Ruth Reichl's New Book - My Kitchen Year

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cover of My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life is a wonderful cookbook-cum-memoir by Ruth Reichl (it's pronounced RYE-shul, in case you've ever wondered - I looked it up :) Fans of Gourmet magazine will recall with sadness when parent company, Condé Nast abruptly pulled the plug on the magazine back in 2009. But our shock and dismay are but a pale shadow of  what Reichl, who had happily reigned as Editor in Chief for a decade, felt when she was unceremoniously told to clean out her desk.

What followed was a difficult year in which she wrestled with feelings of shock, grief, failure, guilt and confusion. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she says, “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

The result, My Kitchen Year is the silver lining of her soul searching - a treasure trove of bright, comforting, homey, and elegant foods that kept the darkness at bay when it threatened to engulf her.

Title page of My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I devoured the book in two days, finding myself marking almost every recipe for future reference. At a certain point, I stopped inserting post-it-notes and committed to the wiser course of simply keeping the book open on my cookbook stand and flipping through it regularly...

From shirred eggs to grilled cheese with shallots to congee to spicy Tuscan kale to potatoes au gratin to food cart curry chicken to linzer torte to chocolate cake, each recipe whet my appetite for more.

Linzer tort from My Kitchen Year, photo by Mikkel Vang

I've been a fan of Reichl's writing ever since I first read her memoir, Tender at the Bone back when we lived a few blocks' walk from both Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard in North Berkeley, shortly before our older son was born. It's all a bit hazy, to be honest (my mother-in-law calls the first decade or so of parenthood, "The Lost Years," which strikes me as wonderfully apt) but I do remember feeling that I'd found a kindred spirit in Reichl's honesty, compassion and deep love of food.

Potatoes au gratin from My Kitchen Year, photo by Mikkel Vang.

My Kitchen Year is a pleasure on every level - the short, descriptive vignettes (taken from her Twitter feed), the casual, evocative photographs by Mikkel Vang, the poetic and insightful prose and, of course, the recipes. The book also gets extra points for being written and photographed here in my beloved and beautiful Hudson Valley :)

Early in the book, Reichl includes a "Note on the Recipes" that lists the foods that she considers staples - things like capers, mayonnaise, soy sauce and many more. She then breaks the ingredients for each recipe out into "staples" versus the things you'll likely need to make a trip to the store for which she puts under "shopping list". Although I found this distinction a little distracting at first, it grew on me as I went along.

Staples page in My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Here's one of the (many) recipes I earmarked. It's one of the most humble recipes in the book but Reichl's preparation manages to elevate a simple grilled cheese sandwich into something both decadent and sophisticated that doubles as a hearty homage to the allium family.

"Grating cheddar. Shredding scallions. Slicing shallots. Tangled onto buttered bread, melted into a crisp-edged puddle. Lunch!" - @ruthreichl


This book does have one flaw though it's not in the contents - the binding is too stiff to allow the pages to stay open without being held firmly with two hands or a good cookbook stand (I am a huge fan of my cookbook stand and think everyone who cooks should have one.) But that's it!

-- print recipe --
The Diva Of Grilled Cheese from My Kitchen Year
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

Shopping List
* Leeks
* Scallions
* 1/4 lb cheddar cheese
* 2 slices sturdy sourdough bread

Staples
* Shallots
* 1 onion (any color)
* 1 clove garlic (minced)
* Butter
* Mayonnaise

Directions

1. Gather a group of shallots, leeks, scallions and an onion - as many members of the allium family as you have on hand - and chop them into a small heap. Add a minced clove of garlic. Grate a few generous handfuls of the best cheddar you can afford. (Montgomery is particularly appealing), set a little aside, and gently combine the rest with the onion mixture.

2. Butter one side of thickly sliced bread and heap as much of the mixture as possible between the slices. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread (this will keep it from scorching on the griddle). Press the reserved grated cheese to the outside of the bread, where it will create a wonderfully crisp and shaggy crust, giving your sandwich an entirely new dimension.

3. Fry on a heated griddle or in a skillet about 4 minutes a side, until the cheese is softly melted.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pork carnitas tacos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

There's something beautifully simple about braising a big hunk of meat in the slow cooker all day. Especially when said hunk of meat falls off the bone into tender shreds of flavorful, juicy carnivorous bliss that can then serve as the basis for several delicious meals.

