For Lauren Brynjelsen of One Life Kitchen, the best thing about holiday cooking is how it brings people together. “I noticed that when I holiday cook or bake with others around, it creates for some of the best life moments,” says the business owner and entrepreneur. “It usually involves singing off key to Christmas songs, or conversations about the highs and lows of the past year. Good food, good company, and creating memories is what makes cooking a favorite part of the holiday season.” For her winter collaboration with fellow Barringtonian and celebrity chef Fabio Viviani, the recipe selected from his 30-Minute Italian cookbook is a roast pork shoulder slow cooked with brown sugar and dressed with a green apple and mint salad. “I love Fabio’s cookbook but this is also the time of the year where we pull out the heirloom cookbook that belonged to our grandmother,” explains Brynjelsen. “It’s when we start baking the cultural desserts and serving the dinners that were passed down to us from generations.” At One Life Kitchen, Brynjelsen says she looks forward to creating meaningful holiday memories for her clients. “We deck out our entire kitchen in holiday décor and our tablescape is a perfect place to gather for a dinner party. Whether enjoying a corporate party, baking holiday desserts with kids, or celebrating with gift exchanges, holiday music and laughter in the air is the essence of the spirt of the season here at One Life Kitchen.” One Life Kitchen is located at 742 N. Northwest Highway in Barrington, 224-347-3374, onelifekitchen.com.
Brown Sugar & Rosemary Roast Pork Shoulder with Green Apple & Mint Salad
For me, a truly scrumptious winter dish is a slow roasted or braised pork shoulder or roast beef. Osso bucco is another. If you have 15 or 20 minutes to prep and a little kitchen ingenuity, you can have a really special dish. The prep is intense, but once the pork is in the slow cooker, you can do something else. This isn’t a braise; it’s a dry roast, but the result is juicy and delicious. It melts in your mouth!
[20 minutes prep time]
• 2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into large chunks
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup diced celery
• 1/2 cup diced carrots
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
• 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 1 small onion, quartered
• 5 sprigs thyme
• 1/4 cup arugula
• 1/4 cup celery leaves
• 1/4 cup whole Italian parsley leaves
• 1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves
• 1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
For the dressing
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small garlic clove, grated
• Salt and pepper
1. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper and transfer to a slow cooker. Add the cider vinegar, celery, carrots, brown sugar, rosemary, chicken stock, onion, and thyme. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. If a slow cooker is not available, follow the same steps, place in a large pot, bring mixture to a boil, and place in a preheated 325°F oven to cook for 4 to 6 hours.
2. Shortly before the pork is done, toss together the arugula, celery leaves, parsley, mint, and apple in a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl, mix the honey, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. Drizzle over the greens and toss to mix.
4. Serve the pork garnished with the dressed greens.