Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby’s Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

This post is sponsored by Toby’s Family Foods. All thoughts, photos, and opinions are my own.

Let’s take a moment and talk about the meaning of finger food–it’s food that’s meant to be handled in one’s hands–for this purpose, all things dubbed “finger food” should be able to be eaten in 3-4 bites and is acceptable to eat with one’s hands without embarrassment. Most people’s minds go to the typical party fare we all know and love–veggies and dip, wings, cheese and crackers, and chips and guacamole (did you know 139 million pounds of avocados are consumed thanks to the big game this weekend? (source)). I would like to turn the attention to one of my favorite party items: sliders.

I wanted to cover something that wouldn’t have you frantically sorting through green avocados the day before the big game. These pulled pork sliders have components that shine even on their own; I am, therefore, going to break down the recipe in sections, and allow you to build it how you would like. 

If creating this recipe for game day, Here’s how I would go about it to allow for ample prep time. Double the jalapeño batch and use throughout the week for menu planning (these will go great on burgers, nachos, sandwiches, eggs, and a lot more). Prep the beef two days prior, cook one day prior, and transfer to your trusty crockpot to keep heated throughout the game the day of. Make the slaw one day prior, to allow the flavors to marry and mellow in the fridge for up to 24 hours. A slaw given the chance to break down a bit will always have better flavor than a brand new batch.

This spicy pork sliders recipe features a zesty jalapeño ranch slaw, the base of which is jalapeño ranch salad dressing by Toby’s Family Foods

 

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby’s Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Ingredients

Quick-Pickled Jalapeños

  • 8-10 Jalapeños, sliced thin using a sharp knife or mandolin
  • 3/4 C Water
  • 3/4 C Distilled Vinegar
  • 3 T White sugar
  • 1 T Kosher salt
  • 2 Cloves garlic, smashed

For the Meat

  • 2.5-3lb Pork shoulder
  • 1 1/2 T Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 T Garlic powder
  • 1/2 T Brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 T Course sea salt
  • 1/2 T Dry mustard
  • 1 T Maple syrup
  • 3 Dozen slider buns

Zesty Ranch Slaw

  • 3 C Slaw mix (if from scratch, 1 c shredded red cabbage, 1/2 c shredded kale, 1 c shredded green cabbage)
  • 1/3 C Toby’s Jalapeño Ranch
  • 2 T Mayonnaise
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Method

Jalapeños

Start with the Jalapeños–these can be pickled up to a week ahead of time. Combine everything but the jalapeños and garlic into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Assemble the jalapeños and garlic into a sanitized quart-sized mason jar and pour the boiling liquid over the jalapeños. Using a chopstick (or other skinny long stick-shaped item), press to the bottom of the jar, shaking as you go. Doing this releases bubbles of air from the jar, which will improve the seal on the jar (thus the longevity of the can). Place the lid tightly on the jar and allow to first cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until needed.

Meat

For the meat, mix the herbs and spread generously to the cut of meat. Place in shallow bowl and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at leas 1 hour, overnight if you have enough time. Once ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300ºF, and transfer the meat from the bowl to a deep pan or dutch oven and move to the oven. Bake for 2-4 hours, checking the internal temperature revery 30 minutes past the second hour until the internal temperature of the meat is 170ºF and meat is easily torn.

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Tear the meat using two forks, and stir in the maple syrup–seasoning again to taste with salt and pepper, then setting aside until it’s time to build your sliders.

Slaw

While the meat is in the oven, it’s best to start the slaw, that way it is time to marinate in the fridge. Combine all of the slaw ingredients, stir, and season to taste. Next, refrigerate until needed. When it comes time to build the sliders, toast the buns–remember that gluten free buns can be subbed in, and with that alteration, this recipe can be made GF. Build the sliders topping with as many pickled jalapeños as you’d like.

This recipe serves 10.

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Tahini Toast with Autumn Glory Apples

Tahini Apple Toast with Autumn Glory Apples | The Spicy Bee

This post is sponsored by Autumn Glory Apples. All thoughts, photos, and opinions are my own.

When developing the habit of eating well, it’s good to be able to switch up how you enjoy your fruits and vegetables, and adding protein will help you feel full for longer! I recently took to enjoying tahini toast with Autumn Glory Apples topped with tahini, honey, pine nuts, and thyme. This snack can be prepped, folded, and bagged for later (to be eaten like a sandwich) or snacked on right away. 

A little bit about the ingredients I use–especially with how simple this recipe is, quality is king! I use a great, locally made bread (Dave’s Killer Bread Honey, Oats and Flax), which can be frozen and thawed in a toaster the minute you need it. You could easily sub in your favorite gluten free toast to make the same snack. My current favorite tahini is Kevala’s Organic Tahini, which I usually get off Amazon (although I realized today I have three different kinds of tahini in my fridge).

Every tahini tastes different, so be sure to taste test before using your tahini. I personally prefer a darker tasting tahini for toast, and a sweeter tasting tahini for hummus. There’s no wrong way, however, so have fun with it! Conversely, Autumn Glory Apples add a beautiful sweetness to balance the earthy flavor of the tahini. I like topping the apples with a small drizzle of Bee Local Honey (or something else local), which helps the fresh thyme and pine nuts stick to the toast. Finally, I finish it with Jacobsen’s Flake Sea Salt.

