Friday, March 21, 2014

It's What's For Dinner...(and a cool clean-up trick!)

Apologies in advance for the few that may have stuck with me. I haven't posted in a long time. My excuses are thin. Surgery, flu, cold. The usual. Then after I worked through all of that, I figured I needed to blog something BIG. So I thought. And thought. And thought. And hit upon some great ideas, but no time to expand, refine, and submit. So today I decided enough was enough. I was going to blog about... supper!

It's what we're having tonight, and maybe you were looking for some ideas of what to serve as well. This is an idea my sweet mother-in-law gave me a few years ago, and it is enjoyed in our home. Homemade pulled pork sandwiches! Here's how I prepare them.

First, I usually look for the boneless pork spare ribs for a 2-for-1 special. That way I can make enough to last awhile.

2-for-1! That's my kind of deal!
Once I pick them up from the store, I initially brown them in a skillet in a small amount of oil and spices. I'm not monogamous with my spices. This week I used Emeril's. Other times I have used fajita spices or lots of varieties of pepper corns. It's a whimsy kind of thing for me.
Today it's Emeril's, tomorrow, who knows?
After browning them slightly, I whisk them all into my crockpot and cover them with chicken broth.
The cooking begins!
I like to set the pot to cook on low all day. Once they're done (sorry, I can't show you that, as they've only been in the crockpot for about 10 minutes) I lift the cuts out with a slotted spoon and let them cool slightly. Once cooled enough to handle, I put on surgical gloves and hand pick the meat apart, placing it in a bowl. I pour a little of the broth over the meat to keep it moist and reserve the rest in the freezer for a future stew. They are fabulous sandwiches, and the prep time and cost are minimal.

And now for the trick. As you can probably imagine, the skillet gets quite messy from the browning process. Up until recently, I would set the pan to soak and then clean it up when my muscles felt up to the task. But no more! Thanks to my friend Liz (thanks Liz!) I learned one more reason to love my vinegar!

Take a look at the pan.
That browning is stuck on there pretty well!
This was always the part of the meal I never liked, but that is no more! Liz showed me how vinegar does a great job of de-glazing pans. All you have to do is pour a little white vinegar into the pan or pot while it is still relatively warm. Add a little dish soap, and the grime practically floats off! I did that, and with just a light wash, the pan came clean!
Clean, baby!
Truly. The pan is clean and my muscles never got their workout! Maybe that is a universally known trick, but I missed it in the year I took Home Ec. Why on earth didn't I take more? It would have been the most useful class for me... but I digress.

One other cool thing I wanted to share with you, by the way. I don't know if any of you use cast iron, but I pretty much use it daily. My normal M.O. to clean the pan would be to scrub it hard, and then dry it on the stove. Sometimes the scrubbing took a lot of muscle effort (maybe I'm lazy?). Anyway, I found a great product on Amazon that has made things ever so much easier. It's a chain mail pot scrubber and it's fabulous! The kids seem to think it's pretty cool as well. If you, like me, like to cook with cast iron, I'd encourage you to check it out.

So that's supper in a nutshell. I'm still knitting and spinning. Speaking of spinning, I have a beginning spindling class coming up at Knitwitz in Mandarin on Saturday, March 29th. It runs from 9 to noon, and I'd love to have you come out for it! I'd absolutely love to see you there! Give them a call to register today!

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