Monday, June 27, 2016

Pork Carnitas with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

Don had the Pork Carnitas at Elote Café in Sedona, AZ while we were there a few weeks ago.  We fell in love with them.  I found this recipe and it was very good, but not exact.  I did make this in the crockpot and didn't broil it at the end, which I think would have made it more authentic.

Pork Carnitas with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce
inspired by Jeff Smedstad, an amazing chef we discovered in Sedona, Arizona at his restaurant, The Elote Cafe

For the Carnitas:
4-5 pounds of pork butt, cut into 4" x 4" chucks
1 jalapeño pepper sliced thin
1 serano pepper sliced thin
12 oz Coca-Cola
12 oz orange juice
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons hot paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder

For the Spicy Tomatillo Sauce:
6 poblano peppers diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6-8 tomatillos, husks removed, diced
1/2 cup of sauce reserved from the Carnitas
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Hand rub the pork on all sides with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.

In a preheated pan or dutch oven on high heat, add the olive oil and thoroughly brown the pork on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the peppers and cook until softened, then add the orange juice, cola, and milk.

Place the pork in the sauce and add chicken broth until the pork is almost completely covered.***Beth put this all in the crockpot and cooked for 8 hours on low.

Cover and place in over for 4-5 hours.

Check for doneness by removing one piece of pork and pulling it apart with a fork. It should shred easily. Remove pork and set aside to rest.

Skim off the excess great from the pan sauce.

Prepare Spicy Tomatillo Pepper Sauce as follows:

In a preheated pan on medium to high heat, add the the olive oil and cook the poblano peppers, tomatillos and garlic until softened.

Place Tomatillo mixture in the pan with the Carnita sauce.

Using a stick blender, thoroughly puree the Tomatilla mixture into the sauce. Add chicken broth as necessary. Note: Be very careful when using a stick blender over a stove or with hot liquids!

Cook until slightly reduced (about 4-5 minutes). Salt and Pepper to taste.

Set the oven to broil.

Place the pork chunks under the broiler to crisp on each side.

Serve with the Spicy Tomatilla Pepper Sauce.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Father in law requested roasted chicken for Father's day. This is the recipe we tried. It was good. I put the bone in thighs in the oven for 10 minutes before adding the boneless breasts. Very tender chicken

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken              

6 Chicken Breast Halves, Bone In Beth used boneless breasts and bone in thighs
3 Cups Buttermilk, Well Shaken
3/4 c Vegetable Oil, divided
4 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper 
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped (Optional)

1. In a bowl, mix together buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and honey until salt is dissolved.

2. Divide the chicken pieces into 2- 1 gallon ziplock bags. Pour half of the buttermilk mixture in each bag. Press out as much air as possible and seal bags. Place on a rimmed dish or plate in case bag leaks. Refrigerate overnight or preferably for 2 days. Flip bag halfway through marinating time.

3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Take the chicken out of the ziplock bags and place on a wire rack so any extra marinade will drip off. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place the chicken in a single layer on the pan. Drizzle chicken with remaining oil. Roast chicken at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven, and allow chicken to continue to cook (just in the remaining heat-don't open the door) for 7-10 minutes more or until chicken is done.
4. Allow chicken to rest for about 7-10 minutes then serve.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

I made these for our Father's Day meal. They WERE light and fluffy and were great as biscuits and gravy the next morning!

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut in using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the butter is about pea-sized and smaller. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle that is about 6 x 9 inches. Fold each side of the dough over the middle (like you're folding a letter) and pat out again to about 6 x 9 inches. Cut biscuits out of the dough using desired size of biscuit cutter (I usually use a 2 inch cutter). Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy

Friday, June 24, 2016

Spring Confetti Bars

This was another yummy dessert we made for Father's Day.  Very good!
Spring Confetti Bars
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 and 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, separated
3 cups miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup Spring M&M's
3 tablespoons sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine the room temperature butter with the white and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl.

3. Mix the butter and sugars together with hand beaters or in a stand mixer until creamy and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. Stir together and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

5. Mix until combined.

6. With a wooden spoon, stir in one cup of the white chocolate chips. Press the cookie dough into a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

7. Bake the cookie dough for 10-13 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

8. Remove and immediately top with the miniature marshmallows and M&M's. Return to the oven for 1-2 minutes or until the marshmallows become puffy.

9. Remove and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup white chocolate chips and sprinkles over the bars.

10. Let cool completely and then cut with a wet knife.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chocolate Truffle Rice Krispie Treats

This was one of the desserts we made for Father's Day lunch.  Don thought they were rich, but we ALL loved them!  See what we did in bold.
Chocolate Truffle Rice Krispie Treats

¼ cup butter
8 cups mini marshmallows
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 cups Krispie rice cereal (regular or chocolate)
½ teaspoon salt

Truffle layer:

1½ cups 10% cream (you can go heavier if you wish)
3½ cups good semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (or dark or milk if you wish)

Optional toppings: chopped nuts, sprinkles, cocoa powder, chopped pretzels, toffee bits, etc. , We used Heath bites, crushed

1. Line a 9x13" pan with tin foil and spray with non stick spray. Set aside.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and marshmallows. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir. Microwave on high for another minute if necessary to melt the marshmallows. Stir until smooth.

3. Add in cocoa powder and ½ cup chocolate chips and stir until smooth and chocolate is melted (work quickly). Stir in Krispie rice cereal and salt until totally combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with wet hands and set aside.

Truffle layer:

1. In a small pot, heat cream until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and stir in 3½ cups chocolate until smooth. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken and cool slightly before pouring over the Krispie treat layer. Sprinkle with desired toppings and refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Butterfinger Cookies

Jenna made these while she was home for Father's day weekend.  They were quick and easy and tasted great.
Butterfinger Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix {15.25 oz.}
2 cups Butterfinger Baking Bits – approx. one 10 oz. bag {or use chopped fun sized Butterfinger bars}
½ cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in large mixing bowl, and beat well.  Stir in Reese’s Mini Pieces baking chips with spoon.

Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.

After dough has chilled, drop onto ungreased Nonstick Cookie Sheet in rounded balls.We used a cookie scoop.

Bake for approx. 7 – 9 minutes {or until done}. ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ground Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese

 Kathleen made these for lunch a few weekends ago.  They were excellent.
Ground Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese

1 pound ground beef
½ tsp salt (we used steak seasoning instead of salt and pepper)
½ tsp pepper 
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
2 tbsp butter 
1 onion, chopped 
½ green bell pepper, chopped (we didn't have any, but added 6 slices of chopped, pickled jalapenos)
salt and pepper to taste 
8 slices American or Provolone Cheese (we used pepper jack)
8 slices white bread 
4 tablespoons butter

Start by browning the beef in the skillet. Try to brown without breaking up the meat too much. Get a nice brown sear on the beef, then break apart as little as possible. You want the meat to resemble a pea in size [you want to avoid taco meat consistency]. Add the salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. 
Stir gently, then remove from pan. 

Add 2 tbsp. of butter in the pan and add the chopped onions and green bell pepper, cooking until browned and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once browned, add the meat back in and combine together. 

Spread the butter on one side of each of the 8 slices of bread. Butter side down on the cutting board. Add a slice of provolone to each of the slices. Top four slices with the meat mixture and close the sandwiches pressing down lightly. In a cast iron pan or griddle on medium high add the sandwiches and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.