Slow Pork Stew

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Do you ever cook for young men? Isn’t it fun?

Brian‘s been home for a few weeks preparing for a trip to Asia. Several of his twentysomething buddies have been around, too. I’ve been having the best time cooking “man food” to share with them.

They are carnivores. And they can pack away a lot of food. They’re easy to please and appreciative. Brian is a terrific foodie and we have a great time collaborating in the kitchen.

Bob and I travelled to Florida last weekend (details soon), and Brian offered to cook for us when we got home Sunday night. He marinated and sautéed pork tenderloin, and served it over garlicky cauliflower puree, with wilted spinach. It was perfect, tender and delicious. I decided to dazzle him with something similarly savory for his going-away dinner.

We discussed the options, and decided on a slow cooked stew of pork shoulder with leeks, onions, and cranberries in a white wine, orange, and mustard sauce. I served it with cauliflower risotto, and sautéed rainbow chard with currants and toasted pine nuts.

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Slow Pork Stew

This stew may be made in a Dutch oven or in a slow cooker.

Serves 6

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
1 lb cranberries
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, divided
1 orange, zest and juice
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1 tbs cornstarch
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven. Add half the pork, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, till browned, about 5 minutes; it won’t be cooked through. Remove to a bowl, and repeat with remaining pork. Add to bowl. There should be some fat remaining in the pot.

Saute, the onion and leek for about 5 minutes. Add the cranberries, sugar, wine, orange juice and zest, mustard, and half the stock, and return the pork to the pot. Bring to boil. Cover.

Heat the oven to 275°. Bake the stew for 3 hours until the pork is very tender. Alternatively, transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 4 hours; then put back into Dutch oven.

Put Dutch oven on the stovetop and bring to simmer. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup stock, and add to stew. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until sauce is thickened. Serve.

This stew is terrific with a simple green veg and a piece of good, crusty bread. Or serve it over egg noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, polenta, or spaetzle.

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Posted in braise, dinner, family, gluten free, low carb, main, main course, one pot meals, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Potter’s Pie

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Happy New Year!!

I’m so happy and excited to (finally) share this recipe with you! It is very special to me and I’ve been planning to post it here on the blog for two years now.

This savory pie is a variation on one that my brother, Steven, used to make. Before his death, in our twenties, we got together often to cook and eat outrageous feasts. Sometimes they were glamorous-lobster and champagne. And sometimes they were simple, delicious, comfort foods, like Shepherd’s Pie. It was his favorite. He was a great skier, and for him, there was nothing better than a big bowl of this pie after a day on the mountain. This week (Jan 10th) would have been his 56th birthday, so this blog post is dedicated to him.

My brother made his Shepherd’s Pie with the traditional lamb, or sometimes with beef. And the topping was mashed potatoes. But I am not a lover of either lamb or beef, so my version substitutes organic turkey. Brian is home for another couple of weeks, and he, Bob and I are eating lower carb, so we decided to go with mashed cauliflower for the top. I promise, you won’t miss the potatoes.

This pie is the ultimate comfort food. Savory, hearty without being heavy, and incredibly satisfying. The filling is everything you want in a stew. The topping is dreamy-creamy. It would be good after a day on the slopes, in the office, or in the pottery studio. Piping hot and brown on top, this is one irresistible winter meal.

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Potter’s Pie

I use organic ground turkey here. Do no use the leanest, all white meat turkey or the stew will be dry. This is equally good with ground lamb, pork, beef, or chicken.

Though we are eating lower carb, the peas are so good in this, we decided to include them. If you are being really strict, leave them out. Paleo and Whole 30 folks, and you lactose intolerants can skip the cheese and the topping will still be lovely.

Serves 4

Organic ingredients for this dish are readily available here in Warwick. If you can get them where you live, use them.

1 ½ lbs ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup frozen baby peas
1 tbs. tomato paste
3 tbs. white wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbs. neutral oil

1 medium head cauliflower
½ cup grated extra sharp cheddar
¼ cup grated parm

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Saute the onions for a few minutes, then add the carrots. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat, until mostly cooked, about 5 minutes. Clear a spot in the bottom of the pan, and add the tomato paste. Let that cook for a minute or two, and then add the wine. Stir and add the stock. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or so.

While the stew cooks, prepare the cauliflower and preheat the oven to 400°. Trim the cauliflower and break into small florets. Place in a medium pot and add just an inch or so of water and a good sprinkle of salt. Cook, covered, over high heat until the cauliflower is very soft when poked with a knife, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye out and make sure the pot doesn’t go dry, if the water is evaporating too fast, add a bit.

Use a slotted spoon to place the cooked cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the cheddar, and process until incorporated.

