Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Foam and Two Types of Strawberry Jam

It is nearing the end of strawberry season here, and we picked up what we will probably be our last berries on Monday.  We have been getting a gallon or so a week to eat fresh and to make jam.  We also pureed a gallon and a half and made fruit leather in my new dehydrator (more on that later).  



When it comes to strawberry jam, I am a bit of a purist.  I like flavors in other jams like cardamom pear, gingered peach, and apple pie jam, but when it comes to strawberry I just want to taste strawberry.  I have gone the strawberry vanilla jam route without added pectin before, and even though it was good, the longer cooked jam and the vanilla took away some of the fresh taste that I love about strawberry jam.  So, I go the purchased pectin, classic recipe route when it comes to strawberry, and I am perfectly happy with that.   Over the years I have learned to preserve what we like best and what we will eat because ultimately (even though it may be fun), that's the point.  




I did decide to make some strawberry freezer jam this year though.  Freezer jam is not cooked, and therefore, it retains all of its bright, fresh flavor.  I froze the jam in pint containers, and it is delicious.  I wish I had added a little more pectin though because my berries were pretty ripe that day, and they prevented my freezer jam from setting up as much as I would have liked.  It is still spreadable, but could have been a little thicker.  I am thinking it will be just as delicious over yogurt as it will be on toast.  



All in all I put up 11 half-pints of canned strawberry jam and 5 pints of strawberry freezer jam.  

While I am posting about strawberry jam, I wanted to address the foam on jam issue.  If you have ever made cooked jam, you have most likely experienced a thick layer of foam on top as the jam cooks.  The directions in recipes will tell you that you can prevent some of this foam from forming by adding a little butter to the jam as it cooks.  I never do this, but that leaves me with foam to skim off.  

Foam on jam just after removing the pot from the heat


There are several reasons you want to skim the foam from jam, and even though I know some people who don't bother, I think good jam making practice says otherwise. First of all, as the jam cooks and air bubbles up forming the foam on top, the foam takes on a different appearance, consistency, and texture from the rest of the jam.  It is still tasty, but it is light and airy, not like jam.  It creates color variations in the finished jam if added in, and you will be able to visibly tell that you left it in.  This may not matter so much if you are just using the jam yourself, but if you plan to give it as a gift, enter it in a fair, etc. it will just be better aesthetically without it.  

Second, canning experts like those at the Missouri Cooperative Extension bring up a potential safety reason to remove foam.  They say that since the foam is made mostly of air, if you add the foam into the jar you are essentially increasing the head space in the jar.  This could lead to improper seals or jams that mold more easily.  While I don't think you will ever get sick from jam with foam (unless you eat visibly moldy jam), it could mean that your jam will not last as long, and let's face it, no one wants that.  So, when faced with foam, remove it by skimming a large, clean spoon lightly along the surface of the jam once the heat is removed.  Place the foam in a bowl and repeat until most of the foam has been removed.  The foam can then be eaten on toast or refrigerated for a few days while the rest of the jam is canned. 

Foam on jam after sitting for a minute or so-  you can see the difference in color between the lighter red foam and darker red jam and berries. 


I personally find that strawberry jam produces more foam than most other types of jam.  I'm not sure why this is the case, but I find I do more skimming with strawberry than any other.  If you make freezer jam, you may see a little foam at first (like in my pictures at the top), but that foam is different from foam on cooked jam. It will dissipate as the jam sets over that 30 minute period.   

Strawberry season is such a fleeting season here.  We look forward to it all year, and it is gone before we know it.  Preserving some in the form of jams, leathers, and even freezing them ensures we have the taste of strawberries year round, and for that, and I am grateful.  

picture from previous 2013 post on Strawberry Jam

For the canned Strawberry Jam recipe and directions, visit my page from a few years ago.  I use the same one.  I did, however, make 11 jars this year, so I adjusted my ingredients for a 10 jar batch (you don't want to do more than this at one time as it can prevent the jam from setting up).  If you wish to make 10 jars, follow the same procedures as on my previous post, but use the following quantities instead.  For 10 jars, you will use 6 2/3 cups crushed strawberries, 7 1/2 tablespoons pectin, and 8 1/3 cups sugar.  

Strawberry Freezer Jam- makes 6 half-pints (or 3 pints)

5 cups crushed strawberries
2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp Instant Pectin (for freezer jam)

In a large bowl, stir sugar and pectin together.  Add crushed strawberries and stir 3 minutes.  Ladle into freezer containers and allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes.  Freeze or enjoy fresh.   