You can use this meat in many ways but I kicked off my porcine journey with pork carnitas tacos for a small crowd of family and friends. I started by assembling the ingredients for the braising liquid - a combination of fresh orange juice, tomatoes, garlic, chipotles and spices.

Ingredients for pork carnitas by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I happened to have some exceptional tangelos courtesy of our friend, Phoebe, who sent us a crate from Florida. Their juice is remarkably flavorful - sweet and tangy at the same time in that hard to describe way of truly top-notch citrus.

Tangelo juice for the braising liquid by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

The chipotles come packed in adobo sauce in a can that I would buy for the label, alone. ¡Vive las morenas! But the peppers do add a wonderful smoky, spicy flavor to the meat.

Chopping the chipotles in adobo sauce by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I poured our last jar (sniff) of home-canned tomatoes into the slow cooker and added the garlic, the chipotles, the tangelo juice and half the salt. Then I turned to the pork shoulder, clipping its strings, and trimming away the excess fat before rubbing it all over with a mixture of ground cumin, cinnamon, oregano, sea salt and black pepper.

Rubbing the pork shoulder roast with cumin, salt, pepper, oregano and cinnamon before searing by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Although you can certainly skip this step and save yourself the trouble of washing another pot (as the recipe I was working off directed), I seared the roast in a Dutch oven for a few minutes on each side before I put it in the braising liquid in the slow cooker as it does give the flavor a nice little boost.

Searing the pork shoulder roast before slow cooking by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Once it was browned, I levered it out of the Dutch oven and put it in the  the slow cooker with the braising liquid where it bubbled away for about eight hours (more is fine), filling the house with mouth-watering smells. I turned it several times to ensure that it was submerged equally.

Putting the pork picnic roast in the slow cooker with the liquid by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Meanwhile, I put together a quick brine of apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and hot water. Then I got out my trusty mandoline and made short work of a red onion that I set aside to pickle for a few hours. I find that pickled onions make a great counterpoint to most things, especially meats.

Making pickled red onions by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Eight hours of cooking time leaves you ample time to prepare your fixings although certain things, like avocado, needs must wait until just before serving, of course.

Cilantro in the salad spinner by Eve Fox, the of Eating, copyright 2015

I happened to have a pineapple to hand because James, my three-year-old, had been hounding me to buy one for weeks and I had finally succumbed, whereupon he promptly lost interest in the manner of children the world over... But I cut it up into a fine dice and then turned the rest into virgin piña coladas which I served with the tacos. And both boys drained their glasses which I counted as a victory of sorts.

Pineapple halves by Pineapple and Coconut via Flickr, some rights reserved. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pineappleandcoconut/

Things were ratcheting up into the usual pre-dinner insanity that takes place here nightly when I took the pork shoulder out and we could not manage a photo of me going at the thing with two forks. But it yielded an impressive pile of tender, shredded meat.

Pork carnitas by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I warmed up a bunch of corn tortillas by placing stacks of five tortillas, wrapped in tinfoil, in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes and then leaving them in their foil until it was time to eat them - it worked beautifully. I served the pork carnitas alongside a cavalcade of bowls filled with fresh pineapple, chopped tomatoes, pickled onions, thinly sliced radishes, shredded purple cabbage, this wonderful salty lime mayo sauce, chunks of perfectly ripe avocado, a jar of our homemade salsa, and some lime wedges.

Each warm, little package of tender, flavorful meat was topped with zingy onions, buttery avocado, juicy chunks of sweet pineapple and the cool, fresh cilantro. I ate at least three...

Pork carnitas tacos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

As for the rest of the meat, barbecued pulled pork sandwiches are definitely in our future as well as maybe some kind of creamy polenta dish with pork. Hallelujah for multiple meals from one one mess in the kitchen.

The recipe below is adapted from Sarah Kate Gillingham's recipe on the Kitchn.

