Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pulled Pork Tacos

One of my go-to crock pot recipes is Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker from Allrecipes. You basically put a pork butt (pork shoulder) into a crock pot, poke it all over with a knife and then rub it with liquid smoke and Hawaiian Sea Salt (I use the pink kind). Let it cook all day, and it is fall apart delicious. Just like how I believe that 2 birds in the oven are better than 1 (so that you can have cooked chicken left overs for soups, casseroles, salads, you name it); I also believe in cookin' up a huge roast (at least the biggest one I can fit in the slow cooker) so that I can have a dinner and then still plenty of pulled pork leftovers. I use them in every type of Mexican food, BBQ pork sandwiches, and some casseroles. Tonight I used the meat to make pork tacos. It's super easy.

Here's what you do:

Take about 2 cups of the cooked pulled pork.

Add about 2 tsp of taco seasoning,

and about 2 Tbsp of water.

Stir it around and microwave on high until hot.

Then I get the kids to work. :)
Handsome man did the chopping - two vine ripe tomatoes,

some romaine lettuce (Princess washed this for us)

Handsome man chopping the lettuce

And I got started on the oil for the taco shells. I put about 1/2 inch of corn oil into a pot and heated it until bubbles form at the base of a wooden spoon. (Learned this on the Food Network. Love that TV network!)

Then I start frying up the corn tortillas. For the amount of pork I prepared, we made 10-12 tacos (I lost count; what with all the ravenous children making and eating tacos.)

Once the tortilla is in the hot oil I use tongs to hold it in a taco shell shape (just fold it in half, but hold the two halves apart so that they don't seal shut).

I make sure both sides are golden and crispy, then I drain off the oil and transfer the taco shell to some paper towels.

Like this.

The only thing left to do is get everything together and assemble the tacos!
chopped tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, hot sauce (optional), taco shells and pulled pork
Here's how we make ours.
Meat down first. Make sure you cover the whole crease of the taco shell. You want to have porky goodness in every bite! If you want hot sauce, I think now is the time to add it. As much or as little as you like.

Then goes the cheese. This way it melts a little from the hot pork.

Lettuce next,

and then the sour cream. This acts like the glue for the tomatoes that sit pretty on top.

Last, but definitely not least, is the tomatoes. Doesn't that look pretty?

Now just plate, two at a time of course (because who eats just one?), and enjoy!  Warning, it's messy. :)

Here's the recipe:

2 cups cooked pulled pork (recommended Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker)
2 tsp taco seasoning
2 Tbsp water
corn oil
corn tortillas, 10-12
cheddar cheese, shredded (to taste)
romaine lettuce, chopped (to taste)
sour cream (to taste)
tomatoes, diced (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)

Combine pork, taco seasoning and water and cook in a skillet or in the microwave until hot. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a pot over medium high heat until bubbles form around the bottom of a wooden spoon. When the oil is hot, fry the tortillas one at a time. Using tongs, place a tortilla in the oil and then fold in half, making sure to hold the halves apart about 1 inch so that there is room to stuff the shell later. When one side is crispy, turn it over and fry the second side. (The whole frying time is only a minute or two.) When the shell is golden, transfer to paper towels. Let cool slightly before filling and eating.

To make tacos, stuff a taco shell in this order: meat, hot sauce (optional), cheese, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake

<a href="" class="pin-it-button" count-layout="horizontal"><img border="0" src="//" title="Pin It" /></a>
picture from
While I'm NOT a fan of coffee, I am a fan of the sweet and sometimes crumbly cake people refer to as coffee cake. There's no coffee in it, just cake with layers of sugar crumb topping/filling. I saw this one on, and being the chocolate lover that I am, had to try it.
   It's a beautiful cake, with raspberry and chocolate notes running through it. It's very moist, but there is no distinctive sugar/crumb texture to the layers. The moisture from the raspberries makes everything liquefy while baking so the final texture is completely smooth - except for the raspberry seeds. The flavors were wonderful, but I still prefer the texture of Betty Crocker's Sour Cream Coffee Cake (from the Big Red Book cookbook).
  I messed up with my layers and ended up with only two (instead of three like this picture of the original shows), and I didn't drizzle melted chocolate over the top (I was having it for breakfast and not dessert after all). But I feel mine was pretty comparable - just not as pretty, hence the picture from Melangery.
It has a lot of steps, but it's not complicated.

