Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hawaiian (Kalua) Pig

Let's just put it on the table and say I F*IN love pork.  Any kind of Pork...I will even eat SPAM...yes sir.  Anyway this of course is a recipe courtesy of NOMNOM PALEO.  Her recipes are A-MAZING! I just thought I would show you my spin on it!  I did it once with a pork butt...a Ginormous Pork Butt  about 8 lbs.  This was a BJ's wholesale type of thing...we had Kalua Pig coming out our ears for about a week.  It's good, but you get sick of it after a while.  The best part about the recipe is the SIMPLICITY!  I mean Bacon, Red Sea Salt (talk to my neighbor about sea salt and he will go Balistic!) and some Pork.  This time I used a boneless pork loin.  You also set it an forget it which is perfect on those days I leave the house at 7am drop off James, get home by 5pm and well am just too exhausted to really cook.  The OTHER good thing is you cook it overnight! Like 16 hours of simmer meat YUMMERS!  So this is how I did it:

1 4lb(ish) Boneless Pork Roast
2 strips of Bacon (from Sherwood Farm in Easton)
enough Red Hawaiian Sea Salt to cover your roast or shoulder
1/8 cup of water (since there is little fat and you don't want the thing to dry out)

First put the two strips of Bacon on the bottom of the Crock Pot.  This will give the nice smokey flavor to the pork when all is said and done.  I used the bacon afterwards to cook my greens YUMMY!!!
 Take out the Pork roast and pat it dry with some paper towels.  Give your roast a little massage with the red sea salt.  Something about the red and the taste and Alaea?  I've never been to Hawaiian I will take the word for it though!

 Your roast is now a nice red color and will get a nice's so good.
Lay that roast on top of the bacon just like so.  Try and put the fat side up.  That is if there is much fat on the roast.
 Pour your water around the roast I used only about 1/8 cup of water.
Set your crock pot for low and go to sleep...good night.  It should be ready for your Din-Din the next day!!

There it is with a crust so juicy and tender.  So tender that when I poked it that little piece on the bottom literally fell off.

 I take this put it on a plate and shred it with two forks...or one fork...or these things...dumb.  I separate the juices in a fat separator and pour a little over the meat and return the meat to the crock pot.  I actually used a little juice to cook in my greens I got in my CSA box last week. Random field grass I swear.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Lemon Basil Chicken and Sautéed Asparagus

It was one of those days when I didn't know what to cook.  I had chicken thighs but I was bored with BBQ chicken.  I am was bored (and didn't have the ingredients for) these Asian Chicken Thighs.  Even though they are so good it's illegal.  So I looked at what I did have in the fridge and found some recipes and whipped up this Lemon Basil Chicken.  I mostly did this because I LOVE BASIL in anything.  I also had some lemons I needed to use up.  So here is the basic recipe.  What I ended up doing was taking a few recipes and combining elements.  We also had paid a visit to bishops orchards where we found some fresh seasonal Asparagus.  So I used the lemon there too.  Lemon is so fresh and yummy!

So here are the two recipes for your enjoyment!

Lemon Basil Chicken

4 bone-in Chicken Thighs (use whatever you want Thighs, breasts, drumsticks)

3 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
juice of 2 lemons (or 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice)
1 TBSP olive oil or oil of choice (I used Avocado oil)
4 cloves chopped garlic

1. I put all of the ingredients (except the chicken) in a blender and whipped that sucker into frenzy.

2. I added everything into a ziplock baggie and coated the chicken nice and good.  This goes into the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors get happy.

3. I covered a baking sheet with some tin foil (IMPORTANT your baking sheet will get all messy if you don't.) I also put the pieces on a wire rack on the baking sheet.  I baked these pieces for about 50 min at 475 degrees.  Half-way through turn them over.  At the end they should be nice a golden.  The meat should be 165 when done.


Sautéed Asparagus
1 big ole bunch of asparagus trimmed
a little lemon juice
olive oil
garlic powder (or chopped fresh garlic)
pepper to taste

1. So I basically trimmed up the asparagus by finding the place near the bottom where it snaps (although I just snap them myself) I then cut those into thirds so I could fit them all in the pan
2. Add the oil and butter to the pan and let the butter melt.  Maybe mediumish heat works so you don't burn the oil or butter.
3. Toss the Asparagus into the pan and coat with the liquid.  
4. add the garlic powder (I would add the fresh garlic before the Asparagus and let that flavor get into the oil.
5. Let this set for a min or two stir every once in a while.
6.  Add about 2 TSBP of lemon juice to this and toss.  Let it set for a moment.  If you have a splash guard or cover.  Cover the pan for a min or two
7. Stir it a little and add the S and P to taste.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back to life, back to reality

