Tag Archives: slow cooking

March 1 is National Pig Day, Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and Fruit Compote Day

March 1st is National Pig Day

First day of March – Rabbit, Rabbit – I say!

Also March first is National Pig Day, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and National Fruit Compote Day
Wales: St. David’s Day. Welshmen wear leeks in their hats today.

Wow it’s national pig day and national peanut butter lover’s day? Sounds like I need to share two of my more favorite recipes for pulled pork and peanut butter cookies….

Here’s one of my favorite recipes I created for making affordable pulled pork, it’s a slow cooking process – but very well worth every bit of time – and since you barely do anything to ‘it’ while it cooks, it allows you to go off and do other things that need tending.

Chef Maven’s Pulled Pork Recipe: (serves 8-10 easily)


  • 7-9 pound pork shoulder (butt or picnic cut)- choose one with a bone. Cost vary from $6-12.
  • 5 pieces of cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 apple cut up into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (sounds like an oxymoron recipe that calls for both pig and kosher salt – huh? lol)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced thyme
  • 1-1/2 large onions, cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups apple juice (not cider) (freshly pressed and organic preferred)
  • 1 bottle of lager or dark beer (heck any type of beer will do)(and it’s for the pig, not you)
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • after cooking – you will cook it a second time using BBQ sauce (mine, your own, or even bottled) – 2 cups+

Equipment Needed: large deep roasting pan with lid (the kind you use when you make turkey for example), a slow oven at 275 degrees. – You can make this in a crock pot, but I would suggest double the spices (except for salt) used since crock pots are notorious for weakening the spices.


  1. Open up your pork shoulder (butt or picnic cut) by unwrapping it from its packaging, rinse well under cold water. Score skin with knife in about 7 places and place into roasting pan having it sit on a rack.
  2. Add all ingredients and pour liquids over pork. The amount of water can vary, add it last – you will want the pork to sit in about 2-3 inches of liquid since you are basically braising the pork.
  3. Cover with lid and place in a slow over (which means low temperature) – at 275-300 degrees and allow to cook for four (4) hours – if you are using a piece larger than 7 pounds, you may need an additional hour. Usually you can tell when it’s done since it starts to pull away from its bone. Internal temperature should be about 195 degrees.
  4. Go about your business through out your day, maybe make your own BBQ sauce, etc.
  5. Take a peek at it after two (2) hours to check on the level of liquids. Add more water if you need to – I normally do not have to ever add additional liquids – and if I had to, I would add apple juice versus the plain water…I suggest this in case someone ups the oven temperature on you when you weren’t looking.
  6. Once four hours are up, take pork out of roasting pan – reserve 1/2 of the juices and cooked onions.
  7. Let pork cool off before attempting to pull apart. I usually allow it to cool off for an hour so that it’s easier to handle in pulling apart.
  8. With gloves on, I usually pull pork apart by hand – but you can use a couple of large forks to help pull it apart. Do not be worried that the meat has different colors in it – the meat may be dark pink and light pink depending upon where it is in relation to the bone.
  9. A lot of the fat will have melted away during the cooking, but you can also limit how much fat you want in the ‘end product’ which I like to do.
  10. With the reserved 1/2 juices and cooked onion, return to roasting pan along with the cooked and now pulled apart pork. Pour over pulled pork half of your BBQ sauce, stir it up, then put back into the slow oven and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
  11. Serve it up on potato rolls or other types of rolls, add additional BBQ sauce to your liking – and enjoy!

Click here for my peanut butter cookie recipe….


Did you know that the following all happens in March?

  • National Caffeine Awareness Month
  • National Flour Month
  • National Frozen Food Month
  • National Noodle Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Sauce Month
  • UK: National Veggie Month

and also with Variable Date Events in March:

  • American Chocolate Week (3rd week)
  • Bubble Gum Week
  • Egg Salad Week
  • Florida Strawberry Festival
  • Garden Book Week
  • Great American Meatout – Don’t eat meat today.
  • Shrove Tuesday – International Pancake Day (can be in Feb or March)
  • Maple Festivals at various locations
  • National Agriculture Week
  • National Poison Prevention Week
  • National School Breakfast Week
  • Pancake Week
  • UK: National SPAM Appreciation Week
  • EU: EU Daylight Savings Time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday of October

The above stats for March are courtesy of http://www.foodreference.com/html/html/march1.html

Chow Ciao for Now ~Chef Maven Leah

Rosh Hashanah Dinner Menu – Happy New Year

This past Monday I made (with some help) a large and super tasty meal for my very first Rosh Hashanah Dinner. I may not be Jewish, but my guy is and we thought to make a nice meal for several of our friends, one couple whose wedding we had just gone to days before. So to keep the festivities going from their new wedding bliss, my guy and I sought out to create one heck of a meal.

I learned a lot including adding a few new dishes and appetizers to my arsenal of recipes, all of which came out wonderfully. I share them with you here. One thing that I found most interesting what that you eat certain foods to help start the new year sweetly – so that it is sweeter than the previous year. I am all for that. And certain foods are quite traditional as well such as pumpkin, pomegranates, honey, whole fish, just to name a few. Let me share with you some of the reasons as to why you eat these foods and the thoughts behind them.

By eating a head of a fish…yes, you make a large whole fish is “to help represent being ahead for the new year, and not ‘be’ the tail for the new year”…thankfully my guy’s brother is making this one..2) eating a new fruit or apple with honey, so help bring in sweetness to the new year and that your new year will be sweeter than the last year…3) also foods such as beets, pumpkins, spinach, dates, pomegranates.

One particular cool thing about the pomegranates is that they supposedly contain 613 seeds. Thus, Jews display their desire to fulfill God’s 613 mitzvoth (commandments from the Torah) by eating the pomegranate. ok I did not know that…

I will provide all the recipes in a separate post.

So our party menu is the following:

  • Sliced apples dipped in honey (the honey was from a local farm and was incredible!) to start (tradition I’m told) all said with a beginning prayer for the meal/feast.
  • Clear chicken soupwith special spices
  • Spinach patties and leak with ground beef patties (new to me, my guy and I made these – and they were fantastic! You make them the night before and serve them up cold.
  • Whole fish served in a creamy super light sauce with chopped tomatoes (will have to ask my guy’s brother for the recipe – it was amazing and looked incredibly pretty)
  • Super Salad which resembles a Greek salad with fresh feta cheese, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, red onions, parsley, tomatoes with only fresh lemon juice and olive oil. This was mostly all vegetables and very little lettuce at all.
  • homemade hummus – (already posted)
  • homemade tortilla chips and toasted pita bread
  • cilantro pesto (posted)
  • zahatar and olive oil for bread dipping (posted)
  • cilantro bean salad (my dish – posted)
  • honey glazed carrots
  • steamed green beans with then toasted almonds, garlic and drizzled olive oil (posted)
  • Cilantro Basmati Rice (posted)
  • A huge Roasted rib eye roast (posted)
  • Yorkshire pudding and homemade horseradish sauce (ok this is totally me, but heck, give this wasp girl a break – lol)
  • pumpkin pie and pecan pie from scratch
  • Honey Cake (very traditional and kosher as well)
  • then the usual wine, coffee lattes, turkish coffee, etc.

This was followed by followed by two days of cleaning…was it worth it all?… You betcha! You could tell everyone was so impressed (always love that factor, I admit!) – the food was super tasty, beautiful looking and was enjoyed by all…as it turns out, I did have left overs and have been making some interesting new dishes which I will share in another post….Chef Maven

Happy New Year!

1 2