Things To Do With Kids – Gardening

It surely wasn’t San Francisco weather, it was the calendar, that reminded me of all the amazing months we spent at babushka’s every year: playing in her beautiful garden; eating cherries, apples, and pears fresh off the trees; picking the sweetest strawberries EVER… and slaving, slaving, slaving in the vegetable garden.

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Ohm.. Our hose was useless since the water pressure was so low. We filled huge buckets with water over night, and irrigated the whole plantation manually. And if that was not enough – there were also disgusting tasks – like picking up bugs from the potato leaves, or tortures tasks like pruning. So, you can imagine my love for growing all things green – there isn’t any!

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Once in a while I would buy a huge plant at The Home Depot and put the black plastic container it comes with into a nice ceramic one.That’s been my idea of gardening for years.

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During my mom’s visits here, such plants would be watered on regular basis and somewhat loved (by mom). Then she would leave. The plant would survive (miraculously or because of whatever drugs The Home Depot stuffs it with) for a few months, and then I’d have to replace it with a new one.

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The food blogging community touched some strings in me, that I thought didn’t exist. So, this year, the kids and I planted some herbs and flowers.  This time, I controlled the amount of stuff we are going to grow (or kill).

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Luckily, our San Francisco yards are tiny. Strangely enough, the kids love to water the new greens. Don’t ask me why. Silly things! They also keep looking for pixie dust, and leave cookies and milk for ferries before going to bed. Sorry, Santa.

 

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Garlic Rosemary Pork Shoulder

For my husband’s birthday dinner I tried to mix healthy vegetable dishes with vile butter/carb plates.  With all the health hype the most popular items, naturally, were dill biscuits, casserole, and mashed potatoes.  Of course stuffing ourselves with the Evil Mother-In-Law Corn dish didn’t make us feel guilty at all, since healthy greens (in form of bean salad and plain steamed broccoli) were dutifully added to the plates!  See full menu here.

I used to try to show off with elaborate meals when I just got interested in cooking. Having kids dramatically changed my ambitions.  Now I find the simplest recipes more and more delicious appealing. I wonder why?..

Pork shoulder is almost ideal.  It requires minimal effort during the preparation and produces the awesomest results!

Print this recipe

GARLIC-ROSEMARY PORK SHOULDER

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder with skin
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 stems rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste or your favorite meat seasoning /I LOVE  Goya Adobo – it’s a perfect blend of garlic, oregano, black pepper, and turmeric/

DIRECTIONS:

Don’t ask me why, but some people like crispy pork skin.  This recipe accommodates their weird tastes by higher heat in the beginning of baking and open lid and higher temperature in the end.  Otherwise, the secret of softest, most flavorful pork is in long low-temperature baking…

Generously season meat with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning.  With a knife poke holes in the shoulder about 1 inch apart from each other.  Stuff the holes with garlic cloves and rosemary stems.  At this point the meat could be refrigerated for 24 hours, or you could bake it right away.

Preheat the oven to 425⁰ F (220⁰ C).

Position the pork shoulder in the baking pot (Dutch oven or turkey baking dish work great) skin up.

Bake at 425⁰ F for 30 min.  Cover with a lid or foil.  Lower temperature to 325⁰ F (160⁰ C).  Bake 30-40 minutes per pound.  During the last half hour of baking remove the lid and raise temperature to 350⁰ F  (175⁰ C) to crisp the skin.

Check the temperature with instant-read thermometer.  It should be at least 160⁰ F (71⁰ C).

Carve by removing the skin first.


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