Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Island Pulled Pork (Instant Pot and Crockpot)

Island Pulled Pork

We have a local restaurant that serves a Cuban pulled pork that is so delicious. My husband LOVES it. I tried to recreate it at home. I landed pretty, darned close. This is delicious, can be used in a variety of recipes and freezes nicely.

This makes a great deal of pork. We had it in Island Pork Tacos, which I served with Tostones and Mango Salsa. For breakfast, we replaced the Canadian bacon with the pork for Island Eggs Benedict. We froze the rest of the leftovers in serving sized portions.

This recipe is foolproof. Exact measures don’t matter. If you slightly over cook the pork, it won’t really matter. I know not everyone has an Instant Pot®, so I have included the times for a crockpot, too. The active time includes separating the fat after the pork is done.

You can find Sour Orange in the Hispanic food section of the grocery store.

Servings: 10-12
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons, an Instant Pot® or crockpot, silicone tipped tongs, an airtight container large enough to hold the pork, (I used a 2-gallon plastic bag,) a large bowl, another container to hold the rest of the marinade, food safe gloves
Instant Pot Time: Active time: 20 minutes; Marinate over night; Cook: 70 minutes; bringing up to pressure and natural release: 30 minutes
Crockpot Time: Active time: 20 minutes; Marinate over night; Cook: 6-8 hours;

  • 3 ½ pound pork butt or shoulder
  • 2-20-ounce bottles of Sour Orange (I used Badia)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano or a huge bunch fresh
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 3 green onions
  • An orange
  • 1 large onion (1 cup chopped)
  • Salt & pepper

  1. Slice the green onions, keeping the white and green parts. Zest and juice the lime. Mince the garlic. Mince about 3 tablespoons of the oregano if you are using fresh.
  2. Mix the Sour Orange, olive oil, water, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, oregano, green onions and a teaspoon salt together. Pour 1 cup of the marinade into a container and place it in the fridge. Make sure to get some garlic and oregano in the reserve.
  3. Generously sprinkle black pepper over the meat. Place it in the airtight container and pour the rest of the marinade over it. Seal it and place it in the fridge overnight. If you think about it, turn the meat over a few times or give the container a shake so that the marinade is evenly distributed.
  4. When you are ready, discard the used marinade. Chop the onion and juice the orange, save the orange.
  5. For the Instant Pot: Generously salt the pork and place it into the Instant Pot on top of the trivet. Add in the onion, leftover orange, orange juice, and reserved marinade. Close the lid and make sure it is on ‘sealing.’ Pressure cook on high for 70 minutes. Allow the steam to naturally release. That means that you just leave it alone until the metal float falls.
  6. For the crockpot: Put the onion, leftover orange, orange juice, and reserved marinade into the crockpot. Generously salt the pork and place it on top of the onions and orange. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  7. Remove the pork allow it to rest until it is cool enough to touch. Wearing the food safe gloves, shred the pork and remove any fat or gristle. Taste and adjust the salt.
  8. Then pile it on tacos or over rice or on eggs or sneak mouthfuls when no one is watching!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sloppy Lasagna

Sloppy Lasagna

I am an Italian-American. My father grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Boston. My mother is from a tiny Southern town in Florida. Those two cuisines can come together to make interesting dishes. Shrimp and Grits can become Shrimp and Polenta. Summer squash can be cooked along with zucchini. AND you can mix the fun sandwich Sloppy Joes with the Sunday favorite lasagna and have Sloppy Lasagna. This was so good.

All lasagna takes a great deal of work. This is made easier by using oven-ready pasta. You can also make the Sloppy Joes, through step three, the day before.

If you like this, try my other Sloppies: Sloppy Josés and Sloppy Guiseppes.

Servings: 10-12
Time:  Active time 25 minutes; Cook: 1 ½ hours, Sloppy Goodness in about 2 hours
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a large heavy bottomed skillet, a can opener, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, a whisk, a silicone spatula, a 13x9x3 glass baking dish and a baking sheet

