Friends, I’m pretty sure you’re going to need to try this next recipe in our Guinness Week lineup — Guinness Pulled Pork!
I made a big batch of this yesterday to share with my good friends and neighbors, David and Suzannah, who just brought the sweetest little baby girl named Ava into the world. I asked if they wanted tacos or sliders, and they requested the latter. So I brought over this pulled pork and some salad for dinner, and we spent a wonderful evening catching up on all things life and parenthood and faith and more — made all the better by the fact that I got to spend nearly the entire time holding their tiny 12-day-old sleeping daughter in my arms.
I mentioned on Instagram recently that my family is unashamedly obsessed with Mexican food. We love it local, we love it authentic, we love it good, and we love it OFTEN. So of course, even while we were in Chicago celebrating Thanksgiving for a few days, we had to get our Mexi fix. So we ended up trying XOCO, one of Rick Bayless‘ restaurants. The line on Black Friday was practically out the door, but we were freezing and once I saw the long menu of caldos (soups), I was hooked. I had a minor crisis trying to decide what to order (they literally ALL looked amazing!), but I read that the XOCO carnitas caldo was the most popular soup. So I had to try it. Let’s just say that my family was a little stunned when I finished the entire bowl. It was massive. But holy cow – I had to. This soup was insane. Based on the most yummy spicy broth, this soup had everything from tender carnitas, to yummy avocado, these amazing little potato-masa dumplings, amassive bunch of fresh cilantro and arugula on top, and all garnished with lots of lime. Without a doubt, one of the best soups I’ve had in my life. (And I don’t say that lightly.) So of course, I had to come home and try to recreate it. I would never presume to top (or match) a Rick Bayless recipe, since the guy is a Mexican food genius. But I have to say that this recipe turned out pretty awesome. I even succeeded with the little potato-masa dumplings! (Although you could easily just use diced potatoes.) ;) It definitely took a bit of time to prep when making the carnitas from scratch. But let me tell you, the final product is completely worth it. And it’s also one of those soups that tastes better and better each time you warm it up for leftovers.
What are some of your favorite Mexican soups? Has anyone been to XOCO?
Today’s posts are both celebrating a trip I had the privilege of making to Des Moines a few weeks ago for the Farmers Feed US 2012 Iowa CornQuest! Sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the trip was a total blast. Loved getting to hang out with some absolutely wonderful blogging friends, learn all sorts of things about the Iowa corn, beef and pork industries and the amazing farmers who work hard to provide for us, and of course — loved getting to eat some seriously stellar food!
While we were treated to many delicious dishes on the trip, one of my favorite meals was actually a lunch that we were able to cook ourselves! That’s right. Brave Chef Terrie Kohl from the Country Club Market split the ten of us food bloggers into teams to prepare lunch for one another using her delicious recipes. And I was lucky to end up on Team Pork making this heavenly Maple Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Cherry Sauce. I think the chef must have secretly known one of my biggest cooking aversions, because she promptly put me to work removing the silver skin from about 8 pork tenderloins. But I admit, it was all worth it when everyone sat down and took their first bites of this pork dish. It was absolutely amazing!
Oh my goodness, people. I’ve stumbled upon a new way to make crispy pork carnitas. But instead of spending hours upon hours babysitting your carnitas in the oven, turning them countless times to get the crispies, and adding in tons of extra oil (or lard – eek), these delicious and crispy carnitas can be made in your slow cooker!
Being the granddaughter of proud Kansas farmers, I’m excited that a group of us bloggers from KC are taking today to celebrate a special local group — our Kansas Pork Association farmers! I feel like I have a special connection with this crew, being that my super-stylish aunt (raised on a farm, now a city girl) was once upon a time crowned the Kansas Pork Queen back in the day. True story. :)
But seriously, I have been around enough farmers to know that they are some of the most respectable, hardest-working folk around. And they also love what they do! This was undoubtedly the case with Jim Crane, a Kansas farmer who lives near my hometown. I had the chance to interview Jim, and completely enjoyed hearing his perspective on pork, farming, and his sweet family’s life on the farm. Read below for my interview, and then check out my take on his favorite recipe — what he calls “The Ultimate Pork Burger”! Granted, his recipe was a little more than my small frame could handle, so I decided to adapt it into some simple little sliders. No frills or fancy sauces here — just the delicious pork patties, bacon, and whatever fixin’s you prefer.
Ok, so these sandwiches may fall a little closer into the “melts” category, but I couldn’t pass up the alliteration. :)
Regardless of what you call them, these Prosciutto, Pineapple & Pesto Paninis were crazy delicious! They were basically an experiment combining favorite ingredients that I’ve been enjoying from our neighborhood market this summer — tasty prosciutto and fresh mozzarella from our Italian market, homemade pesto made with fresh local basil, my favorite sourdough bread, and of course, lots of juicy sweet pineapple. They kind of reminded me of a Hawaiian pizza, with the ham and pineapple vibe, but oh-so-much better with the prosciutto and homemade pesto.
(Before I begin, would love to invite you to head over to the Holiday Recipe Exchange to vote for my vanilla chai cupcakes! It only takes about 5 seconds to vote — just scroll down, and I’m #9. Would love to win the vanilla gift basket and have more yummy vanilla recipes to share with you! Thank you so much!!)
Allow me to introduce to you…the best stuffing recipe ever!!! Well, at least it’s the best stuffing recipe I’ve had in all my 27 years of life. :)
Ok, I confess — I really like to play with my food. :-)
So when surveying the ingredients I had out to make some apps for a Chiefs game this month, suddenly the thought of just slicing the cheddar and sausage seemed a little too boring. So with the help of a can of chopped green chiles (somehow lost my small round cookie cutter!) and an extra Ziplock to pipe on some ranch dressing, suddenly my plain little apps were “kicked” (ha!) up a notch. ;)