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Pork Carnitas

September 17, 2019

 

If there was an award give to a food for the least amount of work for the most amount of bang, it would have to be these pork carnitas.

With about 15 minutes of prep time in the morning, you can literally feed a crow with all the delicious flavors of street tacos. The flavors are built up by the citrus, garlic, and spices and then linger low and slow for a while in the crockpot. All the fattiness from the meat gets cut by toppings like pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese.

I love to make these on sports Saturdays when we are running around to different fields but really want to come home and relax. With bigger kids, my favorite slow cooking on Saturday evenings, sipping wine is not a reality. I’m not complaining though because football under the lights with popcorn is a pretty cool family event and the games are so exciting to watch! I still want to eat yummy food when I come home though of course.

Enter festive crock pot dinners. I throw these flavors into a crock pot – the spices I combine in a small bowl and then sprinkle over the whole pork shoulder. If you want a leaner cut of meat use the boneless pork shoulder blade roast, but I usually use the pork shoulder picnic.

Also don’t mind my dented crock pot. I have no idea how it got dented but I blame kids.

It’s important to keep turning the roast as it cooks so the flavors are easily distributed.

When it’s done, you shred the meat (which goes very quickly since it’s SO tender) and lay it on a baking sheet. Then you turn on your broiler, and let it brown up for 5-10 minutes, watching closely. Then I like to channel my inner food truck owner and lay out all the fixings.

Everyone can make their own taco with their favorite toppings (read: picky eaters are happy). This is a great meal to share so invite some friends over and throw some cold drinks on ice. A perfect and easy Saturday night meal.

 

 

Hope you and your crew get to try these soon! They’re so so good.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Pork Carnitas

Ingredients:

2 onions, sliced

3-4 lb. pork shoulder picnic or 2-3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast

3 T salt

1 t. pepper

2 bay leaves

1 T cumin

1 T oregano

1 T chili powder

1 t. cinnamon

6 garlic cloves

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of 2 limes

Directions:

Place sliced onions in the bottom of a slow cooker set to high.

Place pork on top of onions. Combine all spices in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the top of the pork. Add chopped garlic, juice of orange and lime.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10.

Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce

August 20, 2019

Hello00 food friends! If you are still reading this blog after the super silent summer here, thank you! I spent the summer being the general manager for a kitchen remodel and general move out due to floors being redone, as well as focusing on my super cute offspring up at our lakehouse (that doubles as a ski house in the winter). I spent a lot of time researching recipes and dreaming about all the food I’ll make this fall in our new kitchen, so I hope there are a lot of good things to come here on The Humble Onion. I want to make all the delicious but easy dinners with new flavors, so if you’re looking for that sort of thing, keep checking back.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a picture of our kitchen – we are waiting on new counters and backsplash so I’ll wait until they are done to do a blog post about it but here is a sneak peak:

My first meal in our new kitchen was grass-fed burgers, and it was SUCH a thrill to hear the smoke alarm go off, then turn on our new blower in our hood…and hear the alarm shut right off. Any of you who have lived through this knows how stressful it is to set off your alarm all the time when you’re cooking. (Pro tip: we lived with a shower cap over our smoke alarm for almost a year and it kept it from going off when I cooked.) Also, here is where I remind you you don’t need a gourmet kitchen to make good food. I cooked at our camp kitchen all summer and was just as inspired. 

Ok, my second meal was this Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce. I wanted something easy, healthy, but full of flavor and I had been craving salmon. I love Ina Garten’s Roast Salmon with Herbs and had made it before, so I thought I’d make the fish in a similar way, but loaded with the fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes on the vine, and asparagus all on the same sheet pans. I was also craving something creamy – and this lemon dill cream sauce couldn’t be easier.

This sauce soaked into all the lemon, olive oil, and tomatoes juices and mashed into the potatoes nicely. Every bite was delicious and kept having to remind myself how easy this dinner was. The best part was it kept well on the stove so my husband and son could load up when they got home from football. Yup, conditioning has started, so goodbye lazy summer dinners and hello taking turns to eat, coordinating rides, and making big dinners for a hungry teenager.

This meal starts with salt and peppering your salmon, then adding lemon juice and olive oil and letting it marinate on the counter while you prep the rest of the food. Then you add herbs…you can add others that you like like parsley or chives.

I made two sheet pans to give the veggies room to cook. I tossed the veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper and then nestled in the filets.

One Note: If you prefer your potatoes crispy, you can cook them on a separate sheet pan, and place in the oven 5-8 minutes before the fish and veggies. I poured the lemon and olive oil marinade over everything which made them soft and able to mash with your fork to pick up all the juices on your plate, which I loved.

