With a cookbook/memoir recently released, Tanya Eby was a definite must when Grand Rapids Magazine was looking for favorite fall recipes.
Eby is a narrator and writer by profession (her rom-com series with Sarina Bowen, “Man Hands,” hit the USA Today Bestsellers list last year) but she has always loved to cook. “Cooking is a great tool for me to use to relax,” she said. “I have anxiety pretty much all the time, but when I’m focused on making something in the kitchen, it soothes all the chaos around me. It’s a creative outlet, and a joyful one. Also, I get to eat what I create — that’s mostly a good thing.”
Eby’s cookbook, “Sweet & Sorrow,” is a “loving, personal tribute to the wild journey of life through food. There are recipes, advice on just ordering takeout, memories and occasional tiny poems. It’s a mishmash of humor and sentiment, something I really hope people will give as a gift to a loved one. It’s both funny and slightly useful.”
Eby also uses YouTube to share her favorite recipes, recording videos and uploading them to the site under the title “Tanya Makes.” She said her dream was to get a show on Netflix, but since that hasn’t panned out, she just started making her own videos. And, she did make it to TV — as a participant on “Nailed It! Holiday!” Season 1, Episode 2: “Winter Blunderland.” Although she said she isn’t a great cake decorator, she ended up winning with her cake.
For fall, Eby likes to make mojo pork because “it’s delicious and fairly easy.” The recipe can also be found in her book — with a much funnier introduction than what’s been written here. Eby’s sense of humor is part of what sets her — and her recipes/videos — apart. You will be entertained while you cook.
“The hardest part about it is browning the meat, but once that’s done, you just toss everything in the crockpot and let it go. Usually, I brown the meat while complaining about browning the meat and that’s a fun outlet too. It makes a lot of food, and I usually freeze half of it. Great for tacos, burritos, bowls, etc.
You can find “Sweet and Sorrow” on Amazon and visit YouTube, Facebook and Instagram for “Tanya Makes” videos.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-pound pork shoulder
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
In a large pot add the vegetable or canola oil on medium high heat.
Season the pork with the kosher salt and black pepper and brown the pork on all sides. This might not seem like an important step, and you may not want to do it, but try. Because if you skip it, then your meat is going to be all gray. And all gray meat is about as appealing as a loaf of firm uncooked tofu. So, brown this on all sides. It’s the most work you’ll have to do the whole day, and you’ll be glad you did it.
To the slow cooker add the orange juice, lime juice, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic and bay leaves. Mix it together.
Add the pork to the slow cooker and roll it in the mixture until it is coated well.
Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 6.
When the pork is done you can serve as-is with the juice on top. Shred it and remove the excess fat. Freeze some with the juice for later.
Enhance your mojo
Cook up some rice using coconut milk in place of water. Make yourself a rice bowl with rice, mojo pork, corn, peppers or spinach and a side of plantains.
It’s a great filling for tacos. Get corn tortillas. Add a little lime crema. So good!
Stuff a burrito. To make a wet burrito, you can do a Michigan Wet Burrito sauce. This is my burrito sauce: mix together 1 cup brown gravy and 1 cup enchilada sauce. Pour over your burrito, top with cheddar cheese, and cook 10-15 minutes in 425-degree oven until cheese is bubbly.
Or you can use mojo pork to top tamale pie, instead of using ground beef.