SO its been a while since I posted here.  I go between the two posts of James and my life. I should just merge them into one, but nah I like the separation.  Anyhow lately reality has really been rearing it's ugly face and head in my life.  Mostly in the form of the weight I have put back on since having a kid.  It seems both Jeremy and I have fallen into the "we have a kid we have no time" part of life.  No time to exercise and no time to ourselves.  We don't have many people who we would want to watch him during the day or could while we go for a run.  Jeremy wants to rejoin a gym but we can't afford it.  The one thing I have been trying my hardest with is staying on top of my eating.  Every once in a while I go a little crazy and eat something I shouldn't then I feel depressed about it.  I get back on the healthy eating wagon ASAP after that.  I still make dinner almost every night and get a salad or something smallish for lunch.  Breakfast I am trying these green smoothies with frozen fruit and spinach.  It is hard with a little one, being in the cold and wanting to just go out for a run. I am learning how to reprioritize, but its hard when you leave the house at 7:30 and am home at 4 with the little one only to have to start cooking dinner at 5.  I am sure as he grows we will get back in the swing but for now, we will do what we can.  Spring is slowing coming upon us and a walk yesterday without cell phones and just us was what we needed as a family.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Another year gone by and winter has hit us up here in CT.  This recipe is one made almost out of the fact that I had a bunch of veggies I didn't know what to do with and wanted to do something new.  We have been part of the CSA at Stone Garden Farms in Shelton for almost 3 years now.  This was the first year we did the winter share.  So far I have been pretty happy with it.  The one thing I like about these share is the bounty of veggies and also the NEW veggies we get to try that I probably wouldn't otherwise try.  At the end of last seasons share we got a head (the size of my head) of Savoy Cabbage
This fellow is interesting.  Its like green cabbage but more flexible in terms of what you can do...which I wasn't aware of.  The only ways I have ever really had cabbage was in slaw (warm or cold) and with Corned Beef.  So I looked some recipes up.  I also wanted it "kid" friendly.  This mostly meaning were these ingredients on the okay list for little ones, and if there was a not okay item I didn't use it.  So the original recipe called to bake these rolls.  Today I am testing the crockpot method, pretty much so I don't have to flounder around dinner time.  Also I am thinking in terms of Gluten free meals as I am trying to get back on that...with about 95% success.  

So here is the recipe slightly modified from an Ina Garten recipe and using 95% ingredients from Stone Garden Farms (all but the spices and the rice)

1-1.5 pounds of ground beef
1 medium sized head of savoy cabbage
1/2 cup of uncooked rice
1 jar of marinara sauce (may need a little more)
1 bag (can) of chopped tomoatoes
garlic powder

1. cut out the core of the cabbage with a paring knife and take any outer leaves off that don't look great, I chopped these up and saved them.
2. Bring a pot of water large enough to submerge the head of cabbage to a boil
3. put cabbage in the boiling water for a moment or two until the leaves start to easily pull away and take them off carefully.  Set them aside and let them cool.
4. In a bowl mix the beef, rice, spices, and chopped cabbage.  Also in this bowl add about a 1/2 cup of sauce, just to make it a little sticky but not liquidy.
5. Once the cabbage is cool to the touch cut the hard bottom stem off by cutting a little triangle.
6. In the bottom of the crock pot I put in enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pot I also added the tomatoes. 
7. Now take a little bit of mixture in the middle of each leaf and wrap like a little burrito.  Experiment since some leaves of smaller then others. 
8. Put a layer of stuffed cabbages over the sauce and then cover with sauce. Continue in that form, sauce, cabbage, sauce.
9. cook in the crock pot for about 8 hours.
      If baking use a heat proof pot like a dutch oven.  cook at 350 for about an hour.  
10.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another year to remember a great man

So I don't believe I have ever really shared the story but I have been thinking about this more and more with all the news of death.  When it happened 15 years ago there was never a headline, never a news story, never really an investigation.  It happened and we grieved and went on with our lives.  Since social media has started to blow up and news travels basically the moment it happens there have been so many reports of car accidents, homicides, and suicides.  15 years ago there weren't.  You may get a story of a car accident here and there but they did not dominate headlines.  Well this is my news story.  I have told it a few times in front of a few groups, but it also tied in to our ideas of death and what happens after.  Well I am not going to talk about that.  I am going to talk about a great man who left us, who I wish I knew better and of course who I wish was with us today.  Honestly I don't know what he would think of this world we live in.

