weather icon Clear

Substitute ingredients put new twist on old favorites

Lately, I’ve heard funny stories about people wanting to make recipes but not having all the ingredients. Of course, they’re joking about recipes needing a single feather from a dodo bird or the broom of the Wicked Witch.

Now that we can’t easily dash to the store if we’re missing an ingredient, the best thing we can do is learn to make substitutions. I’m using this opportunity to illustrate that we can make this glazed pork recipe without having all the actual ingredients. The substitutions are below. Will it be like the original? No. Will we feel rock stars for making it work? Yes.

Please note, when you make substitutions in a recipe, you’re making a variation and it may not taste exactly as the original recipe would. But what you’re doing is creating your own original recipe. You may like your new version even better and that’s wonderful.

The recipe I’m sharing today has been around forever. It’s melt-in-your-mouth juicy pork, enrobed in a sweet and tangy glaze. It’s all about the glaze. You could put this glaze on a flip-flop and I would eat it.


What you’ll need:

4 pounds pork sirloin roast

2 teaspoons ground sage

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Here’s how:

Season the pork roast on both sides with sage, salt and pepper. Place pork, fat cap side up, in the slow cooker and sprinkle the garlic evenly over the top. Carefully add water into the slow cooker so you don’t wash off the seasoning. Cook on high for four to six hours, or until it shreds easily with a fork.

Carefully pull the roast from the slow cooker and place it on an aluminum lined sheet pan; let it rest.

While the roast is resting, in a small saucepan mix the ingredients for the glaze: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water and soy sauce. Heat over medium, stirring until mixture thickens, about four minutes.

Heat your oven broiler. Pour about half the glaze into a gravy boat and set aside. Brush about half of the remaining glaze onto the pork and set under broiler for one to two minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat two or three more times until desired crust is achieved.

Shred or slice pork against the grain into individual portions. Serve with reserved glaze on the side.


Pork loin: Boneless pork butt or pork shoulder (cook on high for four to six hours); pork tenderloin (cook on low for four hours or to 145 F); boneless skinless chicken thighs (cook for on high for three hours); or chicken breast (cook on low for four to six hours).

Kosher salt: Use half the quantity of table salt.

Ground sage: Fresh sage (double the quantity), poultry seasoning, thyme, marjoram, savory or rosemary (use half the quantity).

Garlic: Garlic powder or onion powder (1 teaspoon), minced dried garlic or a larger quantity of a milder allium, like green onion, scallion or shallot.

Brown sugar: White sugar, honey, maple syrup or molasses.

Balsamic vinegar: Red wine vinegar, cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Add ½ teaspoon brown sugar (or white sugar or honey) for each tablespoon of vinegar.

Soy sauce: Miso, liquid aminos or tamari.

Cornstarch: Arrowroot or tapioca powder. You can use flour to thicken sauces, but you’ll need to use three times the amount and cook for a longer time.

Slow cooker: Bake covered in the oven at 200 F for low and 300 F for high, the same amount of time.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Restaurant favorite made easily at home

Piccata: the Italian restaurant classic. You’ve seen it, you’ve ordered it, you’ve fallen in love with it, but what the heck is piccata? I’m glad you asked.

Program aims to help veterans fight loneliness

To help combat the isolation and loneliness many veterans are feeling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are being “connected” with area volunteers who will check on them and see if there is anything they need.

One-pot chicken dish like hug from grandma

Arroz con pollo literally means “rice with chicken” in Spanish. Nearly every culture has a rendition of this dish because it’s inexpensive, feeds a crowd, it’s easy to throw together and everyone loves it.

Centers offer alternatives to larger VA facilities

The Department of Veterans Affairs, more traditionally known as the VA, has several offices in and around Las Vegas. Although physical access has been somewhat limited due to the current pandemic, the agency still manages to offer many services including assisting with applying for government benefits.

Dish helps ring in fortune, happiness, health

Over a billion people in China and millions around the world are now celebrating the Lunar New Year. In the U.S., though, it’s most associated with what’s often called Chinese New Year, the American version of China’s 15-day-long festivities.

Whiskey played big part in securing mine operations

The mountain mining town of Pioche was one of the toughest places in all of the Old West. In the early 1870s, the six-gun was the only law, and it spoke often. Miners, desperadoes, deserters from the Army, Chinese laborers, a few escaped fugitives and would-be or real gunfighters were known to frequent the town.

Valentine’s Day: Couples celebrate every day

February and Valentine’s Day are times when many people celebrate love for their spouses, families and partners.

Wall’s ‘holey’ messes require more than spackle

Walls can start to look like Swiss cheese after removing, let’s say, cabinets or picture frames. Even minor mishaps can ding or put full-blown holes right through your drywall. Recently, a rigorous game of “monster” procured a hole punched right through the wall from my niece’s heel as she jumped down from the vanity trying to escape monster-auntie. Thankfully, her heel was fine. But, the wall wasn’t.

Make elegant Valentine’s Day dessert at home

Are you planning something sweet for your sweethearts on Valentine’s Day? May I suggest this impressive and memorable dessert for your loved ones? Let’s make creme brulee.