Tag Archives: pork

Love it or hate it.

Here’s the thing. My husband did not like this meal. At all.

He did not like it in his bowl, he will not touch it with a pole. He didn’t come right out and say he didn’t like it, but I could tell. I dig.

He was quiet. Ate slowly. Pushing food around with his spoon hoping it would magically disappear. He took giant sips of his drink after every bite. Eventually he told me to stop looking at him. It got awkward real quick. At the end of a silent 15 minutes, he brought picked over his bowl to the kitchen sink and apologized.

For what, I’m not sure. Hey, not everyone likes the same things. It’s cool. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. If anything *I* should have been the one apologizing. Contrary to what he might think sometimes, I don’t set out to feed him things I know he won’t like. Sure, I push the envelope every now and then, that’s just plain fun. But if I seriously think he won’t like a dish, I save it for a night he’s not around.

But, you know what? I’m not apologizing. Because I didn’t think he’d dislike this as much as he did. It was a fluke, I tell ya! There is nothing to be sorry about with this meal. I absolutely loved it. More for me.

I’m usually a purist when it comes to chili – thick, beefy and bursting with beans. A good kick of spice but not melt your face hot. And cheese! Lots of that, please and thank you.

This recipe is so different. It takes all that familiar chili heat and adds a bit of sweet to the mix with tender sweet potatoes and apples The gobs of cheese are swapped for crunchy, healthy pepitas. It’s not as thick as a traditional chili (I actually added a bit of cornstarch slurry at the end to tighten it up) but the flavorful broth of beer and a pepper puree makes the perfect vehicle for dunking a sweet cornbread muffin. It’s delightfully different.

Be brave. Try it. You’ll love it. Or you won’t. 😉

HARVEST CHIPOTLE CHILI (Recipe Source: Midwest Living)


  • 3 medium orange sweet peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork, ground beef or uncooked ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15 ounce can reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can hominy or one 15.5-ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can chunky chili-style tomatoes or stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 12 ounce can beer or one 14.5-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium Granny Smith or tart red apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Roasted, salted pepitas and chopped green onions, for serving. (optional)


  1. In a food processor, combine process sweet peppers, chipotle peppers and garlic and pulse with on/off turns until very finely chopped. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, cook ground pork and onion over medium-high heat until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat and return to the pot. Add pepper mixture; cook and for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in the sweet potato, pinto beans, drained hominy, undrained tomatoes, beer, chicken broth, apples and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.
  4. Top each serving with pepitas and green onions. Makes 8 servings.




Filed under pork, soup, veggies

The Amazing Shrinking Pastry Crust

In all my adventures in cooking and baking, I hadn’t yet tackled a baked egg dish. What could be better for a Sunday brunch/lunch than fluffy baked eggs, loaded with cheese, veggies and meat? For my introduction to this wonderfulness, I decided to go with a classic – Quiche Lorraine. On the side, I served up a simple green salad dressed with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious! Light but satisfying at the same time. 🙂

Quiche Lorraine is a classic French dish that combines a flaky pastry crust with eggs, milk or cream, Swiss or Gruyere cheese and bacon. Some recipes call for onion as well. It’s all baked in the oven until warm and golden and then sliced and served like a piece of pie.

Here’s an example of where I had every intention of taking a store bought shortcut but ended up making everything from scratch instead. How often does that happen? It’s usually the other way around! I debated back and forth about making my own pastry. After much consideration, I decided I would use store bought pie crust this go round and save the pastry for another time. Well. I forgot to BUY the pie crust. D’oh! But I had the butter, flour and ice water necessary to make my own so rather than go back to the store, I decided I’d just make it myself.

I baked my pastry and quiche in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom as suggested in the recipe because I thought it would make for a prettier presentation than a standard pie plate. I ran into a pretty major snafu – my crust SHRANK LIKE CRAZY! Blast!

I noticed it the minute I took it out of the oven – a HUGE gap between the pastry and the pan on one side of the pie. I had one of those “this can’t be good” moments, but moved forward anyway thinking I could somehow carefully pour the egg mixture into the crust and NOT have it overflow and run into that space.

