Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back 2 School

Tomorrow is the big day! I love back to school. OK. I love it mostly. I also get this bittersweet feeling about all the things I wanted to get done that I didn't and about not having time to take care of my family. Being the husband and kids of a teacher is hard. For instance, only teachers' kids walk into the kitchen and smell something delicious and immediately ask first before they get excited, "Is that for us or your kids?"

So in order to celebrate this new adventure we will all be starting I decided to cook something for my Favorite First Husband to help him to remember me by. He knows for the next month I will be up at school day and night, week day and weekend. He gets to practice being a single dad during this time.

Mr. Dennis <3s sweet potatoes and I spotted this recipe through Pinterest for pulled pork stuffed sweet potatoes. But I decided to spice things up a bit and add an island flair.

I started by putting a huge pork loin in my slow cooker with a small bottle of Hawaiian BBQ sauce, some Siracha, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and 5 spice powder. I cooked this for about 10 hours on low. The house smelled like a pig roast in Hawaii must. I took the pork loin out of the crock pot and let it sit on the cutting board for about 15 minutes to cool enough so I could work with it. In the meantime I added gobs of ingredients to the juices in the crock pot. Into the pot went-
1 can crushed pineapple
1 bottle honey BBQ sauce
1/3 cup molasses
1T steak seasoning
2T chili/garlic paste (this is what made it spicy so add to your family's tastes)
the dregs of a few bottles of bbq sauce I wanted to finish up

It was not an exact science. Then I sliced and pulled the pork. After I tasted it for quality assurance it all went back in the crock pot and cooked it for another 2 hours. Actually I went to the mall to find a new perfume and the crock pot cooked until I got back. So time is not a critical factor to the success of this recipe either :p I cooled the bbq and then refrigerated it over night.

The next evening I roasted several large sweet potato at 375 for 2 hours and then reheated the bbq pork. I sliced the potatoes in a cross and pushed the ends to open it up. Next came the sweet and spicy bbq pork piled on high, and topped with sliced green onions to complete the island flavor and add some brightness.

My Favorite First Husband loved it. He even thanked me for making it for him. He knows. He knows it meant, "I love you", "I'll miss you" and "You still mean more to me than my job." My #2 Most Honorable Son scarfed his down on a bakery hoagie roll, as he would keel over if any thing resembling a vegetable touched his lips. If he had any idea what was in the sauce, he'd have turned his nose up at it but it was so good he insisted, " I really like this. Don't tell me what is in it." I have to admit the pork was tasty. The sauce was just sweet enough to quell the spice.

Tomorrow it is back to Chickadee U. for me. Never forget that teachers have families too and that often those families sacrifice just as much as the teachers do. Every dollar spent on supplies, every hour spent working at home or up at school, is part of what is just a normal way of life for those lovies who love people who love to teach.

Peace, love, and learning!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I've Been In Sorrow's Kitchen and I Licked Out All the Pots

Promise I have not gone 2 months without cooking something for my family to eat. I just have been down and not felt like I made anything truly amazing that I felt compelled to share. I was very fortunate to have had some delicious experiences courtesy of other magnificent chefs such as my venture to Bouchon Bistro and Bakery, of the Thomas Keller Bouchon's. I had a TKO (Thomas Keller Oreo) at the bakery and an amazing cheese plate, perfectly seared tuna and a leggy glass of red at his Bistro in Yountville, Ca. in the Napa Valley.

Later in the summer I was fortunate enough to be a part of a week long experience hosted by the Florida Humanities Council. The focus was my favorite author Zora Neale Hurston and her connections in Florida. She lived in Eatonville, Fl. which was the first African American incorporated town in the US. The seminars were so well put together and the ideas really broadened my vantage on some spiritual and women's issues. I was blessed to have the opportunity to eat at an AME church in Eatonville. We had fresh fried chicken, salad, green beans, creamy mac-n-cheese, and cool crisp coleslaw. The picture above was taken in the kitchen at the church. Another blessing from this event was that I finally found my book. Yes, it will be about food but also about people. I owe Zora a Pall Mall.