Tasty Tuesday and Plenty of Room At The Table

Hi Friends! Its another Tasty Tuesday, and oh what a special treat we have today!

My very dear friend Maribeth Schmidt who does the food photography for this blog, (and oh is she talented!), Maribeth is sharing one of her family’s very favorite dishes with us today! I love the picture of the peppers above, it is just so lovely, as are all of Maribeth’s photos. If you would like to see more of her work or for an inquiry, you can contact her at Maribeth Schmidt Photography.

But this week is really special because the recipe is hers as well, and she prepared the food in the images! She was making this dish for a family gathering awhile back and she snapped some beautiful shots and sent me the recipe to share on this blog! And the dish is sweet and sour pork! Doesn’t that look fantastic?

Maribeth says this recipe originated from a firehouse in Detroit during the time her father was a Detroit Firefighter from 1962 (approx.) to 1989 when he retired.

Maribeth shared, “My father was hired to be a Detroit Firefighter as a young man in his early twenties. He was married to my mother and already had one child with another one on the way.” He served faithfully for more than 30 years and ended up as a Captain.

“The men worked for two consecutive days and would eat and sleep at the firehouse. Anyone who had some cooking skill took turns cooking meals. I imagine there was a lot of teaching about how to cook from the older men to the new men on the force. Cooking seems to run in my dad’s family and it was always a treat for my dad to make dinner for us. His father, my grandpa, was also an excellent cook and spent many years as a butcher! My dad’s cousin owns a restaurant in Allen Park called Moro’s Dining which is our family’s last name.

This recipe for sweet and sour pork is one of our family’s favorite meals and I am honored to be the one who now cooks it. Although heavy on preparation, it is an easy meal to cook and the techniques are not complicated.

This recipe makes a large amount of sweet and sour pork that can feed 20 people or so. Maribeth is frequently opening her home up to huge groups. There is always plenty of room at the table! If you want to reduce the quantities in half, feel free to do so.”

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds pork, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 gallon size resealable bag
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 gallon size Ziploc style bag
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans pineapple chunks in pineapple juice
  • 2 1/2 bottles of Russian salad dressing (15 oz bottle)
  • 1 bunch of celery sliced
  • 2 green peppers cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 yellow peppers cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 orange peppers cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 4 large carrots sliced in circle slices, bite size pieces
  • 2 small cans sliced water chestnuts
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Rice or Noodles
  • Chow Mein noodles

Place all the chopped veggies above into a large roasting pan (the kind you would roast a large turkey in).

Add the pineapple with all of the juice. Drain the water chestnuts and add them to the mixture. Set this mixture aside and prepare to work with the meat.

Set your oven to 350 degrees and turn your attention to the meat preparation.

To prepare the meat:

Add 1 cup flour, ½ tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp salt to a gallon size Ziploc style bag. Mix the dry ingredients within the bag.

Next place the meat in the bag. Seal the bag closed. Shake the contents so that the pieces of pork are coated with the flour mixture. Set the bag aside while you prepare a pan to brown the pork in.

Get a very large sauté pan, approx. 14 inches across, and coat the pan with canola or olive oil. Heat the oil in the pan. Once the oil is hot but not too hot, start picking out the flour coated pork from the bag with your hand (or tongs or a spoon) and put it in the hot pan with the oil. Turn the meat every now and then to get an evenly brown the pieces on all sides. This may take several minutes. Have the heat on medium.

Once all the pieces are evenly browned, turn off the heat and use a large spoon to transfer them from the pan into the roaster with all of the veggies and pineapple.

This is where it gets fun! Mix the veggies/pineapple and meat all together. Now add the Russian dressing and stir everything until evenly coated. Add the soy sauce and stir again. It will look beautiful and smell heavenly even though it hasn’t been in the oven yet.

Place the lid on your roasting pan and put the roaster in the oven.

Let it cook for 2 or 2 ½ hours or until the meat is done. How do you know when the meat is done? Take a piece out after two hours and see if you can cut easily with a fork. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. If it is still rather tough, continue cooking it. Check every 30 minutes. It is okay to cook this for a long time. Every hour you can stir it and check its progress.

Serve with cooked egg noodles or rice and garnish with chow mein noodles. This dish reheats wonderfully and will be great leftovers. Your family will LOVE you for making this!

Yum! Doesn’t this look amazing?

I could eat this for days!

Bring a friend! We’ve got plenty!

Ok, ready for seconds!

Nothing like nice hot and hearty food on a cold day! 

It really blesses me to think of Maribeth’s father making this dish for their family as Maribeth was growing up, and then to think of him preparing it for the other firefighters he worked with!  What special memories! And now Maribeth is creating memories as she prepares this dish for her family!

Sometimes there is a real blessing in the time you take to prepare a meal! I love to think of the people who will be sharing dinner with me as I am chopping and preparing food. Do you have any special recipes that bring back good memories? I have some, and they warm my heart when I think of them!

As I put this post together, I was thinking of Maribeth and what a blessing she is to me. I smile thinking of what delight her parents must have had raising her! I walked into her home with some things to photograph about a month ago, and the most beautiful music was coming from the piano, like a concert pianist. It was Maribeth! I marveled! There are so many beautiful surprises in this lady. She is rich with talent and creativity and wisdom like the beautiful colors and flavors of her recipe, “sweet and sour pork”. And she loves to express that creativity! She cherishes her faith, her family, and her country. She has a poet’s soul, and she loves people dearly! I am so honored to call her my friend!

People are simply fascinating when you get a chance to know them! Don’t you love it when you discover something totally new about someone? Its like walking through a garden and seeing a flower you never noticed before! There are so many wonderful and different things about you too! I spoke with a lovely lady I work with today, and she shared that she made the cookies from last week’s blog, and she really liked them! She said she follows recipes to the letter! And I thought, how wonderful that there are people who pay close attention to details! It is a gift! Maybe you are that way too! Or maybe you like to take things in stride and kind of “wing it”! That is awesome too! Each person has something unique they bring to the table! And I just love sitting at the table with you!

The most heartfelt thanks to Maribeth for her beautiful recipe and photographs and friendship!

And thanks to you, my friend for these moments you stop by for a visit! There is always plenty of room at the table for you!

I’ll be back Friday for another Fashion Friday!

Have a great week!

Love Always,

Amy

Unity does not mean uniformity. It means oneness of purpose. God created each of us to be unique.         ~Tony Evans

 

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