As a sidenote, Ktams pointed out that I picked a piece of toast shaped like Oregon. This, though I would love to take credit, was a happy accident. 🙂

Apple Tahini Toast Featuring Autumn Glory Apples

Ingredients

  • 1 Slice of your favorite bread, toasted
  • 2 T Tahini
  • 3-5 slices of Autumn Glory Apples
  • 1 T Honey
  • 1 Sprig fresh thyme, stem removed
  • 1 T Pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Flake salt, to taste (optional)

Method

This recipe is meant to be nice and simple–top toast with the above ingredients in order (tahini, apples, honey, thyme, pine nuts, and salt). For the pine nuts, the easiest way to toast them is in a toaster oven for 3 minutes, but even this is a suggestion and not mandatory. If you don’t have one, stove top toasting works too, but be careful to use low heat and keep them moving in the pan to avoid burning. The toast recipe is (optionally gluten free), dairy free, and vegetarian. Enjoy!

Tahini Apple Toast with Autumn Glory Apples | The Spicy Bee

Hummus Hacks | Making the Perfect Hummus

Easy Homemade Hummus | The Spicy Bee

In my opinion, hummus is the perfect food. It’s dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and delicious. It can be eaten with pita, vegetables, or perhaps just your hands. Hummus can be infinitely customized. I’ll start a batch planning to make one kind and by the end I’ve decided on another. The key with hummus is to prepare a great base recipe, and from there to customize based on your preferences, your applications, and your guests. Today I’m sharing my base recipe with you! Why you ask? I’m tired of hearing of all the hummus recalls! Sabra and Trader Joe’s (two MAJOR hummus brands) have recently recalled their hummus due to possible listeria contamination.

Making your own hummus is one of the easiest things so long as you have the right tools. The most important tool in my arsenal is my Cuisinart. The more I make hummus though, the more I’m convinced that one could make things work with a hand blender or a Nutri-Bullet Bullet-type blending instrument as well. When you finish the recipe, the hummus is going to seem a little bit loose, but it will firm up nicely in the fridge. ALL great hummus needs at least 30 minutes in the fridge before you serve it. This brings me to the foundational rules of hummus:

  1. Always boil the chickpeas. It makes for smoother product! Whether you are making hummus with dried or canned chickpeas, they naturally have a soft shell on them that causes a bit of a chalky taste to the final product. This is fairly easily remedied by boiling the chickpeas in water with a few teaspoons of baking soda, which helps breakdown the shells–then I usually just throw the chickpeas in my strainer and hit them with a cold jet of water and that tends to blast the remainders off. See all the things on the edges of the chickpeas in the picture below? Those are skins! Pick out the chickpeas and transfer to your food processor. Don’t worry if you transfer a few of the shells in the process. Even eliminating half of them makes a huge difference in the texture.Easy Homemade Hummus | The Spicy Bee
  2. Taste as you go. While I can never stress this enough when cooking, it’s important as you learn what flavors you like in hummus to understand how you get to the final product. I usually will taste mine at a minimum of 3 points during the process. 
    1. After blending in the tahini–this is because different brands of tahini have different flavors. Some taste a bit like peanut butter, and others will almost taste scorched or burned. Play with a few different brands–my current favorite by Kevala I find via Amazon, but in a pinch, I personally think that Whole Foods’ 365 Brand does just fine (be sure to refrigerate your tahini after opening it!).
    2. After the salt–you’re hopefully seasoning to your tastes, which means you add in things little by little until you’re happy with the balance of flavors. Salt will either accentuate that or make you pucker and overpower your product. Sometimes, this can be salvaged with adding more tahini and lemon.
    3. After the water–I personally add water as the final step, so I must do a final taste to make sure that the flavors, while having mellowed slightly, have not been thrown out of balance.
  3. Always refrigerate before serving! The hummus needs a chance to marry with the flavors and firm up a bit, I vote for at least 30 minutes to an hour of fridge time before serving.
  4. Experiment wildly. Hummus is a blank canvas ready for your paint. While I have a special place in my heart for a traditional roasted garlic hummus, I have yet to try a combination I didn’t like. An important factor is to think of flavors and how they interact with some of the key ingredients (think lemon and tahini), then go from there. Still worried about where to get started? I’ll throw some ideas at the bottom of this post.

Easy Homemade Hummus | The Spicy Bee

Basic Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz can Chickpeas
  • 1 T Baking soda
  • 1/4 c Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c  Tahini
  • 1/2 t Cumin
  • 1 t Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Seasonal option (see below)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 T Water

Tools

Method

As mentioned above, first boil the chickpeas in water (about 4 cups) on the stove with the baking soda over medium heat. Once brought to a boil, bring to a rolling simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on things as it will have a tendency to want to boil over. Once time is up, remove from heat and run through the mesh strainer, following up quickly with a cold spray of water until you notice the shells starting to break free of the chickpeas. You may have to do the rest of the separating by hand, which shouldn’t take more than about 4-5 minutes. Dispose of the skins, and transfer the chickpeas to the food processor to rest. Meanwhile, work on flavors–I’m going to stick with my favorite classic, roasted garlic, for now, but you can substitute in anything from shallots, to fresh herbs (I’m partial to rosemary or thyme), or simply skip the additional flavoring if you’re cooking for a picky crowd. 

If you’ve chosen to go the flavor route, combine olive oil and garlic (whole but void of skin) over medium-low heat and cook until garlic is browned slightly on both sides and the kitchen has the aroma of roasted garlic (about 8 minutes). Turn off the heat, allowing to cool slightly, and then combine with the chickpeas in the processor. Pulse 3-4 times.

Add in the remaining ingredients except the water, and blend thoroughly. Add water, and blend for a few seconds, then taste and amend the flavors if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve cool adorned with your favorite spices and some additional olive oil (pictured: cayenne, za’atar, olive oil).

This recipe will serve a group of 6 as a dip and will store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Winning Flavor Combinations

  • Roasted garlic and thyme
  • Roasted shallot
  • Fire-roasted peppers and garlic
  • Jalapeño (diced, lightly cooked) and cilantro
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Spinach (lightly cooked) and feta
  • Roasted carrots and cumin
  • Roasted garlic and rosemary