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion (½ cup) Save $
  • 1 small bell pepper (½ cup) Save $
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar Save $
  • ½ teaspoon salt Save $
  • 1 cup ketchup Save $
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar Save $
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Save $
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1-9 oz box oven ready lasagna (I used Barilla)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-16 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite steak seasoning (I used McCormick Grill mate Montreal)
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.      Preheat oven to 375.
2.      Chop the onion and bell pepper. Set aside.
3.      Heat the skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef, onions and peppers. Cook and crumble until the meat is no longer pink. This should take 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and beef stock. Bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer until thickened. This should take about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4.      Combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, one cup of the cheddar and the steak seasoning. Set aside.
5.      Spread 1 cup of the sloppy joes on bottom of the glass pan.
6.      Now layer 4 uncooked noodles (it is okay if they overlap), ⅓ of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup of the cheese, ⅓ of the sauce. Use the spatula to spread the ricotta to the edges.  End with the Sloppy Joe and set aside 1 cup of the cheese. You should have 3 layers. Place the pan on the baking sheet in case the lasagna boils over. Cover with foil, place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 55 minutes.
7.      Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. This should take 5 minutes.
8.      Allow the Sloppy Lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with Wilted Spinach.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Greek Rice Bowls

Rice bowls are fun to make for dinner. You cook up a few different elements and everyone can make his own bowl as if he were at a buffet. Therefore, rice bowls are great if say your husband is a picky eater (I’m looking at you, Jeff) and you are not. They are also lovely and that means you can serve them to company. Finally, if done properly, they are delicious.

Greek Rice Bowl
To do a rice bowl (or any dish for that matter) properly, you must have the correct balance of bitter, salty, sweet, sour and umami. Umami is the taste of protein. Spinach, cucumber salad, hummus and a beef mixture made with a perfect blend of herbs (including mint) creates the perfect bite.

At first glance this recipe probably appears overwhelming. There are many elements to this dish and you are making them all at once. To tackle this, you should 1. Make the cucumber salad. 2. Then slice and measure everything else. 3. Put the rice water onto boil and then begin to cook the meat. 4. Cook the rice while finishing the beef. 5. When you have about 4 minutes left on the rice cooking time, wilt the spinach. Read through the recipe completely before you get started. It took me 40 minutes to make this, but I am practiced. If you are a novice, I would guess this might take an hour, but it is so worth it.

Rice bowls are their own entrée, sides and salads. I served mine with Hummus and Creamy FetaDressing. You can make these yourself or buy your favorite brand at the grocers. Give all your guests a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the whole dish before eating.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Active time 40 minutes; Cook: 30 Minutes, Rice bowls in about 40 minutes (maybe longer)
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a vegetable peeler, a large storage container with a lid, a large microwave safe bowl covered by a plate, a large sauce pot, a deep skillet, a strainer, a wooden spoon, small bowls for pre-measuring, a serving bowl for the rice and a slotted spoon for the salad 

  • 1 large Spanish onion (8 oz)
  • 2 large tomatoes (1 lb.)
  • 2 large cucumbers (1 1b.)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Cold water
  • 1 + 1 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 + 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ cups rice
  • 1-8-ounce bag of baby spinach
  • Olive oil to cover pan
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 small yellow onion (4oz)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 + ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Hummus, toasted pita or naan bread, Creamy Feta Dressing, lemon wedges, sliced olives

Garlic, dill, parsley, mint, oregano and cinnamon make this delicious
  1. Slice the Spanish onion into rings. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Peel and slice the cucumbers. Place these veggies, 1 tablespoon dill, 1 tablespoon parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt and the apple cider vinegar into the storage container. Add enough cold water to cover the veggies. Stir and put the salad into the fridge until dinner.
  2. Chop the yellow onion and garlic. Measure and roughly chop the herbs (you can mix them and the spices together in a small bowl until you need them.) Measure the rice. Set everything aside.
  3. Fill the sauce pot with salted water and place it over high heat. When it comes to a boil, stir in the rice. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring only often enough to keep it from sticking. Strain the rice and place it in a serving bowl. Adjust the salt.
  4. As soon as you put the water on to boil, begin cooking the meat. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium high heat.
  5. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Add the herbs and cook for a minute or two more. Stir in the ground beef and salt. Cook and crumble until the meat is no longer pink.
  7. Add the beef broth and allow everything to come to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer. Simmer until you are ready to serve, stirring only often enough to keep the beef from sticking.
  8. When the rice is almost finished, place the spinach in the large bowl. It doesn’t matter if you need to smash it down a little to fit it all in. Sprinkle to with a tiny bit of water and a tiny bit of salt. Cover the bowl with a plate. Microwave the spinach on high and leave it under the plate until you are ready to serve. When you begin to wilt the spinach, you can also toast bread if you are serving it.
  9. To plate (bowl?), fill each bowl with rice. Then visually divide the bowl into quarters. Fill one quarter with drained cucumber salad, one with spinach, the 3rd with Hummus and the 4th with meat. Place a tablespoon of Creamy Feta Dressing on the meat. Give each guest a quarter of a lemon to squeeze over their entire bowl right before eating.