What a week! We hosted a fabulous Labor Day BBQ with friends, and it was an amazing time. Given that our group was about 30 people, I didn't want Ryan standing over the grill all afternoon (and I didn't think we had room to cook for that many), so I suggested we go the route of really good pulled pork. Ryan agreed, and we did it. I used a recipe that I made and posted back in 2011, but really upped the size of the roast. We used an almost 10 lb bone-in pork shoulder, and though it took a long time, the results were fantastic! I put it in at 9pm the night before the party, it was cooked to the desired temperature by about 1:30ish the next afternoon, and then we shredded it around 5pm. Although I could be biased (since I made it) it was some really gosh darn good pulled pork!!! After dinner one of the dessert offerings was a new recipe - cookies and cream fudge. It got rave reviews, and one friend said he was was going to request it for his birthday instead of cake!
Prior to dinner I put out the corn avocado salsa that I learned from one of my sisters. What a hit that was - with the adults and kids alike! You have to make this if you get a chance! When I decided to make it I realized I could use some of my homemade black beans that I portion out and keep in the freezer - it was so nice to have one less ingredient to add to my grocery list.
I suppose it is only fitting that after we celebrated Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, later in the week I made apple cinnamon oatmeal. Talk about a fall, even winter-y, breakfast. It needs some tweaking, but the kids thought it was pretty good. I need to work on it to make it a full blown keeper. But to flip the seasonal table again we made a brown rice salad that tasted like summer. Such bright flavors, lime, cilantro, tomato... it was as if August was turned into a side dish and placed on my dinner table. It was a light and fresh side dish, and if you swapped the rice for quinoa, you could use this more as a vegetarian main dish. Or add some cooked diced chicken to the salad and have an easy, and portable, summer main dish. Give it a try if you have a chance. One friend that tried it has never found a brown rice dish she liked...but she loved this!
Both the rice salad and the oatmeal were recipes from the same group of folks. The rice salad was from a Cook's Illustrated issue and the oatmeal was from an episode of America's Test Kitchen. status. The brown rice salad earned keeper status this week, and I am hoping that the oatmeal will make it to keeper soon! The fudge recipe found me via an email blast from Nestle. From the rave reviews it got at our BBQ, I think it has earned keeper status as well!
Brown Rice Salad
Cookies and Cream Fudge