Month: April 2015

Honey Orange Chipotle Carnitas

Remember back in February when I visited one of my favorite Missouri wineries? No worries if you don’t, here’s a flashback to that wino field trip. While I was on that trip, if you will walk down memory lane with me, I picked up this little beauty:

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When I tasted this guy and his spicy sweetness, I knew I needed to cook something with him. I thought about it for awhile, ultimately going back and forth between carnitas or chicken wings. Obviously I chose the carnitas, but I still think chicken wings would be really good too. Unfortunately, the mead is gone so another field trip may be in order…

Many of the existing carnitas recipes I ran across were crock-pot carnitas. I’ve made crock-pot carnitas before, and they were fine, but for this recipe I decided to use my Dutch oven. It’s a lovely 8 qt. Martha Stewart in bright orange that coordinates nicely with my vintage LeCreuset stuff, and I use it a ton.

Making carnitas can be a little time-consuming, but the finished product is well worth it. In fact, the finished product is so tasty (not to toot my own horn, but TOOT!) it may be gone in a shorter time than it took you to make them. That’s what happened at my house. I only managed to get ONE photo before they were descended upon by my teens…

Honey Orange Chipotle Carnitas

Ingredients:

  • pork shoulder roast (the one I used was about 5 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 large onion, cut into big chunks (eighths)
  • 1 1/2 tsp regular Adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • one navel orange
  • 1 bottle Windy Wine Company Chipotle Mead

Instructions:

  1. Adjust your oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 300F.
  2. All your ingredients will go into the Dutch oven. I like to leave any fat on the roast & trim it off after cooking to add moisture and flavor. Even the orange peels will cook with the roast & impart their citrus notes. Pour the mead over top of all the ingredients.
  3. On the stovetop, bring Dutch oven to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered. Once a simmer is reached, cover the pot & transfer it to the oven. Cook for about 2-3 hours until the meat is falling apart.
  4. Allow to cool several hours, or ideally, overnight.
  5. Once cooled, you can remove the meat from the pot and begin to separate it, removing the fat & any bones or connective tissue (a shoulder will have 1 small bone). I like to do this with my hands, so I can feel the fat, meat, connective tissue etc easily.
  6. While you are separating the meat, remove the onions, and orange halves from the pot, leaving only cooking liquid behind. Reduce this liquid over high heat until thick and syrupy. It will take about 20 mins for the liquid to reduce.
  7. Tear the meat into bite-size pieces (think pulled pork) and spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with foil.
  8. Pour 4-5 ladles of reduced cooking liquid over the meat.
  9. Bake in a 300F oven for about 15 mins or until browned and a little crispy on the edges. Move meat around and flip during cooking as needed, usually every 3-5 mins.
  10. Serve on warm corn tortillas, with desired accoutrements such as avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.

Liebster Award

So apparently I’m an award-winning blogger.

“YOU LIKE ME! YOU REALLY LIKE ME!”

Yesterday I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Josey & Brian of Spareness & Simplicity. It’s a blog about simplifying and downsizing the superfluous stuff in your life. Thanks guys! I will likely never be a minimalist, but damn, do I ever respect those who strive to be. Check out their blog & follow their journey! The Liebster Award (which autocorrect keeps changing to “lobster”) is a blogger-to-blogger award, in which bloggers recognize & nominate one another.

Here’s the rules:

  1. Thank the nominating blogger
  2. Nominate blogs that are new and/or have small followings. (I’m not really sure what constitutes a small following, I just nominated blogs that I follow & enjoy.)
  3. Answer questions from the nominating blogger
  4. Tell your readers random facts about yourself
  5. Give your nominees questions to answer

Here’s my nominations & why I nominated them (in no particular order):

  1. Kitchen Overlord She does nerdy things with food. Need I say more?
  2. Wine by Ari Home winemaker. Growing her own grapes. Cheers!
  3. The Armchair Sommelier Does a great series called Wine, Words, and Wednesday which takes in interesting historical perspective on wine.
  4. dosirakbento Cute bento boxes and sushi. Almost too cute to eat. Almost.
  5. Shenannagans Quirky Aussie chick who likes food, wine, coffee, and shenanigans. Basically me if I was Australian. 🙂
  6. Punk Domestics Cool homesteading stuff. Basically all the stuff you see on Pinterest, come to life!
  7. Much Ado About Cheese He makes cheese. This is basically cheese porn. Can I say that?
  8. La Vie Piquant Mark my words. This guy is going to be BIG. Like Martha Stewart/Ina Garten big. Read his blog. Follow his Instagram.
  9. The Drunken Cyclist He drinks wine and he knows how to saber a bottle with a wine glass and a bicycle wheel. Impressive. 
  10. imbibe: [kc] Cocktails, coffee, and tea in the KC Metro. Just needs a wine section- maybe a guest blogger? 😉