-- print recipe --
Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

* 1 (4-6 lb) pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston butt or pork butt) roast - bone-in yields the best flavor
* 3-4 cups of liquid (orange juice, beer, stock or some combination of those things )
* 1 quart of diced tomatoes or tomato purée
* 4 diced chipotle peppers in adobo (I used 2 because my kids don't like spicy food)
* 8 garlic cloves, smashed or pressed
* 2 Tbsps coarse sea salt
* 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1 Tbsp ground cumin
* 1 Tbsp dried oregano
* 2 tsps ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional/to taste - I left this out for the kiddos' sake)

Directions

1. Place half the salt and all of the other spices in a bowl and give a little stir to combine. Cut the strings and remove them from the roast. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat from the pork roast, then rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast. Heat a little bit of butter or bacon fat (I keep mine in a jar in the fridge) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the roast for several minutes on each side, until browned.

2. Place the tomatoes and liquid (juice, beer and/or stock), garlic, peppers and the rest of the salt in the slow cooker then add the browned roast and cook on low for roughly 8 hours, turning every few hours to ensure even cooking. You'll know the meat is done when it is falling off the bone.

3. Remove the meat from the cooker and let it sit on a cutting board or large plate until it's cool enough to handle safely. Using two forks, shred the meat and remove the bone. Save some of the cooking liquid to use for reheating and/or as a sauce. I actually saved all of mine and have frozen it to use next time I make this.

4. Serve the meat with warm corn tortillas, avocado, cilantro, radishes, pineapple, sour cream or lime mayo, tomatoes, pickled red onions, thinly sliced cabbage and the like.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

8 Soups To Warm Up Your Winter

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

8 warm & delicious winter soups from the Garden of Eating blog

Thanks to the revolving door of colds and coughs my kids bring home from school, I've been making quite a lot of soup. On the plus side, I love soup.

Some are old favorites while others, like this spicy red lentil soup with meyer lemon, are new favorites. Every one is warming and delicious. My advice to you is:
  • Save your vegetable scraps - they make great stock - details here; and
  • If you make more than you need, freeze what's left over - you'll be glad you did, especially next time you catch a cold and do not feel like cooking.
Swiss Chard, White Bean & Sausage Soup
This is one of those soups that is a meal in and of itself. Hearty and full of flavor, thanks in part to the vastly underutilized trick of saving your Parmesan cheese rinds to give your stock a huge boost. You can use kale in place of the chard - both are good. Simply skip the sausage if you want to make a vegetarian version.


Quick Coconut Vegetable Stew
This is a wonderful go-to meal that is packed with flavor and also wildly good for you. The vegetables are flexible but kabocha squash is one of my favorite additions because its dense, sweet flesh pairs so nicely with the warm curry powder and the rich coconut milk. Vegan to boot!


Creamy Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup
This is one of the most addictive soups I've ever eaten - it ranks right up there with my favoriteThai soup, tom kha gai. The nutty, mellow flavor of the roasted garlic is the perfect foil for potatoes' sweet starchiness. Add a little heavy cream and you are officially IN BUSINESS.


Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew
A perfect vegetarian meal packed with protein and flavor. The exotic flavors of the curry marry beautifully with both lentils and sweet potatoes. Whatever other veggies (carrots, etc.,) you want to add are just icing on the cake.


Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) & Sweet Potato Soup
I discovered this recipe as a result of Eatwell Farm, our old CSA back in Berkeley that helpfully included it in a share box that featured a big bag of sunchokes. At the time, I had no idea what they were or what to do with them so I took the easy way out and made the soup even though it sounded a little weird to me. But it was sooooo good - sweet, nutty and with a nice kick from the green garlic! Now I yearn for sunchokes and am thinking about planting a bunch in the spring even though I've been warned that they have thuggish tendencies and like to take over. Considering how tasty they are, that might not be the worst thing in the world...


Red Lentil Soup with Chili Paste & Meyer Lemon
This is my new favorite soup, inspired by a recent New York Times recipe. Like all lentil soups, it's quick, hearty and nutritious and the chili paste and lemon juice pack a nice little punch of flavor.


Winter Squash & Pear Soup with Sage
Pear adds a lovely, floral sweetness to the nutty squash and sage anchors the flavors with its earthy astringency. Add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche to make this extra rich and serve with peasant bread or brown rice and a green salad.


Curried Butternut Squash Soup
A super simple, super tasty (accidentally) vegan soup made with roasted butternut squash, creamy coconut milk and warm, exotic curry powder. You can't lose with this soup! If you're not a vegan, top with a little sour cream, crème fraîche or plain, whole milk yogurt.