15 years ago I was sitting at home and the community was recovering from the ice storm of 98.  This is what was dominating the headlines.  People were without power for days and weeks and local towns were devastated and could not leave their houses because of downed trees and power lines.  I remember January 12, 1998 was actually one of those magical days where the sun was shining and reflecting off the snow and ice.  The roads were starting to clear up enough where you could actually drive on them.  My dad had taken off to work that morning and I was still in my PJs (since I was 17 and it was a Saturday.)  Then a funny thing happened my uncle came over with what appeared to be a police officer of some sort.  I got my mom and she came in the room and I left and started to hear them chat.  Suddenly the loudest wail I have ever heard came out of my mom and there is was. My uncle had come to give us the unfortunate news that my father had been found in his truck in his favorite location over looking Lake Auburn.  Apparently he had taken his own life and some one found him slumped over and called the police.  A gunshot to the head.  Too me it is still a mystery, no note was found, no signs were given to us as a family, it just happened.  Time stopped for a few little while, but what turned out to be days.  The next few weeks were a blur to me and I am sure my sisters and brother (who had just been stationed in Germany, but came home.)  We had to get everything set up for the funeral, we had to make sure he had clothes that he liked, but at the same time we had to grieve, which I wasn't ready to do.  I was only 17. How was this happening to me?  Dad was suppose to be there to help me move into college like he did everyone else.  Dad was suppose to take me skiing on my 18th birthday like he had every other year.  He was suppose to be there to see me graduate high school, and to see my sisters graduate college, but no he was gone.

It took me a while to grapple with the thoughts of him never being there again physically.  I would say years to deal with it.  I am sure it's normal.  I am sure people still are grappling with certain peoples death these are loved ones.  Yes my father had his flaws, he was a 5 time recovering alcoholic, he had serious depression issues and he also smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day, but he had nothing but love in his heart for his family. In fact family came first always.  When he would start a new job he would think of family first.  He tried his hardest to attend concerts and football games but I realized mental problems got in the way.  I came to terms with it.

As I get older I realize he is always with me.  He is there watching over me, helping me along the way, giving me strength when I need it and giving me hope for the future.  He is my constant reminder to let people be themselves and teach but also let them stumble a little so they can see their faults because you can't learn to walk and run without falling a couple times.  He taught me how to paint a room, how to build a table and also how to tie a fly.  He taught me to respect a gun and how to shoot a gun.  He taught me that guns are for hunting and not for killing others.  He taught me to respect nature and give myself time in nature to bring some inner peace to myself.  He was a great man and forever will live on in my heart and my memories.  I may have only known him for almost 18 years, but we made the most out of those years.

I Love you dad.

As I watch all the news coverage of death in the world I wonder, why was this never even mentioned in the paper?  It happened in a very public place on a VERY busy four lane road.  Was the world to busy worrying about getting power back and making sure things were getting back to normal?  Why do we televise these horrible accidents anyway?  I try not to watch the news anymore almost for that reason, there never seems to be HAPPY news, it is all about tragedy, death, destruction, or someone being horrible to someone else because they think that other person is wrong and lives a wrong lifestyle.  Maybe if we spread a little more sunshine in this world we would be a happier world.  Maybe it is time to start looking at the bright side of life.  Can we please start celebrating life instead of mourning death?  Also could the religious zealots start thinking about the positives in there bible and the religious works?
When I went to church I was always taught, I still believe the teachings, but not the religious piece, to love your neighbor and that we were all created equal to love and care for each other not to hate each other because of how we live our lives.  I was raised in a loving caring environment and was not taught to hate I was taught to love, if someone doesn't like you find out why.  What did you do to them to make them not like you.  NEVER HATE.  These are lessons I want to pass onto my children. These are things I want to teach.  Everyone is different and special and made in their own special ways, but everyone deserves equal treatment.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Another year gone, another list of accomplishments...

So I have done this for the past few years where I thought of things that I have done in the past year and list them. Mostly to make myself feel good but I don't know I kind of like it so I am continuing the new tradition. It was a banner year, some thing I am more proud of others and I wish I did more, but it was a good year I am trying to go in order of happening.

1. Was on a team for work that was fairly high tech.
2. Went on a well deserved week long vacation in Key West.
3. Went to Ft. Zachary Taylor state park about 70 miles off of Key West.
4. Met a great couple of guys (Josh and Robbie) who are now really great friends!
5. Turned 32...urg.
6. Visited Kentucky and Tennessee for the first time.
7. And spent 5 min in a say I did.
8. We got matched with a baby!
9. We had to spend two weeks in a hotel in PA...with a 1 month old.
10. I took a few week paternity leave to take care of James.
11. I took my new friends to NYC for the first time.
12. We sleep trained our son at four months.
13. We started the kid on solid foods...
14. We finalized the adoption.
15. We had the last Christmas Eve in Maine in a while...

Alright I'll stop there since I have father brain and can't remember lots of stuff that happened.