Roasted Red Pepper Yogurt sauce

I often wants a bit of a sauce or “dip” to go with grilled chicken. This week I saw a recipe that marinated chicken pieces in a yogurt mixture before grilling them. I decided to use the yogurt as the base for a dip instead. This one came out a fantastic shade of pink.

Roasted Red Pepper Yogurt sauce
Servings: 2 cups
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. roasted red peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. Za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Process the peppers for 30 seconds in a food processor. Transfer to a sieve and allow to drain for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Return the drain peppers to the food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process for another 30 seconds until well combined.
  3. Taste for flavor and adjust salt if needed.

Notes:
I used jarred roasted peppers in the original recipe however DIY roasted red peppers are pretty easy if you have the peppers on hand.

Saturday night – 07/22/2017

In an effort to minimize heat generation in the kitchen (’cause it is July and steamy) I prepped and cooked over the course of the day. Baking took place earlier in the day, eggs were hard cooked a bit later with the exhaust hood running strong and the mains were reheated just before dinner. The strategy, along with some strategically placed fans, seemed to work well.

Menu
Beef or Black Bean Summer Squash tacos
with various toppings (avocado, tomato salsa, corn+chili salsa, sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes)
Deviled Eggs
Mixed Greens

Banana Bread
Cherry Clementine Popsicles

Notes under the cut

Mustard Pork Cutlet

I love me a crispy, pan-fried, cutlet. I often do a traditional flour, egg, breadcrumbs coating however I wanted to dry something a bit different. The idea of using mustard to bind the crumbs to the pork popped into my head. Walla, another successful weeknight protein source.

Mustard Pork Cutlet
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, about 4 oz. each and 1/2″ thick
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a pie plate or rimmed dish. Set aside.
  2. Use a meat pounder to flatten each pork chop to around 1/4″ thick. Season with black pepper and kosher salt on both sides. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Smear each side of the cutlets with about 1/2 tsp. of mustard. Press each side of the cutlet into the breadcrumbs until they are well coated. Coat all 4 cutlets before continuing.
  4. Heat the oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until it shimmers. Add 2 cutlets and cook for 4 minutes per side. Check the temperature of the cutlets with an instant read thermometer; 140°F is fully cooked. Transfer to a cooling rack set over some paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Repeat with the other two cutlets.

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce

Summer cooking is often about trying to not heat up the kitchen any more than necessary. A slow-cooker adds some heat but certainly not as much as the oven. You could even set the slow-cooker up in the basement or garage if you really wanted to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce
Servings: 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 10 lb. pork should, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup Alton Brown’s Rub Number Nine, divided
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce

Special Equipment:

Directions:

  1. Rub the pork shoulder all over with 1/4 cup of the dry rub. Place in the slow-cooker. Add the orange juice. Cover and cook for 10 hours.
  2. When the time is up transfer the pork shoulder to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. While it rests combine the ketchup, chili sauce, remaining dry rub and 1 cup of the liquid in the slow-cooker in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until sauce reduces to about 1 1/2 cups.
  3. When the pork is cook enough to handle start shredding the meat. I pull a large piece off the shoulder with tongs and then use 2 forks to shred it. Place shredded meat in a large bowl.
  4. When all the meat is shredded ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of liquid from the slow-cooker over the meat. Toss the meat in the sauce and serve.

Notes:
I flipped the pork shoulder every 2 hours in the slow-cooker.

This could be made a day or two in advance. Pull the meat as above and stash the cooled meat in a large zip top bag. Strain the liquid in the slow-cooker and save that separately. To reheat: Place the meat in an oven-safe dish, add a cup of the slow-cooker liquid and cover the dish with foil. Heat in a 200°F oven for 15-20 minutes. Make the barbecue sauce while the pork reheats and toss the heated meat with the sauce when you are ready to serve.

If you are more ambitious, or just plan ahead, you can prep and rub the pork shoulder 24 hours in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap and stash it in the fridge. This will give the sugar and salt in the rub an extended bit of time to do it’s magic in seasoning the meat.

Saturday night – 07/08/2017

This week’s menu inspiration arrived while visiting the local warehouse-style “club” for coffee k-cups. I tend the take a walk of the perimeter of the store before grabbing the coffee to get in a few extra steps toward the mythical 10k-a-day step goal. In the meat section I found a 10 pound pork shoulder that looked like it would fit in our slow-cooker. And so another Saturday night menu was born.

Menu
Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce
Baked Potato Wedges
Steamed Green Beans
Jalapeno Corn Bread

Chewy Brownies

Notes under the cut

Farro with Pesto, Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper

The idea for this recipe came from one of the recipe mailing lists to which I subscribe. I liked the concept of pesto with farro. I changed up the add-ins and served this warm.

Results were mixed. One person felt it didn’t need the pesto, another adored the pesto. Most just gobbled it up. 🙂

Farro with Pesto, Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups uncooked pearled farro
  • 2 zucchinis (see directions for prep)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1/2″ dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 8 oz. prepared basil pesto
  • 4 oz. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 oz. fresh basil, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a 4-quart sauce pan. Add the salt and bay leaves; stir until salt is dissolved. Add the farro and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the farro cooks prep the zucchini. Remove the stem end and then cut into quarters lengthwise. Remove the seeds from the center of each quarter and then slice into 1/2″ wedges. Combine with peppers and set aside.
  3. When farro is ready drain it and transfer to a large bowl. Mix the zucchini and pepper mixture into the farro. Gently fold the pesto and half of the pine nuts into the mix.
  4. Just before serving garnish with the remaining pine nuts and fresh basil.

Notes:
Pearled farro will cook faster than the semi-pearled variety, which is what I normally use. My regular brand (Bob’s Red Mill) was out of stock at the local megamart where I normally pick it up. Luckily I found another brand close at hand.

The original recipe that sparked my recipe can be found at campbells.com