aspire Eats

Here are all of the delicious recipes featured on aspireTV’s Butter + Brown and Short Cuts to Glory. Dig In!

Crispy Pork Carnitas

Yield: 6 servings


3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 orange, cut into thin rounds

1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

1 (12-ounce) Mexican beer

1 cinnamon stick

Warm tortillas, to serve

Diced white onion, to serve

Coarsely chopped cilantro, to serve

Lime wedges, to serve



Preheat the oven to 325º F.

Season the pork shoulder with the oregano, cumin, and salt. Set aside.

Combine the orange slices, onion, beer, and cinnamon stick in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Arrange the seasoned pork on top of the oranges and onions. Place the Dutch oven over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid. Transfer to the oven and roast until the pork is tender and fragrant, about 2 hours.

Transfer the pork to a clean work surface and shred with 2 forks. Pour the drippings from the Dutch oven into a small bowl. Skim 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan drippings and add to the shredded pork.

Turn the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Scatter the shredded pork on the lined baking sheet and broil until crispy, about 7 minutes.

serve warm with tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Crab Guacamole

Yield: 4 servings


4 large Hass avocados, pits and skins removed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, divided

1 jalepeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced

The zest and juice of 3 limes, divided

2 teaspoons hot sauce, divided (suggested: Tabasco)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 (16-ounce) container lump crab meat

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced



Place the avocado flesh into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup cilantro, jalapeno, the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and cumin. Mash into a chunky consistency. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent from browning. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk to combine the canola oil, the remaining zest and juice of 1 lime, remaining 1 teaspoon hot sauce, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the crab meat, red onion, tomato, and remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Toss to coat, taking care not to break up the crab meat.

To serve, mound the guacamole in a large, shallow bowl and top with crab meat. Serve chilled.

Hot Chili Margarita

Here a jalapeno tincture (easy to make) is used to bring on some spice. Along with the tingle, the use of a Reposado tequila and dash of brown sugar give a slightly richer flavor profile.

1.5 oz Avion Reposado Tequila

.75 Triple Sec

1 oz Fresh Lime

.25 oz Brown sugar simple syrup (Learn this recipe here)

2 bar spoons or to taste Pepper Tincture

Sriracha Salt

Glassware – Rocks or Martini

Garnish – Lime wheel

Tasting notes – spicy, tart, salty, sweet

Tools – jigger, mixing tins, strainer, plate for rimming

Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixer tin. Half rim your glass with brown sugar and dip into sriracha salt. Add ice to mixer in, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Can also be served up in a martini glass.


PB&J French Toast

Peanut butter and jelly french toast

Yield: 6 servings


Strawberry “Jelly”:

4 cups quartered fresh strawberries

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Peanut Butter French Toast:

6 cups peanut butter flavored corn and oat cereal (recommended: Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch)

3 cups heavy cream

7 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1 loaf brioche bread, cut into 1-inch slices

6 tablespoons butter, divided

powdered sugar, to serve



Strawberry “Jelly”

Combine the strawberries, orange juice, sugar, and salt in a small pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir, then reduce heat to low. Cook until the fruit has softened and a jam-like consistency is achieved, about 45 minutes. Cover and keep warm.

French Toast

Bring a large cast-iron griddle to medium-low heat.

Pour the cereal into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until the cereal is in small, coarse crumbs (roughly the texture of Japanese bread crumbs).

In a large, shallow dish, combine the cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Pour the cereal crumbs into a second shallow dish.

Soak 2 slices of bread in the cream mixture for about 30 seconds on each side, shake off the excess, then land in the cereal crumbs. Coat both sides and the edges, then land on a baking sheet lined with a rack. Repeat with remaining slices bread.

Working in batches, fry the prepared bread on the griddle until golden brown and toasted, about 5 minutes per side. Reserve on a baking sheet lined with a rack. Use the butter between batches to keep the griddle greased.

