where i’ve been

I had recipes lined up the wazoo for you this week, but alas, none of them came to fruition. You see, I’ve been a little preoccupied. I told you about my new project Will Bake for Food, a Seattle food blogger bake sale to benefit Northwest Harvest. Jenny and I have been knee-deep in bloggers (we now have over 50 blogging bakers!), logistical details, and trying to get the word out to the public (you hear that, Seattle Times? Email me back. Pretty please. With donuts on top.).

Additionally, this past weekend The Belly and I (that is its official name—soon it will be its own planet so it at least deserves a label) were invited down to channel 9 to do a little cooking on air.

The station lies quite literally in the shadow of the Space Needle, if you can see it through those pretty fall leaves. It’s a public television channel and they air some really interesting educational programs, from cooking to home improvement to children’s shows.

The live “family favorites” cooking show was part pledge drive, part recipe demonstration. Here’s the pledge drive half of the set, with the cooking set in the background.

On the cooking set, the crew wheeled in a cart with each cook’s supplies on it. In between each demo, it was a whirlwind of clearing out the old demo and getting the new one set up, all during a quick 5 minute break. I got about 120 seconds to set up all my ingredients where I needed them, meet the hosts, and get settled on the set.

And here I am beginning my segment, in which I cooked one of my all-time favorites, cuban pork. I had to arrive at the studio with two versions of the dish: one already cooked and one with all of the individual ingredients to be prepared on air.

Live television is a little scary. It’s a good thing I was wearing black because I was sweatin’ up a storm. And it’s hot under those lights.

Luckily the hosts (Carol Dearth on the left, George Ray on the right) were incredibly cordial and engaging. If I got stuck explaining something, they jumped right in and saved my nervous butt.

Apparently I really like hand gestures.

See the belly? It will be officially discovered as a planet in the weeks to come. Scientific studies will be done. Astronauts will explore it’s vastness.

My grandmother told me I looked like Martha Stewart on air. I don’t know if that’s a compliment.

Once I got over my nerves, I had a ton of fun. I even joked with George a little bit and got a few laughs.

Before I knew it, it was over and it was time to de-mic and go home. The microphone lady is laughing at me here because my maternity jeans go halfway up my back.

The crew whisked in and cleaned up the set to get it ready for the next cook. They were so nice—they washed all my dishes, helped me out to my car, and were generally welcoming and cheery. It was a day I’ll never forget. As much as I dreaded being on television, I think I could do it again.

Thanks so much to KCTS 9 for having me on the show and putting my recipe in their cookbook! And a big thank you to my dad for coming along and being my chauffeur, photographer, sous chef, porter and armpit sweat-checker. You’re the best dad and pal in the whole wide world.

I’ll put up a clip of my television appearance when I can find one. I’m too scared to watch it, but I know some of you would enjoy pointing and laughing at me pretending to know what I’m doing.


4th of july recipe roundup

It doesn’t feel much like July around here. Rain is dripping from the plum tree outside my window, the yard is well-watered, and the thermometer reads an oh-so-toasty 50 degrees. Happy 4th!

But for those of you planning shindigs in other, more temperate parts of our lovely country, or even here in the rain, here’s a list of ideas for your menu.

Poblanos Stuffed with Chipotle Mac n Cheese. Spicy, creamy, lovely. Throw your guests one of these instead of the usual brat and they’ll kiss the (sodden) ground that you walk on.

Cuban Pork. Toss it in the Crock Pot and forget about it. You’ve got more important things to do…like drink icy cold beer.

Burg’s Potato Salad, Sort Of. Tater salad is back on our table in a big way thanks to Molly Wizenberg’s recipe.

Fresh Corn, Avocado and Mango Slaw. Sweet corn? Good. Ripe Tomatoes? Good. Creamy avocado? Good. Mango? Good. This slaw? Even better.

Lemon Sour Cream Cups. They’re all dressed up in red, white and blue.

Compost Cookies. It’s the right thing to do.

Double Chocolate Brownies. It’s really the right thing to do.

And for all of those 4th of July leftovers, there’s…

Throwaway Biscuits. Mix in your leftover sausages, cheese and veggies and you’ve got breakfast.

