Tag Archives: Food network

Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Jill and I went to Prague a few decades ago. My brother was working there so we took a trip to check it out along with touring Germany and Austria. We started our trip in Prague for a few days and then took off for a week and came back to spend our remaining time in Prague. I don’t mean to offend German’s or Austrians but they clearly eat to live and live to drink. For an over-saturated American palate the food is often just bland and uneventful.

So when we made it back to Prague we saw a “Red Hot and Blue”. So we decided to we needed some American food but didn’t want to do the cliche McDonalds hamburger. Frankly the idea of a BBQ joint in Prague in the 90’s was pretty bizarre. So we ordered pulled pork sandwiches and slathered them in BBQ sauce. It was heavenly…real potato salad and ice tea…. ahhhh.

Growing up in Texas pulled pork isn’t on many BBQ menus. Texas is all about the beef. In fact I would say that the yard bird makes it on the menu before the pig. So when we had the sandwich topped with slaw it was something completely unique to us at that time. Today Jill pretty much always prefers the pig if she is having a BBQ sandwich. It’s tender and doesn’t have those “mystery bits” you can find in chicken and beef.

This turned out to be an amazing recipe. You must try it. Instead of using a roasting pan I wrapped the dry rubbed shoulder in tin foil and I didn’t check on it until 6hrs elapsed. When I opened it up I was sad to see the bottom black as coal but it turned out to be a happy accident. The black didn’t taste burnt but instead created burnt ends. When I folded them into the pulled pork it created a great change in taste and texture. That said, when I do it again, I will check it at 4hrs and maybe add a little water or beer.

The buns were broiled to give it an internal crunch and also lent a sturdy surface to support the pulled pork, slaw and sauce. The pork was perfectly flavored and the tangy vinegar mustard sauce set off an explosion of flavor. The creamy, yet spicy slaw, melded everything together and balanced it out. Top 5 best BBQ sandwich I have ever had.

This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence.
1 Pork shoulder or “butt” 5-7 lbs (bone in)

Dry Rub:
3 tbs of Paprika
1 tbs of garlic powder
1 tbs of dry mustard
1.5 tbs of brown sugar
2.5 tbs of Kosher Salt

Pain drippings if you have them
1 1/2 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup brown grainy mustard
1/2 cup French’s yellow mustard
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1 tsp of Cayenne pepper
1 tsp of Black Pepper

1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 red chile, sliced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Creole mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Several dashes hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix the dry rub together and massage it into the pork roast and let it sit over night wrapped up.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place the dry rubbed pork roast into a roasting pan and cook for 6 hours until the internal temperature is 170 degrees.

3. Make your sauce by pouring some of the pan drippings into the a small pot on medium low heat. Add your garlic and cook for 1-2 mins. Add everything else and let it simmer and meld together.

4. Shred your pork and remove some of the fat. Pour in some of the sauce to coat your pulled pork and reserve some for people who want more.

5. Two hours before serving make you slaw by cutting all your veggies and then mixing in the sauce and spices. Combine well and place into refrigerator covered for 2 hours to let everything meld properly.

6. Toast your buns with a little butter and then add your pulled pork, additional sauce if you want and top with spicy slaw.

I made a simple potato salad by boiling two cubed Idaho potatoes in salted water. Once fork tender, I cooled them and added Dukes Mayo, jalapenos, Pepper, Kosher Salt and Green onions. Didn’t measure anything so I don’t have a recipe for you.

Scratch Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Homemade Green Bean Casserole
The Canadian Thanksgiving happens in October because they like to double dip their holidays by spreading them out. Following their Thanksgiving I was talking to a colleague and asking her about her Thanksgiving. She called out our US of A green bean casserole as a suspect dish. As she put it don’t you guys eat green bean in mushroom soup with fried onions and cheese? I replied “hell yeah we eat it but don’t knock it till you try it….it’s our version of a healthy poutine. Instead of french fries we use green beans. #Merica #GreenBeanPoutine”

Mom used the canned stuff and it works but the depth of flavor from doing this from scratch doesn’t compare. Sorry Mom. I am not trying to boycott all Campbell soups here, but just give this homemade gravy a try.
IMG_8813 sorry for the shadow
Adapted from Guy Fieri
1 ½ lbs of Green Beans (trimmed)
2 tbs of unsalted butter
1 tbs of vegetable oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of fresh thyme
1 lbs of mixed mushrooms (sliced and trimmed)
½ tsp of Cayenne
2 pinches of Kosher salt
½ tsp of fresh nutmeg
Black Pepper

2 tbs of AP Flour
1 cup of Chicken broth
1 cup of sour cream
½ heavy cream
1 glug of Congac
1 cup parmesan and cheddar cheese (freshly grated)

Top with a little cheddar and fried onions. (I didn’t make these this year).