Choose four oven safe bowls or ramekins that will hold at least 2 cups. Or an 8 or 9 inch square, oval, or round baking dish or shallow casserole. Divide the stew among the bowls or place in the baking dish. Top with the cauliflower/cheese mixture. Sprinkle the tops with the parm. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until piping hot and browned on top. Serve immediately.

This reheats very well in the oven or microwave, so feel free to make ahead.

If you like the pottery you see here on the blog, check out my Propped and Etsy Shops. Deb’s Pots are made to use (and photograph) with food!

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Posted in gluten free, healthy, low carb, supper, supper, main courses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Cauliflower Latkes

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My mother made potato latkes for Chanukah every year when we were kids. She fried them in an old electric skillet and drained them on brown paper shopping bags. They were served with homemade applesauce. She’d make the applesauce right after our fall picking expedition, and keep it in the freezer until December. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far…ok, sorry.

Mom continued to be the designated latke maker even after I began hosting our holiday gathering. I hate the mess and smell of frying, so when my kids were very small, Grandma was the latke fairy; I provided the applesauce and the rest of the meal.

When the kids went to school, word got out that the McGrath kids were technically Jews (by dint of having been birthed by a member of the tribe). I regularly volunteered in their classrooms and somehow got drafted to create Chanukah festivities. I don’t know about you, but I find most Chanukah traditions (dreidel, the story, the songs, the giving of socks), incredibly lame. That left me with no other option but bringing a menorah and candles…and fry latkes.

I fried latkes in a garage-sale electric skillet at Kings School for years. I blew fuses, set things on fire, and reeked of oil for days, but the kids LOVED it. Brian had a friend who asked him every year, “When is your mom coming in to make Jew Fries”?

But…these days, we are all eating healthy-ish. I’ve been having so much success with things made from grated cauliflower, I wondered if cauliflower latkes would be good. The initial tests were promising. A little tweaking, and I’ve gotta say, we all liked these BETTER than potato latkes. Not kidding. They are delicious. I will make them all year. They are crispy on the outside, and super creamy inside. They are fried in a minimum of oil, so making them is not unpleasant, and you can do them ahead and reheat in the oven. Seriously, you gotta try these!

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Cauliflower Latkes

If you want these to be lower fat, you can certainly skip the cheese. I haven’t tried them with gluten free flour, but I imagine it would work just fine. You can sub any alternative milk.

Makes roughly 2 dozen latkes

1 medium head cauliflower, grated (I use the grating disk on the cuisinart)
1 scallion, sliced
1 egg
¼ cup milk
½ cup flour
¼ cup grated cheddar
¼ cup grated parm
salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup veg oil (approx.)

Combine all ingredients except oil and mix very well. You might want to nuke a tiny bit and taste for seasoning.

Heat 2 tbs. oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Spoon a scant ¼ cup of mixture onto the skillet, flattening slightly. You can fry 4 or 5 at a time. Adjust heat to medium-high. Flip when the undersides are golden brown, 5 minutes or so. As they are done, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Add oil as needed between batches to keep a shallow slick in the pan.

You can serve immediately or keep them warm in a 300° oven. Or, chill and reheat in a 375° oven up to a day later.

We like them with cranberry sauce and sour cream. Applesauce is terrific, too. Try making mini ones to pass around at a party.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

And, as always, click the Shop links on the menu above to check out Deb’s Pots to use in your kitchen or give as gifts.

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Posted in appetizer, brunch, healthy, low carb, side dish, side dishes, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

No Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

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The dr deb office has closed for the year. The last pot has been fired and unloaded from Big Bertha (the refurbished electric kiln named after a tiny ferret). Brian is home for the holidays; Meg will join us on Christmas day, which, this year, is also the first day of Chanukah.

I’m sure you all remember our wonderful friend, Ashley, who collaborated with me on the Naan post. Ash is home from grad school for a few weeks and came over to do a bit of Christmas shopping at the DebsPots Studio “store.” She was delighted to help Brian and me make a batch of Bob’s new favorite ice cream. We needed to replenish our supply to pair with Salted Caramel Chocolate Crack Bark, a traditional McGrath family holiday food.

This ice cream is simple to make and sinfully good. If you like caramel, you will be unable to resist the flavor. It stays creamy and scoopable without churning and tastes terrific with bark, cookies, tarts, crisps, or pie. It is a perfect match for  Caramel Apple Cookie Tart. We like it with hot fudge sauce* (pictured here and here), or Cara Sel**.

*I tested this amazing recipe for Cook’s Illustrated; I can’t share it until it is published by ATK. But I promise to post it here as soon as it is public!

**Are you familiar with my friend, Kristin, The Ardent Homesteader? If not, please consider getting to know her. She is a wonderful instagrammer, and creator of Cara Sel, the most delicious, all natural, salted caramel sauce imagineable. Order some!

