Easy Chile Verde

Traditionally, Chili Verde is made with chunks of pork shoulder slowly cooked in a roasted tomatillo and jalapeno sauce. I've made it several times using a variety of recipes. I didn't have a lot of time (imagine that), and wanted to throw the whole lot in the slow cooker, turn it on and be greeted at the end of the day with a fragrant house. It worked! Easy, simple ingredients, no pre-cooking and my slow cooker did all the work for me. Give this one a try and serve the pork in tacos, over rice and beans, or for a fun variation on nachos.

PS-for you purists out there, I realize my salsa verde is made with green tomatoes, not tomatillos. I'm okay with this! This is good salsa, and the flavor approximates the chile verde's I've had before, made in a more traditional fashion.

  Easy ingredients for my take on chili verde

 

Easy ingredients for my take on chili verde

Chili Verde

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone in country ribs
  • 16 ounces, jarred salsa verde (I used Herdez brand)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir. Set slow cooker on low heat for 9-10 hours. Remove pork from "sauce". Rest meat for 15 minutes, then shred or slice, as desired. Check for seasoning, and add additional salt, if needed. Sauce can be used, as is, or can be reduced and thickened.

chili+verde+timesaver.JPG

Salsa Verde ingredients

chili+verde.JPG

Close up of my Chili Verde

Vegan Caramel Popcorn

Too often that salty sweet treat is off the table for my lactose intolerant husband. When my son asked if I could make a batch that Daddy could eat, how could I refuse?

Vegan Caramel Popcorn

This recipe is loosely based on one I found at Cooking Light. It includes many of those ingredients you would expect to find: brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. I added some hand harvested French sea salt (Sel de Camargue) and substituted coconut oil for the butter. Coconut oil has a lovely flavor and is my go-to substitute for pistachio brittle. That is, when I'm not using bacon grease for my bacon pecan brittle!

Cooling the hot popcorn before we dig in.

Cooling the hot popcorn before we dig in.

Vegan Caramel Popcorn

Serves 8, recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1 cup popping corn
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Pop the popping corn according to the directions. 1 cup of un-popped pop corn, will make approximately 16 cups of popped popcorn. Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 250 F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and sea salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Mixture will bubble vigorously.

Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn, coating thoroughly. Pour the popcorn on the greased sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes to ensure even coating.

Once cooked, pour the hot popcorn onto parchment paper and let cool for 15 minutes. Will keep for up to a week when stored in a cool, dry place.

 

Pineapple Mosaic Cake

Okay, it's upside-down cake, but look at this picture, doesn't it look like an artistic mosaic? I love the sweet-tart combination of caramelized pineapples against a rich-tender bed of cake. The extra brown sugar and rum bring out the delicious tropical fruit flavors. This recipe is easy to pull off for a fun dinner party on the weekend and the results are sure to wow. You can use a 9 inch round cake pan, if needed. I was able to find this square beauty at Marshalls for under $13. 

This lactose-free dessert is easily converted back for all of you butter lovers. Swap the coconut oil for butter, and use regular milk for those of you who don't have lactose issues!

Pineapple Mosaic Cake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 medium pineapple - peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks (~3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk (lactose-free or regular)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to middle of the oven.

In a small bowl stir together the melted coconut oil, brown sugar and dark rum; spread the mixture evenly in a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square cake pan (non-stick finish). Pat the pineapple very dry between several sheets of paper towel, and arrange it evenly on top of the sugar mixture.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the room-temperature coconut oil with the white sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. The batter will be very thick.

Place the cake in the middle of the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge, and invert the cake onto a plate. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or whipped coconut milk

Baker's Notes: A few of my pineapple pieces stuck to my pan. Don't fret, gently pry them off the pan and artfully place them back in their rightful place.