Pantry Marinade

Spring always inspires me to clean up a little, and this year I found a delicious solution to a major problem. I tend to hoard bits of ingredients past the point of functionality. So, I made a marinade out of all the leftover things in my cabinets. I also got rid of doubles- who needs 2 bottles of cumin? Not this household!

Originally, I wanted this to be a hot sauce, but that didn’t work out, so I ended up making a marinade instead. I waited until I used the marinade in a recipe because I wouldn’t want to remember how to make something gross. But, earlier this week I used the marinade in a recipe and it was so good!

Pantry Marinade:

1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups dry chile de arbol
1/3 cup white raisins
3 Tablespoons cumin
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup black strap molasses
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup salt
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup chile con carne mix (aka taco seasoning)
1/4 c coffee extract
5 cups water

1. Saute shallot in olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic.
2. Add everything else.
3. Puree with an immersion blender
4. Simmer for 3 hours
5. Strain, cool, and store ( I froze mine into single use portions)

So, as I mentioned above, I used the marinade this week. I bought a 4 pound bone in pork shoulder from Butcher and Larder, marinated it for about an hour in this pantry sauce and then braised the whole thing in gluten free beer (Estrella Daura) for about 3 hours. After it was done, I served it as pulled pork. I made a slaw from red cabbage, orange pepper, lime juice and mayo. I put everything on a corn tortilla, topped it with some avocado and called it a night.

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Things have been pretty busy around here. Last week we went down to Indianapolis and got to hang out with friends, go to a wedding at Union Station, and drink a real Moscow Mule out of a copper mug.

We had a midnight “snack” (shrimp cocktail & steak) at St. Elmo’s, which is a super old-school steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

This weekend GB and I went to check out the recently refurbished Logan Theatre. It looks great, you can buy tickets online, and the ticket price is only $7! Last night we had the chance to watch a midnight showing of Battle Royale.

If you like the Hunger Games (which I do) I’d suggest seeing this movie. It’s funny in a very dark way and pretty gory, but I still enjoyed it.

I also had the chance to grab a birthday present (some Boat Street Pickles) for a pal at this store called Half Italian which recently opened. The store is pretty new, and combines a market with some prepared foods, sandwiches, and cool looking beer/wine. I can’t wait to go back!

I also decided I want these shelves.

image courtesy of

Have you ever seen anything so pretty?

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sabado (doh!) & ramen adventures


1st ramen attempt

Do you know about this magazine, The Lucky Peach? It’s pretty great.  The second issue, which came out last fall, was dedicated to Ramen.  I’ve wanted to make some for awhile, but I had this problem with the broth/stock.  And with the gluten thing. What to do?  Basically, for about 5 months I just thought about it.  But then, a friend of mine told me I could make a salty & unctuous (in a good way) stock with leftover meat trimmings and  tons of aromatics.  So, that’s what I did this week.  I made a stock of sorts using bacon, ham, speck, leeks, green onions, shallots, garlic, and some shichimi togarashi.  Then I found brown rice vermicelli at my old favorite, Joongboo Market.  I also grabbed some green onions, radishes, purple cabbage.  Tonight, I was feeling a little under the weather and thought that ramen sounded like a great idea.

First I sliced the vegetables on my trusty mandoline.  Then, I boiled some stock and added the noodles to the stock.  While the noodles were cooking I cooked the egg.  I think ramen would be great with a poached egg, but I felt like a fried one sunnyside up, because I was being lazy.  When everything was cooked, I put it together in a bowl and added a bunch of sambal oelek.


yum & spicy

Then I ate it and watched the nightly news.


all done

I can’t wait to try making it again.


2. I’m liveblogging Sofia Vergara’s episode of SNL.

2a. So far, she’s made a funny Fran Drescher and I’ve learned she has a line of reasonably priced sheets for sale at Kmart. One time, in 2005 I bought a pair of sheets at the Kmart at Ashland and Milwaukee in Chicago and the sheets are still kicking! 

2b. Also, Kanye/his management team licensed his song “Runaway” for a new Budweiser song. Hmmmmm. 


drawer before

3. In other news, I cleaned out the credenza drawers. 


drawer after

3a. Now they are clean, but sort of empty.  THEY WILL BE FILLED. 

4. Last weekend, like most people in the wold I went to see the movie The Hunger Games with my pal Natalie.  After, we grabbed a negroni at The Barrelhouse Flat and listened to some vintage Destiny’s Child on the way home.  SAY MY NAME. Any thoughts on THG?  I liked it. And the soundtrack is good.  

4a. I also got to catch up with my favorite family, the Starks, from Winterfell. Below is a partial map of Westeros/Essos.  I’d highly suggest finding out about this if you are not already aware of it. 

5. GB, my cousin Rick, and I went to a delicious brunch at Big Jones up in Andersonville.  GB and I have been going there since it opened and that place keeps getting better.  Any brunch that begins with a charcuterie plate is good in my book. 

That’s it for now. 

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