Pulled Pork Sandwiches

A 4th of July favorite.

PULLED PORK for Sandwiches
(Serves 6)

3 lbs. pork butt or shoulder roast
½ c. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp celery seeds
2 T Nadia’s Spicy Paprika (see below)
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 tsp. ground sage
3/4 cup water
Fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Trim excess fat and brown the roast on all sides in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Transfer meat to a slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water. To the pan, add onion, garlic, and celery and simmer until wilted. Add to the slow-cooker along with spicy paprika, brown sugar, oregano, dried onion and sage.

Cook in slow-cooker on high setting 5-7 hours or until the pork is tender and can be pulled apart with a fork.

We like to make the sandwiches with our favorite crusty buns. I top mine with fresh cilantro, Chuck uses flat leaf parsley. Serve with Coleslaw, potato salad or baked beans.

Poultry, Pork and Fish Seasoning

1 cup Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
(a mildly hot, sweet, smoky chili powder product available at specialty food stores, sometimes translated and labeled red pepper powder)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoon Knorr Chicken Bouillon Powder

Combine all ingredients. Pulse in blender if there are any lumps. Place in a shaker container and store in a cool dry cupboard. Sprinkle generously on poultry, fish, pork, even pasta and vegetables. This seasoning is not spicy hot, it is mild. Some Korean chili powders are hotter than others. Find a brand you like if you want to be consistent with this recipe.


Aronia Berry Jelly

On the off-chance your jelly doesn’t fully set; no problem. You’ll have pancake syrup.
Aronia berry, also called black chokeberry, makes great jelly. here’s how to do it.

3-1/2 cups chokeberry juice from fresh picked fruit
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 oz. or 1 package of pectin (1/4 c. dry powdered)
6 cups sugar

Wash fruit, remove stems and sticks and cover with water, simmer 15 minutes. Strain the juice.

Powdered pectin method: Pour measured amount into a 6-8 quart non-reactive kettle such as enamel or stainless steel. Add lemon juice, pectin and stir. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil exactly two minutes. Skim and pour into clean, hot jars. Seal and store refrigerated (or process in a water bath for 10-minutes and then store in a cool dry place).

If using liquid pectin, substitute a 3 oz. pouch instead of the 2 oz. pkg. of powdered pectin. Also if using liquid pectin, add it to the pot only after the juice and sugar mixture comes to a full boil. Then boil for 2 minutes, put into jars, and process.

Do not make more than a double batch. It may take a day or two to fully set up. Yields: 4 pints.

Chocolate Truffle Dessert Cups

Extra special and extra chocolate-y.

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Whipped cream
Shortbread cookies (your favorite)
Walnut halves (optional)

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar, salt and vanilla. Then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat (or use a double boiler).

Cook pudding until thickened. Towards the end, your pudding will look lumpy and uneven, but if you alternate whisking and stirring vigorously, it will smooth to silky perfection. Cool for 10 minutes, and spoon into fancy tea cups with matching saucers.

Chill well. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a walnut half and two shortbread cookies. In each cup, place one cookie angled upright in the dessert and one on each saucer.

This tastes like the creamy center filling of your favorite chocolate truffles.  Serves 8.






Sweet Dill Pickle Relish

Sweet Dill Pickle Relish
Process in water bath or simply refrigerate small batches.

(Makes 4 pints)

4 pounds large cucumbers
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. pickling salt (or Kosher)
3 cups apple cider vinegar
¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. dill seeds or 1 T dill sprigs chopped
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
½ tsp. turmeric

Clean and sterilize 4 or 5 pint canning jars and lids (8 or 9 if doubling recipe).

Using a peeler, remove most of the cucumber skin, leaving some strips (they will add flecks of color to the relish). Store-bought cucumbers have a wax coating and could be a little tough, this is the reason to remove most of it. Then halve the cucumbers lengthwise and using your knife or a spoon, remove the seeds. Rough chop the cucumbers.

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Using a food processor, process the cucumbers, onions and garlic to a fine dice. Don’t over process, pulse! Unsure? Use a knife and finely chop everything.

Place the cucumber mixture in a stainless steel or large glass mixing bowl and mix in the salt. Let sit 1.5 to 2 hours to draw out water.

Drain the cucumber mixture, pressing or squeezing (with cheesecloth) to press out the excess moisture.

In a medium pot, add vinegar, sugar, dill, mustard seeds, celery seed and turmeric. Stir to dissolve sugar, add the cucumber mixture, and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your water bath and have it simmering or on a low boil.

Fill jars using a slotted spoon, adding back only enough liquid to cover. Leave 1-inch in necks. Add the lids and process 10-15 minutes. Remove from stove, cool, and tighten lids.

Note: 7 jars process better, so If you double this batch, and have 8 jars, simply put the 8th jar in the refrigerator unprocessed to use right away. It will keep that way for weeks.

Double-Crust Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

2 Cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
2 T cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1 T nutmeg
8 cups fresh rhubarb cut into 1” pieces
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup corn starch
3 T minute tapioca
2 cups water
2 T vanilla
Pinch of salt

Melt butter and combine with brown sugar, then oats and flour. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well. Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a glass 9×13” pan. Cover the bottom crust with rhubarb, then strawberries. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Then, in a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn starch, and tapioca. Mix this first, then add water. Cook over medium heat until sauce becomes clear and thick. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and remove from heat to cool 10 minutes.

Pour sauce over strawberries and rhubarb. Top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake 1 hour. Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tip: Crisps and crumbles never stay crunchy past the first day, so if you love the crunch, take the half of this mixture meant for the topping, spread it on foil and bake it separately until golden and crispy. Sprinkle it on individual servings when you dish it up.

Ground Beef and Refried Beans Tacos

This can also be served with tortilla chips as an appetizer or hot dip.

1 lb ground beef
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. T Adobo seasoning, or to taste (Start with 1 tsp.)
1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilis or ½ c. Goya Recaito Culantro cooking base (Find in specialty food stores.)
½ c. bottled salsa (your favorite)
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
2 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Sour cream

Brown ground beef with onions and season with Adobo. Add green chilis and salsa. Spread meat mixture across bottom of medium casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, moisten refried beans with just enough water to make them spread easily over the meat mixture in the casserole. Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is melted.

Serve with warm tortillas (wrap in foil and warm in oven while dish is cooking). Top each taco with shredded lettuce, fresh chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Yields 12-14 tacos.

You could serve this as a warm dip with tortilla chips.

Creole/Cajun Seasoning Mix

To make this Creole blend more Cajun, reduce paprika and increase hot pepper flakes.
3 T. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. powdered rosemary
1 tsp. powdered bay leaves (optional-harder to find in stores, but it IS my secret ingredient)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (see note)

NOTE: Creole and Cajun spice mixes are similar but not identical. Creole seasoning is sweet and mild, not spicy hot, like Cajun. One way to tell the difference is that Creole seasoning has a fair amount out paprika in it where Cajun does not. The above recipe is my version of Creole. You can adjust quantities of paprika and hot pepper flakes to make this more Cajun.