Lillie Loves Corn
April 28, 2009, 9:13 pm
Filed under: corn, epcot, lillie, pickles and cake, sauter
corn power!

Finally tall enough for Soarin’ and Test Track, Lillie was itching to go back to Epcot without Sadie to hit up some new rides. The two of us arrived during their Garden and Flower Festival on a late afternoon.

The weather was perfect and she loved both rides. They had some great playgrounds set up to wear her out.

We took a corn break in the park and then headed home as the sun was setting. Perfect afternoon with my little buddy.


Chipotle Pulled Pork Enchiladas
April 22, 2009, 9:50 pm
Filed under: chipotle, enchiladas, gourmet kids recipe, mexican, picklesandcake, pulled pork, sauter

Old pal Brandi Marsh Panzarino asked me to share some Mexican-themed recipes for an upcoming fiesta. I decided to update the classic enchilada with a smokey pulled pork filling – I used the Chicken Enchilada recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook as a guide and let the rest fall into place.

Knowing I was serving this to a 2 and 4 year old, I pulled back on the Chipotle and used Ancho chili powder to make the dish less spicy. Ancho chilies are smokey and sweet without all the heat of a traditional chili powder. The Ancho chili powder can be hard to find, so you can substitute chipotle or traditional chili powder if you crave the spicy fire.

There are a few steps to this recipe but they are all relatively simple and will be worth it in the end. Just ask my little oven-mitted helper.

The first step is to slow cook the pork. I use a crockpot to get just the right pulled pork consistency without a smoker, etc. It will take about 8 to 10 hours so make the pulled pork the day before if you can.

Ancho Pulled Pork

3 – 4 lb Boston Butt pork roast
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Ancho or regular chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (add two canned chipotles instead for a little more spice)
1 tsp cumin
2 cups white wine (or a can of beer)
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup v8 or tomato juice (remainder of can will be used for enchilada sauce)
2 packets Goya sazon

Thinly slice the onion and place on the bottom of your crockpot. Add all dry ingredients over onions.

Place pork into crockpot and then add wine and tomato juice. Pour bbq sauce over pork. Turn on High for 2 hours to jump start the cooking process.

Set on Low and cook for an additional 6 to 8 hours. Carefully rotate pork top side down with tongs 3 or 4 times during the cooking process. When done, the pork will be falling off the bone.

Remove roast from crockpot onto a cookie sheet or large plate. Careful now! That pork is hot and at the same time, is falling apart. Let it cool and then use a fork or even your hands to pull the pork into small shreds and pieces. Discard any fat and the bone – the pork should be as lean as possible. Depending on the fat content, in the end you might have more pork than you need for the recipe. If you have enough, you can make a double batch or freeze the remaining pork and save for quesadillas, etc.

Strain cooked onions from the crockpot and set aside for the enchilada sauce.

The next two sauce recipes are quickies.

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce

1 15 or 16 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup v8 or tomato juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Ancho chili powder (use traditional chili powder for more of a kick)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup reserved onions from pulled pork (just onions, not liquid)
1 tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
1 whole chipotle (add 2 or 3 if you like a little more spice)

Most enchilada sauces start with softening some onions in a saute pan. Since I already had some seriously flavorful onions, I figured I’d take a different approach. This no-cook enchilada sauce knocked my socks off and is the star of the dish. If smoked paprika is difficult to find, used an additional chipotle or adobo sauce to add more smokiness.

Throw all ingredients into blender and puree for 1 minute. Set aside sauce in bowl, rinse blender and reuse for the cilantro sour cream.

Cilantro Sour Cream

1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
cracked pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and blend for 30 seconds. Place into ziptop bag and refrigerate until needed.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Enchiladas

3 cups shredded pulled pork
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup black beans, drained
12 to 14 6″ soft corn tortillas
1 whole tomato, chopped (for garnish)

Heat oven to 400 degrees and adjust rack to the middle position.

Combine pulled pork, 1 cup enchilada sauce, 2 cups of cheese and black beans in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stack tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until warm and pliable – maybe 60 seconds. Don’t skip this step or your tortillas will tear. I know from experience. Boo!

