Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roasted Vegetable Menagerie

Vegetables all ways are just fine by me (except maybe out of a can and then boiled), but hands down I prefer to roast vegetables if I at all can. It doesn't matter what they are, either; usually whatever I have on hand that can stand a hot oven and blend well with potatoes, goes onto the pan. I eat roasted vegetables as an entire meal, too; usually with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. My husband likes to add some rice, which I think is superfluous because really, veggies can fill you up just fine. Veggies can make you healthy, too. And veggies always give me the big wide happy face!

Last night for my roasted vegetable concoction I included asparagus, brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, red potatoes, russet potatoes, garlic, shallots and red onions. I know, crazy, isn't it? And the thing about these veggies is that they cannot all be fired at the same time; you have to stagger it. And so for this particular menagerie, I put the potatoes, carrots, minced garlic and parsnips in first (if I were using whole cloves of garlic I'd probably add them at the 30 minute mark), then 20 minutes later added brussels sprouts, then ten minutes after that I added onions and shallots and then eight minutes after that, the asparagus. I cooked the whole thing for an hour.

To break it down, that's:

  • 1 hr for potatoes, parsnips, minced garlic and carrots
  • 40 minutes for brussels sprouts
  • 30 minutes for onions and shallots, and;
  • 18 minutes for the asparagus
I cooked the whole thing at 375 and tossed all veggies liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary (be conservative, it's a strong spice) and thyme.

Oh behave! The results? My grade: A+

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1 hr 15 minutes (15 minutes prep)
Serves: 4 - 6 (depending on how piggish you are -- I am quite piggish)

Monday, April 28, 2008


I was reading Ruhlman's recent article on favorite kitchen gadgets. Of course his might as well have said a simple caveman club to kill a pig or a cow, given his apparent purist tendencies. (I mean that in a good way, I swear.) Still, it got me thinking about all the useless gadgets I've amassed over the years, and the ones I love, too. Because some I really do adore. But if I were on a desert island (equipped with electricity, running water and a stove), which of my many gadgets would I take?

It was an easy decision. It's my Kitchenaid Immersion Blender. I really do use it for everything. I make brilliant soups with it especially, and I happen to love soups, especially when they're filled with creamy goodness, like this one. It's so much easier then hauling piping hot liquid into a blender only to have it later spray all over your kitchen and also into your eyeballs, which hurts.

I have a lot of really preposterous gadgets, as well. Like the Fry-Daddy deep fryer which I never use and which is too small to fry anything sinful and delicious, like chicken. A waste of space is what it is. And then there are the garlic presses which do not work and which require the strength of ten Mr. Universes to use. Ridiculous. I ought to throw them out this instant, but do I? Will I, ever? No. And this, from the woman who hates clutter.

I think we have gadgets because it makes us feel like chefs. We see all those fancy people on Top Chef with their fandangled gadgets and we think Wow, if I just had gadgets, I could be somebody! Yet in actuality, just as Ruhlman asserts, you don't need much. A good knife, maybe some tongs, a nice spatula and you're golden.

Enough of this alleged white meat

I have officially had too much pork for one lifetime. I am off pork. Off it, I say, you cannot convince me otherwise. Even though we went to the butcher and had him section out four humungous pork butts for our culinary enjoyment, and I have three of them left. It's enough. I need vegetables; a nice Caprese salad with a light vinaigrette, perhaps. Chicken breast, yes, that's the ticket, or a soup. Nothing thick and creamy which I (and my thighs) prefer, but something brothy and filled with healthy goodness. I'm telling you, I'm turning over a new leaf. No more of the fabulous indulgences like cream sauces and entire pork butts, at least for today. Maybe even tomorrow, if I have the discipline. And I think I do.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's the Pig, I swear

It's not that I haven't been cooking these past few weeks; au contraire, my friends. I've been cooking quite a lot! It's just that I've been cooking much of the same recipes you see here over and over and over again, though mainly pork. I guess you could call it a rut, and that's your prerogative, but I prefer to call it lots and lots of really rad slow cook pulled pork straight from Jesus.

I will concede, for the record, that my other recipe for pulled pork is more difficult and not nearly as tasty as the following very simple and delicious recipe:

Really Ridiculously Easy (And Darn Tasty) Slow Cooked Pork


1 pork butt roast (no loin, no ribs, it says butt and hey, I mean butt), at least 4 pounds
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice, unfiltered, organic
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper


Place roast in slow cooker, sprinkling it on all sides with Worcestershire sauce, then patting it down with brown sugar everywhere. Add salt and pepper. Pour apple juice down the sides of the cooker, not directly onto roast. Cook for 6 - 8 hrs on low.

And then eat, pray, love.

Hey don't look at me that way. I realize it's potentially "wrong" or "bad" in some medical way that we eat one entire pork butt per weekend but I swear, it's just a fad. Or maybe it's that we just really really really love the pig. Whatever it is, you'll pry this slow cooked loveliness from my cold dead hands.