My answers to Josey & Brian’s questions:

  1. What country are you from? The US. I’m originally from New York, currently reside in the KC area. My kingdom for a NY pizza!
  2. What’s your favorite thing about American culture? The food traditions. More specifically the varied food traditions. It’s so cool to see the foods that happen when people of different cultures live in close proximity and influence each other. It’s the original “fusion cuisine”.
  3. If you win the lottery, let’s say $400 million, will you share it with anyone? Who? I don’t play the lottery, but if I ever came into a lot of money I could grab my family & start on the bucket list…
  4. How do you feel about cheese? I have never met a cheese I didn’t like. See above.
  5. What’s your favorite sport to watch? Boxing. Wrestling. MMA. Pretty much anything where guys beat the hell out of each other. Easy to follow. The guy on the ground is losing.
  6. Channing Tatum or Gerard Butler? Channing. He’s adorable and hilarious.
  7. Crossword puzzle question: 10 letters- Language introduced in 1995 I googled it. It’s JAVASCRIPT. I also found a blog where a guy does the NYT crossword. PS: I am a total crossword dork.

Random facts about me:

  1. I used to play Julia Child on my grandma’s front steps as a kid.
  2. I love Converse sneakers & wear them almost every day.
  3. I am obsessed with my adorable 14 year old Russian Blue, Brimstone.
  4. I collect vintage cookbooks.
  5. I am a boyband enthusiast.

My questions to nominated bloggers:

  1. If you were on death row, what would you choose as your last meal?
  2. What is your pop-culture guilty pleasure?
  3. What was your motivation when you started blogging?
  4. What’s your favorite book of all time?
  5. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

And with that I pass the Liebster (or lobster) torch…

#putaneggonit (Part 3) The Wonderful World of Coddled Eggs

Today I coddled a few eggs and my world changed a little. Coddled eggs are a gently steamed egg that can be cooked in a variety of vessels. This morning I coddled an egg in a tea cup (see above) and this evening I tried 2 in tiny mason jars (because really, what can’t a mason jar do?). Absolute success. This is what I love about eggs. Cooking eggs can be difficult to master, but once you get your technique down, they are awesome every time. For the record, you can buy an egg coddler from Sur la Table, but you don’t really need one, any vessel will work. Although, if I stumbled upon one of these cute vintage ones from Royal Worcester, it would be hard to resist.

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Hello cutie. Royal Worcester egg coddlers.

Coddled Eggs in a Tea Cup or Baby Mason Jar

Equipment & Ingredients:

  • a pot large enough for your vessel(s) to fit inside of comfortably with the lid on
  • small tea cup or baby mason jar (1 for each egg)
  • 3 or 4 large eggs (however many you have cups/jars for)
  • cooking spray
  • hot water (I used my electric kettle)

Directions:

  1. Turn your stovetop heat to high, but do not put the pot on the heat yet.
  2. Using a kettle heat enough water to cover the portion of the vessel containing the egg (about 2-3 inches up should work).
  3. Spray your vessel liberally with cooking spray. (This is the key of getting the egg to pop out of the vessel effortlessly when it’s cooked.)
  4. Crack the eggs into the vessel.
  5. Carefully place cups/jars into the pot.
  6. When the water boils, slide the pot onto the hot burner & pour water from the kettle into pot around vessels taking care not to drip water into the vessels.
  7. When the water reaches a rolling boil, put on the lid and lower heat to a medium-high simmer.
  8. Boil, covered for 6-7 minutes or until eggs reach desired doneness. The cups/jars will rattle around slightly during the cooking process.
  9. Carefully take vessels out of hot water (they will be HOT) and turn eggs out onto plate or eat from vessel if desired.

“What can I do with my coddled eggs?” you may say. I’m glad you asked. Here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Make a Steak & Egg McMuffin of sorts. One of my favorites is a coddled egg, on a toasted English muffin, with sautéed mushrooms & onions, and a bit of leftover steak.
  2. Have it on top of a slice of cold pizza.
  3. Atop your Ramen, Soba, or Odon noodles.
  4. Make your own EggSlut

“What’s an EggSlut?” Great question. While scouring the internet for ideas to further fuel my egg obsession I came across EggSlut. It’s a food truck (food trucks are so hot right now) based out of LA, that makes all manner of egg/breakfast sandwiches. Their star is the Slut, which is described as “a coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar and served with a demi baguette”. Oh man. I really had to give that a try!