Coat 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Place 1/3 cup of pulled pork mixture down center of each tortilla and then gently roll tortilla tightly around filling. Place into baking dish 5 or 6 down each side – pack those suckers in there. If you don’t have room for the last few enchiladas, stack a few in the middle.

Lightly spray tops of enchiladas with vegetable oil spray.

Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar down the center of enchiladas.

Cover with foil and bake until enchiladas are heated all the way through – about 20 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until cheddar browns up, about 10 minutes.

Plate one or two enchiladas at a time. Cut corner of ziptop bag and drizzle each enchilada with cilantro lime sour cream. Garnish with fresh tomato and a little cilantro. Enjoy!

Hurry up and take the picture already, so I can eat!

Lillie’s big bite!

Leftovers are portioned and go right into tupperware containers. Anything we arent going to eat in 48 hours goes into the freezer.


Sadie’s First Cake – Devils Food with Peanut Butter Cup Buttercream Frosting
April 20, 2009, 11:21 pm
Filed under: chocolate, devil's food cake, peanut butter, picklesandcake, sadie, sauter

It takes me way too long to get a finished recipe up on picklesandcake so I’m changing my approach. I’ll post each food adventure twice – first with a few pictures and a brief description and then once again with a complete recipe and more detail.

Sadie and I made our first cake together and we had a blast. The buttercream frosting came out great – I melted 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the dark chocolate.

Fresh-Sauced Gemelli with Artichoke, Feta and Grilled Chicken

I’m a relatively new convert to the fresh sauce revolution and I still can’t believe how easy it is to make. Fresh ingredients never cooked that come together from the heat of the pasta. Fresh flavor at its best. I’ve tried different variations several times including one of my first Pickles and Cake recipe postings. This time around, I was inspired by a batch of beautiful yellow tomatoes and a craving for artichokes. Some grilled chicken on top infused with some complimentary flavors will push this dish over the edge.

The first step is to marinate the chicken. I marinated about a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the following:

Mediterranean Marinade

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grape seed or canola oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp season salt (I used the Tuscan Chicken grinder below)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley – rough chopped

Combine all ingredients in ziplock bag and marinate in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Grill off the chicken on high heat and let it rest. Slice thin just before plating.

(why didn’t I take any photos of the chicken on the grill?!)

Fresh “No-Cook” Tomato Sauce with Artichoke Hearts and Feta

2 Tbsp spring onion
2 Cups deseeded, chopped tomato
1/2 Cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped Feta

The girls will eat anything I make, as long as I involve them in the cooking experience.

The first step is to pick some fresh herbs. Lillie is a pro at carefully plucking off the basil leaves.

I set Lillie up to deseed the tomatoes. Its important to pull all the seeds and the jelly stuff out of the locule chambers.

She does a great job – this is what they look like once they are cleaned out and cleaned up…

While she was deseeding the golden beauties, I opened a can of baby artichoke hearts.

Then I rolled up an herb ball for easy cutting.

A quick chop to all and we are one step closer.

I chop chop the tomatoes and and throw everything in a bowl.

A quick stir and the sauce is ready to go. Well, ready to sit anyway. It needs to sit on the counter for a few hours for all the flavors to meld.

Boil your favorite stubby pasta and transfer to individual bowls just as the pasta is al dente. I generally use a multigrain penne but I’m a sucker for Barilla’s gemelli and could care less about the extra carbs with a fresh, healthy meal like this. Gemelli is dense and perfect for this type of sauce.

Toss pasta with the sauce. Once the sauce hits the hot pasta the herbs wilt and the garlic mellows. Top with sliced chicken and some feta. Done!

Sadie was starving and finished this entire bowl!

Lillie wolfed down the whole bowl too.

It was a perfect night outside so we set up a little table by the pool.

This was probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in a while. The smokiness of the grilled chicken and the full savory flavor of the fresh sauce – the accent of the feta and texture of the gemelli. Every taste bud was smiling and the kids loved it all.