Trojan Carnitas and Avocado Salsa

This is a delicious and massive recipe I got from my roommate in Troy. It was a new style of cooking for me and cooking it by the book taught me a lot. Serves six hungry college students. You could also make the salsa by itself for a great dip for chips etc. -Connor

3-4 pound boneless pork butt, shoulder or loin
2 cups water
1.5 cups orange juice
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange peel (optional)
3 tbsp whole peppercorns (optional)
1/4 cup brandy or wine (preferably marsala)

Cheddar or mexican cheese blend
Regular tomato salsa

Cut the pork into thirds. Put pork, water, orange juice, garlic, salt, orange peel, and peppercorns into a large pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat somewhat and simmer, covered, for about an hour and a half. stir occasionally and add more water if needed to keep the pork mostly submerged.

Between these two stages is a good time to start the salsa. (see below)

Uncover and boil pork until water is reduced by half. Stir in the alcohol and boil until liquid evaporates. Stir often while meat browns and crisps. Tear meat into strips with tongs (this can be done during the final stage of cooking or, if you’re a chicken, after the meat has cooled a bit)

3 ripe avocados, peeled and coarsley chopped
6 oz fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, coarsely chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processer or blender. process until a chunky puree forms.

Serve the meat and salsa over warmed tortillas with grated cheddar or a mexican blend of cheese.


Honey-lime chicken tostadas

If you can’t find chili paste, there are many possible substitutions, such as a hot fresh chili pepper like a serrano or ground canned chilis. I use about a teaspon for this recipie which is a large meal for 2 people.

Quick stovetop Mac&cheese

1/2 lb pasta (preferably gemelli)

1 cup grated cheddar (preferably extra sharp)

4 tbsp cream cheese

2 tbsp minced chives

1 teaspoon minced fresh chili pepper

Cook pasta. Drain, return to pot, and add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Holiday Alfredo with Turkey Meatballs

Found this at my local Kroger and spiced it up a bit. You may like it or not, but it is definitely unique and I thought it was delicious. (-Connor)

1 cups heavy cream

3 cups diced apple

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cup diced butternut squash

1 large sprig rosemary

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 lb fettuccini

1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

(Step 0: chop squash and apple if you haven’t already. Should be roughly 1 cm cubes)

Step 1: add 4 tbsp of the heavy cream, chopped rosemary leaves, panko breadcrums, ground turkey to a mixing bowl.

Step 2: add apples, cinnamon, olive oil, and squash to a saucepan. Add salt and pepper. Cook on medium high for about 5 -10 minutes.  Lower heat, add remaining heavy cream, and the stem of the rosemary plant. Cook another 5 minutes.

Step 3: Roll turkey mix into 1 inch balls. Fry with some oil until quite browned on all sides

Step 4: Remove rosemary stem from sauce mix. Puree in blender. Return to saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly on low heat if necessary.

Step 5: Serve pasta with meatballs. Top with rosemary and more cheddar.

How to make Real NY Pizza in Maine

Greg switched to this recipe as soon as he read this article in the May – June 2015 issue of ZEST Magazine: How to Make a NEW YORK PIZZA by Bill Gloede, master pizzaiolo. Click through and read the article for more detailed and entertaining instructions on where to find specific ingredients in Maine. What follows is my stripped-down and restructured version.

For the dough
4 cups of either: high-gluten flour; bread flour; or a mix of “00” and all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bottled water
2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (if using active yeast, let it bloom in half the water, heated to 110 degrees, for 10-15 minutes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Put all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, ramp the speed up to medium-high and let it beat for at least five minutes but no more than 10, until the dough ball clears the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board, divide it in half, and make two balls by rolling the dough around on the board, carefully sealing up the seams.

Put each dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl big enough to allow it to double in size, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 24 hours and up to several days.

For the Sauce
The first thing to know about pizza sauce is that it should not be cooked. It cooks on the pizza. That means you can’t use Grandma’s long-simmered Sunday Gravy on a pizza; it will taste burnt. And jarred sauces don’t work well either. What does work well is a product called 7/11, made by Stanislaus, which is the go-to pizza sauce in most New York joints. You can get it at Micucci Grocery in Portland, but it comes in a No. 10 can, which means you’ll have a lot left over even after your first dozen pizzas. Otherwise I recommend Pomi strained Italian tomatoes, which come in a carton and are available in most supermarkets. While the 7/11 can be used right from the can, I suggest doctoring the Pomi by sautéing two large, finely chopped garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil for about a minute, then adding about a quarter cup of white wine and continuing the sauté until the alcohol has burned off, about another minute or two. Combine the mixture with the Pomi, add a teaspoon of sugar and maybe a couple of torn-up basil leaves.

2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 carton Pomi Italian strained tomatoes
2-3 basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon sugar

Sauté finely chopped garlic in oil until translucent, add wine, cook off alcohol. Add to the tomatoes, along with basil and sugar.

Stanislaus-7-11-Ground-Tomatoes (1)

You’ll also need:
1, 16-oz. block whole-milk mozzarella
1, 16-oz. block part-skim mozzarella
Grated Romano cheese
Dried oregano flakes

By all means, if you can get to Micucci in Portland, pick up some Grande 50/50, a mix of shredded part- skim mozzarella and provolone cheeses. While I’m not a big fan of the mozzarella/provolone mix, which is more of a Midwestern thing, it’s ready to put on the pizza as-is, and is sufficiently higher in quality than any other retail cheese to make it worthwhile.