Um. Yeah. That’s impossible. Can’t be done. I poured the eggs into the crust, where they immediately spilled over the pastry like a river flooding its bank and started leaking out the bottom of my tart pan, which luckily, was already on a baking sheet covered in foil.

Eep. 😐

I tossed that thing in the oven to bake and immediately set out to find out what in the world causes insane pastry shrinkage. Ha. That makes me think of Seinfeld. Maybe my pastry decided to go swimming and the water was too cold?


I couldn’t really come up with a definitive answer. I got everything from the dough wasn’t cold enough, to it was too wet, to I stretched it too much in the pan. I swear I didn’t make any of these mistakes along the way, but maybe I did. Oh well.

In the end, the half of my quiche that was not overrun by runny eggs was quite good! The pastry actually had a really great flavor and flake to it. It paired very well with other ingredients, all of which brought their own flavor to the table – salty, crispy bacon, creamy cheese, a slight bite from the scallions. We both enjoyed it very much. The other half…well…it was a little more frittata-like than quiche-like. It still ate, but the crust just got lost inside the egg and it certainly wasn’t as pretty.

So, pastry experts! Any tips for a Newb? Is there a way to insure butter pastry won’t shrink? Any tricks of the trade to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

QUICHE LORRAINE WITH A SIMPLE SALAD (Recipe Adapted From: Emeril Lagasse via Foodnetwork.com)


  • 1 recipe for Flaky Butter Crust, recipe follows
  • 6 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into narrow strips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half (I used fat free)
  • 3 scallions, white and greens, chopped.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss
  • 1 recipe for Simple Salad, recipe follows


On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry dough in to an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the edges. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Discard the fat or reserve for another use.

Arrange the bacon evenly over the bottom of the baked crust.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with Simple Salad.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed (I needed about 4)

To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5 or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, fit it into the pan, and allow to rest again in the refrigerator before baking.

Yield: one 9-inch tart or pie crust


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Assorted salad greens, for accompaniment

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and serve immediately.

If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.


One Year Ago: Chicken Piccata


Filed under breakfast, veggies

Hidden Potential

Sometimes you try a recipe and think, hey, this is pretty good…but it could be better. It’s tasty enough, but immediately on the first bite, those foodie gears start turning and you can’t help but think of ways to improve it. It’s a recipe with hidden potential.

That’s what happen this recipe. A couple weeks back, my grocery store had a great sale on boneless country style pork ribs. It’s not a cut a typically buy, mostly because I worry about them being tough. But since it was a such a great deal, and I’m always up for something new a different, I snatched them up and then searched out a way to prepare them in the crockpot. Turning tough cuts of meat into tender morsels of yumminess is what the crockpot does best! 🙂

I loved the flavor combo in the sauce for these ribs, sort of sweet and spicy with a bit of an Asian flair. But I  found adding all the sauce at the beginning of cooking resulted in a dryer texture at the end. I like my ribs wet an’ saucy, I guess. Heh. Next time, I’ll reserve half the sauce to add to the crockpot just before serving. Also, you’ll notice there’s no real cooking liquid added to the crock. I think this is a mistake. There needs to be a least a tiny bit of liquid to keep the meat from drying out. I didn’t find the meat to be overly dry without the liquid, but the ribs did not get as tender as I think the would have if there was a bit of liquid. Next time, I’ll add just a bit of beef broth to bottom of the crock, not enough to cover the meat, but just enough to keep the cooking environment moist. I made both of these changes to the recipe below.

Hidden potential…UNLOCKED!

SLOW COOKED SESAME COUNTRY STYLE RIBS (Recipe adapted from: About.com)


  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless country style pork ribs (I only used about 1.5 pounds. This was enough for two with a some leftovers. I would still make all the sauce though)
  • 1/2 cup of water or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion, with green


  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about half the mixtured into an airtight container, refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Line bottom of slow cooker with onions. Add water or broth. Place ribs in sauce and turn to coat. Add to slow cooker on top of onions and pour sauce over ribs.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Pour reserved sauce over ribs and cook until just heated through. Place ribs on serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion.


