Pop Pulled Pork

Recently at the Diner, we planned for a hunker-down day. It was a little stormy outside and it sounded like a good day for a slow cook…something. A week before HH and I watched the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman with a Pop Pulled Pork. The actual recipe called for Dr. Pepper but you can basically use any flavor or caramel-y/molasses colored pop you want.

Since I do not proclaim to be much good at cooking hunks of meat, I figured the pork shoulder on sale couldn’t be too bad if things went astray. So in the morning after a little breakfast I put the pork shoulder on to cook and let it be. Here’s how it started off, you can see the onion platform and Dr. Pepper in the bottom of the Dutch oven.

After about two hours, a turn was required. Then another two hours and another turn – it started falling apart, a good sign. Then after about six and a half hours this beautifully browned, falling-off-of-the-bone hunk of meat (that apparently I didn’t ruin!) came out of the oven to rest.

I started separating the remaining chunks of fat (just couldn’t handle putting those back in the mix), skimming off the fat from the top of the drippings and pulling all the meat apart. So easy!

HH walked in, we had been smelling the wonderfulness-of-it-all all day, so HH put in his fork, pulled out a sample and “Oh My Gosh! This is so good! So good!!” Success!

With a side of sweet potato (baked) fries and some homemade cole slaw, the meal for a hunker-down day was a raving success! This recipe calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, since that’s not HH’s favorite I left it out, but you be the judge for your Diner crowd.

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork
(or Pop Pulled Pork - Holly's Diner style)
By Ree Drummond, www.pioneerwoman.com

1 whole large onion
1 whole pork shoulder – 5 – 7 lbs
Salt & pepper
1 can (11 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.
Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you’d like.


Super Bowl XLVI

Really!? (Again, with as much sarcasm as I can muster…) REALLY?

The AFC and NFC Championship games set the stage yesterday for Super Bowl XLVI, that’s 46 if you are not up for a brain tease. I am already so bored and OVER this year’s Super Bowl!!

This game already happened – four years ago! Same teams, similar story! And they are both east coast teams. I couldn’t be more over this Super Bowl, and it’s still two weeks away!

Boy, the game day menu is going to have to be spectacular this year since the game is nothing new. Looks like the commercials will be more of “the show” than ever before for me.


Any game day suggestions, start sending them my way - please!



I heard it again - Uncscious, or perhaps as LL pointed out Unctuous. I heard it on The Food Network on Guy’s Big Bite – Backyard. He was frying bacon and refered to it as “unctuously fatty” or something to that effect.

I think unctuous, meaning fatty, oily, greasy is similar to my uncscious although I added delicious, succulent, luscious, rich, decadent to the definition.

I’m going to keep listening to see if I hear it more and more, just as long as no one calls me uncsciously (or unctuously) fatty any time soon I’m good.


Ham Cheese Broccoli Soup

Something new on the Diner (and Dinner-in-a-Bowl) menu this week, nothing fancy just hearty and delicious – Ham, Cheese, Broccoli Soup.

This is a Paula Deen recipe and originally billed as Ham, Broccoli and Potato, but I renamed it based on the stringy deliciousness of the cheese.

HH was a little skeptical (this seems to be a new reoccurring theme lately), but was a believer when all was said and done. He even thought it was chowder-esque. And yummy on a cold So Cal night (that means about 50Âș).

This soup was warm and cozy, thick and hearty, and HH even decided to forgo the sandwich he thought he needed with the soup for substance because the soup was so substantial on its own.

I’m sure the Diner will be serving this one again later on in Dinner-in-a-Bowl season.

This recipe is from the November/December 2010 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen, it’s part of her Fast Family Suppers series. Enjoy!

Ham, Broccoli, and Potato Soup
November/December 2010 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen

¼ cup butter
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp flour
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 (8 oz) package diced cooked ham
½ tsp salt ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 (5 oz) package shredded Swiss cheese

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add hash browned, onion, and garlic; cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until has browns are tender. Add flour; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth and milk, cook for 5 – 6 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add broccoli, ham, salt and pepper; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sour cream and cheese, stirring until cheese si melted and soup is heated through.




I went to Snooze for breakfast the other day. A friend had been there and wanted to introduce me (since we had enjoyed chicken fried steak and eggs, and huevos rancheros at Shirley’s in the past).

Snooze serves breakfast and brunch exclusively. They are in the Hillcrest community of San Diego, and apparently originate from Denver.

My friend got Upstream Benny (eggs Benedict with salmon). I ordered the Sandwich I am (pretzel with infused eggs, cheese and sausage). Hers was great; mine was…not what I expected. It was not bad; it just didn’t have much personality. Thank goodness for the hollandaise sauce on the side. I’ll do better at selecting next time.

I do have to say, the decor and feel of Snooze was very cool - contemporary, retro diner.  Way cool!



Uncscious. Let me split this word up to help you pronounce it –- unc-scious.

This is my new favorite word to describe food that is delicious, succulent, luscious, rich, decadent and has great mouth feel. Uncscious can be sweet or savory, warm or cool, although I would say more creamy than crispy.

I know I’m not creative enough to make this word up, I am sure I hear it somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it (to confirm that it is a word) in any dictionary or thesaurus I have access to. So I’m looking for some help from all of you who visit Holly’s Diner, have you heard of uncscious? Or have I really made up a new word.

By the way, here are some things that are uncscious….

Mac & Cheese


Lobster Bisque

Egg Nog ice cream

Cheesecake with Blueberries

Just to name a few.


Mac & Cheese Fest

Last week the Diner featured one of the once-a-year holiday favorites, Lord knows my hips can only afford to indulge once a year! It was the Mac & Cheese Fest. I make this dish once a year during the holidays, my usual partner-in-cheese (Gary) was not around to partake this year, but Uncle Larry was. (Remember Uncle Larry from his famous Frito pork roast from a few years ago?)

Anyway, I had been talking about the Mac & Cheese Fest for a few months and Uncle Larry couldn’t wait, who could blame him! Although Uncle Larry really thought it was going to be Mac & Cheese only so when he sat down at the Diner to find spicy pork chops, sweet potato soufflĂ© and green beans with walnuts and pomegranate seeds he was overwhelmed – I just couldn’t serve ONLY Mac & Cheese, there needed to be some other protein and veggies to offset the gooey goodness.

Well, Uncle Larry, HH and Aunt Val enjoyed everything (one last big indulgence before the New Year). And Uncle Larry rallied; he had three helpings of Mac & Cheese.

By the way, I only made half the recipe and you can see what a generous dish that makes! So if you are going to try this one, just think about how many you are serving and how much you really want to make.

Macaroni and Cheese 101, Martha Stewart style
Serves 12
8 tablespoons (l stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2, cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for water
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Preheat oven to 375˚. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour melted butter into the bowl with the bread; toss. Set the bread crumbs aside.
2. Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in a high-sided
skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. While whisking, add hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue
cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, peppers, 3 cups cheddar cheese,
and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere (or I cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.
5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until
the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar and Gruyere (or
Pecorino) and bread crumbs over top. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.