Then they roasted for…wait for it…12 minutes. It was super fast, just enough time to pull together the cream sauce. For my littles who don’t like salmon, I did cook a turkey kielbasa and they were thrilled.

The result was a super fast, super yummy dinner. It was seriously easy and restaurant level delicious. The tart acid from the tomato juices mix with the meaty salmon, fresh herbs, and creamy lemon dill sauce, so every bit is fresh and light and full of flavor. The potatoes help make this a stick the ribs comfort food dish.

I can’t wait to make this again, and neither can my husband and big kids. We loved it I hope you do too.

Happy Eating, Katie xoxo

 

Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce

Ingredients

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) skinless salmon fillet

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (4 scallions)

1/2 cup minced fresh dill

1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1 quart cherry tomatoes

For the sauce:

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1/2 sour cream

juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 T)

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillet in a non-reactive dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the scallions and dill. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet.

Divid vegetables on two sheet pans, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (about 2 T. of olive oil for each sheet pan). Nestle salmon in the middle of the veggies and then place in the oven.

Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until salmon is almost cooked in the center at the thickest part and the potatoes are soft when you insert a knife and the center of the salmon is firm. Cook 1-2 more minutes if needed.

While it cooks, mix together the dill cream sauce by combining the creme fraiche, sour cream, lemon juice and fresh dill with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and set aside until serving.

 

 

Summer Lovin’

July 4, 2017

I can’t believe it is already the 4th of July!

I haven’t had my usual rhythm of recipe developing, cooking, and snapping picks of recipes between my book coming out (thank you, thank you for all the messages about buying one or receiving one in the mail, such a joy that there are so many people reading it this summer!), this pregnancy fatigue, kids home from school that I am just drinking in, and my desire to eat nothing but watermelon, cherries, and good bread with good cheese. (Not a bad summer menu at all). So in these slow, lovely days, I thought I would share with you a few of the things I am loving right now.

We are up north at our condo in the White Mountains, but before we left we headed to the beach with friends and watched the fireworks. Now we are jumping in rivers (the kids not me) catching up on reading and blogging (me not the kids) and will head to beautiful Echo Lake here in North Conway for swimming and picnicking later today. And I brought up corn for dinner, so hoping to turn it into this:

This Mexican Street Corn was made my by sister last weekend and it is the best thing I have put in my mouth. Leftovers should be cut off the cob and mixed with the creamy sauce made from crème fraîche, lime juice, and seasoning, which is how I first had street corn at a Mexican restaurant, served in a bowl, lavishly dolloped onto the tacos I was eating. I can’t adequately express how much I dream of a bowl of this with all those smoky, creamy, citrus salty flavors. You can find the recipe she used by Tyler Florence at The Food Network here.

1. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

I am spending our vacation week reading this memoir about the Chef of Prune restaurant in NYC and her Souther Roots. A chef friend of mine recommended it to me (and the next book below). On top of being an amazing chef (you can catch her on The Mind of a Chef Season 4) she is a phenomenal writer to boot. There is something about the allure of southern food that is so fascinating, but this one transcends even that into a universal food experience. From the description on Amazon: “The constant thread running through this patchwork tale, which culminates with the opening of her New York City restaurant, Prune, is Hamilton’s slow simmering passion for cooking and the comfort it can bring.” Amen, sister.

2. Since I am on a Southern kick, I am also reading slowly this huge book, Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard:

This book, which I have just started to get into, is epic, a masterpiece filled with stories of Deep Run, an area in Eastern North Carolina. It is part memoir, part cookbook, and the recipes are organized by ingredient and dish type. Her recipes are seriously the most interesting combos, so inventive, and it is driven by her use of things grown around her. Her restaurant Chef and the Farmer opened because her family told her that if she would come back to her home in Kingston, North Carolina, they would buy her a restaurant, and she has since put her hometown on the culinary map. You can also find her on TV, on PBS series A Chef’s Life.  It is so interesting to see how she treats the south the way foodies treat regions in France or Italy, with the local ingredients prized and cherished. No matter that their local ingredients are pork, shrimp, corn, blueberries, and peaches.  A far cry from truffles and wine and olive oil. But her recipes include Blueberry BBQ Pork,  Cheesy Grit Fritters (yes, please), and Charred Spring Vegetables with Creamy Scallion Dressing and Hushpuppy Croutons (I have to make this: stay tuned as it might be worthy of its own blog post).

