citrus pulled pork buns with coleslaw and peach layer cake with brown butter buttercream

this farmer bought his first quarter section in 1997… I’ve been farming with him now since 1999… and he is still smiling when I go for a ride with him in the combine… maybe he’s laughing to himself thinking that I am still asking him the same questions as I did back in 1999…

I can remember meeting him and asking him all about the farm… then he brought me home to show me the farm and I told his Dad I had ridden a ‘cultivator’, trying to impress him… his Dad told me he hoped I hadn’t and then the farmer told me I meant a ‘combine’…

if I had known back in 1999 when I was bragging about riding a cultivator that in 2020 I would have two sons and a daughter working on the farm with us, I don’t think I could have imagined what that would even look like…

and now comes the part where we are sad and happy… because we only get one more week of the boys working on the farm before one of them heads to College and the other off to High School… this year it won’t just be mom missing this boys… the farmer is really going to miss them...

we had a bit of a rain last week so it took a day to get back out in the field, but this allowed me to prep the pulled pork which was nice… I have to tell you, this is my family’s favourite pulled pork recipe and you are not wasting your time making this…

this looks like basically an entire pig and it felt like it when I was cooking it!

citrus with pork for the win… I use a heavy pan to brown the pork on all sides before placing it in the Instant Pot… don’t skip this browning step as it is what give it all the flavour with the rub…

my Instant Pot can hold the entire Pork Shoulder Roast and using a pressure cooker really cuts back on the total time… if you don’t have one a slow cooker is fine as well, you just need to plan farther ahead…

making this a day ahead, I shredded the pork and added the liquid and onions and garlic and stored this overnight in the fridge… (for the liquid I did the same as I would do with gravy, I let it sit and then poured the juice liquid without the fat on the top going back in)

the trick to getting it crispy is to put the shredded pork onto a baking sheet with a little bit of the juice and place under a broiler for a few minutes… toss, add more juice and broil again… this gets it crispy and the liquid keeps it moist (there I go with that awful word again)

now you can serve this pork with tacos (or even over some nachos would be so good), but for the field I chose to put it on some homemade buns…

my boys did tell me that they could have eaten 8 of these, opposed to the three I gave them… I told them I didn’t want to wrap up 8 pork buns for each farmer out there…

citrus pulled pork

Ingredients:
For the Rub:
8 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
For the Pork:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 heads garlic, thinly sliced
2.6 kg pork shoulder blade roast boneless (Costco)
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
4 bay leaves
To Serve:
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
cheese for topping
buns

Directions:
make the rub by combining the rub ingredients
cut the pork into four chunks
rub each side of the pork chunks in the rub
in avocado oil (or oil of your choice), brown the sides of the pork
place the browned pork, broth, orange and lime juice, cider vinegar, garlic, onion and bay leaves in a pressure cooker
on manual, set timer for 45 minutes (if you are using a slow cooker, this will take on high 4-6 hours)
when done, shred the pork and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet
broil until pieces are crispy, around 3 minutes
remove from oven and pour 1 cup or so of the reserved cooking liquid all over the pork
use tongs to toss and return to the oven for around 3 minutes under the broiler
pour more reserved liquid over the pork and give one last toss
serve on fresh buns with cheese or whatever toppings you enjoy

the farmer likes coleslaw on his pork buns, but I thought it would make them too soggy, so we sent them some coleslaw with a label saying they could add this to their buns… my guess is the farmer is the only one who took the time to do so…

cake time… and with peaches on the brain we decided this peach layer cake was going to be perfect… I also had my helper with me for this so was willing to attempt a ‘bigger project’ dessert…

this cake is a four layer cake, cutting the two 8 inch round cakes in half… for a stacked cake like this, it is really important to have everything cool while icing it or the whole thing could slide like the Tower of Pisa…

Sienna and I thought this looked like a giant cookie… the cake itself is rich and tasty and the peach jam is sweet and adds a burst of flavour

the buttercream icing has a step involved with it that is browning some of the butter before whipping it up… this adds a very distinct nutty flavour to the icing which I enjoyed but Sienna didn’t really… still fun to try out to see if you like it… I really like the nutty flavour with the sweetness of the cake and jam…

peach layer cake with brown butter icing

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 cup canola oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 large eggs, room temp
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Peach Jam:
6 cups fresh peaches, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp bourbon (or replace with apple juice)
1/3 cup raspberry jam
Brown Butter Buttercream:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups)salted butter, room temp
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:
preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 (8 inch) round cake pans, line with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper, coat with flour
in a standing mixture beat canola oil, ricotta, eggs, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk
add the flour mixture
pour batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the cake
set on cooling rack in pan
once cooled a bit, turn out onto cooling rack, cover and let cakes completely cool
for the jam, cook the peaches, brown sugar, bourbon and raspberry jam until mixture is thick… let cool completely
for the buttercream, add 1 cup (2 sticks) butter to a saucepan and let brown until you can smell that it is toasty… remove from heat and add to mixing bowl until cool… when cool, whip up the toasted butter with the remained 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and the icing sugar and vanilla
cut the two cakes in half
ice a layer of the cake and add jam, then repeat with the next layer
ice the cake
chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you cut into it
store in fridge overnight if you have time and cut the next day for good results