Serve warm with the strawberry Jelly and powdered sugar.

Millionaire’s Bacon

Millionaire's Bacon BLT


Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 pound thick-cut bacon

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes



Preheat the over to 375ºF.

Line two baking sheets with foil and baking racks.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Divide the bacon between the two baking sheets and arrange in a single layer. Do not leave space between the slices. Use a spoon to generously season the bacon with the brown sugar mixture.

Roast 15 minutes, rotate the pans, then roast until the bacon is crispy and caramelized, about 25 additional minutes.

Serve hot.


Baked Italian Eggs

Yield: 6 servings



2 tablespoons butter

2 (8-ounce) bags fresh spinach

non-stick cooking spray

1 (8-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

8 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chiffonade basil, to garnish



Preheat the over to 375ºF . Bring a full kettle of water to a boil.

Place a large pan over medium heat with the butter. When the foam subsides, add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to colander. When cool enough to handle, gently press the spinach to remove the excess moisture.

Generously coat 8 (6-ounce) ceramic ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the cooked spinach between the ramekins, followed by the crushed tomatoes. Crack 1 egg into each ramekin, followed by 1 tablespoon heavy cream and 1/2 tablespoon cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Place a (9-by-13) baking dish on the rack of the oven. Place the ramekins in the baking dish, then pour the boiling water into the baking dish so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 12 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the ramekins from the water bath and land on a dish towel.


Garnish with a pinch of basil and serve hot.


Nashville Style Hot Chicken




2-3 young chickens, 10-pc cut

4 cups flour dredge

1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken seasoning

Rice bran oil for frying

Sliced white bread

Sliced dill pickles


Flour Dredge

Makes about 4 cups

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cayenne

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cup chicken seasoning (see recipe below)


Chicken Seasoning

Makes about 3 1/4 cups

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup onion powder

1/2 cup garlic powder

1/2 cup hot paprika

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar powder

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar powder


Hot Oil #3

1 quart canola oil

1/4 cup cayenne pepper #90, 40,000 shu

2 tablespoons hot paprika, Hungarian

1 tablespoon sweet paprika, Hungarian

2 tablespoon beet sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt



Prep Hot Oil: In a small heavy bottom cast iron skillet, whisk all ingredients together. Place pot over medium heat, warm oil to about 165ºF. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Transfer to a storage container for later use, oil will last one month in cold storage.

Prepare Flour Dredge: In a large re-sealable plastic bag or paper bag, combine the flour with seasoning; mix well. Set aside.

Fry Chicken: Heat oil in a medium heavy bottom cast iron skillet to 365ºF. Oil is ready when flour dropped in bubbles and sizzles steadily.

While oil is heating – Remove chicken from refrigerator, dredge in seasoned flour. Coat chicken evenly and shaking off excess flour; place on sheet pan.

Carefully place the chicken in the oil, skinside down and away from you; cook in batches. Don’t crowd the pan and maintain oil at 365ºF. Continue cooking, turning each piece to brown evenly and cook through, about 12-14 minutes total. Note: Skinless, boneless chicken will take about 8-10 minutes to cook. Cook chicken to 160ºF internally.

Drain chicken on prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken, replenishing and reheating the oil between batches.

Assemble hot chicken: Dunk hot fried chicken in prepared hot oil.

Remove and place on white bread. Excess oil will drip onto the bead – this is a good thing. Serve immediately with dill pickles.


Mashed Cauliflower


2 heads cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas

the juice and zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup olive oil



Preheat the oven to 425ºF

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the cauliflower between two baking sheets and spread into a single layer. Drizzle with canola oil.

Roast until charred on the edges, about 30 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the cilantro, 1/3 cup pepitas, the zest and juice of 1 lime, and salt. Pulse to combine, stop to scrape down the sides when necessary. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter and drizzle with pesto. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of pepitas. Serve at room temperature.

Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 4-6 servings


1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon rice flour

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt



Put the rice flour into a shallow dish and add half the Brussels sprouts. Toss to coat and shake off the excess flour. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the pan and immediately cover with a lid for 30 seconds as Brussels sprouts will splatter vigorously. Allow the Brussels sprouts to cook until dark brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir and cook 2 to 4 additional minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat process with remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, Brussels sprouts, and rice flour.

Combine all the browned Brussels sprouts back in the pan and reduce heat to low. Add the white wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Toss to coat.


Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.

Seared Butter Pound Cake

For the cake

1 store bought pound cake

2 tbls unsalted butter

Slice 8 1-1/2 inch slices from the pound cake. Using a cookie cutter, cut a circle from each slice. Reserve the trimmings and the rest of the cake for another use. Set the circles aside.


Mixed Berry Compote

4 pints fresh raspberries

4 pints fresh. blueberries

4 pints fresh blackberries

4 pints fresh strawberries -diced no stem

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 pound unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large heavy bottom saucepan, add the berries and the extract as well as the sugar. Cook for ten minutes on high heat or until the berries break down, then fold in the butter until melted. Set aside.

Jack Daniels Honey Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey

3 tbls powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl add cream, Jack Daniels and sugar, mix until stiff peaks form, set aside.

4 sprigs fresh mint as garnish



In a medium non-stick pan, melt the butter. Once the butter is hot place the cake rounds in the pan and sauté 45 seconds to 1 min on both sides, remove and set aside.

On a plate place 2 cake rounds, spoon 1 1/2 tbls of mixed berry compote over the rounds, and top with the cream. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

The Millenial Mule

Young adults love juice bars, but while you wouldn’t think about adding a shot of wheatgrasss to your favorite alcoholic beverage, fresh pressed ginger is lovely in this version of the Moscow Mule.

1.5 oz Vodka

.75 oz Fresh ginger syrup

.5 oz Fresh lime juice

.25 oz Simple syrup

top off w/ Club soda


Glassware – classically this goes in a copper mug, but any vessel works

Garnish – lime wedge

Tasting notes – slightly spicy, effervescent

Tools – jigger, bar spoon

Method: Build ingredients in glass. Add club soda and stir briefly, aiming to tease up the denser ginger syrup, but not dissipate all of the bubbles and leaving the drink flat. Garish with a lime wedge.


Panko Crusted Eggplant

Panko Eggplant


1 large eggplant

kosher salt, to taste

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs


Slice the eggplant into slices that are 1/2 an inch thick.

Add the eggplant to a large bowl and season with kosher salt. Then, in a large sauté pan, add oil and begin to heat. Dredge the eggplant in the flour. Once the oil is hot add the eggplant and sauté for three to four minutes per side. Once golden, move the slices to a platter and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.

Serve warm.

Zoodles with Tomato Sauce

B+B Zoodles

Yield: 4 to 6



2 zucchinis

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. paprika

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced


Tomato Sauce:

8 Roma tomatoes, cored, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 white onion, chopped

2 cups vegetable stock

1 tbl olive oil


Cut both ends off the zucchini and discard. Halve the zucchini crosswise, then use a spiralizer fitted with the largest grater blade to cut the zucchini into zoodles. (Halving the zucchini will yield shorter, more manageable zoodles). Place the zoodles on a sheet pan along with the bell peppers. Bake in the oven for 6 minutes.

Heat the oil in a sautè pan. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and onions, then saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve, remove the sauce from the heat and serve alongside the zoodles, sauce can be spooned over the zoodles.

Mixed Berries with Coconut Creme

Butter + Brown Mixed Berries


1 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries

1 cup raspberries

3 Tb. granulated sugar

1 oz. Triple Sec

Fresh mint, to taste

1 cup coconut cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar


In a large bowl combine all the berries with the diced or torn mint, triple sec, and sugar. Stir then set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk until creamy and smooth -place in a refrigerator for ten minutes and serve.