Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pulled Pork

Happy almost the weekend. I am loving football season this year, it seems like Sundays can't come fast enough. Need something delicious for to watch your favorite team or to tailgate like a pro? Enter pulled pork, serve it on sandwiches, rice or broccoli. Or you can just eat it right out of the crock pot. And if you really want to impress your friends, family, significant other, skip the bottle of BBQ sauce and cook up some of your own. It is super easy to make and the whole house smells like deliciousness for the whole day.

Spice Rub:
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. (that was easy)

Pulled Pork:
2 lb pork tenderloin
Spice rub from above
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
2 heaping tbsp of tomato paste

Wash the pork and pat dry. Rub with the spice rub all over until the spices are worked into the meat. In a slow cooker, add the chicken stock, vinegar and tomato paste into a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Put pork into the cooker and cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar (or other light color variety)
1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
1/4 cup of molasses
1 tbsp of smoked hot sauce
Salt, Pepper

Heat the tomato sauce and ketchup in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add all of the other ingredients and stir. Reduce to low heat and cook covered for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 hours. The longer you cook it the deeper the flavors will be. Season with salt, pepper and additional hot sauce to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Eating


Monday, September 27, 2010

Salt Caramel Ganache Bars

So, I didn't make it to the next round of Project Food Blog, but the competition was fierce. I wish good luck to everyone still in it and in the mean time I have just the sweet treat to cheer me up! They are crisp on the bottom and a gooey chocolate mess on top, with just a hint of salty sophistication. These bars were inspired by a recent trip to a local bakery and lunch spot. Where they were giving away samples of some chocolaty-caramel goodness, I took one bite and thought I must make these. Well my version was a little bit messier (ok a lot), but equally as sinful and delicious. Stock up on butter, and bake up some Salt Caramel Ganache Bars.

Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter, cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into chunks and toss in the flour mixture. Rub the butter into the flour until it is incorporates and a dough forms (this could also be done in a food processor). Line a 7" by 11" baking dish with tin foil or wax paper, this will make it easier to remove the bars. Grease all sides of the dish/dish cover. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, before topping with the ganache.

Ganache Topping:
4 oz of semisweet chocolate
4 oz of bittersweet
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tsp of salt

In a small sauce pan bring the heavy cream and salt to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Break the chocolate into pieces in a medium bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Stir until all the chocolate is all incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let stand 5 minutes. Pour the chocolate over the shortbread crust. Cool on the counter until the ganache is firm, about 2 hours.

Salt Caramel Sauce:
1 cup of sugar
6 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tsp of coarse sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup of water

In a small sauce pan, over medium-high heat melt the butter, add the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add in heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and is a rich caramel color, stirring frequently. If the caramel looks too thick, add the water, more if necessary. It should be sauce like in consistency. Very carefully (this stuff is hot) drizzle the caramel over the ganache bars. Top with a little extra sea salt, if desired. Let cool, remove bars from dish, using the edges of the foil or wax paper. With a very sharp knife, cut 3 rows down and 4 rows across. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Slow Cooked Short Ribs

Another great thing about the cooler weather is using the slow cooker. When I get home, it smells warm and yummy, instead of just being oppressively hot. I love my slow cooker, generally, the meals take very little work. And, if the meal did take any work, by the time you eat it, you don't even remember the work, after all it was 8 to 10 hours ago.

Short Ribs in Wine Sauce:
1 lb of beef short ribs
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 yellow onions
1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
2 medium turnips
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups of beef stock
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt, pepper
1/2 a bag of egg noodles (8 oz)
2 Tbsp of butter
2 Tbsp of flour
1 Tbsp of sour cream

In a large skillet heat the oil over high. Rub the short ribs with brown sugar, lightly salt and pepper them. Brown the ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Chop the onion, turnips (peeled) and zucchini, put in the slow cooker. Mince the garlic and the shallots and add to the slow cooker. Add the wine, stock, vinegar, Worcestershire and soy sauce to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Top with the short ribs and cover with the lid. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Before serving, cook the egg noodles to package directions. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. Whisk the flour into the butter. Add about 1 1/2 cups (rough, no need to measure) of the liquids from the slow cooker to the rue, then bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cook, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve meat and veggies over egg noodles and topped with the thickened sauce. Enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maple Apple Pie