One year ago: Tomato Soup with Pasta and Basil – This is delicious! Use up those summer tomatoes and fufill that fall soup craving all at the same time!


Filed under pork

Don’t Photograph Your Food…

Eat it!

I have a love/hate relationship with blog photos. I love them, of course, when I take good ones. I squeal with delight and strut around my kitchen, camera in hand like some sort of big shot, my foodie blogger ego growing like a summer tomato.

I hate them…pretty much the rest of the time.

Photos are what make food blogs different from other blogs. They are imperative to communicating the yummy, drool-worthiness of your recipe. Without ’em, you’ve nothing but a pile of word vomit. That said, there are probably more people taking time out of their busy travel schedule to read the instructions on the air sick in their front seat pocket than there are people reading a food blog with no photos. They are a necessary, groan inducing, cloud and night cursing, swear word slinging, camera smashing evil.

Now, when I got started with this blogging thing, I never claimed to be a photographer by any means. I just use our Sony P&S to to take pictures. I don’t feel the need to make excuses for my lack of abilities or apologize for craptastic photos.


I too work full time like most folks and for a good chunk of the year it’s dark by the time dinner rolls around. I can’t always make the stars align just so. Clearly, I was absent the day they handed out super powers. Even if I hadn’t been, I probably wouldn’t have chosen controlling the weather or slowing down the earth’s rotation. NERD ALERT and YAWN! I could do WAY better than that!

And sometimes, well, I just want to eat. Now. And I want it to be hot and delicious and not have to sit through a 30 minute photo session to make it my mouth. If I’m plating food it’s for one of two reasons – 1. I’m artfully arranging food and garnishes and making sure I have the best light so I can get a great shot. or 2. It’s dinner time, I’m hungry, and I just want to freakin’ eat already. If you read my blog regularly it is so completely and totally obvious what kind of day I’m having, it’s almost embarrassing. I should be ashamed of myself.

Let’s look at the evidence. Witness Exhibit A: The “I Have Some Free Time so I’m Actually Trying to Take a Nice Picture” Photos.

Absolutely irresistible Rosemary Lemon Sandwich Cookies. You want one.

Pasta + Parsley = PERFECT. Oooo. Ahhhhh.

You are so ready for your close up, Mini Cheesecakes.

And Witness Exhibit B: The Chris Farley Gap Girls “LAY OFF ME, I’M STARVING” Photos.

This piece of chicken clearly chose a pile of rice to curl up and die on. Ha.

Berry pie or cow pie? Yeah, I can’t tell either.

And this…um. Yeah. Just….. Ew.

Now let’s play a game. Where does the photo of the dinner below belong? Exhibit A or Exhibit B? You’ll NEVER guess. Ha. Okay, you will.

Grilled Apple and Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is absolutely delicious. It’s also a bit time consuming. And it looks quite delightful while it’s resting and by the time you slice it you want dive in face first. I had to FORCE myself to take a picture before I dug in. I may or may not have wimpered and whined a’la Randy in A Christmas Story as I took my meal’s photo instead of eating it.

In the end, the photo was worth it because it means I get to share it with all of you! Even if the photo sucks, you can still kinda sorta see what it’s supposed to look like!

On to the pork! I found the most time consuming part to be pounding the pork out thin so it could be rolled. I don’t have a meat mallet, so I used a small frying pan. When that didn’t work, I pounded at it with the back of my hand. That worked. The pork is then stuffed, rolled and grilled for about 30 minutes over indirect heat. I decided to wrap my tenderloin in bacon because, well, everything’s better with bacon and I thought it would help keep everything moist.

So.Good. I served it up with crashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. Mmmmmmm.