Here's how I did it:

2 sticks of softened butter

Creamed together with some sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Then I added one egg . . .

and a second . . .

and a third.

Some vanilla

In a separate bowl, I mixed together some flour, baking powder,

and baking soda.

I whisked them together, so that I didn't need to sift.

I added 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

Then I added 1 cup of sour cream (you could use Greek Yogurt here too, if you had it).

After that was mixed in, I added another 1/3 of flour, and mixed that in.

When the flour was combined into the batter, I scraped down the bowl . . .

and added 1 more cup of sour cream.

And the last of the flour (after the sour cream was all mixed in).

One more scrape down of the bowl.

In the same bowl I had the flour mixture I combined some white and brown sugars. (Who wants to dirty and wash another bowl? Not me, this one will work just fine.)

To the sugars, I also added some dark cocoa powder. The "special dark" kind, because it will give a richer chocolate flavor.

I whisked them all together and set them aside.

I sprayed my bundt pan and spread some batter on the bottom. This is where I messed up. The original recipe said to put down 1 1/2 cups of batter, so I did that, but it was too much. I ended up not having enough batter left over to make 3 layers. So, I would recommend just putting down enough batter to just cover the bottom of the pan - no more.

I smoothed out the batter and added 1/3 of the cocoa mixture.

and 1/3 of the raspberries. The recipe said you could use fresh or frozen. I opted for the fresh. So pretty. It makes me want to take a picture. Oh wait. . . I did. :)

Then I spread on a little more batter - just enough to cover the layer of cocoa and raspberries.

On go another 1/3 of the cocoa mixture and raspberries.

This is where I realized that I only had enough batter to just cover my second layer - definitely not enough to do an entire third layer. But, I didn't want to waste the sugar/cocoa mixture so I just sprinkled the last 1/3 of that on top. No raspberries this time.

I went into a 350F oven for 55 minutes, until it was golden brown and a skewer came out clean.

When it was cool, I turned it out onto my cake stand. You can see all the wonderful dark chocolaty goodness that made it's way along the edges.

Because I used fresh berries and not frozen, they were perfectly encapsulated in the cake batter. The juice from the berries melted the cocoa and sugars and made pretty swirls in my cake. (I don't remember seeing this in the original recipe pictured @ the top of this post, but it looks like it was made with frozen berries. Don't know if that made a difference. . . maybe you can just see my swirls more because I only have 2 layers instead of 3.)
Like I said, it was a yummy cake - and would be even more decadent if you added the melted chocolate on top, like the recipe suggests.
Here's one more picture from the professional, because she makes it look just so darn pretty.
picture from
Here's the recipe:

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sour cream or yogurt
melted chocolate for top of the cake

1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 1/2cup raspberries (frozen or fresh), plus extra for decoration

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9- to 10- inch Bundt pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla.
On low speed, in 3 additions of each, mix in the dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating the dry and wet ingredients until ingredients are just blended.

Make the filling by mixing the sugars  and cocoa powder  in a medium bowl.
Scoop in enough cake batter into your prepared Bundt pan to just cover the bottom, and spread evenly. Sprinkle one-third of the filling and scatter one-third of the raspberries over the filling. Scoop in another layer of cake batter (about 2 cups) and spread evenly. Sprinkle one-third of the filling and scatter one-third of the raspberries over the filling. Scoop in another layer of cake batter (about another 2 cups) and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the filling and raspberries. Add the rest of the cake batter and spread evenly over the raspberries.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350F until a cake test inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack, remove pan and let cool completely before serving. Put melted chocolate on the top of the cake and top with raspberries.