almost a week since i last planted those seeds, some of them have started to sprout. of the 6 morning glories, 2 of them have germinated, growing tall enough to hit the syran wrap cover. i shuffled around the containers so the new seedlings could receive some light - which i've now turned on a single bank. elsewhere, the basils are stirring, but not yet fully emerging from the dirt. no activity on the tomato and pepper front though.

so the good news is the morning glory and basil seeds are viable. at this rate, i may never have to buy those seeds again, but instead resorting to collecting them at the end of the season to grow again for next spring. i'm surprised the morning glories did so well; in the past i'd soak them in warm water overnight to break open the shell and give the seeds a headstart.

this week's recipe would be pulled pork. i wanted to try my hands at making my own barbecue sauce instead of just buying it like i usually do. store-bought sauces are usually too sweet and i wanted one more spicy and sour. besides, how can i call myself a barbecue chef when i can't even whip up my own sauce?

so i went online looking for recipes. sauces are usually based either on tomatoes or vinegar. i wanted a sauce that had both. i primarily followed this sweet and tangy barbecue sauce recipe with additional tips from an ehow article. i wrote down a shopping list and left for the supermarket.

i picked up 4 lbs. of pork butt, along with a bottle of molasses and a bottle of apple vinegar. because i had exactly 13 items, i couldn't use the express line and had to wait in line behind folks with shopping carts full of groceries. i didn't mind but the greying clouds looked ominous. by the time i got out, it started drizzling just a little bit. i made it back before getting soaked.

did i mention how amazingly warm it was today? temperature reached 65°F this morning. this was short-lived however; as soon it began raining, the temperature plummeted into the 40's.

i made some breakfast-lunch (french toast with bacon) before getting started on my pulled pork. i didn't need the sauce right away but i had to get started with the slowcooking, especially since it was getting late. so these are the ingredients that went into the crockpot:

4 lbs. pork butt
1 medium red onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chinese rice wine
1 tsp white ground pepper
1 ginger piece, crushed

i filled the pot with enough water to cover up the chopped pieces of pork. i set the crockpot on high and went away to watch television while the pork slowly cooked.

later i made the actual barbecue sauce:

14 oz. can of stewed tomato
3/4 cup apple vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
3 chipotle peppers (canned)
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

this particular combination of ingredients creates a sauce that is at the same time sweet and salty, spicy and sour, and even a touch of bitterness. my first mistake was using stewed tomatoes instead of actual tomato sauce. the end result was a chunky stew instead of a normal sauce. my second mistake i wouldn't find out until later: i didn't make enough sauce. i simmered it for about 30+ minutes, making about 2 cups of usable sauce.

while waiting for my pork butt to slowly cook, i caught up on some shows. AMC started a new series this past sunday, the killing, which i finally managed to watch. it was a 2-hour premiere (2 back-to-back episodes) and i must say it looks pretty good. it has a mystic river feel to it, about a murdered teenage girl and how her death affects different people, from her friends and family, the detectives investigating the case, even to a politician. i also saw some shade of the wire, with its ambitious storyline that touches all strata of society, and there was even mention of the longshoremen. i can see the show working great as a miniseries, but not quite sure how they plan on making it into a seasonal series. how many murdered teenage girls can a town take anyway? the lead actress is great, mireille enos. i'd never seen her before, but she has a very serious yet sympathetic face that's very riveting.

finally, another episode of the hard times of rj berger. it's a shame it's on MTV, with its corporate meddling, inserting "celebrity" cameos like a jersey shores character (he wasn't that bad actually) or paris hilton (who appears in a drug-induced fantasy sequence). but i suppose this show could only exist on MTV, with it's demographics and its current investment in original programming (that's not reality-tv based). besides being funny, the show has a lot of heart, and i hope it survives into another season (despite the tinkering).

the pork finally finished cooking by 8:00, 6 hours later. i shredded the meat in my largest pyrex bowl with a pair of forks, while pouring out the liquids into another bowl. afterwards i put the unflavored pulled pork back into the crockpot and added the sauce. this was when i realized i didn't have enough. so i immediately began cooking up a 2nd batch of the sauce. this time around, i think i put in a little bit too much molasses but this new sauce was more bitter.

by then victor had come home (8:30). 30 minutes later i finished reducing the sauce and poured it into the crockpot to mix with the pulled pork. i invited victor to sample some of my pulled pork sandwich. he said it was pretty good. i think it came out okay despite the setbacks, but the flavor was completely not what i expected. i wanted a spicy sour pulled pork but this was more spicy sweet.

later in the evening i checked on the progress of my plants. some of the basil seedlings have finally escaped from the dirt. next to them the korean cucumbers are emerging as well. this is especially gratifying since i rescued those seeds from the slimy guts of a dead cucumber. finally, a few tomatoes are starting to show as well. now i'm just waiting for the peppers and the cypress vines.

earlier today i got in touch with the south shore man selling plastic barrels. i talked it over with my father, we're driving down tomorrow to pick up a couple. i noticed the seller updated his posting this evening, adding that the used barrels formerly contained water-based cement sealer. i hope that means they're still okay to use as water barrels. hate to drive all the way down and find out they're defective. searching on craig's list, i spotted a new post for a guy in haverhill selling the same barrels at $15 a pop (the south shore dealer sells for $25 a barrel). i'll call him tomorrow morning to see how many he has. we might end up going to haverhill instead.