Pulled Pork with Balsamic-Glazed Peaches

Two more days! Two more days!!  Methinks it is positively indecent, how much I’m looking forward to the end of the Whole30, but I’m proud that I did it.  I got a question on yesterday’s post about whether I’d re-introduce foods one at a time, as suggested by the folks over at Whole9, and blog about the results.

Yes, indeed.  I can already tell you one food that will most likely disappear from my diet all together, except in instances when I simply can’t avoid it (like when we eat out):  dairy.  Yes, even goat and sheep, but I’ll go into that after it’s all over and I report on the results of the Whole30.  That will probably be next Tuesday, since I’m going to be extremely busy, then on my way to Columbus, on Friday.  We’re also taking Monday off for the Labor Day holiday.

At any rate, here’s yet another pork with peaches recipe.  What can I say – we’re just about out of beef (we have another side coming in a week or two), and I’m drowning in peaches.  But that’s okay, because pork pairs so well with fruit, and while this may not be the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, it certainly was one of the most delicious.

Normally, I’d have prepared a barbecue sauce to go with the pulled pork (mmmmm, peach barbecue sauce…) but, as a native Texan, I prefer my BBQ sauce both sweet and tangy, as opposed to Memphis-style barbecue sauces which tend to be just tangy, or Kansas City barbecue sauces, which tend to be just sweet.  But since sugar of any sort is verboten during Whole30, I decided ripe, juicy peaches (which are both sweet and tangy) would fit the bill just fine.

It is easy, too – the pork shoulder simply goes into the slow cooker with some salt, pepper, onion and garlic.  The most difficult part of the recipe is peeling the peaches, which really isn’t hard at all.  (You can leave the skins on, but I prefer cooked peaches without them.)  Using freestone peaches will make pitting and slicing them much less difficult.

The dish was a huge hit in our house – Beloved and I quibbled over leftovers the next day (we’d have had more leftovers, eliminating the need to quibble over them, but we live with a 17-year-old bottomless pit – need I say more?).

Pulled Pork with Balsamic-Glazed Peaches
Pulled Pork with Balsamic-Glazed Peaches
Pulled Pork with Balsamic-Glazed Peaches
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or picnic roast
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 large peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place the pork shoulder in a slow cooker just large enough to hold it comfortably; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the minced garlic over the top of the shoulder, then scatter the onions over the surface. Pour the chicken stock around, not over, the pork; cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker to a large cutting board. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pieces of onion from the pot and add to the shoulder. Pull the pork apart using two forks, working the onion and liquid from the crock, if needed to keep the meat moist, until completely shredded. Move the pork to a bowl or other suitable container; cover and keep warm.
  4. In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the ghee over medium high heat. Arrange the peach slices in the skillet and cook until they begin to brown and release their juices. Turn the peach slices once; cook briefly and remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar to the skillet and stir until a sauce is formed. Return the peaches to the pan and gently toss to coat with the balsamic glaze.
  5. Divide the pork between 8 plates and top with the peaches and sauce.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 373 calories, 23g total fat, 110.2mg cholesterol, 148.2mg sodium, 717.3mg potassium, 9g carbohydrates, 1.2g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 31.2g protein

 

Fiesta Mini-Quiches

It’s Monday, and Day 27 of the Whole30.  I survived the weekend; an informal lunch at my inlaw’s house – Sloppy Joes, so I was glad I’d taken a Whole30 version of my Broccoli Cashew Raisin Salad (I just omitted the bacon and used mayonnaise instead of the Better Than Miracle Whip).  We also had The G Man for much of the weekend, and spent yesterday canning – when you’re that busy, it can be kind of hard not to succumb to convenience, but we made it through without a dietary hitch.  It helped that Beloved made dinner Saturday; a roast chicken, fresh green beans and some watermelon.  I’d been smacked a good one by the Menopause Fairy, and was just exhausted and couldn’t concentrate on anything.

Yesterday I felt better, which was a good thing since we canned 10 pints of garlic dill pickles, 10 pints of peach salsa and began a quart of fermented peach chutney.  Dinner was fried chicken livers (the recipe needs tweaking, but it was quite good), a Butternut Squash Souffle (sans maple syrup, replace the butter with ghee) and kale braised in chicken stock.  Brunch was some homemade breakfast sausage (basically Maple Sausage Patties without the maple syrup), fresh peaches (can you tell we picked up 1/2 peck of peaches at the farmer’s market Saturday?) and this.

