Category Archives: Dinner

Carnitas (a.k.a Mexican Pulled Pork)

Carnitas (a.k.a. Mexican Pulled Pork)

Carnitas (a.k.a. Mexican Pulled Pork)

It has been a great summer for vegetables.  Our farm share has produced a tremendous amount of delicious fruit and vegetables that we have been eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day (okay, maybe for breakfast only 2-3 days a week).  That is why so many of our summer recipes have been veggie-focused.  We want to make sure everyone knows what to do with all the great produce.  Once in a while though, you just want some meat.  Sure, you can have a side of veggies, or maybe use them as a garnish… but sometimes, even in the summer, meat has to take center stage.

Working on the pork butt

Working on the pork butt

This is definitely that kind of dish.  Ever since my friend Chrissy passed me this recipe more than a year ago, it has been hovering at the back of my mind whispering things like “Kelly, make me” and “I am both crispy and meltingly delicious, you won’t be able to resist.”  We recently had the chance to purchase a whole pig from this great farmer and with a beautiful pork shoulder in our possession, I knew those whispers couldn’t be ignored any longer.

How the sauce should look once it is reduced

The sauce is ready

Of course, as soon as I had my first bite, I wondered why the heck I had waited so long.  The pork, which is braised and then broiled, is fall-apart tender with crisp edges.  The braising liquid is reduced to make a flavorful glaze that gives the pork a rich taste with overtones of orange and cumin.  This is not a complicated recipe, but it does take some time.  Now that the weather is cooling off a bit in the Northeast, it is the perfect time to take on a recipe like this.  Make it for Sunday dinner and enjoy with the lovely late summer tomatoes and corn.

Spread with sauce and ready for the broiler

Spread with sauce and ready for the broiler

Carnitas

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:

1 3.5 – 4 lb boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8″ thick, cut into 2″ chunks

1 tsp ground cumin

1 small onion, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)

2 cups water

1 medium orange, halved

To Make:

Position oven racks to lower middle slot and preheat to 300F.  In a large Dutch Oven (make sure it is stove top and oven safe), combine pork, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and water.  The liquid should just barely cover the meat.  Juice the orange into a bowl, discarding the seeds, add to the Dutch Oven along with the orange halves.

Bring the Dutch Oven to a simmer on the stove top over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the whole thing is simmering, cover the pot and toss it into the oven.  Cook until the meat is tender enough to fall apart when pierced by a fork (about 2 hours).

When the meat is ready, remove the pot from the oven and set your oven to broil.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a bowl, discard the orange halves, bay leaves and onions.  Put the pot over high heat (remember, it was in the oven for two hours so use pot holders).  Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and reduce until it becomes thick and syrupy, stirring frequently.  A wooden spoon or heat proof spatula should leave a trail when it is dragged through the simmering liquid.  It should take 8-12 minutes and leave you with about 1 cup of goodness.

Meanwhile, shred the pork by sticking the middle with two forks and pulling each piece apart.  Fold the reduced liquid into the pulled pork.  Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Place the pork on the wire rack in one layer.  Keeping the oven rack in the same lower middle position, slide in the pork into the oven.  Broil until the tops are well browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Take it out, turn the pork pieces over (think big pancake spatula), put it back in for another 5 to 8 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve warm, in burritos, as tacos, on a plate, etc. with garnishes such as salsa, lime wedges, sour cream, guacamole, fresh cilantro, corn and black bean salad.  Use your imagination.  Serves 4-6 as a main course.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Meat, Recipes

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really care all that much for green beans.  I try to like them.  I eat them steamed, roasted, even grilled, but they never get more than a “meh” from me.  I really want to like them, all green and fresh and crisp but something about the flavor is off for me.

Beans, ginger, and a chili

Beans, ginger, and a chili

This season, I was determined to find a way to cook green beans that I would actually enjoy.  After much searching, Marc came across this recipe.  It looked promising.  Sesame oil, good.  Ginger and garlic, good.  Hoisin sauce, very good.  Almonds soaked in Tamari soy sauce, very very good.

Almonds bathing in tamari

Almonds bathing in tamari

Turns out, this recipe is awesome.  I love good Chinese food and this has all the elements of Chinese take out.  Even better, it made me like green beans.  In fact, I had leftovers the next day, a true testament to the deliciousness of this dish.

Beans in their delicious sauce

Beans in their delicious sauce

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Adapted from The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds

Tamari soy sauce, for soaking

3 tbls toasted sesame oil

1 cup rice (uncooked)

1 hot red chili, seeded, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cups green beans (about a pound), cut into 2 inch pieces

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1 tbls brown sugar

2 tbls mirin (rice cooking wine)

To make:

First, make the tamari almonds.  Put the almonds in a bowl and pour in enough tamari to cover.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain off the tamari (save the tamari, it can still be used).  Heat the almonds for a few minutes in a hot skillet, shaking occasionally.  Roughly chop and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet.

