiful cukes. Nope. They were tangy, sweet, sour, crunchy… they weren’t as good as my mom’s, and they still had a note of raw cucumber, but they tasted like Real Pickles. And they have no salt at all. Wink

Low salt popcorn experiment

Melissa Mead: Recipe Thread: December 12, 2008

Here’s an experiment I just tried, for anyone who likes popcorn but has to cut down on salt. I haven’t worked out exact amounts yet.

1 large mixing bowl full of popped popcorn.
1/2 stick melted butter.
Approx. 1/2-1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and turmeric.

Stir the spices into the melted butter. (Chili powder makes a nice twist, but adds salt.) Drizzle the mixture onto the popcorn. Stir until the popcorn turns golden. Enjoy!

Missy’s Rainbow Chilli

Melissa Mead, 19 October , Recipe Thread

Ingredients: !/2 lb. Ground beef
1/2 pkg each frozen chopped onions +peppers
Canned beans (red+white kidney, pink, black, pinto, Great Northern, small red+white, Black-eyed peas+any others you like. (NOT pigeon peas, though.)
Spaghetti sauce (some kind of meat/garlic/onion flavor), spices(garlic, onion+chili powders, cumin, paprika, black pepper+dill.)

WARNING:This is not a formal recipe. Ingredients + measurements are subject to change without notice.)

Directions: Fry+drain beef. Boil+drain veggies. Put about 1/2 to 2/3 of them in a crock pot,+the rest in a big bowl. (Or adjust the measurements to make just a pot full-I always have a use for the extra.) Begin heating the pot as soon as the bottom’s covered. Start dumping in beans. Use at least 1 can of each kind. Stop an inch or 2 from the rim. Stir. Add sauce, leaving enough room to stir. Stir again. Dust onion, garlic + chili powders+ cumin over the whole surface,+the rest over half. Stir again. Taste with a clean spoon. Add more of spices to taste. (I use a LOT of cumin.) Between additions-you guessed it!-stir some more. When you’ve got it how you like it, stop, heat it up, and enjoy!

It freezes well + gets even better reheated.