It has been awhile since I made a pie, and with the changing of the seasons it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make an apple pie. Now that the orchards are back open and the super market is stocked with 12 kinds of apples, at least, it is apple baking season. It's also almost crafting season, so to ease back into that cool weather hobby, I decided to do a little cooking-crafting combo, by replacing the usual lattice top, with leaf cut outs. I made the cut outs from card stock and then "traced" them onto the rolled out pie dough with a sharp knife. And voilà, you have a leaf-topped Maple Apple pie.

Don't forget to check out my entry for Project Food Blog and vote for me!

Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts, or one double crust:
2 1/2 cups of flour,
2 sticks of unsalted, cold
1 tsp of salt
2 tbsp of sugar
1/4 cup of vodka, cold
1/8 cup of water, cold

In a large bowl or food processor mix together flour, salt and sugar. Cut butter into pieces and add to the flour. Toss so the butter is coated. Either pulse in the food processor or rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add vodka and water and pulse until a dough forms, or mix with your hands until a dough forms. Separate the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Roll out and fit to a pie pan, Add excess to the ball for the top half, roll out and cut into shapes, or lattice and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Maple Apple Filling:
3 lbs of apples (granny smith), peeled and cored
1/4 cup of flour
1 tbsp of corn starch
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 of brown sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of butter
1 egg

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees, put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Dice apples and put in a large bowl. Add flour, corn starch, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, toss to combine. Pour mixture into the bottom pie crust and pat down. Cut the butter into little pieces and sprinkle over the top. Beat egg in a small bowl. Brush the lattice strips or cut outs with egg wash and top the pie with them. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees, bake until the filling is bubbling and pie is golden, about an hour. If the pie starts to brown to quickly cover with foil and continue backing. Also, the pie filling may bubble over a bit, so place tray underneath while baking. Let cool, serve and enjoy.

The pie, about to go into the oven:

Fresh out of the oven:

Happy Eating.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Time to VOTE!

Voting is now open for Project Food Blog!!!!! My entry can be found here. I am so excited to be participating in this exciting adventure! Head on over to Foobbuzz to check out the contest and please vote for me, Eat, Knit, Grow! I had so much fun cooking and writing my first entry, I hope to get to do a second!

You can check out my official profile and vote by clicking below.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your support!

Happy voting


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Onion Lager Soup

It's fall. It's time for lazy, cool Sunday's spent snuggled up watching football and movies (an epically relaxing combination). When the cold weather hits, or even the moderately cool weather, I instantly become a soup fiend. Can't get enough of the warm comfort. There is nothing so homey and wonderful as a hot bowl of soup on a cool or rainy day, well unless you stuff that soup with crusty bread and top it with caramelized cheese. Enter the onion soup, so many variations, so many choices. What kind of cheese? What kind of stock? Wine or Beer? What kind of onion? There are endless permutations to play with. This time I went with four different members of the onion family, beef stock, beer, and Fontina (with a splash of Parmesan) and I ended up with a delicious and hearty Sunday lunch.

Onion Lager Soup (serves 4):
1 giant boiler onion
2 medium yellow onions
2 large leeks (or 3 medium)
1 Medium shallot
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of sugar
1 can or bottle of lager (I used Yuengling, for you East Coasters)
4 cups of beef stock
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
Salt, Pepper
Half a loaf of French Bread
4 oz of Fontina cheese
4 tbsp of Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil over medium heat. Slice the onions, leeks, and shallots. Add to the oil, stir in the sugar and a little salt and pepper. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the beer, and raise heat to high, cook uncovered until the beer is about half gone. Add the stock, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Pre-heat the boiler. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Chop the bread into large croûton sizes and toast under the broiler for about a minute (be careful they burn fast). Divide the bread between bowls (oven safe bowls), then top with the cooked soup.