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gardening Goals

When we moved to the country, one of our many goals was to try to grow more of our own food.  We enjoy having canned foods on hand throughout the year, and we try to purchase most of our fruits, vegetables, and meat locally.  The problem I have found over the years with canning is getting my hands on fresh, local food in large enough quantities to be beneficial to us throughout the year but also at a price we can afford.  I have found, over time, growers that I use every year, but sometimes that means paying more than I want to for produce, traveling an hour or so to get it, or not being able to put up as much of something as I would like.  The items I generally need in larger amounts are green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and corn.  Other items like beets, basil, and peppers, I preserve in smaller quantities.  

From right to left, potatoes, snow peas, arugula, beets, and green beans.  Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, etc. are in the background at the far end.  You can also see our bee yard behind the garden as well as the run of our chicken coop. 


Now that we are settled in our house, we decided to plant our first garden here this spring.  We were able to walk around our property (which is about 3 acres) and see where previous owners had had garden plots.  One of the areas we had in mind had actually been used as a garden in the past, and we will keep the other areas in mind if we choose to expand our gardening efforts next year.  

Close up of potatoes, peas, and onions with our water tank and chicken coop in background


My gardening experience is limited to 4 (4 x 8 foot) raised beds at our previous home in which we grew potatoes, green beans, squash/zucchini/cucumbers, some root vegetables like beets, and herbs.  We grew enough back then so that we had some to eat fresh, but we never really had enough to preserve.  

peas, kale, beets

My gardening efforts here are focused more on preservation.  While I do want to have fresh veggies and fruits, I still visit the farmer's market weekly.  What I would like to see is the garden produce enough to put up so that we aren't spending time and money sourcing items from farmers in the area.  





We are also raising four turkeys this year to freeze later, and we plan on adding meat chickens in the near future.  All that coupled with lots and lots of fresh eggs, and we feel that we are on our way to meeting (at least in part) some of those goals we had when we moved here.  

Two of the girls- these two live on one side of the coop alone since our rooster does not get along with them.  They love pecking around their side of the yard closest to the bees.  Our new, smallest hive is in the background.  It consists of bees we captured when ours swarmed recently.

The garden is approximately 75 feet by 40 feet and is divided mostly into rows running the length (75 ft) of the garden although we have some of our vining plants like pumpkin and melons planted close to the perimeter so that they can run out of the garden for more room.  Right now, from right to left, we have planted: 

  •  2 rows potatoes (1 row red, 1 row white potatoes)
  •  1 row snow peas (a bush variety)
  •  1 row divided into thirds with kale, onion, and arugula
  •  1 row beets
  •  2 1/2 rows green beans (a bush variety)
  •  1/2 row lima beans (I wanted more but ran out of seed)
  •  1/2 row zinnias
  •  approximately 20 cucumber plants (some vining, some bush varieties)
  •  5 yellow squash plants
  •  10 zucchini plants
  •  5 pumpkin plants
  •  18 tomato plants
  •  6 bell pepper plants
  •  a few melon plants (watermelon and canteloupe)
  • 1/2 row sunflowers
We also planted several additional fruit trees to supplement the ones already here in case we cannot get them to produce healthy fruit (they have some disease issues due to lack of maintenance from previous owners and age), and we planted blackberry vines and blueberry bushes early in the spring.  

arugula

So far, we are enjoying arugula and kale from the garden, and we ate our first snow peas (just a handful) the other day.  We are patiently waiting for more to mature so we can enjoy them with a meal.   



We have plenty to do in the garden this year and in the future to make it better.  When digging at the far end of the garden (the corner closest to you in the first picture) we uncovered the foundation of part of a barn that once stood on the property.  Due to the rocks and poor soil at that end, things aren't growing as well there.  We will need to amend the soil this year so that it is healthier and more productive next year.  We have also started a compost bin which we hope will help in these efforts.  In addition, we have bales of straw close to the garden that we had planned to put down in a thick layer to help hold in moisture and deter weeds, but we have never gotten around to distributing it.  Hopefully, that will happen soon.  We have started, thanks to my father-in-law, started collecting rain water from the roof of the chicken coop, though, so that we can water as needed.  

So, we'll keep working on it, and keep our fingers crossed that it will stay healthy and happy until we can harvest its bounty (or at least what we hope will be bounty).  I'll keep you posted on how things go as well as things we learn along the way. 