I said last week that I was feeling stifled in the kitchen, but I think it’s more that I’m just bored.  I was at a loss for what to make for our traditional Sunday brunch, and was going over the contents of the refrigerator and counter, where we keep things like sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, bananas, etc., when I decided a quiche would be in order.  Not just any quiche, either, since I’m up to my elbows in peppers, onions and tomatoes, but a Mexican-style quiche.  And while I was at it, why not make it fun and do little individual servings?

It turned out to be a wonderful idea – these are just delicious.  And once the peppers are roasted and diced, the recipe comes together very quickly.  Cooked in a water bath, the quiches are not dry at all, hold their shape well for serving, and taste like little bites of salsa custard.  They keep in the refrigerator and reheat well, too.

Note:  If you’re not doing a Whole30 and don’t have a problem with dairy, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups of half and half for the coconut milk and water.  I imagine a nice mild cheese, shredded, would also be a good addition, but the recipe is absolutely wonderful just as written.  I will make these again.

Fiesta Mini-Quiches
Fiesta Mini-Quiches
Fiesta Mini-Quiches
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large roasted sweet red pepper, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 large roasted poblano pepper, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. Whisk the eggs, coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin in a large bowl until well-blended. Stir in the peppers, onion and tomato. Divide the egg/pepper mixture evenly between the 12 cups of the muffin pan.
  3. Pour an inch of hot water into a glass baking dish large enough to hold the muffin pan; set the muffin pan carefully in the hot water. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of one of the quiches comes out clean.
  4. Place the muffin pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 140 calories, 11.6g total fat, 124mg cholesterol, 465mg sodium, 243mg potassium, 5.1g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 1.1g sugar, 5.7g protein

 

Apple Mustard Pork Chops

Not too long ago, we decided to buy a FoodSaver vacuum system – mainly because our pastured chickens just come to us in plastic bags.  This is mostly an issue because our poultry farmer only raises broilers during the summer – we buy the chickens six at a time and keep them in the freezer to have all year long (he processes the birds six times over the course of the summer months, so that’s 36 chickens, all told).  Buy the time spring rolled around earlier this year, the last couple of chickens were showing signs of minor freezer burn.

So, we got the FoodSaver.  What we didn’t realize when we bought it (via Amazon) was that it came with several plastic containers along with the bags.  One is specifically for marinating; faced with a small pork loin roast with which I had no idea what to do, I cut it into chops and decided to use the marinating container to, well, marinate.

There was apple juice leftover from the company picnic, spicy brown mustard in the fridge and fresh rosemary in the herb garden.  I whisked it all together, seasoned the chops with salt and pepper, popped them in the container, poured in the marinade, slapped on the lid, attached the hose, and sucked all the air out for 20 minutes.  (Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea).  Then I pan-fried those puppies up to a nice medium – and you know what?  They were really good.  Both Beloved and The Young One went back for seconds.

Winner, winner, pork chop dinner.

Note:  I realize not everyone has access to a vacuum thingie, so the recipe gives a more standard marinade instruction.  If you don’t eat pork, this would be really nice with chicken.

Apple Mustard Pork Chops
Apple Mustard Pork Chops
Apple Mustard Pork Chops
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lard or other cooking fat
Instructions
  1. Rub the pork chops with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the apple juice, mustard and rosemary until well-blended. Place the pork chops in a heavy, re-sealable gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and seal; marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.
  3. Bring the pork chops to room temperature. Melt the lard in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Remove the chops from the bag; discard the marinade.
  4. Sear the pork chops until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Lower the temperature to medium-low; cover and continue to cook until the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145 F, about 7 minutes. Remove the chops from the skillet; cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 238 calories, 12.5g total fat, 80mg cholesterol, 107.3mg sodium, 473.6mg potassium, 5.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 4g sugar, 24.8g protein

 

Crab Deviled Eggs

It’s Day 22 of the Whole30 – the end is in sight!  The end is in sight!

Actually, it hasn’t been that hard.  In fact, it really hasn’t been hard at all.  Yesterday I had 3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil and 3 mugs of coffee with coconut milk for breakfast, leftovers for lunch (pork meatballs and kale cooked in a red curry-coconut sauce) and for dinner we had stuffed bell peppers, summer squash sauteed in ghee and a salad of fresh tomatoes from our garden and watermelon.  It was all pretty delicious, actually.

At any rate, today’s recipe is one of the dishes I took to our company picnic last Saturday.  I made two kinds – standard deviled eggs, and these – and these were by far one of the most popular dishes of the picnic.  We had a few of the regular deviled eggs left over; I think one of these was left.

