June 24, 2010

Fresh Basil Pesto

Every year we plant basil and every year the plants do so well that we can't use it up fast enough. What to do? Basil pesto, of course! Here is a simple recipe. Note that pesto is always made to taste, based on the ingredients at hand. So adjust the ingredients to your taste. Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, we often use Romano which has a stronger flavor. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute walnuts.
If you want to freeze the pesto you make, omit the cheese (it doesn't freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Romano.
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 squeeze of a fresh lemon
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

  • Special equipment needed: A food processor

  1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) 
  2. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. 
  3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. 
  4. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. 
  5. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. 
  6. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 
  7. Squeeze the lemon, pulse to finish
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

June 9, 2010

Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce with Pulled Pork & Slaw

Our country has so many distinct barbeque flavors reaching from us from coast to coast.  Kansas City, Texas, The Carolinas, Memphis, Chicago.   They all boast of great regional Barbeque. Smoky, sweet, spicy and sour.  Serious Eats has a great article on regional barbecue if you want to know the differences. They even have a list of some fabulous sauces with great recipes to try.  Check it out and see what your favorites are.
My recipe would be classified more like Kansans City style because of its thick, sweet, tomato-and-molasses based flavors.   It has quite a few ingredients, but it is worth it! The recipe is a great lesson is using rubs and making your own sauces, along with roasting meat and being patient as  you spend time developing flavors.  Play with the ingredients to find what you like the best. 
  • 1 boneless pork butt, about 4 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spice rub recipe follows or use Emeril's "ESSENCE"
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • Wet Mop Basting Sauce, recipe follows
  • Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
  • 8 buns/rolls (use firm rolls like french style, ciabatta or baguette)
  • Cole Slaw, recipe follows 
  • Optional: Dill pickles and sliced raw onion


  1. Place the pork in a baking dish. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, Essence, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and cayenne. 
  3. Rub the seasoning evenly over the pork to coat. 
  4. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat an oven or smoker to 225 degrees F.
  6. Bring the pork to room temperature and place in a roasting pan, fat side up. 
  7. Slow cook in the oven, basting with the wet mop basting sauce every 45 minutes, until tender and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. (The cooking should take about 6 to 7 hours.) 
  8. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. With a knife and fork or two forks, pull the meat apart into small slices or chunks. 
  10. Toss with the barbecue sauce, to taste, and divide among the  buns. 
  11. Top with the coleslaw, pickles and sliced raw onion

Spice Rub

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Wet Mop Basting Sauce:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. The night before you cook the pork, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well. 
  2. Refrigerate and let the flavors blend overnight.

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. 
  2. Place in a squeeze bottle and dress the pulled pork sandwiches to taste.

Cole Slaw:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. In a bowl, combine wet and dry ingredients to make a dressing, and whisk well to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Toss vegetables with the dressing until evenly coated. 
  3. Adjust seasoning, to taste.  Add Cilantro.
  4. Place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill slightly before serving.

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