Thursday, January 27, 2011

CrockPot Carnitas

This recipe gets a thumbs up from my sweet hubby. I think he'd be ok if we ate this 4 out of 5 nights of the week (with the fifth night being homemade pizza). That's fine with me, because I love making carnitas! For those of you who haven't had them before, carnitas is just cooked, seasoned pork. Think of it like a pork taco!

Recipes don't get much easier than this.

2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground corriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (this is NOT optional--trust me, it makes the dish!)
1 (3 to 4lb) Boston Butt pork roast
2-3 bay leaves
salt to taste (1-2 tsp should do fine)

Now for the directions:

1. Put meat in the crockpot and rub seasonings in.

2. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 7-8 hours. (Note: you're just wanting to cook it till it's falling apart tender. Some crock pots cook more quickly than others do, so the cooking times are approximate).

3. When done, shred the meat and serve with tortillas, sour cream, cheese, and your choice of hot sauce!

See? I told you it was easy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Bars

If you've read any of my other posts, you know that I like to tinker with recipes. A substitution here, an addition there, it's all part of the fun!

Today's recipe is one that requires no tinkering, mostly because I made it myself. That's right, folks! My very own creation! Of course, the inspiration came from other places.

My lovely friend served us this amazing pie last year. I have a thing for cranberries--more than a passing interest, but less than an obsession--and her pie was my first experience with cranberries in a pie. What a revelation!

So this morning when I started trying to think of something snacky to take to game night, I remembered the pie. Since pie is typically not a finger food, I decided that a little experiment was in order. Could I turn a pie into a finger food?

For the crust, I decided to do standard bar cookie base.

For the cookie base:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together. Then, using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pieces

until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Work with your hands until the dough begins to stick together. Press into a 13x9 pan, lined with greased foil, and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes (just until the middle begins to firm up).

Take out the pan, but leave the oven on. Now make the filling!

For the filling:
3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and dump on the crust, spreading everything out evenly.

Last step is to make the topping.

For the topping:
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 tbs flour

Mix together and drizzle over the crust.

Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or so, until the topping begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool in the pan. When completely cool, lift the bars out and cut into squares with a sharp knife.

These cookies are amazing. The crust is crumbly and flaky. The topping is phenomenal. Best of all, you'll only get one bowl dirty (well, one bowl plus the pan you bake them in). Try them! You won't be disappointed.