Otherwise, buy a 16-ounce block each of whole-milk and part-skim mozzarella. I get Galbani Sorrento brand at Hannaford and have even found Polly-O, the old standby in New York, at Wal-Mart. Put the cheese through the shredding attachment of your food processor, combine and mix up in a bowl.

Assembling the Pizza
When you are ready to make pizzas, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with the pizza stone in place on the lowest rack, for about an hour.

Remove the dough balls from the fridge, let them sit out for 15 minutes or so, then get your pizza peel, dust it with a generous amount of semolina, put the dough ball on the peel, sprinkle more semolina over the top, and start pushing into the dough with your fingers, working from the center outward. Press it with the palms of your hands.

When it gets big enough to handle, pick up the dough and throw it back and forth between your hands a few times. Then hold it on your knuckles and begin stretching across between your hands, rotating the dough as you go, all the while letting gravity tug on the bottom of the dough.

When the diameter gets out to about 14 inches, lay the dough down on the peel, making sure there is plenty of semolina to keep it from sticking. To prevent the dough from separating when it hits the oven, pierce the dough liberally with a fork. This is called “docking” the dough, which prevents it from forming bubbles that push the sauce and cheese off to the side. If there’s a lot of humidity in the air, you’ll be glad you did this.

Sauce and Cheeses
Mix up the sauce, then ladle a thin layer onto your dough, working the ladle in a circular motion until you have coated—not loaded—the dough up to about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Now sprinkle some dried oregano over the sauced pizza (don’t overdo it!).

Now, lightly sprinkle some grated Romano cheese over the sauced pizza, then add the mozzarella—in a single layer! Good pizza is a less-is-more proposition. The reason the chains dump loads of cheese and toppings on their pizzas is because their pizzas and their ingredients are not very good.

The Toppings
One topping is good, two is less good but okay, three is pushing it and any more is just bad. Many real pizzaioli won’t put more than three toppings on a pizza—no matter what the customer wants.

The Baking
Hopefully you’ve got enough semolina on the peel so the pizza slides right off, into the oven and onto the stone. Cook until the mozzarella settles down into the sauce and turns a light orange, somewhere around 10 minutes depending on your oven. Pull the pizza out of the oven, put it on your tray, cut it with your pizza wheel—and enjoy!



Greg found this vegetarian version of pho by Anna Jones via The Guardian when trying to recreate the pho he enjoys when visiting Blue Cliff Monastery.

For the stock
onions 2
garlic 1 bulb
ginger a small hand
cinnamon a 5cm stick
star anise 4
cloves 3
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
vegetable stock powder 1 tsp, or stock cube ½
dried mushrooms (Asian if you can find them) a large handful
soy sauce or tamari 1 tbsp
carrots 4

For the rest
dried flat rice noodles or pho noodles 200g
Basil or fresh Thai or Vietnamese basil and mint or shiso/parilla (if you can find them) a small bunch
fresh coriander a small bunch
pak choi or spinach 300g
sugar snap peas 200g
limes 4-5
beansprouts 200g
good chilli oil

pan-fried tofu, tossed in maple and soy at the end of cooking

Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together. Heat a large saucepan over a high heat.

Peel and quarter the onions and halve the bulb of garlic, bash the ginger until it almost starts to break up. Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the dry pan and toast until blackened and charred all over. This will take 4-5 minutes. *Warning! likely to trigger smoke alarm*

Next, add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Now add 2 litres of hot water from the kettle, the stock powder or cube, the mushrooms and the soy or tamari and bring to a simmer. Chop the carrots into 2cm chunks and add these too. Cook for 25 minutes, until all the flavours have infused.

While the stock is simmering, put the noodles into a bowl, cover with boiling water from the kettle and put to one side. Drain after 8 minutes or following the packet instructions.

Pick the leaves from the stalks of all your herbs, quarter your pak choi and halve your sugar snap peas, lengthways.

Once the stock has had its time, sieve it into a large bowl and pour it back into the pan. Add the juice of 3-4 limes, depending on how juicy they are. Taste and adjust, make sure the lime, soy and spices come through, then add the sugar snaps and pak choi or greens and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the leaves have wilted a little.

Divide the drained noodles between four bowls and ladle over the stock and vegetables. Serve with beansprouts, herbs and the remaining lime cut into wedges, with some chilli oil for everyone to add as they choose.


Indonesian Gado-Gado

Adapted from “The Barrio Vegetarian” Peace Corps Philippines. We were there 1989-1990 and we still make this, especially in the late fall when our CSA shares are bountiful.  Gado-gado is a dipping sauce served with a platter of vegetables, tofu and hard-boiled eggs.

1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 chili pepper minced
oil for sauteing
1/2 to one cup boiling water
1 c chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar
1 lime, juiced – the original recipe calls for 3 kalamansi, a tiny green citrus fruit
1 teaspoon grated ginger
salt to taste
1/2 coconut milk (evaporated milk in the original)

according to the original recipe:
bean sprouts
shredded cabbage
green beans, blanched or raw
hard-boiled eggs, prepared in advance
tofu, cubed and sauted in advance
we add:
different colored sliced peppers
apple slices

Prepare vegetable platter ahead of time and sprinkle lemon or lime juice over the veggies.  Have the hard-boiled eggs peeled, leave them whole or cut them in half. Saute the tofu until browned.

Saute the onion and garlic in oil in a wok until soft, add peppers and cook a little more. Add the peanut butter to the pan and then gradually stir in the boiling water, whisking until smooth. Add all the other ingredients except coconut or evaporated milk and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. Stir in the milk and simmer for a few more minutes. Pour into a serving dish and serve.