1. Boil a briney pot of water and cook your trimmed green beans for about 2 mins. Remember this are going into the oven. Pull them out and shock them in cool water to stop the cooking and to maintain that bright fresh green color. I did this a day early for a time saver.

2. Gravy – cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add butter, oil and shallots and cook until soft. Add your sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Add thyme and seasons and cook for a minute or two.

Now add your flour and start your rue and good until you get a good color of medium brown. Add your stock and fully incorporate. Reduce your heat and add sour cream and cream and cook/stir for 5-7mins. Fold in your green beans to fully incorporate into the gravy.

3. Pour into a glass casserole dish and top with parmesan and cook 400 until bubbly 10-15mins. (remember everything is already cooked so you are just trying to heat it all up and brown your cheese) . Right before taking it out add the fried onions on top to warm them up.

Guy’s Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Ravioli

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: not hard but tedious
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This is great from a flavor and “wow factor” stand point.  Making it gives you the feeling like you are really whipping up something special. Maybe it’s because I don’t often buy/cook lobster. It was also more tedious than what I typically cook. It’s two hours and requires your attention the entire time. After I finish a recipe I ask, if I make it again how would I change it? For this one, I would have stuffed more into my ravioli. I was really worried they would explode so kept them on the smaller side.

BTW This is a Guy Fieri recipe from Food Network. I didn’t stray from his recipe so copied the directions from the below link http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/lobster-ravioli-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Not as pretty as Guy's but tasty
Sorry iPhone pic. Even with a good camera, it isn’t as pretty as Guys’

1 tbs    olive oil
2 tbs    minced shallot
1 tbs    minced garlic
1 stick  butter (unsalted)
2 tps    fresh basil
2 tps    fresh parsley
½ tps   fresh tarragon
16 oz    fresh lobster, shelled and cut into pieces. (not too small or too big)
2 tps    lemon zest
2.5 tbs all purpose flour
2 tps    Kosher Salt
1 tps    black pepper
48        wonton wrappers

Brown Butter Sage Sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
1.5 tbs capers, drained
4          fresh sage
2          garlic cloves
2 tps    fresh parsley
1          lemon juiced
½ tps   fresh tarragon
½ cup   shaved parmesan cheese
Olive oil for drizzling and Kosher salt and Pepper to taste


For the ravioli: Heat the oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the shallots and sweat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze with the white wine. Bring to a gentle simmer and add 1/2 stick of the butter. Stir until melted. Add the basil, parsley and tarragon. Add the lobster pieces and poach in the liquid until almost cooked through, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove from the heat, transfer the lobster to a dish and set aside to cool. Reserve the liquid.

Bring a medium saute pan to medium-low heat. Add the flour and toast gently for about a minute. Add the salt and pepper and the remaining 1/2 stick butter, stirring constantly. Cook until the starch begins to dissipate, about 3 minutes; be careful to not allow the roux to darken. Whisk the reserved poaching liquid into the roux until smooth. Simmer until the starch is completely cooked out and the sauce is thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a medium mixing bowl and cool completely.

Gently fold the lobster into the thickened poaching liquid. Lay out the wonton wrappers, working in small batches so they don’t dry out. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each, brush the edges with water to moisten, place a second wonton over top and press to adhere. Use an inverted 2-inch cookie cutter (the smooth side) to gently seal the filling into the middle (this ensures a snug fit and no air bubbles which will make the ravioli burst when poached). Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (the sharp side) to cut out and create round raviolis.

Bring 2 quarts well-salted water to a simmer in a large pot. Working in batches, simmer the ravioli until they are al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the brown butter sage sauce: Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and cook, stirring until it melts and becomes foamy. Once the butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes, add the capers, sage and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once the sage is fragrant, remove the skillet from the heat and fold in the parsley, tarragon and lemon juice. Stir to incorporate and warm up the herbs and lemon — this will release their aroma but they’ll maintain their bright vibrant color.

To heat and serve: Working in batches to not overcrowd the pan, gently toss the poached ravioli in the brown butter in a large saute pan for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat to coat the pasta evenly. Place the ravioli on plates and spoon over sauce from the pan. Top with shaved Parmesan, garnish with basil buds and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Lobster Tail
Lobster Tail


Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy

Fried Shrimp Po'Boy

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sunday afternoon is when I usually plan my weekly menu. Last night I went to the store a little late so needed to whip something up fairly quickly. Recently saw an episode of Food Network’s Triple D ( I think it was Broken Record, San Francisco) where they made a killer looking fried shrimp po boy with crab mayo. Shrimp isn’t at the top of my protein list but it looked really good.

