The best part about living in Central California in October is the weather. The days are pleasant and there are street fairs everywhere. Take a drive up through the foothills, look at the colors of the trees and attend a dozen little small town events in a single weekend.
This is a great meal. Not something you throw together in the crock pot on your way out the front door in the morning, it does need a little prep work and some tending toward the end, but still you’ll have plenty of free down time. I love down time – it let’s me clean the kitchen and set the table and do all sorts of domestic things before supper time including selecting a nice bottle of wine.
As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Northern Italian-French cooking. Anything that calls for a few pounds of butter mixed with a gallon or so of heavy cream and I am there! My heart might not agree, but the rest of me gets excited at the very thought. The thing that I like about Italian-French cuisine (aside from all the creamy sauces) is the use of wine. Sip, cook, taste, sip some more. Yeah, that makes for a happy cook in the kitchen.
For a few months now I’ve been cooking up some yummy dishes from Mexico. An extension on the whole Taco Tuesday craze if you will. We’ve done so many delicious Mexican inspired dishes.
As we reach the end of the Peach harvest in California (June to mid-September), I thought it would be nice to take a moment and savor this scrumptious fruit. What better way to embrace a golden peach than to pair them with slow-cooked pork chops for a celebration of food delights? While I miss picking our own peaches at the family farm, since relocating to another agricultural mecca – Stanislaus County – there are fruit stands galore just north of our home. While Almond and Walnut crops far exceed those of cling peaches, a few small farms still exist. Here’s to cling peaches, pork chops and fading summer afternoons!
After a day of antiquing, Hubby and I came home to a wonderful pot of falling apart, a little sweet, a little salty Pork Tenderloin. (And just for the record, we know nothing about antiques. We buy what we like and what we like are things that still have usefulness – like old tea cups). Since Kiddo declined to join us on our adventure, he was in charge of preparing supper. Like the dutiful assistant he is in the kitchen, Kiddo followed my recipe to a tee. Personally, I thought it was delicious. When asked their opinions, both Kiddo and Hubby agreed that the flavor was good, but the meat seemed a bit dry (especially for a crock pot) and there wasn’t enough juice. Hum, that was interesting.
There is nothing like coming home to a wonderful meal, all cooked up in a slow-cooker, just waiting for the final touches. These Shredded Pork Tacos are absolutely delicious. The pork can be started in the crock pot while still frozen, perfect for forgetful cooks or last-minute decision makers – no need to defrost ahead of time. The slow-cooked pork is then finished in a large skillet, adding all the “taco” seasonings at the end. There will be plenty of meat left over for a second meal or to use as a filler to make pork enchiladas. The flavors are mild, lending easily to other creations.
In flipping through the recipes I’ve collected over the years since “discovering” the vastness of the internet, I’ve noticed that a growing number of Barbecue-Sauce based recipes call for Sweet Baby Ray’s. Even Burger King featured Sweet Baby Ray’s in their “Angry Whopper” concoction. Curiosity got the better of me – what’s the story behind this popular Barbecue Sauce? It’s gotta be southern, right? An old, a well-guarded secret recipe handed down from generation to generation.
Years ago, some friends opened a restaurant called “The Teriyaki Hut”. My friends were from Hawaii. Naturally their menu included some island favorites such as Kahlua Pig. I loved the stuff – it was about as close as you can get to the pit-roasted pig without roasted an entire pig beneath a bed of banana leaves and hot coals. I first fell in love with Kahlua Pig at a luau in Maui and then again in Moorea. Traditionally, a pig is roasted for as much as twelve hours in an underground oven called a imu. A fire made from mesquite wood is build in the pit. Rocks are placed in the pit to retain the heat long after the flames of wood has burned down. Once the rocks are heated, the pit is lined in banana leaves, just as the meat is wrapped in the same leaves. Wet burlap buries everything in the ground, allowing the smoke to circulate while the leaves help keep everything moist. While this dish is a tourist favorite at luaus throughout Hawaii and the South Pacific, it is no less delicious and well worth a taste.