Housewarming party: Pulled pork, Tomato Mozz skewers, and lemon bars

The blog is back! I took a temporary hiatus from blogging and I have since moved back to Indy. This time I bought a condo, so I won’t be moving again anytime soon. To celebrate homeownership, friends and the city I love, I hosted a housewarming party last night.

I kept the menu simple since it was a laid back evening of friends coming and going after work downtown.  I made the lemon bars the day before and waited to cut them until the last minute to keep them as fresh as possible. I put the pork tenderloin in the crockpot about five hours before my friends arrived and it was perfect and fork tender to ‘pull’ apart once we were ready to eat.

My sous chef, Winston, helped as well and found a roll of paper to chew on for a little craft time.

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My friends know me well and arrived with polka dot, anchor, bicycle, Patachou, wine, and scallop themed gifts.

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Here are the recipes. I also served tortilla chips, fresh made salsa and guacamole, crudite and dip, and skewers of cherry tomatoes with mini mozzarella balls with fig balsamic for dipping. For beverages, I had Goose Island Summer Ale, pellogrino lemonades, IBC root beer, Coke, and sparkling water. I sent leftover lemon bars home with my guests as a treat for later.

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PULLED PORK

Recipe adapted from Food Network

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pound boneless pork tenderloin
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste (buy the small can or get the tube of paste to refrigerate for later)
Whole wheat buns (I got mine at Fresh Market)
bbq sauce (I used Stubb’s)

Combine 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub this over the tenderloin.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet; add the pork and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, Remove the pork and transfer to the crockpot. Add 3/4 cup of water into the drippings in the skillet. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 cups water and stir to combine. Now add this mixture to the crockpot, cover and cook on low-medium for at least five hours.

Check on the pork and when it is tender and can be broken apart with a fork, it is ready to eat. Pull the pork apart with two forks, leave in the au jus and serve on buns with bbq sauce.

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LEMON BARS

Recipe via Food Network and I didn’t change anything

For the Crust:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice

Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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My new favorite spot to work on my computer is my back porch – so peaceful. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

– Libby

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