But you're here to read a blog post, not a book. Consider this topic tucked away for a kindle download in the future.
Three different friends are responsible for the inspiration for today's deliciousness. One friend influenced the apéritif, another gifted me with some golden nectar that I used to switch up the libation, and yet another inspired the topping for our dinner.
I love them all.
I'm enjoying a hilarious group text with some long time friends that make me snort on Friday nights and holidays when the alcohol is free flowing. One recently shared a picture of her special Mommy Tonic in order to host a major holiday while wrangling a toddler, teenagers and her mother-in-law all at the same time.Because recently at an out-of-town horse show, this sweet gem pulled a special treat out of her brown paper bag.
She sent her picture before 10:00 a.m. I don't judge.
She sent her picture before 10:00 a.m. I don't judge.
1.5 oz Hennessy
1 oz Lillet
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup*
Mix in a shaker with ice, then top with Club Soda and stir to mix. Garnish with a lemon twist. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon to the drink before mixing.
*If you don't have Ginger Syrup, just mix the Hennessy and the Lillet and top with ginger ale (omit the club soda).
I loved this drink. Recent posts suggest I've been in a fall rut that includes cranberry and orange with bourbon, so this was a very nice change of pace. It tastes a bit lighter to me than the bourbon drinks I seem to favor, but still packs a solid punch that reminds me to switch to wine just before dinner after enjoying two of these gems as an apéritif .
The result? Giardiniera so good, I've made it at least half a dozen times since, and we will never eat another pulled pork wrap without it. Last Saturday we decided to make pulled pork last minute - I say last minute because pork butt is best when you buy it a week in advance, rub it, wrap it in plastic and place it in the fridge for about 3-4 days before roasting it. We decided to make it at about 8:00 a.m., even though we had no pork butt in the house, no smoker ready, and no giardiniera prepared.
So we ran out to the store and bought the ingredients.
I made it in the morning, because it's best when the vegetables can chill in the salt water solution for a few hours. It's ideal to let the finished mix sit a couple of days before eating it, but it can be also consumed immediately. Our neighbors came to the cabin this summer and INHALED it with corn chips faster than I could mix it up.
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into tiny, bite sized pieces (about the size of a thimble)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 - 8 spicy peppers. I used 4 jalapeño peppers, seeds and membranes removed. For a spicier mix, leave the seeds and membranes in tact, use more jalapeños, or a mix of spicy peppers
1/2 cup salt
For the dressing:
6 cloves garlic
2 T Italian Seasoning
1 t Celery Seed
1 t Red Pepper Flakes (more to taste if you like it spicier)
1 t freshly ground Black pepper
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups Olive Oil
1/2 cup olives with pimentos, sliced thinly
In a large non-metal bowl add the vegetables, salt and cover with water, gently stirring to dissolve the salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours. Meanwhile, combine the first six ingredients to make the dressing, then slowly whisk in the olive oil to combine. Cover and set aside.
Strain and rinse the vegetables, returning them to the large bowl. Whisk the dressing, then pour it over the vegetables, add the olives and gently stir to combine. Carefully ladle the giardiniera into glass container jars making sure enough dressing is included to cover the vegetables. Enjoy immediately and store in the refrigerator for up to a month. I will forever think of Amy and Mike when I make this.
I rubbed the pork immediately when we got home with some Famous Dave's rib rub mixed with Avocado Oil to make a thick, wet paste. Mr. Musky got the Weber grill ready - the Green Egg would have taken way too long and we wanted to impart some smoky flavor into the meat quickly. But we had no wood chips ready, so what were we to do?
If you have a griller in your life, go straight to Amazon and buy these. I promise you, they will come in handy when you're pressed for time but still want something infused with good smoky flavor.
They do the job in a pinch and make a great stocking stuffer for the griller in your life. We placed the pork in a rack over an aluminum pan. Mr. Musky poured red wine and water in to the pan, and set it all on the grill over indirect heat (roughly 250 degrees) for about four hours. We then moved it to a 250 degree oven for another four hours. Our roast was about 7.3 pounds. Regardless of the size of your butt (heh heh), roast it until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.
While the pork cooked away, Kahley and I wrapped some Christmas presents, watched Wisconsin take on Minnesota for the Paul Bunyan Axe and I sipped The Aristocrat. With a fire burning and the soft glow of electric lights illuminating our workspace, it almost felt Norman Rockwell-esque.
Until the dog puked.
I love it that Jake still crawls under the tree and shakes all of his presents. Miller knows that something under there is all his, so he cozies up to Jake to see if this is THEEEE one.
While the pork continued to cook, Jake and a buddy played around outside with our newest backyard addition. I hereby apologize to our neighbors for the late night pucks sailing into their yard.
Finally, the star ingredient was finished. Behold the masterpiece of slow roasted divinity.
here. If you're looking for a big boy, hearty sandwich, I highly recommend this method. But since our diets have evolved, we're more into tasting the pork and having some vegetables involved versus getting all filled up on
gluten-y bread that makes us want to curl up and take a nap. So we pile the pork onto a tortilla and top it with some homemade condiment goodness.
Here's how the boys prefer to eat their pulled pork - on a tortilla, with some aged cheddar. End of story.(recipe here), topped with homemade giardiniera.
Repeat, but for seconds omit the tortilla.
We're really fancy around here with the Dixie plates. Good 'ole Norman is rolling over in his grave, I'm sure.
Thanks to all my friends who positively influence me in so many ways. Especially when it comes to good food and drink.