 

 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits

Spring has been a very busy for us thus far.  We work on outdoor projects every chance we get which usually means evenings after work and weekends. We have been busy with the garden, bees (which have been very needy this week- more on that later), chickens, chicks, turkeys (which are now outside in a new hoop house we built), and general yard work. With strawberry season in full swing, I have also been making and canning jam and making freezer jam.  I'll post about all of those things soon (I am going to try to be a better blogger in the coming weeks).  All of this means I don't have much time to play around in the kitchen, though, so when I know I'm going to cook something special like dessert, it needs to be worth it.  



This Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits was sooo worth it.  It was excellent warm with vanilla ice cream, but it was also tasty at room temperature a day or two later.  It made plenty and was not all that time consuming.  Best of all it had the sweetness of fresh spring strawberries paired with the tart twang of rhubarb, and the cornmeal biscuits to which I added a little whole wheat flour were so much better than many cobbler toppings I have tried with strawberries in the past.  They offered excellent bite and remained intact without getting soggy from the filling. Any cornmeal will do, but I used Anson Mills cornmeal which I think has nice texture and excellent corn flavor.  


On a side note, I am going to go back to posting recipes here rather than offering the printable version.  The printable version has not been working and my attempts to find a solution have not worked. I apologize for any inconvenience.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits-  makes a 9 x 13 pan  

This recipe was modified from The New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle.  

Filling:
3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
4 cups capped and quartered strawberries
1 tsp orange flower water (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Cornmeal Crust:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 Tbsp butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
2/3 to 1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 Tbsp ice water
flour for dusting

whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt for serving

For the filling: Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, orange flower water, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.  Spread into a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.

For the crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk flours, cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Use a fork to add enough cream to form a soft dough.  You want the dough to be moist but still hold together when you cut it into biscuits.  

Lightly flour the counter and knead the dough several times.  Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness.  Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough and place the dough onto the filling.  You may need to use a spatula to help you lift the dough.  Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and water together and brush it over the biscuits.  Sprinkle the biscuits with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. 

Bake until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling and thickened, 45-50 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Top with whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt and serve.  

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Freshness of Spring and a Luscious Lemon Pie

I love living in a state that experiences four distinct, albeit sometimes short, seasons.  Just when you are getting sick to death of the cold, damp weather in North Carolina, flowers begin to pop up reminding you that spring is just around the corner.  Now that spring is here, I am enjoying every weekend outside, often performing less than appealing tasks, but thankful every moment for the beautiful, sunny weather and the world that's blooming all around me.  Sometimes, you just have to get outside and smell the daffodils.  



The house we live in now has loads of daffodils.  There are bright, cheery yellow ones and creamy white ones with bright orange centers.  I desperately need to mow the grass right now to cut down some of the weeds, but I can't bring myself to do it because the daffodils are clustered everywhere making it difficult to mow without running over them.  So, I'm going to leave them as is and tell myself that the weeds that need mowing (our "new" old home has plenty of them right now) are making the bees happy and I'll leave them and the daffodils alone for another week. Every time I look at these happy little flowers, I think of the farm wife who planted them years and years ago and must have loved seeing their smiling faces as much as I do.  



All of these projects are keeping me from blogging like I would prefer.  I have to prioritize right now, and at this point getting our garden going, planting some new plants and trees, working on our existing peach and apple trees, gearing up for more bee hives and chickens, and working on the inside of our home all take precedence.  I hope to get back on track and blog more as these spring projects get taken care of, and by then there will hopefully be some canning to talk about.  


For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe for lemon pie.  I have read about this pie several times, although I had never eaten myself even though I grew up just a little over an hour from the North Carolina coast.  It is often called "Atlantic Beach Pie" although I have seen recipes by different names.  Apparently it is served in many seafood restaurants and by many families along the coast.  I have had it on my to-make list ever since this article in Our State Magazine.  When I saw it published most recently in the April/May edition of Cook's Country I had to give it a shot.  



It is delicious and oh-so-easy to make.  The crust is a saltine cracker crust held together with some melted butter and sweetened just a touch with corn syrup (although the Our State pie uses a little granulated sugar instead).  The idea of a saltine crust seems strange at first, but the saltiness is perfect with the tart lemon.  A friend of mine compared it to the pretzel base in a strawberry pretzel salad, and I think that's a perfect comparison.  



The filling is a custard base made with sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and egg yolks, and it is so creamy.  The whipped cream on top is necessary, in my opinion, as it provides a light airy quality as well as something sweet to cut through the tartness of the lemon custard.  

The best part about this pie is that it is quick and uses ingredients most of us probably have on hand or can keep on hand easily.  It will become my go-to lemon pie from this point forward.  