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No Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

3 ½ cups heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can dulce de leche
¼ cup 2:1 simple syrup (or karo syrup, or golden syrup)
2 tbs. bourbon
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt

Place the dulce de leche in a medium mixing bowl, and mix it with ¼ of the cream to loosen.

Place the remaining cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you may use a hand mixer). Beat the cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Continue to beat on high speed while you add the condensed milk, syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Beat until stiff peaks happen.

Now, use a large rubber spatula to scrape the dulce mixture onto the top of the whipped cream mixture. Fold the dulce de leche into the whipped cream, carefully, to avoid deflating the cream. You want the dulce evenly distributed into the whipped cream in big ribbons of caramelly goodness. Don’t overmix.

Trying not to do a complete face plant into this heavenly cloud, scoop the whole mass into one or more containers and freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.

All of us here in the house in the woods wish you the happiest of holidays!

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Posted in dessert, gluten free, holiday, ice cream, treats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Triple Citrus Sour

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I haven’t sipped a cocktail in a dozen years. That is probably an odd way to start a blog post about a cocktail, but I am nothing if not truthful here on DebsPots.

Bob and I decided to stop drinking alcohol 12 years ago. It’s a long story; suffice to say neither of us was in sufficient control of the frequency and quantity of our imbibement, and for many reasons, it was an important, life-changing, and life-affirming decision for us both.

This past summer, on the occasion of our 30th wedding anniversary, we decided to experiment with allowing ourselves an occasional glass of wine. Bob had been doing so for a number of years and felt confident that he had developed the maturity and self-discipline required to enjoy wine with food. I am finding that I, too, am able to keep to the limits I’ve set for myself. The joy of a sip of well-crafted wine with good food is a deep pleasure I am grateful to have earned.

In spite of our various levels of personal prohibition over these years, we have continued to serve alcohol to guests. And, as the kids have grown into their twenties, we are happy to keep them company when they enjoy a drink. Megan is a bartender and will often make us a sophisticated non-alcoholic beverage while mixing something stronger for herself and her brother. I was always a good mixologist and I like to think she got her sense of spirits, in part, from her mama.

As you know, Brian is home now, and he loves my sours. I make my own simple syrup and always have a variety of citrus on hand. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with combinations, and this one was so good, he encouraged me to share it with you. Like Ricottacado, he named this one.

This is, of course, a flexible recipe. There are lots of different kinds of lemons, limes, and oranges in the markets this time of year. But the balance of sour and sweet is key. Experiment with it yourself, and let me know what you think.
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Triple Citrus Sour

Makes one cocktail, multiplies easily.

This is terrific with bourbon, but equally delicious with any fine spirit. Leave out the alcohol and add a bit of fizz for a terrific soda.

1 lime
1 lemon
1 orange
½ oz. 2:1 simple syrup (see below) or agave (use a bit less agave)
1 oz bourbon (or your favorite liquor

Variation: Use an Herb Infused Syrup, double the quantity.

Juice the fruit, stain, if necessary; mix in the syrup and bourbon and stir or shake well. Pour over ice.

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2:1 Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar (I like organic cane)
½ cup water

Bring sugar and water to boil in a small pot. Stir to make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then chill. Keeps indefinitely.

There are terrific new pots in both the Etsy and Propped Shops. Check them out and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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Posted in drink, drinks, entertaining, gluten free, party, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ricottacado/Roasted Rainbows

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It has come to my awareness that this blog is trending in certain unintended directions. One of these is “mashup” titles, like Falentil, Squashsagna, Avoziki, Hummole, and Quichetata. Megan is embarrassed by these titles, though she enjoys the foods themselves. Brian is only embarrassed if I come up with something that sounds really ridiculous. He’s home for a few weeks, so he advised me on the title of this one. Well, advised is a little mild. He bullied me into it. And since I am so gaga in love with my kids, they can totally get away with this sort of bullying. I won’t tell you the other contenders for the name of this recipe because it will embarrass both kids, and really, why do that if it’s not necessary?

It was Brian’s idea to make whipped ricotta. Last year, he had some at a restaurant in Washington, and this discovery coincided with the occasion on which I tried my hand at homemade ricotta. Homemade ricotta is delicious, and homemade whipped ricotta is a revelation. Try it some time with truffle oil, salt, and lots of black pepper.

This week, I had some avocados that were less than perfect. You know that I have a secret to increasing the likelihood of ending up with perfect avocados, but this time, the system failed. So, I needed a dish that would make use of slightly funky avos and I happened to have some ricotta in the fridge. The results were so tasty that I went out and bought more ingredients to make another batch the following day.