  • 1 1lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup peeled, diced apple
  • 3 dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 stripes center cut bacon


  1. Slice the pork down the center lengthwise to butterfly it, do not cut all the way through. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to about 1 inch thickness.
  2. Mix together the apple, apricots, cheese and sage. Spread over the pork. Roll tightly and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine. (If using toothpicks, soak them in water first). Wrap the bacon around the tenderloin, season with salt and pepper and rub with the olive oil. Let sit about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place the tenderloin on to the direct heat for a minute or two on each side to sear it and get some color to it. Transfer to the indirect heat and grill for about 30 minutes, turning once. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


One year ago this week:
Loaded Sweet ‘n’ Salty Chocolate Ice Cream – So rich, it should be illegal
Beef and Rice Enchiladas with Red Sauce – AKA, that slop you saw above. 🙂
T is For Turtle Bread – The cutest bread on the block!


Filed under fruit, pork

Super Simple Sunday

Sometimes on Sundays I get really ambitious with food. I pull out all the stops and go for the extra labor intensive, takes all day kind of recipe that makes people kind of scratch their heads and say “why in the world would you take all the time to do that when you can buy it premade at the store?” Sometimes on Sundays I like to go crazy.

And then other times….I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being in the kitchen but sometimes my couch and blankie are more appealing than making a huge mess in the kitchen and then cleaning it up. Especially when I have a bit of a cold. Today was one of those Sundays. I still wanted a yummy, home cooked, weekend meal for us tonight, but I didn’t really feel like working real hard at it.

Enter one of my absolute favorite easy-peasy stand by recipes. I’m surprised I’ve blogged this long without this making it in here as I make it pretty frequently! Throw it in the crockpot, turn it on and forget about it.

About ten after 5 or so I asked Eric if he was getting hungry yet. He said he could eat anytime. I went into the kitchen, microwaved up a couple of those Minute rice already cooked brown rice cups (LOVE those things….they are just cooked brown rice, nothing added. It’s perfect rice in 60 seconds, I am addicted to those things!) sauteed up some delish fresh peapods (for me. Eric munched on raw carrots instead) thickened up a bit of the cooking liquid in crockpot to make a quick gravy and called it a day. Total time: about 10 minutes. I yelled to Eric my standard dinner’s ready call: “Let’s Eat!” and I think he was genuinely surprised we were sitting down already. He thought he had more time to tinker around. Ha. I love nights like this!

AMAZING SLOW COOKER PORK TENDERLOIN (Recipe adapted from: allrecipes.com)

  • 1 (1 to 2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with the contents of the soup packet. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.

Cooks Notes:

  • To thicken the cooking liquid, pour into a saucepan and bring to boil. Mix 2 teaspoons of corn starch to 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Add to boiling liquid. Stir and simmer until slightly thickened.
  • If you are adverse to the onion soup mix, you could probably achieve a similar flavor with dried minced onion and salt to taste. 🙂

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Filed under pork

This Little Piggy Went to the Market…

As of late, I’ve been really trying to save us some coin by really pouring over the grocery ads and making multiple stops at different stores to get the best deal on different items. Not sure if it’s worth it given all the extra gas that’s blown driving all over town but…..it makes me feel better, so I’m going to keep doing it. LOL.

In addition to saving us money, doing this also gives me the opportunity to branch out and try things I haven’t tried before. I’ve discovered that my ad browsing has really expanded my meat choices. There are cuts that I usually just don’t even bother with because they are too pricey, but I’ve found you can find good deals on those pricey cuts…you just have to know where to look and when. I always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and rarely caught the best deals. Takes a bit more work to get it right…but it’s been well worth it so far!

One of those pricey cuts that I usually just passed on was pork tenderloin. I couldn’t justify the cost for what you get….even though I really do like it. It’s so lean and tender…it would call to me in the store…”buy me, please! you know you want to!” I would stand there and contemplate purchasing one but the $7, $8, $9 price tag would always put me off. Last week I FINALLY found a great price on tenderloins so I snatched one up.

