The Best Bean Salsa Ever

File this post under “the pictures just don’t do justice.”
I’m telling you, this is some seriously addictive bean salsa.
I first had this at our friends Ryan and Jessica’s Super Bowl Party last year. I kind of embarassed myself (and probably Kevin too) at the rate in which I shoveled this into my mouth.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  And it was no accident I strategically sat myself right in front of it for the most advantagous eating…I certainly didn’t sit there for the best football-watching view.
The dip was courtesy of Jessica’s friend, Chandry…who got the recipe from her sister-in-law…who got the recipe from her mom.  I just love that about good recipes…they take on a life of their own.
Thankfully Chandry was happy to pass the recipe along to me and gave me the green light to share it here.

Bean Salsa

15 oz. can black beans
15 oz. can black eyed peas
11 oz. can of corn
4 oz. jar chopped pimentos
4 oz. can green chiles
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the black beans and black-eyed peas in a strainer.  Rinse well with water to remove the goopy can liquid.  Set aside to drain.

In a separate small strainer, combine the corn, pimentos, and green chiles.  Allow to drain for about 5 minutes.

Once drained, combine the beans, corn, pimentos, chile, onion and celery in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, combine the olive oil, vinegar, and sugar and heat on low.  Stir often until sugar melts and mixture becomes clear.  Remove from heat, pour over all ingredients, and mix well.

Let sit for several hours before serving, but best if it sits overnight.

Tastes great with corn tortilla chips…especially these ones!
Ok…please make this…pretty please…I just know you will love it as much as I do.
Thanks for sharing, Chandry!

Fried Pickles w/Ranch Dip

If you know me…then you know I can be a little forgetful at times.
Ok, for those of you that really know me…you know I can be really forgetful at times.
It’s like my constant challenge in life to keep my head on straight…do not forget keys…do not forget cell phone…make sure said cell phone is charged…do not leave purse in dressing room…do not leave luggage on conveyor belt at security and proceed merrily through the airport without a care in the world (sigh…true story).
Memory is a weird thing…I will often forget the simplest things…but when I decided to post about Super Bowl recipes, my mind immediately reeled back to a certain Pretzel-Crusted Fried Pickles recipe showcased on the very last page of Food Network Magazine in June of 2010.  Why did I remember that just like I had read it yesterday? It is a phenomenon I will never understand.
But I’m sure glad I did because this was one of the most interesting, fun, and strangely delicious things I’ve made in a long time. This got lots of oohs and ahhs from my guests as well…except for 2-year old Nate who promptly declared, “yucky”…gotcha, buddy.
Pretzel-Crusted Fried Pickles w/Ranch Dip

peanut oil, for frying

6 large dill pickles, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 cups salted mini pretzels
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, for sprinkling
Heat 1/2 inch of peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently pat the pickles dry with a paper towel.
Put the pretzels in a large resealable plastic bag and crush into coarse crumbs using a rolling pin or heavy pan.  Place in a shallow dish.  Whisk the eggs in a second shallow dish and put the flour in a third shallow dish.
Dredge the pickle slices in the flour, shaking of any excess; dip in the beaten eggs, then in the pretzel crumbs, turning to coat.
Working in batches, fry the pickles until golden and crisp, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with kosher coat while still warm.
Serve warm with Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.
This was a great chance to pick up some of these amazing Alexander Valley Gourmet pickles (recently renamed Sonoma Brinery). I first sampled these and met the pickle maker himself at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival I attended last November, and I had the pleasure to say hello to him again at the Fancy Food Show earlier this month. He is such a sweet guy and totally committed to making awesome pickles (and sauerkraut!). I highly recommend picking these up if you attempt the recipe (you can find them at Whole Foods).
Just don’t even think about using anything other than Hidden Valley Ranch for the dip…and it must be the Buttermilk Recipe.  Did you all know there is regular and buttermilk?  Well, there is…and the buttermilk is like 9,000 times better…and we’ll just pretend like it doesn’t come pre-made in a bottle…so not the same…and so not worth the calories.
This, on the other hand….totally worth the calories.
PS..If this doesn’t get you excited for Super Bowl commercials, I don’t know what will.

Bacon Jalapeno Dip

I love Food Network Magazine.  OK, I admit, some of the articles can be a little on the cheesy side…but what I do love is that it’s packed full of recipes. It’s next to impossible not to find at least one thing that you’re dying to try every month. You really feel like you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Every issue also includes a little pamphlet insert of 50 additional recipes of a certain theme…be it mashed potatoes, pizza, cookies…you name it.
This month’s issue included the totally fitting “50 Super Bowl Snack Recipes”.  As I skimmed the teeny print of the small pamphlet, my eyes instantly honed in on this recipe for {Bacon-Jalapeno Dip}. Oh, Food Network, you know me all too well. 