In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.  When the oil is hot, dump in the rice.  Stir to coat the rice and toast for a few minutes.  Add in the appropriate amount of water and cooking according to the rice instructions.  Set aside.

In the same skillet that you used for the almonds, heat two tablespoons of toasted sesame oil.  Add in the finely chopped ginger, garlic, and chili; cook for 1 minute.  Add in the green beans, hoisin sauce, and brown sugar.  Cook until the beans are slightly tender, but still with some crunch, about 5 minutes (or until they are as soft as you like).  Add in the mirin and cook for 1 minute more.

 To Serve:

Put the rice in a large serving bowl.  Top with the green beans and all of the wonderful sauce.  Finally, add the roughly chopped almonds.  Serves 6 as a side.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Pasta Con Zucchini e Basil

Pasta with zucchini and basil

Pasta Con Zucchini e Basil

Clearly, it has been a while since our last post.  We apologize.  We have nothing to offer except that life has been Busy (with a capital B).  But talking about how busy things are is boring.  Let’s move on to a topic that is more interesting. 

Sliced zucchini

Sliced zucchini

Today I picked my very first sun gold cherry tomato from one of my tomato plants.  It was delicious, though a little tart.  I suspect I picked it a bit early but I don’t care.  I am just happy I got it before the darn chipmunks who have been cheekily plucking my small green tomatoes, eating half of them, and leaving the remaining half to rest forlornly on the driveway.  I am not amused.

Zucchini and onions, hanging out

Zucchini and onions, hanging out

So while it is still a little early here in New England for the late summer glut of tomatoes, we do have lots of zucchini, and lots of basil too.  This dish makes use of both, and is quick enough to make even on the busiest night.  Light and simple, this dish is best made with super fresh ingredients so the individual flavors really shine through.

Tossing the pasta, dinner time!

Tossing the pasta, dinner time!

Pasta Con Zucchini and Basil

Adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

Ingredients:

2 small-medium zucchini

2 tbls butter

2 tbls olive oil

1/2 medium onion, sliced into thin half rings

About 15 basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/2 pound pasta such as rigatoni or penne

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

To Make:

Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until al dente according to package directions.  Drain, reserving a half cup or so of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise.  Cut halves crosswise into half moons.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and oil.  Once the skillet is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft fragrant.  Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 10 minutes).  Chop the herbs and stir them into the zucchini and onion mixture. 

Pour the hot pasta into the skillet, top with grated parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste, and toss it all together.  Add the pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time to moisten the pasta. 

To Serve:

Serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese.  Serves 4.

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Filed under Dinner, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

I am having a tough time believing that it is zucchini season already.  The summer is speeding by and even though it seems like our first CSA delivery was just a couple of weeks ago, we are already finding ourselves with lots of zucchini and summer squash. 

Lots of Zucchini

We are always looking for new ways to cook zucchini.  With the early veggies, we enjoy simple sautes and stir sliced zucchini into pasta.  However, as the season wears on, I start needing to spice things up a little bit.  These pancakes are really tasty, easy to make, and make use of lots of fresh summer ingredients.  According to my little brother, these zucchini cakes were “mad good”. 

Herbs and Feta

It is worth noting that the batter is very loose.  There is not a lot of binder relative the rather large amount of zucchini in the recipe.  This makes the cooked cakes a little fragile, but I like the way the zucchini and herb flavors come cleanly through.  If you wanted more of a typical “pancake” texture, adding an extra egg and maybe another 1/4-1/2 cup of flour would help.

Cakes on the Griddle

Zucchini Pancakes with Mint and Basil

Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs zucchini, golden zucchini, or summer squash

1/4 of a large onion

2 large eggs

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

3 tbls fresh mint, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To Make:

Using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the zucchini and onion.  Rinse briefly with cold water.  Place handfuls of the grated vegetables in a tea towel and squeeze all the water out.  Repeat until all the zucchini and onion are squeezed dry.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the cheese, bread crumbs, flour, garlic, and herbs and stir to combine.  Stir the zucchini and onion into the batter.

Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls on a lightly oiled, preheated skillet or griddle.  Cook until golden brown on one side, about four minutes.  Flip, flatten gently with the back of the spatula, and cook until the second side is golden.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until they are ready to be served.

To Serve:

Serve warm or room temperature.  Makes about 20, 4 inch cakes.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian