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Pear Pulled Pork with Currant and Caper Cauliflower Slaw

20 Oct

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It’s a joke between my friends that ever since my friend Jessica moved away, we’ve been eating a lot of pork. It’s true – we’ve saved up a lot of pork recipes while entertaining and cooking with our kosher friend. Now that she’s gone, we send tipsy texts and devour pork noodle soups and slow roasted pork shoulder. Kidding aside, it’s the perfect time of year for slow cooking anything  and this pear pulled pork is perfect on it’s own or with a tangy cauliflower slaw on a warm roll. This is pretty fancy for a tailgate but would impress plenty of friends at any gathering.

We enjoyed this on Friday night while sipping pear & ginger cocktails on the front porch.

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council. 

Pear Pulled Pork

  • 7 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons, kosher salt
  • 1yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pear chopped
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 3 chipolte peppers
  • 1 tablespoon, each, garlic powder, corriander, cumin, fennel, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Around 8pm (the night before), put the pork shoulder into a dutch oven. Season generously with salt. Add a chopped onion, a chopped pear and sliced orange. Top with brown sugar and spices. Cook overnight – until about 6am-ish at 225 degrees. This is at your own risk – trust your oven to sleep with it on over night! But, it’s the most simple way I’ve found to cook a whole pork shoulder.

The next day, chop or shred the pork. Reduce the liquid for a sauce – I also like to add some apple cider vinegar to the sauce (if you’re an Eastern BBQ lover).

Cauliflower Slaw from the Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Using an adjustable-blade slicer (this is mine; it takes up very little room) to cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!

Spice Up Your Summer

15 Jul

As you guys know, I’m a big fan of spices. Greensboro is lucky enough to have the ultimate spice source at Savory Spice Shop in Friendly Center. Just this weekend I stocked up on good Mexican vanilla, truffle salt, sweet and spice paprika, cumin, Himalayan sea salt and an interesting Cuban spice mix. It’s a lot of fun to explore and get to know Ashley and Clayton, the local spice experts.

So, spice up your summer with a trip to Savory Spice Shop. Mention Mod Meals and you’ll get a boost!

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Porterhouse Pork Chop with Garden Chimichurri

23 Jun

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There’s a lot of chatter online right now about the renaming of cuts of pork. When it comes to a pork chop, I tend to go for the thickest cut, bone-in chop at the butcher. They can be grilled without drying out and can take a nice char. Next time you’re looking for a simple grilled chop, I recommend the Porterhouse Chop – formerly known as the Loin Chop. If you’re curious about cuts of pork, this is a great guide. 

Last weekend, before my week trip to the midwest and wild weekend in Asheville (why its been so quiet round here), I hosted a couple of friends for regular Sunday supper. I grilled Powerhouse Pork Chops, roasted baked fries with sweet and salty paprika (my favorite from Savory Spice Shop) and make a simple green salad. The creativity came through with homemade garden chimichurri. Chimichurri is an Argentinean zesty blend of herbs, garlic, tangy acids and shallots. It is perfect for any meat but particularly good on a bone-in juicy pork chop.

Porterhouse Chops only need a nice seasoning of salt and pepper, and several minutes on a very hot grill. Once cooked to your preference, serve with bright green and super tangy chimichurri! You’re friends will be very surprised if they think it is pesto!

Garden Chimichurri 

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • juice of one  lemon juice
  • a large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a small handful chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large sprig chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 minced garlic
  • 3 minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a heaping pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until nicely blended and bright green! Smear on grilled meats and bread!

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council.

 

Giveaway! Autographed Sean Brock DVD

3 Feb

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This is weekend I met celebrity chef, Sean Brock, at my neighborhood The Fresh Market. Pretty cool, right? He was in Greensboro for the Atlantic Foodways Conference and spent some time getting to know our community. Thanks to my friends at The Fresh Market for hosting the fun cheese and wine party!

I was was lucky enough to pick up a signed DVD of The Mind of a Chef: Sean Brock. And, I’m giving it away to one of you! Leave a comment about your favorite Southern food and enter to win! I’ll announce the winner this Sunday, February 9th!

Special Event at The Fresh Market!

22 Jan

 

 

My local partner in all love of food, The Fresh Market, is sponsoring avery exciting conference in Greensboro! We are so lucky to have the headquarters of the corporation here in our hometown — and even more lucky that they are so generous to the community. The Atlantic World Foodways 2014 Conference is in Greensboro and partnering with UNCG, Quaintance Weaver and the The Fresh Market. They are bringing some super stars in the food scene to Greensboro and you can meet them! And learn and dine throughout the week!

I am personally looking forward to meeting Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston. Check out all the opportunities below. Maybe I will see you Saturday at the wine & cheese event at The Fresh Market?!?

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Homemade Pasta Making with The Fresh Market

17 Oct

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Hey Strangers! I’m back after a crazy couple of days putting on the Pop Up Dinner downtown at Crafted and hosting my Off Mendenhall Pasta Making Class at the Edible Schoolyard! It was exhausting but extremely fun and fulfilling to meet and eat with so many new friends.

On Tuesday night, I worked with a small group of chefs inside the teaching kitchen at the Greensboro Children’s Museum Edible Schoolyard. We cranked out tons of homemade pasta dough and then enjoyed a big meal of salad, pasta with two ragu sauces and tiramisu under the barn with the views of Downtown Greensboro. Their barn is one of the most magical places in downtown. I couldn’t have pulled the event off without the help of my great sponsor, The Fresh Market! They are an amazingly supportive team for all things culinary in Greensboro. We are so lucky that they call Greensboro home.

Here is the recipe we used for our homemade pasta. I’ll follow up with more photos from class and the recipes we enjoyed! Stay tuned!

