02 December 2007

The Pork

So the meat went in the oven at about 830 this morning at 250. I put it on a rack in a roasting pan, closed the door and went away. At about 1030, I basted the top of the roast with apple juice using a pastry brush. It would have been better if I had some dipping sauce (keep reading) to baste with, but hadn't yet made it.

At that point Z and I went to run some errands - Home Depot and Woodmans. We got home around 2, more apple juice. Then I some dipping sauce - (melt butter in a small sauce pan, about 1/2 as much mustard and a similar amount of molasses, a good dose of rub, a lot but not too much salt and then about 4 times the volume of apple cider vinegar (there is a better way that I will write down in another post). Bring to a boil (careful not to boil over).

From here on baste with the sauce. I went out again or I would have basted more. It also would have been good to turn the meat over around this time, but I had inserted a meat thermometer already...

By about 430p the internal temp of the meat was above 185 and I took it out of the oven to cool a bit. At about 5 I used two forks to shred the roast. It pulled pretty well and the bone came out pretty easily. Probably could have stayed in a bit longer. Maybe next time I will do it at about 225 degrees...

I poured out the grease from the pan and deglazed mostly with apple juice. I also used a bit of the dipping sauce (kind of a mistake as the vinegar was a bit much). I also added a bit of bbq sauce I had in the fridge that was based on the dipping sauce (I really couldn't write down how to do it again).

It was good.

01 December 2007

Dry Rub - 1 Dec 2007

Here in Wisconsin, it is sleeting on top of about 2 inches of snow outside, but I am thinking about pulled pork. Even without the weather, my patience for tending a fire for the time necessary to smoke a pork-butt-roast is lacking. So my plan is to stick the thing in the oven at about 250 early tomorrow and forget about it for a significant number of hours.

But before I do that I need to marinate it (and thaw it, but that is another story) and to do that I needed to prepare another batch of dry rub. Now the rub with this post is that my intention is to not give recipes in this project; perhaps this post will be the exception that proves the rule...

My rubs thus far have had many many ingredients. I decided this time to try to simplify. So here is a decent rub that is pretty simple, albeit not quite perfect:

1/2 cup each, salt, brown sugar, paprika
2T each, garlic powder, onion powder
1.5T cumin
1T each, black and white peper
1.5 t oregano
1t cinnamon

be sure to get the lumps out of the brown sugar (a sifter or strainer works well for that) and grind the whole spices up really well (I use a coffee grinder (that I don't use for coffee)).

Stay tuned for a report on the pork, but don't hold your breath lest I not actually get to reporting about it.

25 November 2007

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Zora and I had Thanksgiving on Peter and Bernadette's farm. Peter is Zora's uncle; Zora's Aunt Anne and her family were there as well. Springdale Farm is a CSA (community supported agriculture) and their season is just about done.

The food and the company were all wonderful. We had a very fresh turkey that had been raised on the farm. I carved, bolstered by a nice little video from the NYTimes featuring the head butcher at my beloved Fairway.

Zora and I contributed 2 pies: 1 apple, 1 pumpkin. The significance of that is that I seem to have finally shaken my pie curse. Zora and have cranked out 3 pies with nary an incident. The breakthrough seems to have been the purchase of Pie a massive tome with patient and clear instructions regarding crust.

Zora's comment as we left for our drive home was that it was nice to visit the farm because the people there seem content with their life. (I have a very cool daughter!)

Maybe next year we will host at our place - who knows...

12 November 2007

Pea Soup

My stomach is growling and I despair of finding any real food for sometime to come. The hunger is somewhat welcome compared to the lack of appetite that dogged me yesterday. A vague depression has been building over the last week and I am hoping that a reminder to "remember who I am", and the possibility that I might be seen for that person may have turned the tide for the time being.

Despite my lack of appetite, I had some pea soup last night around 7p. I had brought the split peas to a boil late morning with some bay leaves then returned them to very low heat mid-afternoon (if you cook the peas slowly and long enough you don't have to mess around with pureeing them). Sometime around 5p I browned some potatoes (sliced the way Z's Mom used to do it) and carrots with onion, garlic, thyme, a bit of basil and celery seed, paprika, and a bit of cayenne. Those go in the pot with the peas to finish cooking. Low heat yields potatoes more or less intact. The challenge is getting the carrots cooked.

The soup is left behind for Zora and Rachel to have for dinner tonight while I am in Pittsburgh. I wonder if Z will notice the potatoes...

Breakfast in the Airport

As witnessed in the Milwaukee Airport...
  • Cinnabun and a Diet Coke
  • Starbucks half-calf with the Bold
  • Sesame bagel(?) with cream cheese and coffee
  • Vitamin water and a granola bar
  • lots of cell phones and related devices

10 November 2007

My Mom's coffee cake

My mom's maiden name was Mueller. I don't know when the umlaut got dropped or when the pronunciation became "miller", but the German-ness of her family wasn't lost until my generation (and there are vestiges that live on...).

I grew up on meat and potatoes and it was my mom who taught me to cook; first by watching her in the kitchen and then with tips, guidance and encouragement from the couch in the living room. While I learned to cook dinner, I really never ventured into the baking realm and pies and other goodies that she seemed to produce with hardly a second thought have only of late even vaguely asserted their presence in my repertoire.

My sister Maris has been the keeper of many of Mom's recipes and among them was her coffee cake recipe. I copied it down a while ago and have tried several times to reproduce the coffee cake that Mom would make in the morning for breakfast. It has been unmitigated failure (OK perhaps there has been some mitigation to the failure, but I have sure as heck not reproduced the lovely thing in my memory, or even what I have seen in the case at Starbucks).

I am pretty sure that part of the problem lies in a transcription error somewhere along the line with respect to the recipe and I think that error has to do with the amount of flour (careful reading and comparison to Joy of Cooking and other sources leads me to this conclusion), but I don't know what the correct answer should be (maybe I should concede and just use Joy's version of the recipe (more on this when I get back to pie crust)).

BUT tomorrow morning another attempt will be made with the help of Francie. She says it is not hard and I believe her, I just don't know the magic...