You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ruth Reichl's New Book - My Kitchen Year

Cover of My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life is a wonderful cookbook-cum-memoir by Ruth Reichl (it's pronounced RYE-shul, in case you've ever wondered - I looked it up :) Fans of Gourmet magazine will recall with sadness when parent company, Condé Nast abruptly pulled the plug on the magazine back in 2009. But our shock and dismay are but a pale shadow of  what Reichl, who had happily reigned as Editor in Chief for a decade, felt when she was unceremoniously told to clean out her desk.

What followed was a difficult year in which she wrestled with feelings of shock, grief, failure, guilt and confusion. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she says, “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

The result, My Kitchen Year is the silver lining of her soul searching - a treasure trove of bright, comforting, homey, and elegant foods that kept the darkness at bay when it threatened to engulf her.

Title page of My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I devoured the book in two days, finding myself marking almost every recipe for future reference. At a certain point, I stopped inserting post-it-notes and committed to the wiser course of simply keeping the book open on my cookbook stand and flipping through it regularly...

From shirred eggs to grilled cheese with shallots to congee to spicy Tuscan kale to potatoes au gratin to food cart curry chicken to linzer torte to chocolate cake, each recipe whet my appetite for more.

Linzer tort from My Kitchen Year, photo by Mikkel Vang

I've been a fan of Reichl's writing ever since I first read her memoir, Tender at the Bone back when we lived a few blocks' walk from both Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard in North Berkeley, shortly before our older son was born. It's all a bit hazy, to be honest (my mother-in-law calls the first decade or so of parenthood, "The Lost Years," which strikes me as wonderfully apt) but I do remember feeling that I'd found a kindred spirit in Reichl's honesty, compassion and deep love of food.

Potatoes au gratin from My Kitchen Year, photo by Mikkel Vang.

My Kitchen Year is a pleasure on every level - the short, descriptive vignettes (taken from her Twitter feed), the casual, evocative photographs by Mikkel Vang, the poetic and insightful prose and, of course, the recipes. The book also gets extra points for being written and photographed here in my beloved and beautiful Hudson Valley :)

Early in the book, Reichl includes a "Note on the Recipes" that lists the foods that she considers staples - things like capers, mayonnaise, soy sauce and many more. She then breaks the ingredients for each recipe out into "staples" versus the things you'll likely need to make a trip to the store for which she puts under "shopping list". Although I found this distinction a little distracting at first, it grew on me as I went along.

Staples page in My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Here's one of the (many) recipes I earmarked. It's one of the most humble recipes in the book but Reichl's preparation manages to elevate a simple grilled cheese sandwich into something both decadent and sophisticated that doubles as a hearty homage to the allium family.

"Grating cheddar. Shredding scallions. Slicing shallots. Tangled onto buttered bread, melted into a crisp-edged puddle. Lunch!" - @ruthreichl


This book does have one flaw though it's not in the contents - the binding is too stiff to allow the pages to stay open without being held firmly with two hands or a good cookbook stand (I am a huge fan of my cookbook stand and think everyone who cooks should have one.) But that's it!

-- print recipe --
The Diva Of Grilled Cheese from My Kitchen Year
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

Shopping List
* Leeks
* Scallions
* 1/4 lb cheddar cheese
* 2 slices sturdy sourdough bread

Staples
* Shallots
* 1 onion (any color)
* 1 clove garlic (minced)
* Butter
* Mayonnaise

Directions

1. Gather a group of shallots, leeks, scallions and an onion - as many members of the allium family as you have on hand - and chop them into a small heap. Add a minced clove of garlic. Grate a few generous handfuls of the best cheddar you can afford. (Montgomery is particularly appealing), set a little aside, and gently combine the rest with the onion mixture.

2. Butter one side of thickly sliced bread and heap as much of the mixture as possible between the slices. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread (this will keep it from scorching on the griddle). Press the reserved grated cheese to the outside of the bread, where it will create a wonderfully crisp and shaggy crust, giving your sandwich an entirely new dimension.

3. Fry on a heated griddle or in a skillet about 4 minutes a side, until the cheese is softly melted.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos

Pork carnitas tacos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

There's something beautifully simple about braising a big hunk of meat in the slow cooker all day. Especially when said hunk of meat falls off the bone into tender shreds of flavorful, juicy carnivorous bliss that can then serve as the basis for several delicious meals.