Homemade Pasta 

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • water

Add flour and eggs into a food processor and pulse under combined. Add water slowly while pulsing until the dough makes a ball.

Mound the dough on a clean kitchen counter or cutting board. Knead the dough with your hands – add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta

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Fresh Market & Mod Meals Cooking Class at the Edible Schoolyard!

29 Sep

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My Favorite Party of the Year: Ticket Giveaway!

19 Sep

** laiken you won! Contact me ASAP!

My favorite party of the year is coming up – Elsewhere’s Annual Fundraising Extravaganza! This year the theme is TOMORROW! and it’s on the evening of Saturday, September 28th in Downtown Greensboro. You really don’t want to miss this.

I have an extra ticket and I’m giving it away to ONE LUCKY WINNER! Comment on this post and I’ll choose the winner on Tuesday, September 24th by 5pm!

For more information about TOMORROW, visit http://www.goelsewhere.org/tomorrow/

Here are some photos from past Elsewhere fundraising extravaganzas!

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If  I’m unable to contact a potential prize winner within five (5) days of the initial attempt to contact his/her prize will be forfeited, and an alternate prize winner shall be selected. 

Keurig Brewer Give-Away!

26 Aug

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** The winner of the giveaway is Jane Hughs! Jane, shoot me an email! 

Coffee is a really big part of my days and my kitchen is full of coffee apparatuses. We are lucky because the folks at Keurig are rolling into the greater Greensboro area to promote their coffee machines! Keurig is the nations leading single cup brewing system. They offer over 250 coffee, teas and hot chocolates varieties in their K-Cups. They brew in less than 60 seconds with zero clean up! I love using this system because of the speed and small portions. I use them for my single cup in the morning and when entertaining (who wants to brew an entire pot of decaf for just one person!).

Since coffee and breakfast go together – here are some of my favorite breakfast entertaining recipes. Check them out and plan your next breakfast or brunch celebration – Labor Day is coming up!

Also, check out the local Keurig events below and comment on this post with your favorite morning routine and enter to win a FREE Keurig Machine! 

To increase awareness and sales in the Triad area, Keurig will host a series of sampling and brewer exchange events from August 22 – September 27. Here are the event details and the Downtown Greensboro locations! 

“Trade Up to a Keurig Brewer” events: Experience the convenience of Keurig by dropping off your old drip coffee machine and exchanging it for a brand new, free Keurig single cup brewer. Events are open to participants 18 years of age or older with proof of North Carolina residence. Only non-Keurig, used, electric brewers are eligible for tradein while supplies last.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 27, 8 a.m. – TBD at Center City Park in downtown Greensboro
  • Thursday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m. – TBD at Center City Park in downtown Greensboro
  • Tuesday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. – TBD at Center City Park in downtown Greensboro

Sampling events: Test out the Keurig brewing system firsthand with a free sample of your favorite beverage. Mobile and stationary sampling events are open to the public, and Keurig pledges to give away nearly 75,000 free cups of premium beverages to event participants over the course of a month.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 28, 6 – 10 p.m. at Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game at NewBridge Bank Park
  • Thursday, Aug. 29, 6 – 10 p.m. at Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game at NewBridge Bank Park

For more information about sampling event dates and locations, visit http://www.keurig.com/triad.

Comment on this post with your favorite morning routine and enter to win a FREE Keurig Machine! I’ll announce the winner on Friday, August 30th!

If  I’m unable to contact a potential prize winner within five (5) days of the initial attempt to contact his/her prize will be forfeited, and an alternate prize winner shall be selected. 

Warm Mushroom and Steak Salad Over Power Greens

7 Jan

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This January, I’m trying to do less and relax more. But, that also includes a healthy dose of time at the gym and hearty, healthy and homemade meals by the fire. With NY Strip Steaks on sale every Saturday at The Fresh Market, I can’t help but take advantage of the deal and make a variety of salads that fit the bill for January and also satisfy me on weeknights after the gym! This is the first of three salads for the season – stay tuned!

You can add or subtract anything from this salad – but I love the hearty addition on French green beans, red onion, sauteed mushrooms over hearty power greens (tender baby spinach, baby red and green chards, and baby kales!). Plus a hearty – but healthy – warm vinaigrette!

Warm vinaigrettes are easy to make and mix up your regular cold salad. I made mine with a mix of champagne and sherry vinegar.

This salad will warm you up on any winter night coming up! Hunker down and give it a try! Oh and, stick to those resolutions!

Warm Mushroom and Steak Salad Over Power Greens, serves 2 hungry eaters

  • 1, NY Strip Steak, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 pint, cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 pint, grape tomatoes
  • 2 small handfuls, French green beans
  • 2 large handfuls, Power Greens! (Earthbound Organic Farm or a local mix of tender baby spinach, baby red and green chards, and baby kales)
  • 1/2, small Red Onion

Warm Dressing: 

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon, sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon, champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teapspoon salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon, sugar

In a saucepan, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add cremini mushrooms and saute until brown (don’t stir too often – let them caramelize!). Meanwhile, steam or boil the green bean until tender but still crisp (I actually cheated and microwaved mine for a minute!). Set both green beans and mushrooms aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat. Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, cook the steak on both sides until brown. Depending on the thickness of the steak and your preference, it could be anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes per side. Set steak aside to rest.

In the same saute pan from the mushrooms, add 2 tablespoon olive oil and turn heat to low. Add minced garlic and shallots. Allow to cook until fragrant – about 2 minutes. Add vinegars, salt, pepper and sugar. Taste for seasoning – at this point you can add more vinegar (acid) or olive oil (to reduce acidity).

Slice steak thinly. Arrange power greens on two large plates. Top with steamed green beans, tomatoes and red onion. Add a nice portion of sauteed mushrooms and thinly sliced steak. Drizzle with warm vinaigrette and enjoy.

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