Last month, I wrote a column for the San Diego Union-Tribune on how people can save money by cooking wholesome dinners instead of buying the sort of food that you zap in the microwave.
My editor didn’t like the column because he thought it belonged in the food section. I argued that shrinking grocery bills was a legitimate topic for my column. Ultimately, he allowed the column to run, but I had to eliminate two of my recipes.
I decided to share the pair of recipes on my blog because they are perfect dishes for Independence Day. The pulled pork recipe is my candidate for the easiest dish on the planet to make. It takes about as much time to prepare as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
If you’d like to read my original column, here is the link
If you can open a bottle of barbecue sauce, you can master this recipe!
4 or 5 pounds pork shoulder roast, Boston butt, fresh ham. (All very cheap cuts of pork.)
2 bottles of barbecue sauce (whatever brand is cheapest.)
Vinegar, salt & pepper, Tabasco to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove any outer excess fat and put pork in casserole or pot and season with salt and pepper. Pour in two bottles of barbecue sauce. Cover with lid. Cook pork for about 4 hours in oven. The pork should end up so tender that it nearly melts in your mouth. This meat, by the way, is nearly indestructible. I once left the meat in the oven for 5 1/2 hours and it still tasted great.
Once pork is cooled, pull it apart. Add small amount of vinegar, salt, pepper and Tabasco to the sauce remaining in the pot. The seasoning is optional.
Mix a cup of the sauce with the shredded meat. Reserve remaining sauce for dipping. Serve on hamburger buns. If you lived in the South–as I did for three years — you’d slather a scoop of coleslaw on the sandwich.
Penne with Asparagus, Arugula, Pecans and Blue Cheese
4 cups packed arugula (can buy at Trader Joe’s) or spinach.
16 oz. penne pasta or any other shaped pasta.
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (Don’t use tough ends.)
1 cup chopped pecans.
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese (For the cheapest blue cheese try Trader Joe’s and Costco.)
3 tablespoons of vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
5 tablespoons olive oil.
Boil water with 1 tablespoon of salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente (almost soft). Reserve some water when draining pasta.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in skillet over high heat and add asparagus, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until the asparagus starts to brown and add nuts and continue stirring until asparagus is tender and nuts toasted. About 4 minutes more. Stir in arugula until it wilts. Add asparagus mixture, blue cheese, vinegar and three tablespoons of oil to warm pasta and toss. If a bit dry, add reserved pasta water.