Main Dishes, Pork, Recipes

Blackberry Mustard Marinade

porkEven though I’m not a big meat-lover like my husband, I still enjoy it. Before we were married, my main staple meat dishes were lasagna, meatloaf, tacos, and grilled chicken or chicken cooked with ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. Tasty, right? Umm… no, not so much anymore. Since getting married, I have come to embrace more diverse meat dishes, and have become more experimental in cooking [instead of just with baking, as before]. One of these “more diverse meat dishes” is what I affectionately call, the big hunk of meat. Pork or beef, it doesn’t matter. To me, a big hunk of meat is the same amount of work [and I’m sure this is blasphemous to some–tastes the same], no matter what type it is. So, in order to flavor up the meat, I’ve taken to some experimental marinades, using what we have in the pantry and fridge, instead of buying a pre-mixed marinade or a lot of complex ingredients. Fruit and mustard sauces are a classic counterpart to pork, since they play off each other so well. This blackberry mustard marinade is really simple and really tasty. Feel free to mix up the type of preserves or mustard used, but try to stay with good quality ingredients because that’s what really adds the depth of flavor.

Blackberry Mustard Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup good quality, all-natural blackberry preserves
  • 1/4 cup good quality, grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients and rub on a 1 1/2-2 pound pork roast, and prepare as desired. Here’s what I did.

  1. I chopped two apples into slices and laid them out in the bottom of a crock pot, and covered them with 1 cup of water.
  2. I rubbed the marinade on the pork roast and seasoned the whole thing with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Then, I cooked the whole pork roast on low for about 8 hours until it was so tender it fell to pieces! Delicious! You could also use the marinade to cook the pork in the oven in a roaster.

Click here for the printable version: Blackberry Mustard Marinade

Question of the Day: How do you feel about ‘big hunks of meat’? [sorry, vegetarians!]

Chicken, One Tablespoon Testosterone, Recipes

OTT: Lime-Soy Chicken

A delightfully easy, flavorful chicken dish… it’s always a hit!

Lime Soy Chicken | thepajamachef.comThis has become one of my favorite dishes.  My wife first made it early in our marriage and it’s one of those recipes that’s stuck like oatmeal scone batter to a mixing bowl.  It’s got three of my favorite flavors in it.  I love citrus, so you’ve got lime.  I love Asian flavors and soy sauce is excellent.  And it’s got red pepper flakes for some kick, and I do love spicy food.  But this isn’t too spicy, so don’t let that scare you off.  Plus, you can always tweak it to your tastes.  But anyhow, this is a rich in strong flavor dish that delights your sense of taste.  Unfortunately, my latest attempt at it hardly delighted the sense of sight so there’s room for improvement.  Presentation is perhaps my greatest culinary flaw.  I suspect my wife would agree.

Lime-Soy Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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adapted from an unknown magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (unless for some reason you enjoy boning and skinning the chicken breasts yourself…which would make you weird)

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl (except the chicken of course).  Then marinate the chicken in it for at least 30 minutes to an hour, although I’m a big fan of overnight marinating.  The more the time those flavors have to absorb into the meat, the better.  Now it’s time to fire up your grill (or you could just broil it in the oven).  When it’s ready, place your flavor-infused chicken breasts on the grill and cook.  Unless you’re using a George Foreman (which at this time of year you should be…unless you live in the south or west in which case you can use the time waiting for your outside grill to fire up to contemplate what it would be like to experience the weather phenomenon most of us call “seasons”), turn the chicken after several minutes.  When the sweet sweet juices run clear, your chicken is done.  Remove from grill and enjoy.  It can be served with any tasty vegetable such as fresh green beans or roasted potatoes.  I served it most recently with a cilantro lime barley.  This was basically just barley cooked in chicken broth, with lime juice and cilantro added.  Also try adding bacon.  I haven’t tried this, but bacon makes everything better so I don’t see how it could hinder this either.

Question of the Day: With Thanksgiving just around the corner, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Mine is turkey, covered in gravy. Mmmm… or really, anything covered in gravy, except cranberry sauce; that would just be gross. Side note: my wife hates gravy. I don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Recipes, Sauces

Apple City Barbecue Sauce

If I had to pick a favorite condiment, barbecue sauce would be the one! It is so versatile. I love putting barbecue sauce on anything and everything, from pasta salad to burgers to french fries to salads. So when I was visiting my parents for a weekend recently and we had a little baking/cooking day, I jumped at the chance to make homemade barbecue sauce for our oven ribs. And boy was I glad I did.

Mike Mills' Apple City Barbecue Sauce | thepajamachef.com
din-din

This barbecue sauce is so much better than the bottled stuff, and even easier than I imagined–just throw it in a pot and cook away! I bet it would be really easy to make in a small crock pot too. I loved the distinct flavor of apples coupled with a bit of spicy kick. This is a barbecue sauce I can definitely see making again, especially during apple season. Be sure and try it soon–you won’t be disappointed!

Mike Mills' Apple City Barbecue Sauce | thepajamachef.com
Look at that sauce!

Mike Mills' Apple City Barbecue Sauce

  • Servings: approximately 2 1/2 cups
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from Mike Mills’ Peace, Love, and Barbecue

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled [if you don’t eat bacon for whatever reason, feel free to omit this–I think it would be fine without it]
  • 1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green pepper, finely chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients except apple, onion, and green pepper in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine, then boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Fold in apple, onion, and green pepper, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook over a simmer for about 30-60 minutes, or until apple, onion, and green pepper are softened and sauce is thickened to desired consistency.

Let cool and puree in a blender or food processor for maximum smoothness, if desired. We left it chunky but texture-phobic people may not like that. 🙂

Use to marinate meat or serve with pulled pork, shredded chicken, ribs, tofu, etc.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite condiment?