The recipe in the link below was modified from both the Our State and Cook's Country versions.   

Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie
 
Crust:
1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine crackers and salt in food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs are formed.  Slowly add the melted butter and corn syrup and pulse to combine.  Transfer cracker mixture to a 9 inch pie dish and use the back of a spoon or measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the dish.  A layer of plastic wrap in between the crumbs and the spoon can be helpful in preventing the crumbs from sticking to the spoon.  Place the crust on a baking sheet and bake approximately 18 minutes.  Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.  There is no need for the crust to be cool to continue. 
For the Filling:  Whisk the condensed milk, egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt together.  Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined.  Pour the filling into the crust and return the pie to the oven.  Bake 15-17 minutes until the filling is almost set and the center of the pie jiggles ever so slightly when shaken.  Remove the pie from the oven and chill for at least 4 hours. 
For the Topping: Using a mixer, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Spread the topping on the chilled pie and serve. 



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Something New: Pickled Pintos, Corn, and Poblano Peppers

At this point in my canning endeavors, I tend to stick with the same recipes.  We know what we like, and more importantly, we know what we will actually use and what we won't.  I am always on the lookout, though, for something new that can liven things up a bit but be an integral part of my cooking rather than just a condiment on the side.  



This past summer I found a recipe for Pickled Pintos, Corn, and Poblano Peppers in the BHG Canning magazine.  I thought the recipe looked interesting, and I also thought it looked more substantial than most other pickled veggies.  It looked like something that could be a main part of a dish rather than just something to jazz it up.  Since I had never made it before, I only made one batch of it to try, and I held off on posting about it until we ate it a few times.   


Well, we have now tried it, and we love it!  The beans and corn are filling, and even though they are pickled they have enough sweetness from the sugar and corn to make them versatile.  They can be eaten on top of tostadas or baked nachos (as we are doing this evening for the Super Bowl).  They can be incorporated into a taco, mixed into rice or other grains, added to salads, or eaten straight up with corn chips.  


They are a fantastic addition to my preserving list, and I will definitely be making them again this year. Here are pictures I took over the summer while canning the batch as well as pictures taken more recently while getting ready to use a jar. 

The only changes I made to this recipe was to substitute ground cumin for the cumin seeds because I could not find the seeds.  The original recipe can be found here.


Note:  For those concerned with the canning of corn or pintos without a pressure canner, this recipe is safe due to the fact that the vegetables and legumes are pickled.  

Printable Version

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas in Our New Home


It feels like forever since my last post, and it has been a long time.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.  

Dining Room Tree
Since I never posted before Christmas, I thought I would do a post now to show a few glimpses of our holiday in our new home and to share a few recipes we've enjoyed over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, in the bustle of the holiday, I did not take as many pictures of food as I should have, so I'm posting the links and the pictures from the sites so you can see what they should look like. I will also post some images of our home decorated for the holidays because even though it still needs so much work, it is home now and being in it made for a wonderful Christmas season.  


Usually Christmas is a time of travel for us, going to my family home and my husband's (both over two hours from our current home and three hours away from one another), but this year was different.  We did travel to my family for Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day was spent in our own home with my husband's family visiting us.  It was nice to be home on Christmas. 

Christmas table set with my grandmother's Christmas dishes.
 


Our Christmas Day was very cozy with lots of twinkling lights, glowing candles, and a fire (built by my father-in-law) in the fireplace as the temperature became crisp outside.  

A glimpse of the porch before the wind blew me back inside.
We enjoyed a casual dinner of Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce, Ricotta, and Mozzarella, a simple salad, and garlic bread.


Dessert was this Brownie Pudding from Ina Garten.  If you have never tried Brownie Pudding, you must.  It is gooey, almost like brownie batter inside, but it has a crisp, chewy crust on top.  With ice cream, it is delectable.  My in-laws all brought yummy snacks, and my sister-in-law brought a chocolate chess pie similar to this one (yum!).  


Brownie Pudding 

I also hosted a cookie swap the week before Christmas which I have done for the past few years.  It was a little different this year because we opted to bring unbaked cookie dough to freeze rather than bake all of our cookies.  I am really looking forward to being able to bring out cookie dough whenever I need it over the next few months.  

Our Christmas "bush" on an old trunk in the living room.  It is decorated with my grandmother's antique glass ball and teardrop ornaments. 