You can use this meat in many ways but I kicked off my porcine journey with pork carnitas tacos for a small crowd of family and friends. I started by assembling the ingredients for the braising liquid - a combination of fresh orange juice, tomatoes, garlic, chipotles and spices.

Ingredients for pork carnitas by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I happened to have some exceptional tangelos courtesy of our friend, Phoebe, who sent us a crate from Florida. Their juice is remarkably flavorful - sweet and tangy at the same time in that hard to describe way of truly top-notch citrus.

Tangelo juice for the braising liquid by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

The chipotles come packed in adobo sauce in a can that I would buy for the label, alone. ¡Vive las morenas! But the peppers do add a wonderful smoky, spicy flavor to the meat.

Chopping the chipotles in adobo sauce by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I poured our last jar (sniff) of home-canned tomatoes into the slow cooker and added the garlic, the chipotles, the tangelo juice and half the salt. Then I turned to the pork shoulder, clipping its strings, and trimming away the excess fat before rubbing it all over with a mixture of ground cumin, cinnamon, oregano, sea salt and black pepper.

Rubbing the pork shoulder roast with cumin, salt, pepper, oregano and cinnamon before searing by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Although you can certainly skip this step and save yourself the trouble of washing another pot (as the recipe I was working off directed), I seared the roast in a Dutch oven for a few minutes on each side before I put it in the braising liquid in the slow cooker as it does give the flavor a nice little boost.

Searing the pork shoulder roast before slow cooking by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Once it was browned, I levered it out of the Dutch oven and put it in the  the slow cooker with the braising liquid where it bubbled away for about eight hours (more is fine), filling the house with mouth-watering smells. I turned it several times to ensure that it was submerged equally.

Putting the pork picnic roast in the slow cooker with the liquid by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Meanwhile, I put together a quick brine of apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and hot water. Then I got out my trusty mandoline and made short work of a red onion that I set aside to pickle for a few hours. I find that pickled onions make a great counterpoint to most things, especially meats.

Making pickled red onions by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

Eight hours of cooking time leaves you ample time to prepare your fixings although certain things, like avocado, needs must wait until just before serving, of course.

Cilantro in the salad spinner by Eve Fox, the of Eating, copyright 2015

I happened to have a pineapple to hand because James, my three-year-old, had been hounding me to buy one for weeks and I had finally succumbed, whereupon he promptly lost interest in the manner of children the world over... But I cut it up into a fine dice and then turned the rest into virgin piña coladas which I served with the tacos. And both boys drained their glasses which I counted as a victory of sorts.

Pineapple halves by Pineapple and Coconut via Flickr, some rights reserved. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pineappleandcoconut/

Things were ratcheting up into the usual pre-dinner insanity that takes place here nightly when I took the pork shoulder out and we could not manage a photo of me going at the thing with two forks. But it yielded an impressive pile of tender, shredded meat.

Pork carnitas by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

I warmed up a bunch of corn tortillas by placing stacks of five tortillas, wrapped in tinfoil, in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes and then leaving them in their foil until it was time to eat them - it worked beautifully. I served the pork carnitas alongside a cavalcade of bowls filled with fresh pineapple, chopped tomatoes, pickled onions, thinly sliced radishes, shredded purple cabbage, this wonderful salty lime mayo sauce, chunks of perfectly ripe avocado, a jar of our homemade salsa, and some lime wedges.

Each warm, little package of tender, flavorful meat was topped with zingy onions, buttery avocado, juicy chunks of sweet pineapple and the cool, fresh cilantro. I ate at least three...

Pork carnitas tacos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2016

As for the rest of the meat, barbecued pulled pork sandwiches are definitely in our future as well as maybe some kind of creamy polenta dish with pork. Hallelujah for multiple meals from one one mess in the kitchen.

The recipe below is adapted from Sarah Kate Gillingham's recipe on the Kitchn.

