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October is National Pork Month. In 1539, Hernando de Soto brought 13 pigs with him to Tampa Bay, FL. Three years later, the herd had grown to 700 head, not counting those that had been consumed, run away or been given to the Native Americans. (Those that had run away became wild pigs, the ancestors of the feral pigs or razorbacks of today.) This was the beginning of the pork industry in America and it soon spread throughout the colonies. A long solid wall was constructed on the northern edge of the Manhattan Island in an attempt to control roaming herds of pigs. Wall Street is the name of this area now. (porkbeinspired.com).
This week’s cook column is a salute to Iowa Pork Production, which is number one in the nation. From 8,300 farms, Iowa markets 37 millions hogs annually. (iowapork.org)
The following recipes are from porkbeinspired.com.
Apple and Cornbread Stuffed Pork Loin with Roasted Apple Gravy
4 pound pork loin roast,
Kosher salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon dried sage
3 medium apples, peeled,
halved, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup Calvados, or apple
1-1/4 cups homemade chicken
stock, or canned low-sodium
chicken broth
1 cup apple juice, or cider
1/4 cup heavy cream
Cornbread and Apple Stuffing
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup smoked ham, finely
chopped, or diced smoked
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
3/4 cup apples, peeled and diced 1/4-inch
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1-1/2 cups homemade
cornbread, crumbled and
dried or dried cornbread
stuffing mix
1/4 cup apple juice
For stuffing, heat butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat; add ham or sausage and cook 3 minutes. Add onion, celery and a pinch each of salt and pepper; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in diced apple and cook 1 minute. Transfer apple mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle with sage and stir in cornbread crumbs, apple juice and egg. The mixture should be moist but not wet. Add more apple juice if the mixture seems dry. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. To double butterfly the pork loin, lay the meat, fat-side down, on a work surface and make a horizontal lengthwise cut two-thirds of the way into the depth of the loin and about 1 inch from the long edge nearest you, taking care not to cut all the way through. Flip the loin over so that the cut you just made is opposite you. Make another lengthwise cut, again 1 inch from the edge. Open up the two cuts so you have a large rectangle of meat whose diameter is roughly 3 times the thickness of the meat. Place fat-side down and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a cleaver or a meat pounder, gently flatten the meat to an even thickness.
Remove plastic wrap and spread apple stuffing evenly over the meat, leaving a generous 3/4–inch border. Roll up meat jellyroll style so that stuffing is in a spiral pattern. Tie rolled roast at 2-inch intervals with butcher’s twine.
Combine 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and remaining sage and sprinkle over roast. Lay the sliced apples on the bottom of a roasting pan just a bit larger than the roast and set the roast, fat-side up, on the apples. Put roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and roast for 45 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the roast with an instant-read thermometer: The roast is done when it reaches 145 degrees. If it is not ready, continue to roast, checking the temperature every 10 minutes. When the roast is done, transfer it to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the apples in the roasting pan to a bowl and keep warm. Pour off any fat from the roasting pan, leaving the meat juices on the bottom. Put pan over medium-high heat, add Calvados and deglaze pan allowing the alcohol to burn off, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a small saucepan and add stock, apple juice and cream. Increase heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Simmer, stirring, until reduced by half. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while you carve the pork roast.
Remove twine from the roast and cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices. (If you cut the slices too thin, they will fall apart.) Arrange the pork on a serving platter. Spoon the sliced apples around the meat and pour the sauce over all. Serves 8.

Autumn Glazed Pork Chops
New York (top loin) pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider, or juice
1/2 cup whole-berry cranberry
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons frozen orange
juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick coating. Heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chops with pepper. Brown chops 2-3 minutes on each side in hot skillet. Add apple cider. Cover tightly; cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time. Drain off juices.
In a small bowl combine cranberry sauce, honey, orange juice concentrate, ginger and nutmeg. Pour over chops. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Serves 4.

1 pound ground pork
1 medium red bell pepper, or
green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
(2) 15 ounce cans black beans,
rinsed and drained
14-1/2 ounce can diced
tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dried oregano,
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Nonstick cooking spray
Flour tortillas, (optional)
Coat heavy, large covered pot with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add pork, bell pepper, onion, garlic and cumin. Cook and stir until pork is brown and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain off fat.
Stir black beans, undrained tomatoes, water, oregano and salt into mixture in pot. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; simmer about 15 minutes more or until desired consistency. Stir in lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle each serving with Cheddar cheese. Serve with tortillas, if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Bottom-Of-The-Box Crushed Cracker Pork Recipe
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cheese crackers, finely crushed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Combine egg, steak sauce and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Place crushed crackers in another shallow dish.
Cut tenderloin crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick slices. Pound or flatten slices with the heel of your hand to 1/4 inch thickness.
Dip each slice first into egg mixture, then cracker crumbs, turning to coat.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add half of pork slices and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned. Repeat with remaining oil and pork slices (or use 2 skillets at one time). Serves 4.

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
3-pound boneless blade pork
roast, or sirloin roast
2 tablespoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil, or other
neutral-flavored oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with foil and place the pork in the pan. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Rub the mixture over all sides of the meat, pressing it to adhere (if the meat is tied together with twine or netting, just rub the seasoning right over it). Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
Add the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until the pork is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Moisten/season with cooking juices to taste. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Lazy Man’s Barbecue Pork Sandwich
4-5 pounds boneless blade pork
14-1/2 oz. can beef broth
1/3 cup hot pepper sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
10-12 sandwich buns
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
Place pork roast in bottom of large slow cooker. Combine broth, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and pour over pork. Cover and cook on high setting for 5 hours (or 8 -10 hours on low setting) until pork is very tender. Meanwhile, for sauce, combine all ingredients in large saucepan; set aside.
Place pork on cutting board; reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Coarsely chop pork; combine with reserved cooking liquid and sauce in saucepan; heat over medium heat until warm. Spoon pork onto sandwich buns to serve. Serves 10-12.

Mustard-Apple Meatloaf
2 pounds ground pork
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 ounce envelope dry onion
soup mix
2 tablespoons Dijon-style
Black pepper, to taste
In large mixing bowl, blend together ground pork, applesauce, breadcrumbs, onion soup mix, Dijon-style mustard and black pepper to taste. Turn mixture into loaf pan and bake in 375 degrees F oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until meat thermometer inserted reads 160º F. Let loaf rest 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Serves 4-5, with leftovers.

Saucy Pizza Pockets
1/3 pound ground pork
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 cup pizza sauce
16.3 ounce package refrigerated
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese,
shredded or pizza blend
16 slices pepperoni, or
Canadian-style bacon
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place ground pork and garlic salt in large skillet over medium-high heat; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork is no longer pink. Stir in pizza sauce and cook, stirring, until heated through.
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Flatten each biscuit into a 4-inch circle. Spoon 1 tablespoon of meat sauce onto one side of the biscuit. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cheese and top with 2 slices of pepperoni or Canadian bacon. Fold dough over the filling, forming a half-moon shape. Pinch edges to seal well. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 snack servings.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.