The Best is Yet to Come

Happy New Year and welcome to the 'tens.

Punctuated by champagne and a wild and crazy game of Catch Phrase, this decade got started right with good friends and of course, lots of great food. As I sort through the pictures from last night, I can hear the helicopters roaring over Fenway Park for the Hockey Winter Classic game. I am reminded of the awesome city that I live in and I can't help feeling a surge of excitement and anticipation for what's to come in 2010. I love New Year's because it symbolizes a new beginning and a fresh start. And although we aren't flying around in hover crafts or vacationing on Mars (yet) the truth is that the future is here and now and it's up to us to make it as delicious as we want it to be. So with that in mind, as promised, I wanted to share the pictures and recipes of those dishes that helped to ring in the start of another New Year.

Pulled Pork Potato Skins
- 1 lb. Pork Butt or shoulder
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese
- 1-1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's, it tends to be thicker and it caramelizes up real nice)
- Fresh chopped chives
- 1 can chicken or beef stock + 1 can full of water (if using a crock pot)
- Pork rub
~2 tbs oregano
~1-2 tsp garlic powder
~1-2 tsp paprika
~1 tbs salt
~Fresh ground black pepper
~1-2 tsp cumin
~2 tbs liquid smoke
~1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Make the pork rub (It should look like a thick paste). Rub it into the pork making sure to evenly coat. Refrigerate over night. Next, take the pork out and pat dry with paper towels (meat browns better when it's dry). Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pan. Add pork and brown evenly on all sides. If using a crock pot, add the can of chicken or beef stock to the crock pot plus one gainful of water. Place the pork into the stock and heat in the crock pot on low. Cook for 5-6 hours. (If you prefer, you can bake the pork after browning it on a low over setting. Let cook for several hours and use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.)

Meanwhile, cook small potatoes in the oven at 400 until they are fork tender. (Approximately 30-40 minutes.) When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them lengthwise and hollow out the center a little. Set aside.

When pork is done, take it out of the crock pot and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Then, take two forks and begin to shred the pork, being sure to discard any fat. Mix in BBQ sauce. Stuff the pork mixture into the hollowed out potatoes. Top with cheese and bake until the cheese starts browning and bubbling. Top with chives and enjoy!

Cranberry Salsa
- 1 bag fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 1 granny smith apple, cored and skins removed
- 1/2 large green pepper
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. pomegranate juice
- Juice from 1 lime
- Large handful of chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeno pepper

Combine cranberries, apple, onion and peppers into a food processor. Mix until the cranberry mixture is chopped but still very coarse. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the sugar, cilantro, pomegranate and lime juices. Stir until combined well. For best results, make a day in advance to allow the flavors to come together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Stuffed Bread
- 1 package refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
- 1 box frozen spinach
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1 shallot (sliced thin and cooked until soft)
- pinch of nutmeg
- Handful of fresh chopped basil
- Salt and pepper
- Cornmeal for the pan
- Egg (for egg wash)

Combine the spinach, basil, shallots, nutmeg, cheeses, and salt and pepper. Set aside. Roll out the pizza dough onto cornmeal. Flatten it out so that it is an even rectangle. Spread the spinach filling down the center of the rectangle leaving a good 2-3 inch border. With a sharp knife, cut even strips of the dough on each side, stopping right before the filling. Start at one end and criss-cross the strips of dough until it is completely covering the filling. Make an egg wash by combining 1 egg with a splash of water. Brush a thin layer of egg wash onto the bread. Bake at 350 until bread is golden brown. Slice and serve while warm.

Veggies and Dip
- 1 small container plain Greek yogurt
~ 1 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- Fresh ground pepper
~ 1/2 c. fresh chopped basil
- 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
- Assorted fresh sliced vegetables

Stir yogurt, sour cream, garlic, basil, cheese and pepper into a bowl. Combine well. For best results, make this a day ahead to allow all flavors to combine. Serve with assorted veggies or with cubes of bread.

Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls *
*Sadly, the pictures came out too dark to post
- Egg roll wrappers
- 2-3 steaks (I used fillet mignon)
~ 10 pieces of American cheese
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 egg (for egg wash)

Slice steak very finely (easier to do when steak is partially frozen and using an extra sharp knife). Heat oil (just enough the coat the bottom of the pan) in a pan. Add the steak and fry until the steak browns. Melt in the American cheese. Stuff and roll up the egg roll wrappers by placing a little steak mixture in the center. Fold up one point and tightly secure under the steak. Fold over two sides and roll. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining wrappers. Coat in egg wash (1 egg + splash of water). Bake at 350 until it starts to brown.

Carrot Cake
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 c. buttermilk
- 3/4 vegetable oil
-1 1/2 c. white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
- 2 c. all-purpose flower
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 c. shredded carrots
- 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8x12 pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the carrots and pineapple. Bake for 1 hr or until done in the center.

- 1/2 c. butter
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients. Spread evenly over the cooled cake.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Sounds like a great party! Love the recipes - the pulled pork and potato shells sound great! Happy New Year and keep it coming!!

SAS said...

The food was deilicous! Thanks for welcoming in the New Year with me :-)

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