This past weekend my buddy, Chad, drove up from LA with his wife, Kristie, and their two young kids, Chelsea and Brooke, ages 2 years and 4 months, respectively. Chad was coming up for our annual Penn State Football weekend in San Francisco. It's just a get together with my two West Coast Penn State friends, Chad and Chuck, to hang out and watch a PSU game. I think we've held this event since 1998. Unfortunately, Chuck from Seattle couldn't make it this time.
After a weekend filled with Korean BBQ, Hawaiian, Chinese and Burmese food, I was wondering what to make for Sunday night dinner. Thankfully, Jane texted me Sunday morning stating that dinner was at her place. Her brother, Garry, was planning on making a slow-roasted pork shoulder and his wife, Karen, was making a strawberry cream cake. We were definitely looking forward to dinner.
Chad and I went on a 50 mile bike ride to Tiburon and afterwards, we were famished. I told Chad that we should snack on something before heading over for dinner, otherwise, everyone would think we were complete pigs if we devoured all the food ourselves. My reputation as a glutton has already been established, but I wanted to protect Chad's image.
Dinner started with a pasta dish that Garry threw together with hot Italian sausages, mushrooms, peas, onions and tomato sauce. As a side dish, we sautéed some Kale with garlic, olive oil, sea salt and a touch of butter. To make the kale more tender, we blanched it first. The pasta was excellent with spicy sausage and sweet peas. The kale was tender and tasty.
Next up was Karen's strawberry cream cake. Karen is a trained pastry chef, so we are always looking forward to eating her beautiful desserts. This time, she was trying out a strawberry cream cake recipe from America's Test Kitchen. The recipe is from the current season of America's Test Kitchen TV show, and it's free if you register for the site. The cake is like strawberry shortcake and consists of white cake, strawberry filling, whipped cream with cream cheese and fresh strawberries. The cake was amazing! It was surprisingly light and not too sweet.
While the strawberry cream cake was great, it was only a palate cleanser for the slow-roasted pork shoulder. Actually, Garry and Karen were tied up and couldn't get the pork in the oven early enough. Since it takes a few hours to roast, the pork wasn't ready until after dessert. And none of us were leaving without trying the pork!
Garry based the pork roast off of this slow-roasted pork shoulder with melted apples recipe. He omitted the apples and onions and cut the cooking time. Without the apples and onions, there was less braising and more roasting. Garry thought the pork shoulder was too dry, but everyone at dinner thoroughly enjoyed it. The pork had a crispy, caramelized crust and the meat was full of flavor. The two big carnivores of the group, Jane and I, couldn't stop grabbing more pieces of pork shoulder. I definitely want to make this dish again with the melted apples.
Dinner was very fun and scrumptious. It was also great sharing Sunday night dinner with Chad and his family. As we were all leaving with full bellies, two year old, Chelsea, yelled, "tanks for da cake!"
SNDsters: Chad, Kristie, Chelsea, Brooke, Garry, Karen, Mark, Jane, Hungry Bear, Chuck
[tags]pork, shoulder, italian sausage, strawberries, pasta, cake, roast, kale[/tags]