Saturday, July 4, 2015

Overnight Pulled Pork

I think the secret to keeping the pork really moist is brining the pork before cooking it.
After several trips to the store for various ingredients and forgetting to buy apple cider vinegar I used red wine vinegar for my brine.
I love the flavors of pork mixed with citrus(lemons, limes and oranges, juiced) and Rosemary, so I added them to the vinegar and I placed the pork butt in a non reactive pot to hold the meat so the liquid covered the meat. Let the meat sit in the liquid for at least 12 hours refrigerated.
I made a dry rub consisting of salt, pepper, Rosemary,  finely ground coffee, and chopped garlic.  Rub the entire roast with the dry rub until it is covered, top and bottom, and place in the 275-300 degree oven for 8 hours or more. 
I usually like to do this while I sleep, especially in the summer. If the kitchen is getting heated I'm not feeling it while I'm sleeping, but I am smelling it,  and by the time I wake up, the pork has a beautiful bark, ready to come out of the oven and be pulled. 
The meat is so tender I usually just pull it apart with my hands. No other kitchen utensils are needed.
We enjoy eating our pulled pork on flour tortillas served with slaw.
The meat is so rich with flavor that In my opinion no additional BBQ sauce is needed, but feel free to add your favorite sauce. I'd suggest a mustard based sauce for this one. Your taste buds will sing!
Buon Appetito!

I've found these store bought rubs that are very flavorful. If you don't want to experiment on your own pick some up at your super market. Smell it before you use it. If you don't like the aroma from the rub, chances are you won't like its flavor, so toss it. I love the jerk seasoning. I use a pinch of it in all my rubs. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stuffed Calamari

Sometimes I get in the mood for a taste of something that I haven't really tasted before. I may have had all the favors together at a meal but not in the same dish. These are the times that inspire me to come up with different dishes for my family. This stuffed calamari dish was one of those times.  It's a very simple dish. I hope you try it.  My family loved it!
Here's a few hints when buying calamari. 
1. Buy it clean.
2. Buy it clean
3. Buy it clean

I know I've repeated myself but it's worth repeating. Those tiny creatures are tedious to clean and if you can purchase them cleaned already why wouldn't you. 
You are still going to have to make sure that they are clean, you just won't have to spend hours cleaning them. Trust me on this, buy them clean, and if you're stuffing them buy them big!

I started off by soaking the calamari tubes and tentacles in milk for a few hours. The size on these said they were 5" - 8". (They cooked to a smaller size.)

I separated the tentacles from the tubes and I par boiled the tubes. (I don't know if this is correct but it helps the tubes to stay open while stuffing them) give the tubes a cold bath so they stop cooking.  Set the tubes aside. 

In a sauté pan with half a chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, and 1 celery stalk chopped cook the tentacles with 5-6 extra large shrimp just until the shrimp turn pink. Take off the heat. Let the mixture cool a little. 

This mixture will need to go into a food processor. I like to "pulse" it a few times so the mixture has a little chew to it and not completely smooth.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes. The mixture will be moist. I added a small handful of  seasoned breadcrumbs.
Now it's time to stuff.
If you have a pastry bag you may use it, or use a plastic ziplock and cut off one corner and fill the tubes. Or do it my way, get the baby spoons out! I fill them all the way. 

Place them in a baking pan that has a basic tomato sauce*. Add a little white wine, add one can of red kidney beans, cover and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.
*please use fresh tomato sauce and not something premade that tastes like "homemade". It will make a huge difference in flavor. 

I served the stuffed calamari over very refreshing zucchini "spaghetti". 

Buon Appetito 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Zucchini "spaghetti"

I've never been a fan of spaghetti squash. I'm sorry it does not taste, nor has it ever "tricked" me into believing that I was actually eating spaghetti. In desperate times while dieting I would try to convince myself that it was an alternative to pasta but I was truly delusional. The blank looks from around the dinner table from my family would tell me I wasn't doing a good job of pulling this one off.
I have finally made a dish using zucchini that resembles spaghetti. It was delicious! I knew it was a success when my husband requested a spoon so he could twirl his "pasta".

This is the machine I used to cut my zucchini into "spaghetti".
I spiral sliced 4 large zucchini and then gently tossed them in extra virgin olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. 
I prepared a simple fresh tomato sauce consisting of fresh tomato, onion, garlic, fresh chopped parsley, and white wine.  Seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and a little dash of red pepper flakes. 

I tossed the zucchini spaghetti with the tomato sauce and topped with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese, it's all ready to go into the preheated 400 degree oven.

Baked for about 20 minutes it's ready to serve!

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NO KNeed To Worry, you can make this Bread!

NO Knead Bread


  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  •  Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy ? (I have no idea what this really means)  and sticky. (sticky, I know)  Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
  5. Ok, here's my take on this recipe. Not knowing what shaggy meant I think I got through the first part of making the bread without a hitch. However,   it being winter in New York it's hard to find a spot in your house that is  70 degrees warm to let the dough rise for 18 hours. Heck I keep my thermostat at 66 and if you touch it you will be punished! I did place the covered bowl in the oven figuring that the pilot light would at least warm the oven up a little for this process. 
  6. At the end of the 18 hours the dough looked ready. Its surface was dotted with bubbles.  The recipe was easy to follow from this point on.
  7. When the bread came out of the oven I have to say that it was absolutely beautiful. It looked like something that was baked on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The crust was nice and hard, crunchy just the way we like it and the inside bread was like cake. 
  8. But here is where I wish I had tweaked the recipe...It needs SALT. The bread had no flavor. It didn't taste like anything. It just tasted like baked flour and water. My bread had no personality. This bread, after rising and resting for 20 hours, with a crust as hard as a skiers helmet should have personality!
  9. So if you decide to make this bread, don't be shy with the salt.  It definitely needs it. 
  10. Buone Appetito
  11. Lorraine
  12. xoxoxo