Made goetta today.
First time, not sure why.
I guess I was inspired or a little off track
or something.

Oatmeal and sausage, that’s it.
Boiled, simmered,cooled,sliced,fried.
Why do you cook it twice?
Do you put onion in yours?

I was thinking back to fifth grade.
I was thinking about that girl.
Do you remember?
She might have been beautiful
if she just knew how to dress.


John’s Inaugural Pulled Pork

There are few things that I like better than a pulled pork sandwich. It’s ok to get the flavor from a barbeque sauce but I like it best is when the flavor is in the meat with no sauce necessary. I’m think this is what’s meant by “dry-rub” style barbeque. I like the meat really tender & moist with just enough  heat in the taste to bring you to the verge of a sweat. Tell the warden that I want pulled pork served on hearty bread with a good beer and a cold, crisp apple for my last meal.

I love pulled pork and order it at just about any sandwich joint it’s offered but have never made it myself, until today. I’m not sure what possessed me but I found myself standing in front of the pork section of meat cooler at the grocery store today wondering what cut I should get. I picked up a 2 pound package of  “western cut pork shoulder.”  It wasn’t the cheapest cut of meat in the cooler but pretty close, it only cost about $4 so I knew I wouldn’t feel bad if I botched it.

When I got home I looked up a few recipes on line and realized I didn’t have the ingredients, spices mostly, to make any of them as written so I kinda’ mushed two or three of the recipes together based on what I had in the kitchen. It turned out far better than I expected, as good as I can remember eating anywhere in a long time, so I’m immortalizing this recipe as John’s Inaugural Pulled Pork.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the excess fat from the meat and cut away the bone (save the bone for the bean soup you’re gonna make later this week.) Cut or separate the meat into chunks no bigger than the size of a small lime or a large redskin potato.

Prepare the rub by mixing the following spices together:
1 Tbl paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinammon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard

Put the meat and the rub mix into a plastic bad and toss it to thoroughly coat the meat with the spices. There should be enough rub to coat up to three pounds of meat.

Put the coated meat into a foil lined roasting dish and drizzle the following over the meat:
2 Tbl olive oil, and
2 Tbl worchestershire sauce

Cover the meat with the foil and roast for 2 1/2 hours. When done, the internal temperature of the largest chunk of meat should be at least 150 degrees.  Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove to shred the pork. It should fall apart as you pull it with a fork. Pour the liquid from the roasting pan over the meat after it’s shredded.

Serve it warm or save it for a few days in the fridge. I’m thinking the best way to warm it up will be in the microwave or in a foil pouch (to retain the moisture) on the grill. This seems like it will be an easy thing to make ahead of time to round out that summer grilling party menu when everything else get prepared at the last minute. I bet it will freeze pretty well too.

As I said, this was my first go at pulled pork and I made it up based on a few different recipes and what I had in the cupboard. That tells me that it’s pretty hard to mess it up and it is a perfect dish for experimentation. Tell me what’s in your secret family recipe or how you might tinker with what I’ve written here. Now that I know how easy it is, I’ll be making this a lot; at least until the judge says I’ve exhausted all my appeals. What a way to go.

A Pretty Good Pot of Chili

I just started throwing stuff together from the back of the fridge and cupboards and ended up with a pretty good pot of chili tonight.  As best as I can remember, here’s what went in:

1 lb ground round
4 left-over Bob Evans sausage links, diced
1 pkg precooked Perdue Carved Chicken Breast, Southwestern Style, diced
1 16oz jar Ortega Thick & Chunky Salsa, medium heat
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 Tbl worchestershire sauce
3 15oz cans of dark red kidney beans including the liquid
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
1 heaping tablespoon Hershey’s Cocoa
2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp black pepper
2 cups water

Put the beans and  tomatoes (including liquid) and the water in a stock pot on medium high heat.

Dice the sausage and chicken. Brown the ground meat in a skillet. When cooked, add all the meat to the stockpot along with the salsa, cocoa, sugar and spices.

Sautee the green pepper and onion in the worchestershire sauce (in the same skillet used for the ground meat) until tender. Add to the stockpot when complete. Simmer on medium low heat for 30-45 minutes.

Served with grated cheddar cheese on top, cold apple slices on the side and a beer. Pretty good stuff. Eat what you can, freeze the rest for later.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Pecans

cwc-07-1220081This post is dedicated to my pals at Cooking with Caitlin who have shown me how much fun playing with your  food can be. See them at http://www.cookingwithcaitlin.com/

I’ve made the Joy of Cooking Banana Bread recipe several times and it always turns out great. OK, I confess that I use brown sugar instead of white and always add an extra banana but those are ideas that Irma Rombauer suggests in the chapter on Quick Breads so they don’t count as innovations of mine.

So why mess with a good thing, right? Well, I had a dream. Really, I had a dream a few nights ago that I could substitute the butter with either cream cheese or sour cream. In the dream, I got a little of the tangy sour milk flavor and still get the richness (ie milk fat) that the butter brings. When I woke up I thought it was a pretty weird dream but I said, “what’s the worst that can happen – give it a try.” I’m glad I did!

I haven’t tried the sour cream version yet but the cream cheese sure makes a denser, moister bread with a bit more flavor than the original. Frankly, I think it’s great! The banana really comes through and the crust still has that crunchy sweetness to it.  I think there’s a hint of the sourness that I dreamt about, but it’s subtle (or I’m still dreaming.) I’m guessing that sour cream would probably deliver more tang on the tongue – I’ll let you know.

Generally, I think that the idea of  low-fat cakes & cookies is oxymoronic. No, actually it’s just moronic in my book.  Creating a low-fat banana bread certainly wasn’t my goal but I did notice, while the first loaf was in the oven, that regular cream cheese has about half the fat of butter. Half the calories too. You’re welcome to try this line of rationalization on your cardiologist (I know I will) but don’t be suprised if Doc still frowns at you. 

Again, be sure to say thank you to the legacy of the Rombauer – Becker clan for giving us the Joy of Cooking. The original Banana Bread recipe is on Page 773 of my JOC 1997 edition. Compare this Banana Bread with the original and let me know what you think.  Oh, and remember to follow your dreams.

Blah, blah, blah. You just want to try it (you know you do) so here’s the recipe:

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8  1/2  x  4  1/2 – inch (6-cup) loaf pan.

Whisk together thoroughly:
1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl, beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2 to 3 minutes:
3 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup brown sugar

Beat in flour mixture until blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Fold in until just combined:
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick comes out cleanly, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on a rack.