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Archive for September, 2010

We had family over for dinner on Sunday, so I was looking for something I could throw in the slow cooker and not have to do too much other work too.  I wanted to have time to make all of the accompaniments for my meal, so this recipe worked out great.  Pork shoulder, a bottle of root beer, and a bottle of BBQ sauce.  Does a meal get any easier?  I used a rather large piece of pork (about 6 lbs) so I ended up using around 24 ounces of root beer.  It didn’t quite cover the meat, but I just turned it a few times while cooking.  I adapted this recipe from a post here.  Here is the recipe in a nutshell:

1 pork shoulder or pork butt

1 bottle of root beer

1 bottle of BBQ sauce

Cooke the pork shoulder and root beer in a slow-cooker for 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low setting.  Then drain the root beer, add barbecue sauce.  Cook for one more hour in the sauce.  Then shred.  We used Hawaiin rolls, as the buns I tried to make did not turn out this time!

Lemon Coleslaw

I used a recipe adapted from one posted on epicurious.com, posted at yumsugar.

  • 4 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb green cabbage, thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne strips or coarsely grated
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Whisk together sour cream, zest, lemon juice, sugar, water, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro and toss well. Chill, covered, 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Season with salt and pepper.

    Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Coleslaw-106582#ixzz114E7jyRl

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    In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter is one of the best combination of flavors.  This brownie epitomizes the combination with a layer of chocolate brownie studded with salted peanuts, crunchy peanut butter frosting, and bittersweet chocolate ganache to top it all off.  I made these brownies a few years ago for a Super Bowl party, and decided it was time to try them again this past weekend when we had some family over for dinner.  I was in a bit of a hurry when making these, so they didn’t turn out to be the prettiest things I’ve ever baked, but THAT did not hurt the flavor one bit.

    The recipe can be found on www.epicurious.com here.  A couple of notes:  make sure to let the brownies cool completely before spreading on the layer of peanut butter frosting, or you’ll mangle the brownie layer (as I did).  Also be sure to whip the frosting until it’s smooth, or it won’t spread evenly (as pictured below).  Make sure you have milk in the fridge too – you’ll need it with these!

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    I love anything with prosciutto.  I happened to have some on hand, andhad this recipe saved in my Epicurious recipe box.  The flavor was a bit salty, but I think I would try it again with a few adjustments.  As some of the reviewers suggest, chopping up the ingredients so it is more of a dip sounds like a good idea.

  • 2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (about 2 ounces), toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • Pat quartered artichoke hearts dry with paper towels. Cut each prosciutto slice crosswise in half. Wrap each artichoke heart quarter in halved prosciutto slice. Place wrapped artichoke hearts in single layer in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour cream over. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola, pine nuts, Parmesan, and sage. Bake until gratin is bubbling and sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

    We ate this on it’s own as a side dish with some steaks.  It would actually made a great topping for the steak too!

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    I am constantly trying new recipes for chocolate chip cookies in search of that perfect one.  I think my mother has been trying for as long as I can remember and still hasn’t found her perfect cookie.  These were actually pretty good – they didn’t flatten out like a lot of cookies do, and stayed soft even after they cooled.  I think they would work well for ice cream sandwichs, but they didn’t last long enough for me to try that out this time..  This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home .

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

    ¾ teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    5 ounces 55% chocolate (about 1 ¼ cups)

    5 ounces 70 to 72% chocolate (about 1 ¼ cups)

    ½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    1 cup packed dark brown sugar

    ¾ cup granulated sugar

    2 large eggs

    Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silicone sheets or parchment paper.

    Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl.  Stir in the salt.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat half the butter on medium speed until fairly smooth.  Add both sugars and the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping the bowl as necessary.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine.  Mix in the chocolate.

    Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the dough with a spatula to be sure that the chocolate is evenly incorporated.  Using about 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape the dough into balls.  Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between them, because the dough will spread.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny, switching the position and rotating the pans halfway through baking.

    Cool the cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to the racks to cool completely.  Repeat to bake the remaining cookies.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

    Makes about thirty 3-inch cookies

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    The love affair with bacon continues.  I saw some beautiful fresh figs at the market on Saturday and just bought them figuring that I would find something to do with them.  This recipe is adapted from the book Everything Tastes Better with Bacon by Sara Perry.

    Makes 24

    4 to 6 regular smoked bacon slices

    12 small fresh ripe green or black figs

    About 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    1/3 cup crumbled mild herbed goat cheese

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a microwave safe plate, place bacon in a single layer between paper towels.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until desired crispness is reached.  Cut each bacon slice into 4 or 6 pieces.  Arrange the figs on a baking sheet, cut sides up.  Brush the cut surfaces with balsamic vinegar.  Place a piece of bacon on each cut side.  Top with a small crumble of cheese.  Bake until the figs are warm, about 8 minutes.  The cheese will not melt but may toast a bit.  Serve immediately.

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    …which is the title of the cookbook I used to make this salad, and the title holds true!

    Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Arugula

    Serves 4

    Vinaigrette:

    1/3 cup olive oil

    ¼ cup champagne vinegar

    ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

    2 cloves garlic, pressed

    ½ teaspoon kosher salt

    ½ teaspoon medium-ground pepper

    Wisk together all ingredients.

    Salad:

    1 ½ pounds golf ball-sized new potatoes (I actually used baby Yukon golds because of their great buttery flavor)

    4 to 6 thick smoked or unsmoked bacon slices, cut crosswise into ¾ inch pieces

    2 cups loosely packed trimmed tender, young arugula leaves

    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

    In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold, salted water.  Partially cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet or between two paper towels in the microwave.

    Drain the potatoes in a colander.  When the potatoes are cool to the touch, cut them in half and add them to the salad bowl.  Add the bacon pieces and toss with three-fourths of the vinaigrette.  Just before serving, add the arugula, toss, and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, and dressing to taste.  I tossed a in a bit of blue cheese crumbles for an extra layer of flavor.

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    I love meringues.  There are  hundreds of variations to make, and they are usually a lower calorie option for dessert!  I started making meringues with my mother when I was just a kid.  We referred to them as “nighty night cookies”, as some recipes call for you to preheat the oven and then turn it off once the cookies are in for the night.  Now when I make them I usually cook them for about 10 minutes and then leave in the oven for about an hour at a lower temperature.  Who can wait for cookies until the next morning?!

    Below is a recipe adapted from my go-to baker Dorie Greenspan.  It is found in her “Baking: From my home to yours” book.

    1 cup confectioners’ sugar

    1/3 cup almond flour

    ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    4 large egg whites, at room temperature

    Pinch of salt

    ½ cup sugar

    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I like using ¼ vanilla extract and ¼ almond extract)

    1/3 cup very finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or finely chopped store-bought chocolate chips (I prefer using chocolate that is at least 60% cacao)

    Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.  Sift together the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and cocoa.

    Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large dry bowl, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until the whites are opaque.  Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip as you add the sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time.  Then whip until the whites are firm and hold stiff peaks – they should still be very shiny.  Beat in the extract(s) and remove the bowl from the mixer.  With a large rubber spatula, quickly but gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the chopped chocolate. 

    Drop the meringues by tablespoons onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds.

    Bake for about 10 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F and bake for 1 hour more.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the meringues to stand in a cool, dry place until they reach room temperature.

    Carefully peel the meringues off the parchment or silicone lining. 

    They should last about a week in an airtight container – but you’ll probably finish them off well before that!

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