Oscar Remix: Crock Pot Almond Milk Pulled Pork

In 2009, it was raining on Oscar Sunday, so I whipped up a milk-braised pork tenderloin and mashed potatoes dinner using ingredients on hand in our tiny SF apartment. Last year, same occasion, I swapped in almond milk and added pappardelle. Today, it’s act III, but the crock pot is now playing a lead role in my kitchen.


To the crock pot, add pork tenderloin and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add about 1 cup of chicken broth and 2 cups of almond milk. Cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8), or until pork can be easily separated with forks.

Optional mashed potatoes:

Midway through cooking the pork, place 4 peeled russet potatoes around or on top of the pork. Cook for 2 hours, and flip halfway through. Remove potatoes and mash with melted butter and almond milk. Season with salt & pepper, and stir in green onions. Keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees, as needed.

Served pulled pork over a bed of mashed potatoes; ladle juices over the top.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Crock Pot Pork & Mashed Potatoes

2014 is the year of the crock pot, in my book. But finding recipes that use my favorite staples, like pork tenderloin, without delving into canned this or processed that, can be difficult. So this morning, I borrowed from some basic crock pot concepts and added my own healthy spin, to attempt pork tenderloin and carrot stew with mashed potatoes. Fortunately, it worked!


You will need:
– 1 onion
– Pork tenderloin
– Baby carrots (1 package)
– Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
– Salt & pepper
– Optional: green onions, butter for mashed potatoes; flour for gravy

Slice a whole onion and spread evenly to create a layer on the bottom of the crock pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add two pork loins (from one package) on top of onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour one small package of baby carrots on top of the pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For the final layer, add as many freshly peeled potatoes as you can fit on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Cook on low for 6 hours, and then keep on warm while you prepare the potatoes (or as long as needed).

For the mashed potatoes, remove the cooked potatoes one by one with a spoon from the crock pot (they will be soft). Then mash in an oven-safe casserole dish with desired ingredients. I used 1 cube of melted butter, 1 cup of almond milk, 1-2 chopped green onions, and salt & pepper to taste. Keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees until ready to serve.

For gravy, I ladled some of the juice from the crock pot into a small saucepan and whisked in about 1/8 cup of flour slowly. My gravy turned out pretty lumpy, so this part will require further refinement.

I may also add more liquid next go around, so there’s even more juicy goodness. But all in all, this was a hearty and health home style meal without a parade of dishes!

Rosemary’s Gravy

Tonight I searched around for ideas to use the fresh rosemary in my fridge, along with the frozen chicken breasts that made up my last remaining supply of meat. The menu? Chicken breasts baked with red wine, olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary, and salt & pepper – inspired by a Foster Farms recipe.

I baked the chicken at 400 degrees for nearly an hour, but it was too dry. I also sauteed spinach in butter, fresh chopped rosemary and salt & pepper, inspired by this recipe; and mashed potatoes (with butter and almond milk).

I sprinkled some of the juices from the pan over mashed potatoes. My only regret is that I didn’t make gravy out of the tempting golden bits at the bottom of the pan. Maybe next time!

Meat and Potatoes

Dittmer’s Gourmet Meats & Wurst-Haus = local Mountain View gem. Tonight I needed to pick up some meat for dinner and two friends on Facebook recommended Dittmer’s for an old school butcher shop experience. Luckily, it turned out to be exactly what I was looking for: friendly butchers with good advice on dinner pairings, and the lingering aroma of smoked meats (in a good way).


For my inaugural trip, I tried the butter garlic chicken breasts, which produced a delicious gravy to go with mashed potatoes. First I “caramelized” the meat by cooking it over medium heat in a frying pan for a couple of minutes on each side. Then I baked the chicken in its juices for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees (until cooked through).


Danke schoen Dittmers – I’ll be back.

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Bringing Home the Bacon

Black bean soup + broccoli + mashed potatoes = just add bacon! In my quest to eat healthy this month, I’ve had a lonely package of bacon sitting in the fridge, waiting to expire. In a last ditch effort to use it on this lazy Sunday evening, I dug up a couple of bacon-based recipes from one of my old favorites, Epicurious (which recently released a free iPhone app). The results didn’t compromise my diet, and David cleaned his plate:

  • Black Bean Soup – My paraphrased version left out the jalapenos, oregano, bay leaf, thyme and cilantro; and since I used canned black beans instead of dried, I cut back on the simmering time (1 hour vs. 2.5). I also used homemade (frozen) chicken broth, defrosted in the microwave.



I may have dodged a grease fire in the process, but I did learn a nifty trick for cooking bacon when you need to collect the fat for use later: layer the strips of bacon inside a wok or coffee filter-shaped sauce pan. Plus, the slanted angle seemed to prevent a lot of the typical splatter that happens in a flat frying pan.

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Oh, the Shame

Bless me, for I have sinned. It’s been nearly a month since I last posted. Confessions aside, two of the weeks when I wasn’t blogging, I was tasting my way through some of NYC’s most indulgent street food – well maybe not quite off the street – but casual fare that was born in the Big Apple (like Magnolia Bakery and Dean & Deluca – no I didn’t have a donut, but they were undeniably photogenic):

Yum, cupcakes! Donuts and Dean & Deluca

But when I returned from the big city lights to Dinner with David, out came the old standbys like boiled chicken and ground turkey burritos. Fortunately, our first order from Capay had arrived, so I had fresh onions and the summer’s first heirloom tomatoes to spice things up. I highly recommend ordering their small box for two, which includes a manageable box of amazing, seasonal produce. (We used to get deliveries in West Sacramento, but they deliver throughout the Bay Area too.)

On Sunday night I was feeling somewhat domesticated, so I made pork chops (broiled with honey, salt and pepper) and mashed potatoes. Monday night we only had a limited amount of leftover pork, so I added in sauteed mushrooms.


I will slowly work my way back into my recipe file and bring honor to the blog once again – especially since it’s been getting a little more attention lately, despite the lack of content!

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