My “go to” supermarket isn’t where I usually buy meats that need to be the star of the show. So while I was okay with the shrimp, I decided to forgo the crab. As a side, I baked some french fries and used my oil to fry up some sliced jalapenos.

Shrimp Po Boy
Hoagie roll ( I found a cheddar jalapeno one that looked pretty good)
½ lb Shrimp ( peeled and put them in cool salted water)
2 eggs
½ cup Corn meal
½ cup Corn Flour
1 tsp Slap Ya Mama seasoning
½ tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Garlic Powder
Pinch of salt and Pepper
Peanut oil or Vegetable oil for frying

¼ cup Dukes Mayo
1 tsp Siracha
1 tbs Horseradish
1 tsp chili paste
Fresh herbs (lemon verbena needed pruning)

Remove the shrimp from their brief brine bath and pat them dry.
While the oil is heating up mix your wet and dry batter for frying the shrimp.
Wet = beat a couple of eggs in a bowl.
Dry = combine flour, corn meal, seasonings in another bowl.
Assembly line for the shrimp…dry, wet, dry and into the hot oil. (medium heat)
They only take about two mins. Remove and let them drain on paper towel/wire rack.

Split, butter and toast your bread in a broiler until golden brown. Spread both sides with the sauce. I went with mayo over ketchup to balance the heat of the spices. You could squeeze a lemon slice to add some acid.


Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium... it's easy but involved
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I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Made” on the Food Network. Marcela Valladolid raved about her Pablano Lasagna. I whipped one up and it didn’t disappoint.
However, I thought I could make a few tweaks by bumping up the corn, pablanos and adding chicken.

She's a beauty
She’s a beauty

3-4 chicken breasts
8 pablano peppers
4 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
1 onion (yellow or white)
3 zucchinis (med to large)
3 jalapeno peppers
6 ears of fresh corn (use 3 – 4 cups and save the rest for another recipe)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 can Rotel 10 oz
1/2 cup chicken Broth
1 pkg “No Boil” lasagna noodles
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh mozzarella (or Marcel used Oaxaca cheese)

1tbs Cumin,
2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder,
3 pinches of Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

1. 24hrs before cooking, marinate your trimmed chicken in your chicken stock, Rotel, squeezed half lemon, cumin, ancho chili powder and cayenne.
2. Day of cooking. Char your pablanos, jalapenos and corn on the grill, stove or in oven (broil). You want the peppers burnt/black/blistered. I also like my corn to have a nice tan too.
3. Save your marinade. Go ahead and throw your chicken on the grill (medium/hot 400 range) and get some nice marks on the them. You will saute them later so don’t cook them fully on the grill.
4. Remove peppers and put them in glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for easy skin removal. I like to keep a little on for taste.
5. Once your corn and peppers are cooled to handle. Take a knife and carefully cut of the corn kernels and put them into a bowl. Also remove the clean skin of the peppers until you have mostly the green flesh. Then filet them open and cut into strips removing all seeds and membranes.
6. Go get your chicken off the grill and set it aside. Again, we just used the grill for marks not for fully cooking the chicken.
7.  Pour yourself a glass of tequila, squeeze a lime and hit it with some agave or simple syrup (which you should always have at the ready). Relax a little.
8. Two pots on the stove. First pot add 2 tsp of butter and your minced garlic on medium heat.  Simmer for a minute and then add corn ( i used about 3.5 cups of corn) and diced jalapenos.  Stir a little and then add the heavy cream, thyme and pinch of cayenne. Reduce heat and let the flavors meld.
9. Second pot: (this is where I could get a lecture but I am alive because heat kills bacteria).  Then slice your onions and chicken very thinly and put them into the pan/ pot and let it simmer with 1bs butter.  Add some marinade or a little chicken stock to keep it moist.
10. Take your corn mixture and put it into the blender (be careful it’s hot and will blow your lid off so let it vent or cool) Blend until smooth.

Now all we do is build the lasagna. Preheat oven to 350. Pour out liquid from our chicken and onions, slice zucchini into thin strips. Take a 9x 13 glass baking dish and ladle corn mixture on the bottom, then three pasta sheets to cover the bottom, then add your chicken and onions (without the marinade – we just used it to keep it moist and cook in some flavor), and now your sliced zucchini and pablanos. Repeat 2x lasagna, corn, chicken, pablanos and cheese, cover in foil.
Bake it for 45/50 mins. Turn on your broiler, remove foil and let it go for 10 mins or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

As Marcela might say…”dat ta da…”

Pablano chicken lasanga