Sunday, September 12, 2010

Recipes for the Soul

With the economy still in the tank, politicians promising and unaccountable, and the pace of life picking up after a relaxing summer, Rink Rats thought it best to provide a few recipes for the soul. To ease our readers into the autumn season and relax you with some comfort food and drink:

First a wonderful recipe for a Pulled Pork Sandwich – there is nothing better on a crisp fall day to bite into superbly prepared PPS. To wash it down a drink entitled Spicey Red Beer, a concoction perfectly suited for the fall and especially tailgating. We top our recipes for the soul with Tequila Bars. There is no better way to end a meal or to just snack, on these wonderfully lite and flavorful bars.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

For the Pork:
• 6 tablespoons paprika
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• Scant tablespoon onion powder
• Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
• 1 10-to-12-pound boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt, rinsed and dried
• 12 soft hamburger buns, split
• Coleslaw, for serving

For the Barbecue Sauce :
• 2 cups ketchup
• 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

If using a gas grill, preheat to high on one side; put soaked wood chips in a smoker box. Once smoking, reduce the heat to maintain a temperature of 275 degrees F and cook the pork, covered, on the cooler side of the grill.

Rub the pork
Make the barbecue seasoning: Mix the paprika, sugar and onion powder in a bowl. Transfer 3 tablespoons seasoning to a separate bowl, add 2 tablespoons salt and 3 tablespoons pepper, and massage onto the pork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. (Reserve the remaining barbecue seasoning.)

Prepare the wood chips
Soak 6 cups wood chips in water, about 15 minutes, then drain. Don't over soak, or the wood will snuff out the fire.
Light the grill
Fill a smoker or kettle grill with charcoal and light. (Rink Rats use lighter fluid; you can also use a chimney starter.) When the coals are mostly white, spread them out with tongs. Spread 1/2 cup of the wood chips over the coals (use 1 cup for a kettle grill). The temperature of the grill should be about 275 degrees F.

Cook the pork.
Place the pork fat-side down on a rack in the smoker or on the grill. Cover and cook, rotating the pork every hour or so, until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 6 hours total.
Feed the grill
As the pork cooks, add more charcoal and wood chips to keep the temperature between 250 degrees F and 275 degrees F and to maintain the smoke level.

Make the sauce
Meanwhile, mix the ketchup, 1 cup water, both sugars, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, the onion and mustard powders, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of the reserved barbecue seasoning in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, at least 2 hours. Let cool, then reheat on the grill when ready to use. "Time for a beer break, this is a long recipe."

Shred the pork
Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet (you'll want to catch all the flavorful juices) and let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite-size pieces, pile on a platter and pour any juices from the baking sheet on top.

Make the sandwiches
Mound the pork on bun bottoms, paint with a little barbecue sauce, top with slaw and cover with the bun tops. The best sandwich ever.

Spicey Red Beer

• Ice cubes
• 1/2 cup tomato juice
• 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
• 1 dash hot sauce
• Splash olive juice
• 1 (12-ounce) bottle ale style beer
• Pimento stuffed olive, for garnish

In a frosted beer mug filled with ice, combine tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and a splash of olive juice. Pour in cold beer. Garnish with olive. Also good for a hangover.

Tequila Bars

• 1 12-ounce box vanilla wafers
• 1/2 cup pine nuts
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
• 1/3 cup tequila
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
• 5 large egg yolks, plus 2 egg whites
• 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Agave nectar or honey, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the wafers and pine nuts in a food processor until well ground up. Add the butter and blend until evenly mixed. Set aside 1/4 cup of crumbs; press the rest evenly into a 9-by-13 baking pan. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the tequila, lime juice, egg yolks and condensed milk.
In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the tequila mixture. Spread the filling evenly over the crust and bake for 25 minutes; cool. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight before cutting. Drizzle with agave nectar, if desired.

"Feel better."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/18, Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) @ Arizona Wildcats (2-0), 10:30 PM ET, ESPN. The 9th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes march into the desert favored by 1.0 point. We pick The Wildcats to beat their Big Ten rivals, take the points. Season to date (2-0).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/19, New England Patriots (1-0) @ New York Jets (0-0), 4:15 PM ET, CBS, NYJ -1.0 point. Rex Ryan will have his hands full in this key early season match up, The Jets will need more than a cocky coach to beat the Pats, take the points and the Patriots. Season to date (1-0).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/18, Alfred University Saxons @ St. Lawrence University Saints, 1:00 PM ET. The 25th ranked Saxon Warriors roll into Canton with a power house, no chance for the Saints, 40 -10 Alfred. Season to date (1-0).

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Lauren Bacall (86), Maria Bartiromo (43), George Blanda (83), B.B. King (86), Dan Marino (49), Dan Pugliese (??), Bill O’Reilly (61), Trisha Yearwood (46).

IF YOU THINK YOUR “STUFF” MATTERS (aerial of homes destroyed in San Bruno, Calif., when a natural-gas pipe exploded)

BASEBALL SOAP OPERA - Now, as the 2010 season draws to a close, the torpedo has struck a direct hit. The (Frank & Jamie) McCourts are in a free-fall for all the public to watch, live in divorce court, California-style; and their grand bauble – The Los Angeles Dodgers, historically the beacon of continuity, respect and backroom influence -- has crumbled on and off the field. Even worse, the team is being defined by a word that hasn't been associated with the franchise since World War II: unstable.

The collapse is an extraordinary example of greed and unaccountability gone wild in a decade already full of them. Piece by litigated piece, the most important West Coast franchise in the game is being tarnished, and the skeptics who doubted the McCourts in the first place are swallowing the bittersweet aftertaste of being right.

GOOD BYE - For three decades, Paul Conrad's cartoons in the Los Angeles Times were conversation starters, debate shapers and eyeball attractors. He was one of the paper's best known journalists, the one sure to draw the longest lines at book signings and other public appearances. He was liberal but skewered almost everybody, and he famously had independence from the editor and publisher, who would regularly get calls from this or that mayor, senator or president demanding that Conrad be stopped. One of his favorite honors was to be included on President Richard Nixon's enemies list, and his website says his favorite irony was "holding the Richard M. Nixon Chair at Whittier College (1977-78.)"

Next week: "I'm not happy".

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 13, 2010

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