Jim got a smoker for Christmas, so right now he’s totally into smoked meat. I, on the other hand, am getting tired of it. Still, we’re having a New Year’s Eve dinner gathering of friends, so we decided to break out the smoker. I’m adapting a recipe I enjoy making either in the oven or on the grill to the smoker – Jim will smoke it low and slow for several hours. If you’d like to cook it in the oven, then I recommend roasting at 325 for about an hour per pound. For the brine:
8 quarts of cold water
1 cup sea salt
For the roast:
5-6 pound pork shoulder roast
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
For the glaze
1 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut aminos
3 tablespoons whiskey
Zest of one orange
Juice from two oranges
1-2 tablespoons sriracha or to taste (red pepper flakes for paleo)
Combine water, brown sugar, and salt in a cooler, mixing well.
Add pork shoulder and allow roast to brine for about 5-6 hours.
Remove roast from brine and rinse. Pat dry with paper towels.
Season pork with salt and pepper. Smoke at about 225 degrees, one hour per pound.
While roast smokes, combine syrup, soy sauce, whiskey, orange zest, orange juice, and sriracha in a small saucepan.
Simmer the glaze until syrupy.
Begin brushing glaze onto meat in about hour #3 of cooking, and brush glaze every 15 minutes.
Cook meat to an internal temperature of 190 degrees.
Remove from oven and allow to sit, tented with foil, for 30 minutes, before slicing.
Whether you like peanuts, almonds, or cashews, making noodles with a nut butter sauce makes a fast and delicious week night meal. I’ve made these with peanut, cashew, and almond butter, and they are equally delicious served hot or cold.
1 package spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions (or soba noodles or rice noodles for gluten-free)
1/2 cup sugar-free nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew)
1 clove garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons grated ginger root
6 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
Sriracha or chili oil to taste
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Cook spaghetti or other noodles (such as udon or ramen) according to package directions and drain them.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse garlic, ginger, and 4 scallions until thoroughly chopped (set aside remaining two scallions).
Scrape down vegetables from side of food processor and add nut butter, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, coconut milk, and sriracha. Pulse food processor to blend.
Taste and add salt or more sriracha as necessary.
Toss sauce with hot noodles and add sesame seeds and remaining two sliced scallions.
Serve hot or cold.
Add cooked marinated chicken or other meat.
Add steamed veggies such as broccoli.
Replace soy sauce with teriyaki sauce for a sweeter sauce.
Add your favorite curry.
Garnish with chopped nuts or bean sprouts to vary textures.
I have a certain person in my family who despises green food, and it’s not me or one of the kids. Still, I can get him to eat his spinach when I make this warm spinach salad. You can vary it in a number of ways, which I’ll include after the recipe. For the salad, I prefer baby spinach, which is more tender and flavorful; however, you can use other types of spinach, as well. The recipe below serves four.
8 ounces of baby spinach
2 Tablespoons duck fat
5 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Wash and drain baby spinach. Place dry spinach in a large, heatproof bowl.
Heat olive oil in pan and cook chopped bacon until crispy.
Remove bacon from fat with a slotted spoon and put in bowl with spinach.
Add shallots and cook until soft.
Add red wine vinegar, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan.
Pour dressing from pan over the top of spinach and bacon and toss. The bacon will wilt slightly.
Top with fresh pepper and serve immediately.
Change vinegar to sherry vinegar or balsamic
Add pine nuts
Add zest from one orange to dressing when you add sugar
While people traditionally think of ribs as a summer BBQ food, beer braised beef short ribs are the perfect hearty food for the winter, especially when served over a bed of smashed red jacket potatoes.
2-4 lbs of beef short ribs
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
4-6 slices thick cut bacon
2 red onions, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour (sweet rice flour for gluten-free)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 cups Guinness Stout (gluten-free beer for gluten-free)
Season short ribs liberally with salt and pepper and bring to room temperature.
In a large, oven proof dutch oven, crisp bacon over medium high heat. Remove bacon from oil with slotted spoon and set aside.
Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown short ribs on all sides in bacon fat over medium high heat. Put them in the pan and maintain contact with the bottom without moving it, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove short ribs and set aside.
Add red onions to bacon fat. Allow to sit in contact with medium high pan for 2-3 minutes before stirring. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook just until it releases its scent – about 30 seconds.
Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until flour loses raw flavor, about 3 minutes.
Add vinegar and beer to pan, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add thyme and return short ribs and bacon to pan. Bring to a simmer on the stove top.
Cover tightly with the Dutch oven lid and place in the preheated oven.
Cook for about 3 hours, until meat is tender.
Remove ribs from pot and set aside on a plate, tented with foil.
Put pan back on the stove over medium heat. Simmer liquid in pan until reduced to create desired consistency.
Serve ribs on a bed of smashed potatoes with sauce spooned over the top.
Roasted Garlic Red Jacket Smashed Potatoes
2 heads garlic
Drizzle olive oil
1 pound baby red potatoes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Several hours before you make the potatoes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off the heads of garlic and place garlic, root side down, in an oven-proof glass dish.
Drizzle the garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Cover the glass dish with foil. Put in the oven for 60 minutes – until the garlic is soft.
Set aside to cool.
When garlic has cooled, squeeze it out of the bulbs into a dish and set aside.
Clean red potatoes and place them (whole) in a large pan. Cover with water.
Put the lid on the pan and bring potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat.
Boil potatoes until they are soft – for baby potatoes it should take about 20 minutes.
When potatoes are done, drain them and put them back in the pan.
Add garlic, butter, and heavy cream to the potatoes.
Use a masher to roughly mash the mixture to the desired consistency.