There are many things that have surprised me since I started my blogging journey a year and a half ago. I was amazed the first time somebody left me a comment. I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed blogging once I started doing it. I am amazed by the number of people out here in blog-land...because I had no clue what is was all about when I first started doing it. I'm amazed by the sense of community that I've found here in the world of virtual foodies...and also from those who may not consider themselves foodies, exactly...but who do blog and reach out with their warm souls to other human beings who have touched them in one way or another. I'm pleasantly surprised by the amount of friends I've made that span the globe...just through blogging. And I'm talking actual friends. I mean sure, there's acquaintances...and those I banter back and forth with through comments, tweets, FB, etc...but there are also people who I've spoken to on the phone, shared laughs and cries via email, received surprise letters, cards, even pictures in my snail-mail box! I've also met some rotten apples, but let's not talk about them.
I recently received a package in the mail filled with heat-packed, chile-loving goodies from New Mexico. From one such person whom I call a friend...that I met through blogging. We share a love of good food, especially when it packs the punch of a few chiles... not to mention humor...kindness...and um, the mucho caliente Robert Rodriguez. I'm talking about Linda from Olde Baggs 'n Stuft Shirts. She also writes a few other blogs, but this is the place where I originally started talking with her I think. I'd love to actually visit her and spend some time frolicking in her fairy garden...daydreaming in the midst of the sunflower curtains... anyhoo, we were talking about recipes...because I asked her for one...and she sent me a pork recipe that her family loves. It included Hatch chiles or Hatch chile powder (or jalapeño powder). Well, Hatch chiles are something I've never been able to find around me...and I've never seen a fresh chile powder (made from fresh green chiles, as opposed to dried, red ones). I told her that, wondering what I could use in its place, thinking fresh poblanos or jalapeños. Well, this sweet lady took it upon herself to send me one deliciously HOT care package...complete with fresh Hatch chile powder from New Mexico and some other dried, spicy things made close to her home. The kindness of people is something I will never stop believing in. Thanks for reinforcing that belief, Linda. So, I promptly embarked on my mission to make one of her familys favorite dishes. My family is pretty grateful.
Olde Bagg’s Roast Pork
or as I now to call it...Sweet Heat Pork Roast
adapted to our tastes & what we had on hand from Linda's recipe
2 - 2.5 pound pork butt chunked into 2" squares 2 ¾ lb.
Kosher salt & ground pepper
Cut 2 sweet onions, cut into chunks 3 small, quartered
6 stalks celery, chunked
1 bell pepper quartered 1 green, 1 yellow, ends of a red in large chunks
2 cups applesauce our favorite roasted homemade, w/out the added spices
2 garlic cloves, minced 5, smashed & added to veg above
1 teaspoon thyme few stalks fresh thyme
1 cup brown sugar ½ c.- Mexi doesn't "do" sweet in his entree willingly
1 teaspoon (or more if you like heat) of green chili powder/jalapeno powder 1 Tbs. Hatch Green Chile powder from Linda...think I'll double this next time
Arrange the pork in a 9x13 roasting pan in one layer I used my Dutch oven. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper and put all the veg over the top of the pork. I also added the garlic in the mix at this point. Mix together the applesauce, brown sugar, thyme, & Hatch chile powder (Linda uses fresh Hatch chiles when they're in season...). Pour this mixture over the top of the pork & veggies. I nestled the fresh thyme sprigs into the mixture.
Linda said her family loves to eat the pork and veggies stacked onto an Asiago cheese roll...drool...with a side of calabacitas. I was far too lazy to make Asiago rolls...and couldn't find any at the market, so I used a regular roll...but it was still amazing! I served ours with a side of fresh green beans, because after the heat of the last few weeks...they are growing like wild fire!!! Linda also likes to stack the veggies for a veggie sammich. I thought about trying this, but I have this "thing" with vegetables. I like them pretty crisp. You can imagine that after cooking for 3 hours, they're not so crisp anymore. But they add those flavor layers to the pork & juices that are heavenly, so I just sort of mashed 'em in. In the future, I could add the veggies during the last hour of cooking and then use them as stackers, too.
This pork is sooooooo tender. Fork tender. Pull tender. And it has this awesome "sweet heat"! A mellow, creeping heat that never quite assaults you, like you expect it might...because it's tempered by the coolness of the applesauce and the rich brown sugar! I just liked standing over the pot and picking with my fingers...toying with burning them in the process because it was way too hot to handle yet. After piling it on the roll I topped it with avocado & pickled banana peppers...I mean, pickled banana peppers are good on anything! And then I washed it all down with a cold bottle of Sidral Mundet. Thank you, Linda.
Quick Pickled Banana Peppers
from the kitchen of girlichef
Slice up some banana peppers anyway you like, or leave them whole. Place them in a large, deep-sided saucepan w/ a couple bay leaves. Make a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Add a big pinch of salt and a few whole black peppercorns. Pour over banana peppers and bring to a boil. Boil one minute, then transfer to a non-reactive container. Let cool and refrigerate. Use often.
This is for you Linda! Ah, who am I kidding...it's for me too. YUM, I want a bite!
|photo credit: I have no clue! Found it whilst perusing the net...w/out a sited photographer. But whoever you are, if you took this photo...thank you. From the bottom of my heart.|
And if she weren't already good enough to me...she recently passed me this award, as well! Pretty sure she's trying to give me a big head. Hey Linda...you're totally the opposite of an (_o_)...LMAO!!
In accepting this award, I'm supposed to sum up my blogging motivation, experience, and philosophy using 5 words.
Thanks for thinking of me, Linda.
*You still have a couple of days left to enter my GIVEAWAY for your chance to win a $75. gift certificate from NOVICA!
*Also, I'm submitting this sammich to:
Culinary Smackdown: Battle Sandwich