Coddled Egg with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese (AKA EggSlut)

Equipment & Ingredients:

  • small mason jar (1 for each EggSlut)
  • a pot large enough for your jars to fit inside of comfortably with the lid on
  • 3 or 4 large eggs (however many you have cups/jars for)
  • cooking spray
  • hot water (I used my electric kettle)
  • about 1/3 C mashed potatoes per jar (I do mine with heavy cream & plenty of butter. Sometimes with the skins left on.)
  • about 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese per jar

Directions:

  1. Turn your stovetop heat to high, but do not put the pot on the heat yet.
  2. Using a kettle heat enough water to cover the portion of the jar containing the egg (about 2-3 inches up should work).
  3. Spray your jar liberally with cooking spray. **very important step**
  4. Put a scoop of mashed potatoes in the bottom of each jar. You want the mashed potatoes to come about an inch to an inch & a half up the side of the jar.

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    These are homemade mashed potatoes with the skins on (I like the texture) but this would also be a great recipe for using up leftover mashed potatoes.

  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the potatoes.

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    The jars are in the pot here. #YOLO

  6. Crack an egg into each jar. IMG_0018_2
  7. Carefully place jars into the pot.
  8. When the water boils, slide the pot onto the hot burner & pour water from the kettle into pot around jars taking care not to drip water into the jars.
  9. When the water reaches a rolling boil, put the lid on the pot and lower heat to a medium-high simmer.

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    This is right before I covered it. The water is at a good, rolling boil.

  10. Boil, covered for 6-7 minutes or until eggs reach desired doneness. The jars will rattle around slightly during the cooking process.
  11. Carefully take vessels out of hot water (they will be HOT). You can turn your EggSlut out onto a plate or enjoy it right out of the jar with some toast or an English muffin.
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Beautiful & delicious finished “Eggslut”. You can give her a more family-friendly name if you want to… 🙂

Homemade Booze: Spiced Rum: UPDATE

Ahoy maties! It’s been a few days since the first installment of this post and at this moment I’m tasting a little spiced rum in my office, at noon, on a Tuesday so that I can give you a proper update. Taking one for the team I am!

Day 3/5:

Day 3

Day 3/5: All the spices have made their way to the bottom of the jar, and the rum is darker, but starting to look a little cloudy. Maybe I should’ve removed the ginger?

Day 4/5:

Day 4/5: Last day for the spices to steep with the rum before filtration...

Day 4/5: Last day for the spices to steep with the rum before filtration…

Filtration:

When it came time for filtration, I used the same system I used when I filtered my Limoncello & Clemencello back in January.

Here's a shot of my very complicated filtration system set up on my dining room table. Just a couple of mason jars and some cone-style coffee filters. I did end up changing out the coffee filter on each jar twice, because I was getting impatient at how slowly the filtration was going down.

Here’s a shot of my very complicated filtration system set up on my dining room table. Just a couple of mason jars and some cone-style coffee filters. I did end up changing out the coffee filter on each jar twice, because I was getting impatient at how slowly the filtration was going down.

Here’s a video of me filtering the rum. Rest assured, my scratchy voice has been been remedied by a few sips of the rum. 🙂 Follow my YouTube page & look for more videos from me in the future.

Tasting notes:

The rum has a nice depth of flavor. The star anise is the first note that I catch both on the nose & the palette, with the cinnamon and other spices behind it in the background and the vanilla giving it a soft warmth. I like that licorice taste (ouzo is one of my favorite spirits), but if you’re not into it, I would omit the star anise, or maybe use half a pod, or remove the pod a day or two into the steeping process.

In case you missed part one, including the recipe for Spiced Rum you can find it here.

To check out my other adventures in home booze-making check out my Limoncello/Clemencello series here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

ALLLL the Social Medias!

I recorded my first blog-related video yesterday (do not even ask how many takes it took) & today I’m launching my YouTube channel for posting my future videos. Here’s my channel for folks who want to subscribe.

Additionally, here’s the Google+ page I had to make to get my YouTube started… I’m not really too versed in Google+ yet, so bear with me….

And in case you haven’t checked it out there’s always Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook!