Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mexican-style Granola - recipe from Rick Bayless

Part of my Sunday TV-watching experience includes a fun show called "Mexico - One Plate at a Time." The chef on the show, Rick Bayless, is this crazy hippie who finds all kinds of amazing gourmet Mexican recipes. He owns a couple famous restaurants in Chicago, so it makes one wonder "how can a Chicagoan know anything aboug good Mexican cuisine?" Well, I've been impressed so far.

The latest recipe was, of all things, granola! It was so simple, I had to share. The recipe calls for puffed amaranth, but I'm sure any old puffed rice cereal would do the trick. I didn't have either of those, but I did have some unsweetened shredded coconut, which was a key ingredient that I had used in another granola recipe. That recipe took five hours in a 250 degree oven. This recipe took half an hour in a 300 degree oven. With the temperature dropping, I'm all for using the oven these days.

So, I suggest visiting the website and following the recipe to the letter (although the peanuts were a bit odd in the mix, next time I'm leaving them out and increasing the rest of the nuts & seeds to compensate)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Slow-cooked pulled pork sandwiches

A while ago, my girlfriend found this recipe for pulled pork sandwiches that just really captured my attention. I've made this recipe several times now, but last night became the topper. I've made a few modifications to the original, but now that I've got a winning version, I'm sticking to it.

The key alterations involved:
  • Replace half the coriander with cumin
  • Replace the paprika with chili powder
  • Use all apple juice, or half apple juice & half cider vinegar for the sauce
  • Crock pot with a steaming basket does a great job with this dish
So, for your eating delight, here's my winner recipe for slow-cooked pulled pork (edits highlighted):


  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp kosher or coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (found in spice section)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 boneless pork butt, about 3 pounds (also called pork shoulder)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 package plain soft white rolls or other bread

Tip: You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butts. Both have their benefits: Cooking bone-in will contribute some flavor (and increase the cooking time slightly). But if you have your butcher take out the bone, you can rub the spice mix into the incisions where the bone was removed — a great way to get the flavor deep inside the meat.


Mix brown sugar and dry spices together in a small bowl. Rub all over pork, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator for as long as you have time for (as little as 1 hour or up to overnight - time in fridge not necessary when using crock pot). Pour the juice and vinegar into your crock pot. Set a vegetable steaming basket inside the crock pot and set the roast on top. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours or overnight, or on high for 5 hours (crock pots may have different temperatures - your mileage may vary), until pork is brown outside and meat is very tender, basically falling apart.

Remove steamer basket from crock pot, letting the meat fall into the juice. While still warm, shred pork into small pieces using 2 forks or 10 fingers. Transfer to bowl for serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, just transfer to shallow baking dish, bring to room temperature, and place in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Best served on toasted kaiser rolls with a little mustard and mayonnaise. Spicy wasabi or chipotle mayo works great too.