As deviled egg recipes go, this one is pretty good, and there is plenty of filling; if I remember correctly, I had some left over, which Beloved devoured with a spoon.  Make sure and buy the best quality of canned crab you can find; it will just taste better.  However, if you find the crab has a bit of a “fishy” smell, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and pat dry before mixing it into the egg yolk mixture.

Crab Deviled Eggs
Crab Deviled Eggs
Crab Deviled Eggs
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup lump crab meat, picked over
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; reserve both the yolks and the whites.
  2. Mashing with a fork, combine the yolks with the mayonnaise, pickle, celery, onion and Old Bay seasoning until well blended. Stir in the crab; taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the crab mixture into the reserved egg whites and arrange on a platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not serving immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 188 calories, 16.3g total fat, 212.4mg cholesterol, 156.8mg sodium, 107.4mg potassium, 1.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 8.6g protein

Crab Cake Benedict

Happy Monday, y’all!  The weekend was busy, as ususal – we had our company picnic Saturday.  As usual, the company provides the meat (traditionally hot dogs and hamburgers), drinks and condiments, while employees are encouraged to bring a side dish and/or dessert.  We bought 5 pounds of grass-fed ground beef for the burgers from our friends at Whitefeather Meats and several packages of Applegate Farms Great Organic Beef Hot Dogs from our local natural foods store, plus sprouted whole wheat buns for those who wanted bread.

I took deviled eggs (more on that later this week), Sweet Potato Salad (made Whole30 compliant – I subbed home-canned garlic dill pickles for the bread and butter) and a Melon Salad.  Our employees, bless their hearts, kept our diet in mind and brought, by and large, healthy side dishes; some Whole30 compliant, some not, and there wasn’t a single dessert in sight.  No one seemed to miss it, and when it was all said and done, we’d largely destroyed the paleo food, and left the less-than-desirable stuff pretty much alone.

I’d call that a win.

I spent Sunday pressure-canning 21 pints of beef bone broth; other than that we were pretty lazy and mostly ate leftovers from the picnic.  I did make brunch, though – we had some lump crab in the refrigerator I needed to use, so I thought crab cakes for breakfast sounded interesting.  It wasn’t much of a leap to think that topping it with an over-easy egg might be nice and before I knew it I was contemplating Hollandaise Sauce.  My standard Hollandaise recipe calls for butter, a no-no on Whole30, so I decided to try to make the sauce with ghee.

The result was this dish.  I really enjoyed it, and I’m generally not overly fond of Eggs Benedict; Beloved devoured two huge helpings (he loves all things Benedict, so I wasn’t surprised).  Crab cakes are now officially breakfast food in our home.

In the interest of transparency, my Hollandaise sauce “broke” – I added the melted ghee to the egg yolks too quickly, I think – but a quick blitz with an immersion blender took care of that quite nicely.  You can also poach the eggs, if you like, but I just wasn’t up to that; an over easy egg works just as well and is far less work.  The finely chopped tarragon added a lovely note to the dish, too – I just love having an herb garden.

Note:  You’ll notice from the calorie and fat content this is NOT “diet food.”  It’s not meant to be; it’s certainly not something you’ll eat every day, no matter how delicious (and delicious it is).  However, both are probably overstated – it’s highly unlikely you will use all of the Hollandaise sauce.

Crab Cake Benedict
Crab Cake Benedict
Crab Cake Benedict
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=14069″ target=”_blank”]Gluten-Free Crab Cakes[/url]
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 3 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • 1 cup clarified butter or ghee, melted
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare the Gluten-Free Crab Cakes per the recipe instructions; set aside and keep warm.
  2. Bring two inches of water to a simmer in the bottom half of a double boiler. Whisk the eggs with the cold water in the top half until light and foamy. Add a few drops of lemon juice and continue whisking over the simmering water until the egg yolks have begun to thicken.
  3. Begin whisking the clarified butter into the egg yolks slowly – just a few drops at a time. As an emulsion forms, begin adding the butter in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Once the butter has been completely incorporated into the egg yolks and the sauce is smooth and thickened, add the remaining lemon juice and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.
  4. Melt the tablespoon of ghee in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Crack the 3 eggs carefully into the pan and cook until the egg whites have set. With a large, thin, flexible spatula carefully flip the eggs, taking care not to break the yolks. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Place each crab cake on a plate and top with one over-easy egg. Drizzle with some Hollandaise Sauce and top with 1 teaspoon of chopped tarragon each.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 689 calories, 62.6g total fat, 519.1mg cholesterol, 1031.3mg sodium, 404.7mg potassium, 10.4g carbohydrates, 4.1g fiber, 2.4g sugar, 23.3g protein