The cookie swap dinner consisted of Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon baked into individual ramekins, topped with whipped potatoes, and broiled until crisp on top.  The salad recipe was really tasty. I followed this recipe from Williams-Sonoma for a Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad, but I used a baby kale blend in place of spinach and candied walnuts in place of toasted ones.  It will definitely be making a reappearance soon.  

Image Credit


I also made a Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tart from Bon Appetit.  I didn't have the patience for the decorative whipped topping, so I just mounded mine on, but it was delicious nonetheless.  Unfortunately, after we ate our fill, I was putting the rest in the refrigerator, and it slid right off the cake plate and onto the floor.  It was frustrating, but the dog really enjoyed licking up the residue later.  

The crust is filled with dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy. 

Then it is topped with peppermint whipped cream and more crushed candy.  I used half the whipped cream recipe, and it was plenty. 

Now that Christmas is over, it is difficult to think of taking down the decorations and getting back to "normal".  Christmas is such a magical time, and the decorations make everything so warm and cozy.  So, rather than think of it ending, I am going to savor one last evening by the fire and curl up to watch Meet Me in St. Louis while enjoying a cup of hot tea.    


 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Slow Cooked Pork Roast with Spicy Asian Sweet Potatoes

First of all, let me start out by saying that I am not a photographer.  The pictures of food on my blog sometimes leave something to be desired.  In addition, when you're trying to take photos of food at night before you actually eat said food, it is even worse because the light quality is so poor.  That being said, I decided to post this anyway because the recipe was really good, and it was a more unique recipe for a slow cooker.  




I have been trying to find good recipes for my slow cooker for a long time.  Often, I find that the slow cooker washes out the flavor of the ingredients and leaves me with a meal that was convenient yet bland or mushy.  The best slow cooker recipes tend to be those that require lots of prep which, let's face it, defeats the purpose of a slow cooker.  

So, a while back I was browsing in Williams-Sonoma and saw their cookbook, The New Slow Cooker.  I came home, ordered it from Amazon (it was cheaper that way) and have cooked a few recipes from it.  I like that the recipes are different, require some but not tons of prep, and have sauces or toppings to jazz things up a bit.  

This particular recipe was pretty tasty and proved to be versatile.  I prepped the pork which included browning it along with some aromatics the night before.  I then put the pork into the slow cooker insert and refrigerated it overnight.  The next morning, I popped the insert into the slow cooker base and cooked it all day while I was at work.  That evening, I made the Asian Vinaigrette for the sweet potato chunks while they roasted in the oven.  When done, I mixed everything together with some fresh cilantro and dinner was ready quickly and without much mess or fuss.  



We ate this meal several different times, once with steamed veggies on the side, once as leftovers, and once in a quesadilla with cheddar cheese.  All were yummy and made good use of the pork roast. This would also be excellent with rice or served in a hamburger bun with or without a little barbecue sauce.  

A few notes on this recipe...the original version called for butternut squash instead of sweet potato.  I used the sweet potato because that's what I had on hand.  I used dry sherry rather than sake, white wine, or vermouth because that's what I had.  I also omitted the basil because I didn't have any, but I did have some cilantro hanging around so I added that for a pop of color and flavor.  I used a pasture raised pork roast which had a fairly thick fat cap.  I trimmed most of the fat off before cooking.  If you are using a roast from the grocery, you may not need to trim as much.  

Pork Roast with Spicy Asian Sweet Potatoes- serves 6

This recipe is adapted from The New Slow Cooker.  

3 lb pork roast (I used one with a bone but you can use boneless instead)
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dry sherry (original called for dry sake, white wine, or vermouth)
1/2 cup chicken stock 
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 recipe Asian Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Asian Vinaigrette- makes 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lime 
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp peeled, minced ginger
1/4 tsp sugar
2-3 drops Sriracha sauce

For the vinaigrette:  Mix everything together except the olive oil.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until it is well blended.  

For the pork and sweet potatoes: Season the pork with salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add pork and brown well on all sides.  Transfer pork to the insert of a slow cooker.  

Pour most of the fat from the skillet and return to the heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Pour in the sherry and scrap up the browned bits from the skillet.  Stir in the stock and pour the contents over the pork.  Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.  

Before you are ready to serve the pork, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Toss the sweet potato cubes with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast, stirring several times, for 20-25 minutes until they are tender and brown on the edges.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add the cilantro and vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly.  

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest while you finish the sweet potatoes.  Skim the fat from the liquid in the slow cooker.  Shred the pork.  Spoon some of the braising liquid over the meat.  Toss the pork and sweet potatoes together gently.  Serve.  

Printable Version