Grate the cheese. Top each bowl with about an ounce of Fontina and a tbsp of Parmesan (more or less to taste). Put bowls on a baking dish (in case of dripping and to make removal easier) and put under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.

Serve and Enjoy!

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ready, Set, Blog!

When I first read this first challenge, the very wide question, "What defines you as a food blogger?" my mind immediately set off in a million different directions, spinning completely out of control. What defines me, Am I a home chef? A foodie? A kid playing house? Someone with a little too much free time? Well, I guess I am a little bit of all of those things. Simply, I am a girl who loves food and loves sharing (I learned my kindergarten lessons well). So, while I cannot physically feed you all, and believe me I wish I could, I can share my creations, my recipes, and my meals with you. I could write you a novel on how much I love food, and how much joy this blog brings me, and maybe you would start to understand why I cook, why I blog, what makes me as a food blogger, and why I want to be the next Food Blogging Star. But instead I want to show you, so allow me to invite you to dinner...

Trout with Crispy Shallots:
1 lb of trout fillets, 3-4 fillets
1 lemon, plus additional lemon for serving if desired.
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium shallot
2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt, pepper

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Slice and separate shallots so that they form small rings. Cut a few slices out of the center of the lemon, and quarter the rest for juicing. Put the shallots and the lemon slices in the oil. While they are in, salt and pepper the trout on the non-skin side, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper each (or to taste), Squeeze the lemon juice over the trout. Put in the pan skin side down (the shallots should already be a bit crispy at this point). Cook for 4 minutes then flip over, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve with fresh lemon and the crispy shallots from the pan.

Truffled Asparagus:
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh goat cheese
1 egg
salt, pepper
A few fresh shavings of Parmesan cheese
1-2 tsp of truffle oil

Pre-heat oven to 400. Salt and pepper asparagus and drizzle with the olive oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the asparagus are tender and the ends are crispy. Poach the egg: In a small sauce pan, boil some water and then reduce to a simmer, crack an egg into the water. Maintain a constant simmer and cook egg for a few minutes until the white is set. Top asparagus with the goat cheese, then the egg, then the fresh Parmesan.

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup of white wine
2 medium shallots
1/4 cup of dried fruit, I used raisins and apricots
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt, pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small pan, over medium-low heat. Dice the shallots and add to the oil. When they begin to stick add the white wine and the fruit, allow to simmer until the wine is reduced and almost evaporated. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper broth to taste. Add the quiona, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook covered until the visible liquid is gone and the grains look split, about 30 minutes (My box of quinoa says it cooks in 15 minutes, but it does not, not even close). In a small pan toast the pine nuts over medium heat, stiring frequently. This could also be done in an oven, just be careful not to burn them. Stir pine nuts into quinoa.

Happy Eating.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Squash Soup

Welcome to fall!! So it's not completely official yet, but as the air is crisp, I needed a jacket this morning, and I got a butternut squash in my CSA, I am going with it. I am so excited for the return of my favorite season. Pumpkins, Ginger snaps, apples, and some wonderfully delicious squash soup!

Squash Soup:
1/2 garlic head
1 butternut squash
2 medium turnips
3 leeks
1 onion
1 shallot
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp corriander
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp chilli powder
4 cups of low sodium beef or vegetable broth
Salt, pepper

Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and wash the turnips and poke with a fork in repeatedly (like you would to a potato). Poke the squash with a fork as well. For the garlic, peal as much of the outer layer off as you can while keeping the head in tact. Cut off the top exposing the cloves, but leaving the bottom in tact so that the head stays together. Drizzle top with a little olive oil, and sea salt. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and roast the garlic, squash and turnips for 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes dice the shallots, leeks and onions, this does not have to be precise. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large pot on medium-low. Add shallot, leeks, onion and spices. When the Roasted veggies are done (garlic lightly browned, squash and turnips tender) let them cool for about 5 minutes. Peel and roughly dice the squash, the skin will come right off. Add to the onion mixture, add peel about half the garlic and add in to the pot. Chop the turnips and add as well and cook for 10 minutes. Add stock bring to boil and then simmer for 10 min. Puree in batches, using a blender or food processor. Strain the soup by passing through a pasta strainer, pushing down soup with the back of a spoon. Heat until desired temperature. Serve with plain yogurt or sour cream and toasted piece of bread with goat cheese.