And some apropos recipes from my favorite blogs:

Strawberry Sheet Cake from Homesick Texan

Mediterranean Roasted Potato Salad from Velveeta Ain’t Food

Ponchatoula Strawberry and Brown Butter Shortcake from Ezra Pound Cake

Braised Short Ribs from Pioneer Woman

Best BBQ Chicken with Simple Barbecue Sauce from The Bitten Word

Have a very happy (safe) weekend! Don’t blow off any fingers. Don’t let your husband blow off any fingers. Eat great food. Drink delicious cocktails. Or mocktails. And wish the Pacific Northwest a few moments of sunshine—it just doesn’t feel like the 4th without it.


cuban pork

As far as the hierarchy of my favorite foods goes, good roasted cuban pork has to be top five. Maybe even top three. Top two if it’s from Paseo.


Plus, cuban pork has a whole lot of residual benefits.

A few little-known facts:

1) Cuban pork can cure cancer.

2) It prevents road rage.

3) It will call your Aunt Mildred back for you.

4) It makes an excellent Christmas gift.

5) It will make you more physically attractive.

So how can you not make this recipe?


Out of exscuses?

Good. Let’s go.

First, a caveat: this dish requires thinking ahead. Like, a day ahead. Normally I would not give into such foolishness. But the meat needs to marinate to get all nice and tasty. So forgive me this one and do this first step the night before you wanna eat delicious pork.

Oh, and another caveat: I’m lazy. So I don’t “roast” it. I stick it in the slow cooker. That’s how I roll.

Alright. Let’s make the marinade.


It starts with gaaaahlic. About half a head.


About a third of a can of orange juice concentrate, thawed.

Wow. This whole picture is orange. It was contagious.


One lime. We’re gonna use the skin and the juice. Not a thing wasted. Being green.

Get it?

Sorry. It was too darn easy.


And lots of gorgeous cilantro. If you’re a hater, go ahead and leave it out. If you love it, can I get a HEY-YO!


Grab the garlic and get it neekid. And I mean nay-kehd.


Give it a good chop, and then take a blurry photo of it.


Throw it in a bowl and zest the lime right over the top. You only need about a teaspoon of zest. More if you’re feeling ambitious.


Poor little naked lime. He never asked for it.


Now chop that sucker in half and squeeze the  juice on in. Squash that lime, baby.


Chop up that bee-youtiful cilantro. Oh, it smells divine.

Or it smells like dish soap. Depends on your sniffer.


Throw it on in the bowl…


…add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil…


…and a teaspoon or so of dried oregano. Give it a good stir.

Now then. Rinse and pat dry your pork roast.


Do not trim the fat. That’s the part that prevents road rage. And the part that makes it dee-licious.


Pour it on into a big ‘ol Ziploc and stick it in the fridge overnight. Or one or two days, if you’re an overachiever.


In the morning, dump that sucker into the slow cooker.

Without the Ziploc bag. I have to say that for legal reasons.


Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or, you know, until you get home from work), or high for 4-5.


Sometimes it just “falls apart on it’s own.” Or so my husband tells me.

I think a little pork fairy tried to take a nibble and hide the evidence.

Alright, folks. Before we eat, there are a few more things we have to make.


Like beans. Dump a couple of cans of black beans into a pan.


Spoon in about 1/4 cup of the juices from the pork.


Add some kosher salt…


…one bay leaf…


…and a couple dashes of cumin.

Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for about an hour (or more, if you’ve got the time). Give it a stir once in a while.

Also, if you’d like, put on a pot of white rice. The beans would appreciate it. They would be lonely otherwise.


To serve, layer the rice, beans and pork. Top with a spoonful of sour cream and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.


Oh, baby. Come to mama.


It does not get better than this.


And you simply cannot eat it fast enough.

Make this for your hungry ones this week. It will keep them quiet for at least 3 minutes.

Happy monday!


Cuban Pork: The Recipe

  • 1/3 can orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder roast

Combine all ingredients. Wash and pat dry the pork roast and place in a large Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over the top, seal, and place in refrigerator overnight or for 1-2 days.

Place pork roast and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-9 hours. Shred meat and serve with cooked white rice, cuban black beans (recipe below), sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

Cuban Black Beans

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1/3 cup pork juices
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (you may want to add more if you’re going to cook the beans for say, 3-4 hours)
  • 1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least one hour, or up to 4 hours.