-- print recipe --
Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

* 1 (4-6 lb) pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston butt or pork butt) roast - bone-in yields the best flavor
* 3-4 cups of liquid (orange juice, beer, stock or some combination of those things )
* 1 quart of diced tomatoes or tomato purée
* 4 diced chipotle peppers in adobo (I used 2 because my kids don't like spicy food)
* 8 garlic cloves, smashed or pressed
* 2 Tbsps coarse sea salt
* 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1 Tbsp ground cumin
* 1 Tbsp dried oregano
* 2 tsps ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional/to taste - I left this out for the kiddos' sake)

Directions

1. Place half the salt and all of the other spices in a bowl and give a little stir to combine. Cut the strings and remove them from the roast. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat from the pork roast, then rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast. Heat a little bit of butter or bacon fat (I keep mine in a jar in the fridge) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the roast for several minutes on each side, until browned.

2. Place the tomatoes and liquid (juice, beer and/or stock), garlic, peppers and the rest of the salt in the slow cooker then add the browned roast and cook on low for roughly 8 hours, turning every few hours to ensure even cooking. You'll know the meat is done when it is falling off the bone.

3. Remove the meat from the cooker and let it sit on a cutting board or large plate until it's cool enough to handle safely. Using two forks, shred the meat and remove the bone. Save some of the cooking liquid to use for reheating and/or as a sauce. I actually saved all of mine and have frozen it to use next time I make this.

4. Serve the meat with warm corn tortillas, avocado, cilantro, radishes, pineapple, sour cream or lime mayo, tomatoes, pickled red onions, thinly sliced cabbage and the like.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

8 Soups To Warm Up Your Winter

8 warm & delicious winter soups from the Garden of Eating blog

Thanks to the revolving door of colds and coughs my kids bring home from school, I've been making quite a lot of soup. On the plus side, I love soup.

Some are old favorites while others, like this spicy red lentil soup with meyer lemon, are new favorites. Every one is warming and delicious. My advice to you is:
  • Save your vegetable scraps - they make great stock - details here; and
  • If you make more than you need, freeze what's left over - you'll be glad you did, especially next time you catch a cold and do not feel like cooking.
Swiss Chard, White Bean & Sausage Soup
This is one of those soups that is a meal in and of itself. Hearty and full of flavor, thanks in part to the vastly underutilized trick of saving your Parmesan cheese rinds to give your stock a huge boost. You can use kale in place of the chard - both are good. Simply skip the sausage if you want to make a vegetarian version.


Quick Coconut Vegetable Stew
This is a wonderful go-to meal that is packed with flavor and also wildly good for you. The vegetables are flexible but kabocha squash is one of my favorite additions because its dense, sweet flesh pairs so nicely with the warm curry powder and the rich coconut milk. Vegan to boot!


Creamy Roasted Garlic & Potato Soup
This is one of the most addictive soups I've ever eaten - it ranks right up there with my favoriteThai soup, tom kha gai. The nutty, mellow flavor of the roasted garlic is the perfect foil for potatoes' sweet starchiness. Add a little heavy cream and you are officially IN BUSINESS.


Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew
A perfect vegetarian meal packed with protein and flavor. The exotic flavors of the curry marry beautifully with both lentils and sweet potatoes. Whatever other veggies (carrots, etc.,) you want to add are just icing on the cake.


Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) & Sweet Potato Soup
I discovered this recipe as a result of Eatwell Farm, our old CSA back in Berkeley that helpfully included it in a share box that featured a big bag of sunchokes. At the time, I had no idea what they were or what to do with them so I took the easy way out and made the soup even though it sounded a little weird to me. But it was sooooo good - sweet, nutty and with a nice kick from the green garlic! Now I yearn for sunchokes and am thinking about planting a bunch in the spring even though I've been warned that they have thuggish tendencies and like to take over. Considering how tasty they are, that might not be the worst thing in the world...


Red Lentil Soup with Chili Paste & Meyer Lemon
This is my new favorite soup, inspired by a recent New York Times recipe. Like all lentil soups, it's quick, hearty and nutritious and the chili paste and lemon juice pack a nice little punch of flavor.


Winter Squash & Pear Soup with Sage
Pear adds a lovely, floral sweetness to the nutty squash and sage anchors the flavors with its earthy astringency. Add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche to make this extra rich and serve with peasant bread or brown rice and a green salad.


Curried Butternut Squash Soup
A super simple, super tasty (accidentally) vegan soup made with roasted butternut squash, creamy coconut milk and warm, exotic curry powder. You can't lose with this soup! If you're not a vegan, top with a little sour cream, crème fraîche or plain, whole milk yogurt.


You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.