Long before I was an editor, I was a chef. I also taught cooking classes. I loved taking a recipe, breaking it down into its component parts, and then figuring out how to teach it to people who were not comfortable in the kitchen. One of my greatest joys was when a student would come back and tell me that not only had they made a recipe of mine but that they had experimented with it to create something new and even more delicious. Equipping my students with basic kitchen skills was fulfilling; knowing that they could use that knowledge and create new things was delightful. What follows are some recipes that I created for TanglewoodMoms.com. It is close to teaching, and I hope you enjoy. – Lee Virden Geurkink
Cuban-Inspired Pulled Pork
I love the bright, citrusy flavors of this dish, and pork and slow cookers are a match made in heaven!
1 pork shoulder, 3 to 5 pounds, trimmed of excess fat (I like to leave the bone in for extra flavor
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 5 limes
6 to 8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 small to medium white or yellow onion, peeled, cut in half and then into half rings
½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
Place pork shoulder in a 6-quart slow cooker. Combine all the rest of the ingredients and pour over the pork. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Serve over rice with black beans and a side salad with lots of avocado in a citrus vinaigrette. The leftovers make great tacos, burritos, lettuce wraps, or quesadillas. Serves 4 with leftovers.
Legume and Tomato Salad
Legumes are wonderful sources of protein and fiber. This is a great side dish with grilled meat or seafood or as a truly flavorful main dish for a (mostly) meatless meal.
2 cups fresh or dried crowder, purple hull, zipper cream, lady cream, or black-eyed peas
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
3 slices bacon, chopped (can be omitted for a truly vegetarian meal)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups mixed tiny tomatoes (yellow, red, orange…), halved
3 green onions, white and green, thinly sliced
Several shakes of your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring the broth, optional bacon, thyme, and bay leaves to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Add the peas and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes for fresh or dried, or until the peas are tender. Drain and place in a bowl. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and hot sauce to taste and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, green onions, vinegar, and olive oil and toss to coat. If you add in a grain of some sort (rice, farro, couscous, bulgur, orzo, etc.), you’ll have a delicious meal that provides a full protein without meat. Serves 4 as a main.
Ricotta with Local Honey
This is probably the world’s easiest, and yet so amazingly delicious, dessert. Serve with fresh fruit, on toasted bread, or simply a spoon!
Whole milk ricotta
If you like, you can add some nuts – pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.
Drizzle the ricotta with honey. Serve.
Seriously. That’s it. Really. I promise.