More time. Deep and meaningful relationships. And good food.
It seems that these three are oft desired by the masses in our American culture. Actually, rather than classifying them as American desires I think it would probably be safe to say they are simply human desires. Perhaps not all of these desires call out to us simultaneously in a singular moment, but without having done any type of official anthropologic research I would argue some form of one of these three desires regularly penetrates the longings of our human hearts.
I know what you’re thinking… WHO the heck is writing this post?!?!
It’s still me. I’m just feeling more introspective today. And a little less zany. That’s alright, right? There’s no judgment if you skip straight down to the recipe.
But if you’re still here…thanks for hanging out with me for a little while.
So I was recently thinking about the big deep question of why do we do the things that we do. What are the underlying motivators that call us to walk down a particular path? And it seems that often when a particular pursuit is boiled down to its very basic fundamental driving values, it lands on a desire for more time, deep and meaningful relationships, and food. For myself, the desire for good food should be no surprise really. And I am planning on telling you about this Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork recipe. I promise.
Anyways, I’m not trying to to say that these three desires (time, relationship, and food) are the only ends that motivate us to do what we do. There are definitely others (ie. safety and shelter, etc.). But I encounter these three regularly, in myself and in others, whether it’s unintentionally woven through the fabric of a conversation between two people or through a very conscious detour made when trying to pass a bakery. The cinnamon roll always wins. As long as it’s gluten free anyway.
We work, so we can make more money, so we can take a vacation, so we can spend more time in relationship with loved ones. We need more time, to get the work done, so we can take that vacation, and spend more time with loved ones. Or we long for deeper and meaningful relationships, which take time. But we also need to make more time to initiate those deep and meaningful relationships that we long for. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg scenario. Which came first? Or rather, which do we choose first. And how do we find balance in the mix of it all?
And where does good food fit in to all of this? Everywhere.
You ever notice how people tend to gather around the kitchen when coming together for an event? The food could be hours from being done and people will still gravitate toward the kitchen. Food brings us together. And if it’s good food, it will bring in a crowd.
I have a girlfriend who is really good at bringing people together with food. And she’s also really good at bringing people together in a way that spurs meaningful connections. Her and I are so different in some ways but we both value deep and meaningful relationship, spending more time doing the things we love with the people we love, and good food. Her and I both close our eyes followed by a quick moment of silence when we taste something amazing. I see her only a couple of times a year, mostly because life just happens (rather quickly) and she’s a lot better than I am at initiating some kind of group get together. I appreciate her for that.
Last spring she brought together a number of women from our friend group to come out for a peaceful hike at an arboretum followed by a tasty dinner at her house that would be waiting for us when we arrived. The day wasn’t necessarily anything extravagant but it felt like it was because it was a break from the hustle and bustle. A break from all the noise, all the social media (and any other media for that matter), and was a time to just enjoy each other’s company, catch up on life’s joys and challenges, and then eat some good food.
And the food…a pork shoulder left to meld and simmer during our hike in a slow cooker with pineapple, bacon, and apple cider vinegar.
When we finished our hike and arrived at her home, the smells coming from the kitchen were glorious. And then in no time at all she cooked a quick batch of cilantro lime cauliflower rice to be served under the pineapple pulled pork followed by a bowl of fresh guacamole to be dolloped on top. It was pure good food bliss. And I don’t think it was just from working up an appetite from the day’s hike.
And just like that, through the initiative of one person, a group was brought together and time was invested toward the pursuit of deeper and more meaningful relationships and of course…good food was had.
In the spirit of more time, deep and meaningful relationships, and good food, I hope this recipe encourages you to set aside time to engage with others around some good food as well. And it doesn’t have to be fancy for it to be something wonderful. Just a hike and a slow cooker simmering with some good food will do.Print
Pork shoulder slow cooked with fresh pineapple, bacon, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Served over cilantro lime cauliflower “rice” and topped with fresh guacamole. Feeds a crowd and also provides amazing leftovers (see note below!).
Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork
- 3 pound pork shoulder
- black pepper
- 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice”
- 1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed, cored, and coarsely chopped into florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, squeezed
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 ripe Hass avocados, cut in half, pits removed
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup red or yellow onion, diced (I used a sweet yellow onion)
- 1/2 medium sized tomato, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork
- Rub the pork shoulder all over with salt and pepper.
- Place pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Scatter the pineapple chunks, onion, bacon, and garlic over and around the pork. Pour in the vinegar and broth.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, about 5 – 5 1/2 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Using two forks shred the meat and remove the fat. Transfer pulled pork to a platter.
- Spoon the pineapple pieces and some of the remaining juices left in the slow cooker over the pork shoulder.
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice”
- Using a food processor with the grater attachment, grate the cauliflower into the size of rice. (You could also use a box grater. It would just take a lot longer!)
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes, or until garlic is soft.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the cauliflower “rice” to the saute pan. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl; toss with fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice to taste.
- Scoop the avocado out of it’s peel and place in a medium bowl. Add fresh lime juice, cilantro, onion, tomato, cumin, and salt.
- Using a fork or potato masher, mash until a desired consistency is achieved. I like my guac a little on the chunky side so I don’t mash it too much. It you like a smoother consistency just mash it longer.
- Taste test the guacamole and adjust seasoning if necessary. Then taste test again. : )
Putting it all together!
- Grab a plate or a bowl. Place a scoop of the cauliflower rice on your plate. Top with the pineapple pulled pork. Top the pork with a dollop of guacamole. Give it all an extra squeeze of fresh lime juice and some chopped fresh cilantro (optional). Eat. And then go back for seconds!
With my leftovers, for a meal the following day, I warmed the cauliflower rice and pineapple pulled pork in a pan with a drizzle of BBQ sauce and served it in a warm corn tortilla. Tacos for the win!
Nutritional information provided is just for the pineapple pulled pork and does not include the cauliflower “rice” or the guacamole.
Thank you to my friend Juliett whose recipe this is adapted from. (And thank you for inviting me on that hike and feeding me good food afterward!) ❤
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