Archive for January, 2013


Roasted Pork Shoulder

January 26, 2013

This entree reminds me of living in Germany, where roasted pork shoulder was almost always on the menu. It gets cooked slowly, so the insides are extra juicy and the outside is crispy deliciousness. The drippings make a great pan gravy…adding sauteed mushrooms and a little red wine or beer to the mix will really round out the gravy.

I encourage you to prep the seasoning rub on the roast early. Letting it sit for at least 2-3 hours (overnight is even better!) will amplify the flavors. If you are a pork shoulder novice, you should look for a cut called “butt” or “picnic” at the butcher’s counter. Those refer to the two parts of the shoulder!

20121223 Pork Butt 02

You will need:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 t celery salt
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and  pepper
  • 1 (4-lb) pork shoulder, preferably bone-in

Then you will…

  1. Set out a roasting pan with a rack.
  2. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, celery salt and oregano.
  3. Score the fatty side of the pork shoulder in along one diagonal and then repeat in the opposite diagonal until you have made large crosses along the top. (This lets all of the delicious flavors get inside the roast).
  4. Spread the seasoning mixture all over the shoulder. Use your hands to rub it in well on all sides.
  5. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper evenly on all sides as well.
  6. Place the shoulder in the roasting pan. If you’ve been able to get this far earlier enough to all the roast to marinate, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. If not, skip the foil and continue on as if it had already melded all the flavors together.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cook the shoulder (uncovered) for 20 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue to cook until the inner part of the should (but not touching bone) reads 185 degrees. This should take about another 4 hours.
  9. Remove the pork from the oven. Tent with foil and allow to rest until cool enough to handle, about another half hour.
  10. Savor the tastiness!

20121223 Pork Butt 04



Tropical Chocolate Bark

January 21, 2013

This is a quick chocolate bark. I used toppings that make it very tropical, but you should experiment with different flavors. Try  dried cherry and macadamia nuts or some crushed peppermint or even maybe figs and smoked almond!

You will need:

  • 1/2 lb white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c chopped dried papaya
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c chopped dried pineapple (I used “just fruit” which is more freeze dried than candied)
  • 1/3 c sliced almonds

20121218 Tropical Bark

Then you will…

  1. Line a baking sheet (with edges) with foil. Make sure the shiny side is facing up and try to smooth it out as much as possible.
  2. Put all of the white chocolate but 1/2 cup into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds and then stir with a rubber spatula. Repeat the 15-second intervals followed by stirring until melted, roughly 3 minutes total. Immediately add the remaining white chocolate chips to the bowl; stir vigorously until melted and shiny.
  3. Repeat the process for the bittersweet chocolate in a new bowl.
  4. Pour the two chocolates onto your prepared baking sheet. You can layer or try to swirl with your rubber spatula. You want to spread the chocolate out to about 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Sprinkle with the toppings so there is a little of everything in every bit. Lightly press them into the warm chocolate.
  6. Allow the bark to harden completely at room temperature. This should take about an hour. If it is particularly warm inside, you may need to pop the bark into the freezer for the last few minutes.
  7. Break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature. It will stay fresh for up to two weeks!



Breakfast Egg Cups

January 10, 2013

These are an incredibly easy brunch treat that I made on Christmas morning for my family. I used a thicker ham (more like a Canadian-cut), but you could use whatever you have on hand. Tired of parsley? Try a little cilantro or basil!

You will need:

  • one dozen slices of ham (no holes!)
  • one dozen eggs
  •  3 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c cheese, shredded (I used an Italian blend)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a regular 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Line each cup with a piece of ham.
  3. Crack one egg into each cup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is just a little runny.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley and grated cheese. Serve hot!

20121225 Ham Egg Cups 01


Cinnamon Fudge

January 6, 2013

This is a recipe from Giada that I made over the winter holidays. It makes some truly yummy fudge that reminded me of Mexican Hot Cocoa….so much delicious cinnamon! Feel free to cut into small pieces; it’s a rich, sweet treat.

20121219 Cinnamon Fudge

You will need:

  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lb (~ 2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt, optional

Then you will…

  1. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan. Line the pan with 14×7-inch big piece of parchment paper, leaving the extra paper hanging over the sides of the pan.
  2. In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter pieces.
  3. Put the bowl on top of a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6-8 minutes. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the salt, if desired.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.
  6. Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge.
  7. Remove the fudge to a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge. Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.
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