It happened again yesterday, and I've had two requests for recipes. So here they are, as a piquant change of pace from the usual lack of action around these parts.
All recipes serve a family of two voracious males, one picky little princess, and one quite normal adult sized female with a healthy appetite, thank you very much. With enough leftovers for a second meal.
Pulled Pork with Midwestern Red Sauce
This is easier than it sounds. Once the meat is on the grill, you only have to visit it every half hour or so. Some people baste the meat, but I don't bother.
3 pound shoulder of pork
1 heaping tbsp paprika
1 heaping tbsp salt
hickory chips for the kettle grill
Combine the seasonings and rub into the pork shoulder. Put it in a big plastic bag and refrigerate it overnight.
The next day, soak your hickory chips. Place a drip pan in the middle of a kettle grill. Ring it with charcoal. After lunch, fire up them up. When the coals are glowing/ashy, half-fill the drip pan with water. Place the pork over the drip pan. Put some wet hickory chips over the coals and put the cover down. Open the vents and watch for smoke. About every hour, add a more charcoal. Add more soaked chips about every half hour. Yes, your neighbors will hate you. Cook the pork to an internal temperature of 165. This takes about four hours. Remove the pork and let it cool, then shred with two cooking forks. Mix with sauce.
OK, this is not the real deal. We're boring, and my kids don't like their food too spicy. It also contains both tomato and vinegar, which is "inauthentic." But we're doing this in Illinois, for God's sake.
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp prepared mustard (And I don't care what kind)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Mix up. Shake in some Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt, garlic salt, celery salt, or whatever you like--some people like to add cayenne, hot sauce. My husband adds hot sauce at the table.
So that's the meat. Most people serve this on buns, but yesterday was cool enough for mashed potatoes, so I plated it foodie style on top of mashed spuds.
This is actually as fast as pasta and doesn't heat up the kitchen as much as you'd think.
Make one potato for every person there, plus maybe a couple extra. Wash the potatoes well and cut into quarters. Place in a large pot with enough water to cover and about a tablespoon of salt. Shut up. Cook, covered, over high heat until boiling, then lower heat to medium. Cook until you can stick a fork into them. This will take about 15 minutes. Yes, really. Remove and drain. Put blob of butter into the hot pot you cooked the spuds in. Put a food mill over the top. Place the potatoes in the food mill and start turning the handle. The potatoes will head south and the peels will stay in the food mill. When all the potatoes are in the pot, dump the food mill into the sink. Using a fork or whisk or whatever weapon is handy, mix in some milk until the consistency is right.
This is the way I like it--not chopped, not too sweet, with a nice mustardy bite.
1 head cabbage
First make the dressing: plop four heaping tablespoons of mayo into a big bowl. With the small side of a grater, grate half an onion into the mayo. You just want the juice. Mix in a couple of splashes of vinegar and some dry mustard (I always have this around, but I suppose you could use prepared). I use about two heaping teaspoons of dried mustard, but I like a spicy slaw. Mix in about a tablespoon of sugar.
Wash, quarter, and core the cabbage. With the sharpest knife you have, slice the cabbage as thinly as you can. As you slice, dump the cabbage into the bowl with the dressing and mix it up. Don't worry if the slaw seems a bit dry when it's done; the cabbage will weep a bit as it sits.
The books will tell you that you need to chill the slaw for two yours, but it's good right away. Some people like to add grated carrot, celery salt, celery seed, or caraway seed, but I don't bother.
Corn on the Cob
Put big pot of water on to boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Shut up. While you wait for the corn to boil, husk the corn and remove all the little bits of silk. When the water boils, put the corn in. Turn off the heat and let it sit. Shut up. It turns out perfect. The corn they grow nowadays is so tender it really doesn't need cooking.
Philadelphia Ice Cream
We use a Donvier Chillfast ice cream maker. I got it for $5 at a local thrift shop. It's one of those metal things you keep in the freezer. We make ice cream and sorbet two or three times a week with this thing. It's insanely easy, and you barely need to stir it at all.
4 cups light cream
1 cup sugar
1 tbps vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Mix the ingredients and freeze. It's slightly better if you let it ripen in the freezer for a couple of hours, but it's damned good fresh out of the ice cream maker. At the moment, we're eating it covered with fresh raspberries.