I broke out my new Ellie Kreiger cookbook for inspiration on how to cook my piggy goodness. I was looking to do something other than roast it, as I was afraid I would dry it out. Inside is a recipe for pork medallions with cherry sauce. Sounded yummy!  I loved the idea of cutting it into medallions and cooking it in a skillet on the stove top. And what’s better than deglazing up all those browned bits and making a delicious pan sauce? I’m going to go with NOTHING. Mmmm Mmmmm Good!

I had to make some modifications based on what I had in the house, as there was no way I was venturing out on Saturday with the way the wind was whipping around the snow. It’s funny because it wasn’t ACTUALLY snowing, it was just old snow blowing around. And, man, was it blowing. At one point, we couldn’t even see our neighbor’s house across the street, there was so much snow in the air. This morning the drift in front of our garage door was waist high. Craz-i-ness. Argh!

This recipe comes together super quick and it’s on the table in no time. I swapped out the dried cherries for dried cranberries, and subbed red wine for balsamic vinegar (now that, I thought I had….guess not! HA! But I always have wine and that’s great for pan sauces like this!) The results were so so so good. So flavorful and tender…just a hint of sweetness and tartness from the cranberries. It was a wonderful combo. I can’t wait to find pork tenderloin on sale again so I can whip this up for a second time. YUM!

PORK MEDALLIONS IN A CRANBERRY WINE SAUCE (Recipe Inspired by and Adapted from: Ellie Kreiger, The Food You Crave)


  • One 1 and one quarter pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat and sliced into 1/2 inch
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a lare skillet over medium high heat. Cook the meat until desired doneness (3 to 5 minutes per side). Transfer the meat to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  2. Add remaining oil and shallots to the pan, cooking and stiring until softened (about 2 minutes). Add the broth, wine, 1/4 tsp. of salt, and the cranberries and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired, pour sauce over medallions and serve.



Filed under fruit, pork

The ULTIMATE in Comfort Food

Let’s talk comfort food. Those things that remind you of Sundays dinners at home, that take you right back to a simpler, more uncomplicated time. It’s like a meal that’s just as familiar and feels just as good as big bear hug from someone you love.

The best thing about comfort food is that it is different for everyone. For some, maybe it’s a giant plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Others dive into meatloaf and mashed potatoes. For me, when I think the ultimate in comfort food, my mind wanders back to cold, winter afternoons at home, cuddling on the couch with my favorite blanket, the white one with the little flowers on it (still LOVE that thing…) while the delicious scent of roast pork, gravy and dumplings filled the house.

I think I was a teenager before I realized that not everyone ate this meal at home. Seriously, I thought every family in the world sat down to roast pork and dumplings at least once every couple months. I don’t think that’s the case…seeing as Eric had never had this meal until we ate a Czech resaturant in Cedar Rapids with my parents a couple years ago. You should have seen his face twist in horror when I told him we were going to a Czech restaurant. Ha! He has an irrational fear of the unkown, especially when it comes to food. Turns out…there’s nothing to be scared of at all! Nothing beats a fab Bohemian meal!

I was so excited to try my mom’s Bohemian roast pork this weekend now that the weather has turned cooler. I get all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about carrying on the tradition in my own home…making this meal for my own kids someday. It just makes me smile. I was nervous getting started….how could it possibly be as good as Mom’s? I am pleased to say that my first attempt was a SUCCESS! Hooray!! Thanks, Mom, for sharing this recipe with me. 🙂

MOM’S BOHEMIAN ROAST PORK WITH GRAVY (Recipe Source: My mom, Nadine M.)

**Note**: All measurements are approximate…like all fabulous Mom super chefs out there, my mom didn’t provide exact measurements…she don’t need ’em. She just knows! 🙂


  • 1 2-3 lb. pork loin roast (I used a sirloin roast, it comes tied together with twine)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tbs. minced onion flakes
  • caraway seeds
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour water into the bottom of roasting pan and add extra salt and onion flakes. Place roast on a rack in the pan, sprinkle liberally with caraway seeds. Lay strips of bacon over the top.
  3. Roast until well done. Discard bacon. Approximately 1 1/2 hours. Let roast sit for 10 minutes before carving.
  4. While the roast sits, use pan drippings to make gravy. Add a little bit of butter to the pan if there appears to be too little fat. (I did not think I needed to to do this this time around.) Add 4 to 5 tbs. of flour, stir. Add water, stirring constantly until thickened. If the gravy looks too pale, add a bit of beef bullion granules. (I didn’t need to do this either…my came out nice and brown!)
  5. Serve with bread dumplings (recipe follows) and gravy spooned all over EVERYTHING! YUM!