This creamy, light, smooth, dreamy, stuff is terrific as a savory topping, dip, or condiment. Slightly tart from the citrus, it is best described as a creamier guacamole. For this post, I pair it with roasted carrots and watermelon radish. Brian had some on a wrap with sliced chicken. It would be at home any place you would serve guacamole; with crackers, chips, fajitas, grilled steak, shrimp, or salmon. Try it in your kitchen and be sure to leave me a comment to let me know how you serve it.

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Ricottacado

This keeps well for a couple of days. Makes a little more than a cup.

2 ripe avocados
½ cup whole milk ricotta
1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste
optional: olive oil, for serving

Place the avocados and ricotta in a food processor (I used my mini). Zest the lime, and add both the zest and the juice. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper, blend, taste and adjust seasoning. Place in a pretty bowl and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

If you have leftovers, make sure you press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ricottacavo to prevent browning.

Roasted Rainbows

I used carrots and watermelon radish here. You may use this technique for just about any root vegetable: parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, beets…

Wash vegetables and peel if desired. Cut into pieces of relatively similar thickness. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper, and toss well. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

You may roast these at any temp you like, the roasting time varies. I’ve done them at 275° for an hour, at 350° for 40 minutes, or at 450° for 25 minutes. When they are done, a knife slips in easily. Or just bite a piece. Serve immediately to enjoy them at their best. But they’re pretty wonderful at room temp or chilled, too.

 

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Blog note: I am proud to announce that I am a featured seller on Propped, a new on-line marketplace devoted to beautiful handmade kitchenware. Find my Propped Shop here. And, the Etsy Shop is going strong, so you now have two terrific options to shop DebsPots for your own kitchen, or for someone you love.

Posted in appetizer, easy, entertaining, family, gluten free, low carb, picnic, roasted, side dish, snack, snacks, Uncategorized, vegetable, vegetarian, weeknight | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mindfulness Granola

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Granola recipes are a dime a dozen in the blogosphere. Some of my favorite food blogs have 4 or 5 different versions. So. I was reluctant to publish another homemade granola here on DebsPotsBlog. Until the other morning when I whipped up this batch. It was so yummy, I decided I needed to share it in spite of the fact that it causes me, instantly, to become a cliche. Tree hugger. Brown ricer. The blogger equiivalent of a little vegetarian café with spider plants in hanging macrame terra cotta.

My beloved, brilliant, friend and mentor, Robbie Lobell, is on the east side of the country for the famous and phenomenal Pottery Show at the Old Church Cultural Center. Bob picked her up at Newark and she spent the night with us here in Warwick before heading down to NJ to set up for the show. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, and in the morning, I decided to throw together some granola for breakfast.

I’ve been making granola since before many of my blogging friends were born. The style of my homemade granola goes in phases. Sometimes, it’s very sweet, sometimes more spare. I usually go for big clumps. This version is toasty, less clumpy. It’s lightly sweet, chewy, nuanced, and discernably salty. I think it is the most interesting, addictive, and satisfying granola I’ve ever tasted. I think you’ll love it, too. Let me know if you try it, I really want to know what you think, and what variations you create.

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Mindfulness Granola

You may notice the similarity in ingredients to my Mindfulness Bread, Crackers, and Muffins, and Mini Muffins. They are all loosely based, with kind permission, on Sarah Briton’s (My New Roots) Life Changing Loaf of Bread.

2 cups rolled oats, I prefer Bob’s Red Mill, extra thick, organic
3 tbs. each: chia seeds, flax seeds, millet, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas
¼ cup olive oil (you may use walnut, almond, coconut, or macadamia if you prefer)
3 tbs. agave
3 tbs. maple syrup (I used my own homemade; use good quality syrup here)
1 tsp. sea salt
optional: a big handful of raisins or date pieces

Preheat oven to 325°.

Use a bit of the oil to grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish, lasagna pan, or half sheet pan. It’s a great idea to line your pan with parchment and then grease that. My Cook on Clay pan releases so well that just a bit of oil was all I needed.

Mix the remaining oil, agave, and syrup in a bowl or cup. Mix the dry ingredients (not including fruit) in a big bowl and add the syrup mixture, mixing well. Pour the damp mass out onto your baking pan and spread out into an even layer.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the granola is dry and slightly brown. Some folks mix their granola while it bakes. I like to leave it in one layer to encourage clumps. And I let it cool completely before scraping it out of the pan, again, to promote clumpage. Add the raisins or dates, if using, after the granola cools. Store for up to a week at room temp if there’s any left over after the first day, which is highly unlikely, especially if you have kids in the house. Or if you have a mouth.

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Blog note: Pots make awesome holiday gifts. Check out Robbie’s work here, and my work here.

Posted in baked goods, baking, breakfast, ceramics, gluten free, healthy, pottery, snack, trail food, travel food, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian, whole grain | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment