hello hello! i hope everyone had a great weekend. friday night i got dressed up and went out, for the first time in ages; an office i worked in for a year when i first moved to the city is closing its doors for good, so all employees, past and present, met up for the first time in ages and knocked back a few. a jolly good time was had by all, and i poured myself into bed at about 2 am and slept until 11. saturday was a much-needed cleaning day: my bedroom has become a dumping grounds for weeks, and it was piled knee-deep with bags of ribbons, vellum, and invitation stuff, as well as about 38 pairs of shoes, clothing in need of mending, and god knows what else. i sorted through it all, hung all my clothes, and now the bar in my closet is bending to the point that i am starting to worry it'll snap.
and i finally COOKED! glory hallelujah! my little sister sent me a crock pot as an early wedding present (she being the on-top-of-it one in the family,) and i have been so itching to use it to make pulled pork sandwiches that sam has actually had to stop me once or twice. (he: "if it takes 12 hours and you start right now, you'll have to wake up at 3 am to turn it off. how about we just do it tomorrow?") i got it started saturday, though, and last night we had a pulled pork family dinner FEAST. it was awesome. (recipes below.)
ashlee: make sure you get my boobs in the picture. me: don't worry. they refuse to be left out.
prep time - 12-18 hours
3 lbs pork tenderloin (i've read that shoulder works just as well at 1/3 of the cost; this is just what they had at our market.)
1 large yellow onion
your favorite barbecue sauce (i wanted to make my own, but sam swears by kc masterpiece)
your favorite spices: i used fennel, paprika, smoked salt, turmeric, sage
a couple cups of apple juice
do a rough chop of the yellow onion and put it in the crock pot. rub the tenderloin with the spices, or just a rub you like if you have one; put it in the crockpot and add more spices, if you like (i don't measure these, just do 'em to your fancy.) pour about a half bottle of barbecue sauce on the pork, and then enough apple juice to almost cover it. cover the pot, put on low, and let it go for 8-12 hours. (it'll start to blacken; it's ready to pull when it falls apart easily when forked or picked up.) pick out the big piece of meat and put it in a bowl; strain out the juices, save the onions, and dump them in the bowl with the meat. now start pulling. you just want to shred the meat as much as possible. it's a pretty visceral activity, really. once you've got it really well shredded, dump it back in the crock pot and add the remainder of the barbecue sauce. turn it back on low and let it go until you're ready to serve.
prep time - 10 minutes
(best if you let them sit for an hour or so before using.)
2 large red onions
about 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 t mustard seeds
4-5 allspice berries
4-5 coriander seeds
some ground fennel (okay, yes, i just put this in everything.)
a few pinches of sea salt
plenty of fresh ground pepper
pink peppercorns (if you've got 'em)
thinly slice the red onions and put them in a bowl. add everything else and mix well. let it sit. ta-da! the longer you wait, the better they'll get; these'll keep for a couple of weeks if well sealed.
i gorged myself on momofuku last thursday, and one of the best things i had was a brussels sprouts dish with thick cut bacon and carmelized apple. i took a stab at it last night and it was sooo delicious; i subbed duck prosciutto for the bacon, since i had some that i needed to use (because i'm a weirdo) and the one thing i'd change was the way i cooked the brussels sprouts - steam them, don't boil them like silly me - they get too wet that way.
brussels sprouts with duck prosciutto and apple
about 3 cups of brussels sprouts, cut into quarters (or half if they are really small)
3/4 cup or so of thick cut bacon, duck prosciutto, or whathaveyou cut into lardons (thick dice)
one apple, peeled and cut into dice
steam the brussels sprouts for about 4 minutes, until they are starting to get tender. at this point i would try to get them as dry as you can - maybe squeeze them in a towel to release any residual liquid. set aside.
get a good, steel-bottomed pan going on medium high heat. once it's good and hot, add the bacon and cook it until it's good and crispy. add the brussels sprouts and toss them around for awhile to get them nice and bacon-y. add the apples, toss around, and then take off heat and serve with salt and pepper.
and lastly, for dessert, i made little almond lemon-curd and blackberry tartlets. super easy (so long as you have lemon curd in your fridge begging to be used, as i do,) and SO tasty.
almond tart dough (from here)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 large egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond flour
beat butter and sugar together in mixer until combined. add the egg and mix it just until combined; you may need to help it a long with a spatula. add the flours all at once and mix just until it comes together.
lemon curd: when i made mine, i used this recipe (to use up egg yolks) - it worked perfectly.
so - roll out the almond dough. i used powdered sugar instead of flour for my bench. use a cutter (i think mine was about 3 inches) and a mini cupcake tin to get the mini tart shells; put them in the freezer until they're firm, then bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until browned.
in the meantime, clean your blackberries, add a bit of vanilla and some sugar to them and stir until coated.
pipe in the lemon curd and top with a single blackberry. crank the oven to 400 and bake them for about ten minutes, until the curd has set. let them cool for a few minutes. they are great on their own, or you can top them with some ice cream or whipped cream; ashlee whipped up some cream with a bit of powdered sugar, then i poured the juice from the blackberries into it to give it a little flavor.
and today, back to the grind. the highlight of saturday was probably the uconn game; sam and i had intended on going out to watch it and NOT be total hermits, but instead i put on pajama pants and we drank coors light and watched it on his macbook pro. ah, domestic bliss. so today i'm wearing uconn blue and we've promised ourselves to leave our apartment and watch the game in the presence of actual living human beings. it should be a good time.
brooch: snagged off a necklace, courtesy of accessorize
belt: snagged of a top from the (now defunct?) church & state
socks: american apparel
that's all from me for now. thanks for reading, happy monday!
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