we were able to put the cake in the fridge overnight and that really helped with cutting it the next morning… then I just left it on the counter and it was room temperature by the time we took suppers out…

another fun part of ‘family farming’ this year has been hearing the boys reaction to the food I take out… mostly the reaction that they could have ate two suppers… for sure with this cake they could not have handled more than one slice…

I also enjoying riding with the farmer and hearing the boys voices on the radio… although teenagers these days really need to work on their phone voice I think… they all sound like they are in the throws of a terrible depression and upset that anyone made them speak…

one more week of laughing, farming stories, making lunches, mounds of dirty jeans and socks in the laundry… and I am going to enjoy every moment of it! the farmer did mention to me that mom’s are never happy… during Covid here I just wanted my kids to have their life back and now that they are getting it back I just want them home forever…

seeding… finally!

here we go!  after a freezing cold April with so much snow, we are finally getting going around here…  well, the farmers have been going for a few days but I finally got the ‘nod’ to bring suppers out…

as it so happened, my run took me by the cemetery this morning and I stopped by to have a chat with the farmer’s Grandpa…  both the farmer and I miss him this time of year…

I felt like he asked me a bunch of questions about seeding that I didn’t have the answers to and then told me I shouldn’t run so much…  seeding, farming, this land, this area… it all reminds the farmer and I of the hard work, sacrifices and joys that Grandpa and Grandma went through for us to be were we are today and doing what we are doing…

seeings how I had ran all morning I had planned ahead yesterday and bought what I consider to be Costco’s finest achievement… Tiramisu Cake…  it is delicious…

dessert being done… I moved on to the Pulled Pork on a Bun part of the meal… having gone a winter with minimal meat cooking and no pork/bacon in the house, this was a bit much for me to handle…  so I called upon the help of my 14 year old… turns out, he was just as disgusted by the texture of raw pork as I was!  none-the-less he slapped some spices on it for me and then proceeded to wash his hands like he was heading into the operating room

I used the Instant Pot to brown the pork, then added the garlic and onions in to saute and then returned the pork to the pot

I added some Passata (tomato sauce), apple cider vinegar and worcestershire sauce and set the Instant Pot for 70 minutes

whilst that was cooking away… I quickly cut up some bok choy and cabbage for a salad… it occurred to me that I have made more complicated main dishes and salads but I’m not exactly sure why…  when this was so simple and easy and quick!

salads are most likely thrown out by the farmers I’m assuming but it doesn’t mean one cannot try!

when the pork is done it gets shredded and added back to the sauce with some brown sugar in the sauce…

in seeding I am never sure exactly how many guys will need to be fed so I plan for apparently 54 of them by the amount of pork I made…  good news is the farmer will be getting pulled pork sandwiches in his lunch all next week!

I’ve been told by the farmer that you cannot have a pulled pork sandwich without coleslaw on it…

this was one of the easiest meals I have made and I was very glad today to have a few easy things to throw together for my first meal to the field… as I get older I realize you shouldn’t start seeding with your most complicated meal as you are just remembering how to cook for a big group again…

I also will be very sad someday when I have no one around the house helping me out… no wonder back in the day they had so many kids…  they didn’t like kids any more than the rest of us do… they just knew they couldn’t run out of manual labour around the farm!  I have found that my children will still do every job I ask them to do for a pop and dessert…

crunchy bok choy and cabbage salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 lemon and zest
  • salt

Salad:

  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • 1 cabbage chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • white sesame seeds
  • black sesame seeds

Directions:

  • make the dressing
  • in a large bowl, make the salad and pour the dressing on
  • place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinade

pulled pork with coleslaw on a bun

Ingredients:

Pulled Pork

  • 4 lb boneless pork shoulder or loin, skin cut off
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup passata (tomatoe sauce)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Coleslaw:

  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

  • in an Instant Pot, saute the pork that has been rubbed in the spices in butter until is is browned on all sides
  • take out and saute the onions and garlic
  • add the pork back and add the passata, vinegar and worcestershire sauce
  • set cook time for 70 minutes
  • when finished cooking, shred the pork and add the brown sugar to the sauce
  • for the coleslaw, add all ingredients together
  • serve the pork and coleslaw on a big bun