Happy Eating


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Garlicy Shrimp and Udon

On a lazy, slightly rainy gray, summer day I was craving something warm and soothing, yet still a lit summery and fun. I was thinking about a stir fry, and wondering how I could kick it up a notch. Then it hit me, soup! This delicious dinner was part stir fry, part homemade ramen, part soup, and all delicious. Like many of the delicious Asian and Asian inspired soups out there, it is totally hearty enough to be a meal, full of delicious veggies, shrimp and udon noodles. I found the noodles in the Asian section of Wegmans, it took a little hunting but it was so worth it.

Garlic Shrimp Soup:

5 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 container shitake mushrooms
1 bunch of swiss chard
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic, divided
2 tbsp Chili sauce
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp of soy sauce
salt, pepper
8 oz of udon noodles (1 package)

Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large pan or wok. Dice 3 cloves of garlic and the onion and put them into the pan. Lightly salt and pepper and add 1 tbsp of chili sauce and 1 tsp of curry powder. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot, smash the last clove of garlic and add it to the stock, add a tsp of curry powder and a tbsp of chili sauce to the stock. Cook the udon noodles for 10-12 minutes in the stock, then remove the noodles from the stock. Add the mushrooms and chard to the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Add the shrimp and the soy sauce to the pan. Turn heat to medium high and cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. To assemble the soup, put about a cup of noodles in a bowl with a generous scoop of shrimp and veggies, then top with stock. Serve and Enjoy.

The Shrimp Cooking away:

The Shrimp and veggies on top of the noodles:

Ready to eat:

Happy Eating.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Truffled Pork Chops

Truffle oil makes anything decadent. It is an instant shot of richness and exoticness to something that would otherwise be everyday. Every time I eat it, I love it a little more. Until this recipe, I had never cooked bone in pork chops, I had also never eaten them. I am fairly new to the eating of pork products, but I have become slightly obsessed with the other white meat. These were a flavor explosion, the truffle oil makes them so incredible rich, and combined with the light flavor of the sherry, absolutely wonderful. I served these chops with some spicy asparagus, which I first shared in my I love read meat post, they are so simply and wonderful, line up the asparagus and salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, drizzle with olive oil (or chipotle olive oil, if you are lucky enough to have found a bottle somewhere) and roast or broil until tender and slightly crispy. They can be done at almost any temperature, so they are the perfect side dish to any meal.

Truffled Pork Chops:
2 bone in pork-chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of ground coriander
salt, pepper
1/8 cup of sherry
1 tsp of truffle oil

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Salt and pepper the the pork chops on both sides. Sprinkle with coriander and rub into the meat. When the pan is hot, place the chops into the pan and allow to cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sherry and continue cooking until pork chops are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, drizzle with truffle oil and let rest a few minutes before serving.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pumpkin Polenta

The cool weather last week made me anxious for fall and fall flavor. Sure I'll miss those peaches and tomatoes, but I'll get pumpkin, gingersnaps, apples and ciders. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm. Anyway, I decided to get started a little early, and simultaneously bust through my weekday breakfast rut, with some delicious and healthy Pumpkin Polenta.

Pumpkin Polenta:
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups of water, divided
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

In a small pot boil 1 cup of water. In a bowl mix together the cornmeal, salt and 1/2 cup of water (warning: if you skip this step your polenta will be very lumpy). When the water is boiling add the wet cornmeal and the maple syrup, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally, until thick and smooth. Stir in pumpkin and spices until combined. Cook another 5 minutes. Serve and Enjoy.

Also, this can be made in advance and re-heated in a microwave. Just store in a covered container in the fridge and then microwave for about a minute when you want to enjoy it.

Happy Eating