Now, you must serve this roast with the traditional white bread dumplings. It’s a must! Back home in the Chicago area, my mom just buys them frozen in the grocery store….like waffles! HA! Well….not a huge surprise that Eastern European convenience foods are not readily available in grocery stores in Iowa. (Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that too…what is this, BIZARRO WORLD? LOL!) So, I had to tackle my own.

These were okay….a little too dense. The frozen ones are light and fluffy. These were missing that for sure. They tasted good, but the texture was a bit off. I’m not sure how to fix it…I’ll have to play around with it next time. Or maybe search out a different recipe. The dough was pretty sticky to work with…I had to add extra flour to get the logs to form. Maybe that’s what did it.

Why, oh why can’t I just buy them?? Oh, that’s right….we live in the middle of nowhere, that’s why!

BOHEMIAN DUMPLINGS (Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra as needed)
  • 6 slices white bread, cubed


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and flour to make a batter. Mix in the bread cubes using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3-inches long.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a fast boil. Add the dumplings, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the dumplings from the water and let drain. Slice and serve while very hot.



Filed under bread, pork

Slow Southern Style…

Well, it just so happens there was a big argument (ahem, discussion) on the cooking board I frequent about what qualifies as “BBQ” today. Some concluded that BBQ implies cooking outside on the grill…hamburgers, hot dogs and the like. Other thought BBQ referred specifically to certain meats slow cooked with rubs and sauces. I fall into the later category. Hamburgers and dogs on the grill is “grilling out.” As in, we’re having people over tonight and grilling out. But true BBQ is a whole different ball game.

Here in the Midwest, it’s not like there are BBQ places on every corner like in other parts of the country. I sure do love it though. Of course, I can’t actually make anything that even comes close to authentic BBQ here at home, but I thought I would try to bring in some of those yummy flavors that are such a treat. Eric isn’t a big fan of thick, goopy, tomato-based BBQ sauces so I wanted try a vinegar-based Carolina-style sauce with pork. We both really enjoyed this! And I had a blast making my own sauce!

ROOT BEER PULLED PORK WITH CAROLINA BBQ SAUCE (Pork Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com)

  • 1 2lb. Pork Loin Ribeye Roast (I buy this cut over the tenderloin because it’s cheaper, and since it cooks in the crockpot, it ends up nice and tender)
  • 1 12 oz. can of rootbeer
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Carolina BBQ Sauce (recipe to follow)


  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Coat a heavy skillet or dutch oven with olive oil and sear each side of the meat to get some color to it. Place in a slow cooker with root beer and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Drain root beer and chop or shred pork. Stir in BBQ. Serve over sandwich buns, if desired.

CAROLINA BBQ SAUCE (Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com)

**WARNING!** This sauce is SPICY! For me, there’s no such thing as too spicy, but I know some might find the kick to be a bit too much. To knock back the spice, I would decrease the amount of Cayenne and leave out the hot sauce completely.


  • 1 1/2 cups prepared yellow mustard (I knocked this back 3/4 cup per some suggestions from reviewers)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce, or to taste


  1. In a heavy non-reactive saucepan, stir together the mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, and beer. Season with chili powder and black, white, and cayenne peppers. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook for about 20 minutes. DO NOT BOIL, or you will scorch the sugar and peppers.
  2. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, butter, and liquid smoke. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, and season with hot sauce to your liking. Pour into an airtight jar, and refrigerate for overnight to allow flavors to blend. The vinegar taste may be a little strong until the sauce completely cools.



Filed under pork, sauces