Did I mention this recipe also includes two of my favorite cheeses…cream cheese and cheddar cheese?  Oh yeah, and maybe the most ultimate ingredient of all time…bacon…drippings. I mean, why would you ever let perfectly good bacon drippings go to waste?

Bacon-Jalapeno Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
4 slices chopped cooked bacon
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 thinly sliced jalapenos
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, drizzle the panko bread crumbs with olive oil. Toss until coated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Poor into a baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.

Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

I served this with sliced baguette…and, just to pretend we were being a little healthy, “carrot chips” (peeled carrots cut on the diagonal).
Five of us girls woofed this down in no time so I would definitely recommend doubling, or even tripling the recipe for larger groups. Anything with bacon in it will be the first thing your guests will tear through…it’s like an unspoken rule or something…
More Super Bowl recipes coming your way next week…
Have a great weekend!

Pulled Pork Sliders

Hey, guess what ya’ll…it’s time for another series!!  I know, I know.  You’re excited.  Me too. Well, kind of.

We’re only allowed to get marginally excited around here, seeing as how the wounds are still fresh and all…

But the Super Bowl is coming, whether we like it or not…and sad as we are that the Red and Gold won’t be representing, we’ll still be gathered ’round the TV February 5th…I mean, we can’t miss the commercials after all…

As you’re watching another ridiculous GoDaddy or Doritos commercial, wouldn’t you love to be nibbling on these {Pulled Pork Sliders}?

They are small, but satisfying…sweet enough for the gals and hearty enough for the guys.  This is a multiple part recipe, but please don’t be deterred. I promise, you can do it, and you will feel like a champ when guests are singing your praises. Let’s start with the dry rub…

Dry Rub

Mix together:

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

Pulled Pork
1 pork shoulder (5-7 pounds), preferably bone-in
dry rub (recipe above)
Pat the dry rub on all sides of the pork.  Marinate for at least 1 hour, but best if overnight.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Roast the pork for 6 hours (internal temperature should be 170 degrees). That’s right, 6 hours, so be sure to plan accordingly!
Allow the pork to rest for at least 10 minutes.  While still hot, use two forks to shred the meat (one fork to stabilize the meat and the other to “pull” into shreds).  You can also try to use your hands, but some parts of the meat will still be very hot.
Discard the fat and the bone.
Assembling the Sliders
2-3 dozen King’s Hawaiian Rolls*
barbeque sauce (store bought, or optional homemade recipe below)
cole slaw (recipe below)
Cut each roll in half.  Place a small amount of warm pulled pork on the bottom half.  Top with warm BBQ sauce and a small serving of cole slaw.  Then top with other half of the bun.
(If you make the pork in advance): It will keep keep (shredded) in the refrigerator for several days.  When ready to serve, you can warm it in a large saute pan.  Heat the pan, and place some of the pork in the pan (do this in batches so you do not overcrowd the pan).  Add some of the BBQ sauce and a little bit of water to create steam and moisten the meat.
(Another trick): If you want to make fresh sandwiches throughout your party, you can keep the meat warm on low in a slow cooker.  I don’t like to actually cook the meat in the slow cooker though because I prefer the char and caramelization you get from the oven. But once the meat is cooked and shredded, the slow cooker can be very useful for keeping the meet warm until you’re ready to ready to assemble.
*The amount of sliders will depend on the size of pork you get and how much meat you put on each slider.  A seven pounder will produce quite a bit of meat.  I didn’t test this, but I’m pretty certain you could get 3 dozen out of it.
Cole Slaw
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
¼  cup distilled vinegar
1½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Mix together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Add the mayonnaise and whisk together thoroughly.  Toss the dressing with the cabbage. Add the dressing in batches as you may not need it all, depending on the size of your cabbage and how much slaw you get out of it.
You can make the dressing and shred the cabbage in advance, and then toss together when you are ready to assemble your sliders.
Barbeque Sauce
drippings from the cooked pork (optional)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon molasses
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on the stove.  Simmer the sauce for around 10-15 minutes to thicken.
(If you are using the pork drippings): strain the liquid first and skim off the fat.  You can also refrigerate the strained liquid.  When chilled, the fat will solidify on top, and you can easily scrape if off before using the remaining liquid for your sauce.
I hope you give it a try!  Please feel free to send any questions my way.
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Recipe Attributes:
Pulled Pork = Tyler Florence, Eat This Book
BBQ sauce = my own
Cole Slaw = my momma
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