Comfort Food 101

Even though summer never really started, fall totally snuck up and scared me half to death.  And I didn’t really expect it to pull up a chair and get comfy so quickly, you know?  One day I’m in a cute sundress and flippies, the next I’m seeing 48 degrees on the weather channel.  Give a girl a minute to transition the wardrobe and shoes, ok? 

At any rate, this is my favorite season and not just for the boots and sweaters and Halloween candy.  I love that after months of eating salads and fruit and everything else that screams summer (ok, ice cream and hotdogs, too), I can switch out the teeny outfits for comfy clothes and make soups and stews and breads and pies to keep me warm from the inside out.  I don’t have a fireplace, but if I did it would be blazing at all times so that I could burn leaves (is that legal?) and curl up with a glass of wine and a book.  Fall definitely speaks to my Cancer-esque homebody tendencies.  

Last year, a good friend gave me a crock pot for my birthday (she was a good friend before, but that really upped things!) and although I was a little wary of leaving it on all day, when I learned about all of the happiness that slowed cooked meat can bring to my life, I was a quick convert.  Crock pot


Just as belted cardigans are the “it” fashion item for the season (really?), a crock pot is a definite accessory (really!).  I do lamb and chicken and beef stew and soups in it and most recently, pulled pork. 

I’m a little sad about the pulled pork discovery, because (1) I missed out on a whole year of it and (2) I doubt it’s something I could eat every day—regardless of it being the other white meat—even though I really, really, really want to. 

Pulled pork 1

I also made s’mores in my oven. 

Smores 3And while there is nothing quite like sitting around a campfire singing songs or telling scary stories while you roast marshmallows on a stick, making s’mores in your oven avoids that whole sitting-outside-in-the-cold-and-getting-splinters-in-your-unmentionables-and-then-having-to-sleep-in-a-tent-with-people-you-don’t-really-like thing (not that that’s a true story from Girl Scout camp or anything). Smores 1

So, while I would have liked a bit more summer sun and warm breezes, I am happy that fall is here, with all of the goodness it brings.  Now if we can just get winter to maybe take a little sabbatical…



Pulled Pork Sandwiches (adapted from Good Housekeeping) and S’mores

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cups tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 12 soft sandwich buns, warmed
  • I used about 2 bottles of premade barbeque sauce instead of making my own
  1. Heat oil in heavy skillet.  Brown pork on all sides, about 12 minutes total.
  2. Remove pork from skillet and add to crock pot.  Brown onion in skillet, deglazing with cider vinegar. Pour this mixture in crock pot.
  3. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. [If you are using bottled sauce, add about half a bottle at this point]
  4. Cover crock pot with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender.
  5. With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly.
  6. While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds.  Taste for salt and pepper; season again, if necessary.  Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary. [If you are using bottled sauce, pour remaining sauce  over pork and heat through]
  7. Spoon pork mixture onto bottom of sandwich buns; replace tops of buns.


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound milk chocolate
  • 4 cups mini-marshmallows
  1. In a bowl combine well the crumbs and the butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a flameproof baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches [I used two brownie pans]. Bake the crust in a preheated 350°F oven for 12 minutes, or until it is golden, and let it cool in the dish on a rack.
  2. In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt the chocolate, stirring constantly.  Pour it over the crust spreading it evenly.  Let cool for about an hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Sprinkle marshmallows on top, pressing them lightly.  Broil the dessert under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat for 30 seconds, or until the marshmallows are golden, let it cool completely, and cut it into squares.

4 Responses to Comfort Food 101

  1. pestlemortar says:

    Forgive the photos! They were taken very early in the morning before coffee and with a new camera. We’ll hope for some progress on this front…

  2. Miranda says:

    Hooray for Fall! I absolutely love s’mores, and never ever thought of making them in the oven.

  3. pestlemortar says:

    It is so happy to have s’mores readily available. The original recipe called for sprinkling graham crackers on top, but I like the way the marshmallows look.

  4. Pingback: Guest Post: Not Your Grandmother’s Pot Roast « Pestle Mortar

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