Summer takes a while to get to the Pacific Northwest. I mean it really takes it's sweet time. We wait in the rain and we dream about all of the things we will do once the weather warms up and every layer we own (which is a LOT of layers) dries out. Sometime around the beginning of April I freak out. So I start to cook as if it's summer. It helps. Sometimes. Here is my "tribute to summer" meal... I hope you like it!
Carnitas-ish Slow Cooked Pork
3lbs pork shoulder (picnic roast)
2 small onions chopped (about 1 cup)
2 oranges - juiced (about 1/2 cup)
2 limes - juiced (about 1/4 cup
4 cloves of garlic chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 12oz beer
Chop the onions and garlic; juice the limes and oranges; crack open the beer (maybe another for yourself - this is a tribute to summer after all!)
Sprinkle the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Heat up a large pan and add oil to the hot pan. Brown the meat on all sides and transfer to a crock pot. Add the beer to the hot pan and scrape up all the brown bits. Poor the beer into the crock pot. (You can braise this meat in the pot you browned it in, but I don't like to leave the house with the oven on so the crock pot works well for me.)
Add the citrus juice, garlic and onions to the crock pot. Cook on low until the meat is very tender and falls apart. About 6 hours.
This pork goes SO well with some nice, cool coleslaw, but not any coleslaw - coleslaw with cilantro and a light, lime based dressing!
Cilantro and Lime Cole Slaw
1/2 a head of red cabbage shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 a head of green cabbage (about 2 cups)
4 large carrots - shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (more or less to your taste)
1/3 cup mayonaise
2 limes - juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon spice blend (I use Trader Joe's Pasta Blend - 'cause I like it. It has cumin and anise in it. It's delicious.)
pinch of salt
Shred the cabbage, carrots and chop cilantro. Whisk together mayo, lime juice, sugar, spice, salt and pepper. Toss veggies and dressing about 30 minutes before serving. This makes a lot of slaw - we ate this for 2 dinners and I took some to work for lunch.
This meal demanded dessert. When my husband tasted this grapefruit pound cake, his response was "This is one for the books!" Success!! This cake only got better a day later and was even better yet 2 days later. The glaze soaks in and bottom is super moist and the sugar on the top is almost crunchy.
It. Is. Awesome.
Grapefruit Pound Cake - adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter - softened
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup canola oil
grapefruit rind - grated (from 2 grapefruits - a like a lot of zest)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grapefruit juice (from 2 grapefruits)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter and flour a bundt pan or tube pan. Combine flour, baking powder, salt. Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add eggs, then add oil, rind and vanilla.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately to batter, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool and invert onto a cake stand, plate or wire rack.
Boil juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce to 3 tablespoons. (This is from the original recipe - I might still be cooking all this juice if I wanted it to reduce to 3 tablespoons!! Anyway - reduce - a bit.)
Cool slightly and add powdered sugar and pinch of salt. Drizzle over cake. I really suggest drizzling this over the cake only once it's on a plate. The extra juice soaks in and this cake stays nice and moist.