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Recover the American kitchen.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

ALOHA from the A-ZONE. Chef Nick's Hawaiian pulled pork.

It's 109 degrees today. I'm firing up KEN the WEBER. I cook with charcoal. Long and slow. Let's cook outside and tell the utility companies to go ef themselves. 
 Yes, this will take all your daylight today but you can feed an army with it. 
 Sweet and spicy. Savory and fruity. Grab the bag of charcoal and let's go. 

 What we are doing today is a long, slow almost BBQ process with a chunk of pork. Add some asian accents with tropical fruit and O YEAH DADDY. We are cooking poor, eating rich. 


Mise en place:

a 3 to 5 pound chunk of pork. Usually I use shoulder but today I used a loin roast. WHY? 'cus that's what they had. Look for good marbling or a thick fat cap. 
A big couple pinches of 5-spice powder.  Oh Crap. You're going to ask me what that is. Look for it in your local grocery store's spice section. Bull, make it yourself. It's easy. Chinese 5-spice always includes cinnamon, ground cloves, ground star-anise, ground nutmeg and ground ginger. Whatever. I always include ground cumin and chili powder. Just 'cus I'm a Chef and I can. If you like please use what you found at your local grocery store. 
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
One big sliced sweet onion. You laugh at us but Arizona has some of the best sweet onions on the planet. 
One sliced red bell pepper. Today my local farmer's market had crap in peppers so I used one orange. So can you. DO NOT DO NOT use green. Ok it's fine, go ahead and use green but don't say I didn't warn you. 
One can of pineapple chunks. Drain juice from chunks. Use juice for now but save chunks for later. 
1/2 cup good Soy Sauce
1/2 cup commercial teriyaki sauce. Look, there's lots of good ones. Refuse the crap that contains MSG or anything artificial. 

For later
1/2 cup spanish peanuts
pineapple chunks (from the can earlier)
2-3 fresh bananas, sliced. 

MEN, light up your charcoal, girls pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Girlie-men, light your propane grills and hide behind your women. Bitches. 

Let's get started.

Rub kosher salt and black pepper onto your pork. Then rub a big pinch of 5-spice onto both sides. 
I use an aluminum pan for this. Plus wrap

In the pan add the onion, pepper, teriyaki, pineapple juice from the can and soy sauce. 
just dump it on

Wrap in tin-foil. Place it onto your coals. Put the lid on. Ladies, put it into the oven at 325 degrees. Girlie-men, put it on the low-heat side. Let it go.  

Now wait for 4-5 hours. Test it with a meat-fork. Stab it into the center. Any resistance means it ain't done. Let it go until....

It's done. Right?

Right. 
It looks like this

Let it cool down until you can handle it. Put into a large bowl. If you are weird about using hands then use two long-tined forks and shred it. Pull all those meat-threads apart. 
what happened to all those onion and peppers? They dissolved.

Once shredded add all your pineapple chunks, bananas and peanuts. Stir around.

Crunchy and meaty, sweet and salty.

I served it with cole-slaw and sweet-potato fries. We are cooking poor, eating rich. 

Go get your grub on. CIAO.












Saturday, July 2, 2011

July in Phoenix sucks. Let's have Christmas instead.

 July in Phoenix is a unique experience. While the rest of the country is reveling in the warmth of summer we are hiding in our homes with the AC cranked up. It's brutal. Today it's 117, might reach 119. Luckily I have beer.

 8 months of the year Arizona is heaven, the other four is that other place.

 Let's leave that for now and talk about the best time of year in the A-ZONE.

Christmas.

 Winters here are bliss. While the rest of the northern hemisphere is shivering we are hanging lights in shorts and t-shirts.
*shifting gears*

 My Mom makes the best Christmas cookies in the entire universe. I bugged her for years to give me her recipes and last year ( bless her heart) she FINALLY relented and gave me one of the best presents ever. A box filled with copies of all her secrets. I love my Mom. One of her best are her rum-balls.
 RUM BALLS YEAH !!!
 Ok so I took it up a notch and came up with these.

I call them CHEF NICK'S REINDEER POOP !!!

easy no bake cookies

1 package of chocolate wafers (2 cups packed), Nabisco brand, pulverize to powder in a food-processor.
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup of candy-cane liqueur , I used BOLL'S
for the rolling
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup pulverized candy cane, use your food-processor



Pulverize is a cool word. It means to reduce to a powder. DO IT.
add the corn syrup and candy-cane liqueur and stir together, it's a paste.

combine your powdered sugar and pulverized candy-cane in a separate bowl, get ready for it

Now, by hand, roll your chocolate mess into balls. Yes it's sticky. Use some ice-water on your hands and keep going.

Let the balls rest for 'bout 30 minutes. Then roll them in your combined candy-cane and powdered sugar mess. Let them dry for a day on wax-paper.

That's it, you're done. My family got these as presents last Christmas. Thanks Mom. You inspire me everyday. Now just chill. We cook poor but eat rich. 
Get your grub on, Ciao


my super cute tree

Mom and Dad gave me my nutcracker when I  was very young.  I still love him.