With sections titled ‘An Ode To Seasoning Meat’ and ‘How to Can in a Hot Water Bath’, Howard is my favorite kind of cook: the kind who shares all her secrets, like you are cooking right next to her. She is all heart and passion and obsession, and no pretense.

3. These sandals from Target:

I can’t even tell you how much I love these! They are so so comfortable – my pregnant self might have walked around StoryLand, an amusement park up here in the mountains, for 4 hours yesterday and they were a dream. (I then had to take a 2 hour nap, but that is not the sandals fault).

4. Watermelon Everything.

(photo from The Minimalist Baker)

I keep telling friends that my cravings of things I am missing this pregnancy are tied for a margarita and a nice, long run. But I can have lots of watermelon, so I am eating my fill. I am sharing this recipe for a Watermelon Margarita from the Minimalist Baker as it only has 3 ingredients (watermelon, lime juice, tequila) because I can have it if I make it with only the first 2 ingredients. Yay.

5. Salmon Everything.

(photo from Gimme Some Oven)

These babies have been craving good fats (like salmon and avocado) and really averse to bad fats (like french fries). Good job, babies. The sweet and smoky combo of Honey and Grainy Mustard is my favorite way to prepare it and this recipe from Gimme Some Oven is super easy and quick.

6. Avocado Everything:

I love it with just salt and good olive oil on it, but this Caprese Breakfast Toast is a combo of my summer favorites. So many light flavors, so little time.

7. If you have any corn that doesn’t get snatched up by your Mexican Street Corn obsession, this Corn, Tomato and Basil salad is my most favorite summer recipe to have in the fridge.

(photo from davidlebovitz.com)

David Leibovitz’s has long been one of my favorite food writers (his book My Paris Kitchen and The Sweet Life of Paris  and food blog are classics, and he is so much fun to follow on Instagram). But even though he has lived in Paris for so long and has a background in baking and patisserie, this all-American salad is one of my favorite recipes of his.

Ok, I’m off to pack up a picnic for the lake. Happy 4th, hope you are enjoying beautiful blue skies and lots of friends and family. Happy Eating!

xoxo, Katie

Blood Orange Salad

June 1, 2017

This season you can find Blood Oranges in the grocery stores, and if you have ever wondered what to do with them (besides juice them and turn them into sangria or buy some of the packaged fizzy blood orange drinks and also turn them into sangria) this salad will help you out. They are segmented for the salad and used in the dressing, and their unique flavor just permeates this salad. But even if they weren’t in season I would still be craving them since I can’t seem to get enough fruit, especially citrus. (I may have eaten 2 of these salads in a row and then ate a grapefruit.)

They taste like sweet oranges, and have a gorgeous jewel color:

I love the combination of citrus fruit, goat cheese, (or blue or feta) crunchy nuts and vinegary dressing. So think of this as a template, and feel free to swap the blood orange for grapefruit or oranges, and use your favorite cheese and nuts. I used Marcona Almonds with Rosemary from Trader Joes, but I am guessing that ingredient is going to be pretty hard to find elsewhere. But I have to say, there rosemary was a really good note in this salad. So feel free to mix plain Marconas with some of this herb to eat alone or add to salad.

The dressing is really easy. Once you get the hang of making vinaigrettes, it suddenly feels so freeing and the possibilities seem endless. Basics are a 3:1 ratio oil to acid, but I actually prefer mine a little lighter and usually keep it 2:1. But the official stance on vinaigrettes is 3:1. If you want a little ‘tutorial’ I just found this post  ‘7 Tips for Making the Perfect Vinaigrette’  that is really helpful, I highly recommend looking it over if you are curious about making your own salad dressing.

I used both blood orange and red wine vinegar here, Dijion, salt and pepper are a must, since you are usually trying to season a lot of veggies and salt brings out all the other flavors. And I found that often times when my vinaigrette needed something it was usually a little sweetness to counter-balance the acidity, and a little Agave syrup or sugar does the trick.

This is such a great first course to a dinner party, or to make a big salad for a party. But it is also great for lunch for 1 or 2, and I have kept the recipe to serve 2. Don’t wait for an invitation to make this – it is too good!

 

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Blood Orange Salad (printer version here): 

Ingredients for Dressing:

Juice from 1 blood orange (2 T)

1 T red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon

1 tsp. agave syrup

S&P

1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients for 2 Salad Servings:

2 blood orange segmented

4 c. Mixed Greens

2 oz goat cheese

1/2 cup Marcona almonds

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together for dressing, saving oil for the last. Stream oil in, whisking as it is added. Taste with a piece of lettuce to check for seasonings, adding more in needed.

Assemble salad with greens on the bottom. Add dressing just before serving.