Saturday, October 24, 2009

She'd better leave a comment....

If my sister comes to visit this site, she'd better leave a comment. I'm just sayin'...(grin)

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'll never be a food stylist...

No, I'll never make it as a food stylist. This tastes really fantastic though, so I'm sure you won't mind the "rustic" appearance of my lunch made from the leftovers. (I was too hungry and was racing to a meeting to properly document the dish!)

I've recently become friends with my slow cooker. I had a medium sized round cooker years ago, but it was too small to become friends with. The last straw, before it was consigned to my Mom's house for her to use, was the attempt to make lamb shanks. They. didn't. fit. Needless to say, they didn't turn out well. (Note to self: covering the portions stuck out of the pot with foil doesn't work)

Last spring I invested in a large oval slow cooker. This thing is awesome! I got so slow-cooker crazy earlier this year that The Aussie made it clear he was getting tired of it. So I hid it back in the pantry... until this week. I'd pulled out a package of boneless pork shoulder ribs from the freezer that I'd bought on speculation (and reduced for quick sale). Hmmm. What to do with them?? I went browsing through several cookbooks until I came upon a suitable one to adapt. (For those of you who like to use slow cookers, the "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker" books are great.)

Country Style Pork Ribs with White Wine Sauce

1 large yellow onion, quartered
4 large carrots, cut into large slices/chunks
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder ribs (they came cut in 1-2" wide strips)
3 T olive oil
3 T AP flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 T herbs de provence
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t salt
non-stick cooking spray

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Layer the carrots, onions and garlic on the bottom.

2. Pat meat dry with paper towels. In large, heavy-bottomed pan, over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. (If your pan cannot do all pieces of meat at the same time, do in batches and use half of the olive oil at a time) Brown the meat on all sides. This will take a few minutes per side. Wait until the meat lifts up easily and isn't sticking to the pan.

3. Remove meat from pan. Sprinkle the flour in the pan, stiring to coat in the drippings. Cook for a minute and then deglaze with the wine. Stir to pick up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Add in the chicken stock, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and lightly thickened.

4. Pour over the meat and vegetables. The recipe says cook on low for 7-9 hours. I started this at lunch time, so I cooked on high for 4 1/2 hours and then dropped it down to low.

5. Cook up the starch of your choice. I used mashed potatoes. (Yes, they were instant. I love
instant mashed potatoes). Spoon meat and vegetables over the potatoes and serve.

Nutrition (exc. mashed potatoes) based on 6 servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 293.0
Total Fat 14.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.0 g
Cholesterol 74.2 mg
Sodium 815.1 mg
Potassium 748.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Sugars 2.2 g
Protein 23.5 g

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Soup's On

Fall is definitely the time of year for soup. A grey, rainy day is the ideal day for soup. Lentil soup is the perfect healthy choice to make, and I had all the ingredients on hand.

Lentil Sausage Soup (serves 8)

3 links Aidell's Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Chicken Sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 large or 3 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups dry lentils, rinsed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 T Italian Seasoning
1/2 t powdered red pepper (I use House Shichimi Togarashi Red Pepper)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t fennel seeds
1 can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Heat dutch oven over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Slice the sausage links into rounds 1/4 " thick and add to pan to brown.

Peel and slice carrots and chop onion. (I didn't have fresh onion so I used dehydrated onion bits reconstituted in water) Peel and slice garlic cloves.

When sausage is browned add the carrots, onion, garlic, lentils and the herbs and spices to the pan. Saute for a minute.

Add the can of diced tomatoes with their juice and the balsamic vinegar to the pan. Stir.

Finally, pour in the chicken stock and stir.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender. Add water if soup is getting too thick. If you like, you can use an immersion blender to create a smoother textured soup.

This soup really hits the spot...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eddie made me do it...

The other day I was asked by Eddie (@damanlovett) if I did cool breakfasts too. I had to admit that I really didn't make many cool breakfasts. I like something that can be taken out of the fridge and eaten. Sometimes I get into making the whole diner style breakfast, but not very often.

So, research geek that I am, I started looking around for breakfasts that I could bake once and have during the week. Breakfast In A Cup sounded promising. Unfortunately, it didn't deliver on its promises. It was dry and too rice-y. (I know, rice-y isn't a word.) It would almost be better as a side dish for dinner.
Then I thought about muffins. I was first thinking of a muffin version of carrot cake, but then the talk in my Twitter group of pumpkin spice lattes made me think of pumpkin spice muffins. Thanks for the suggestion! They were delicious.


2 cups whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat flour)
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
2 t ground nutmeg (use fresh if you can - it's amazing)
1/2 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup splenda
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 T vegetable oil
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup craisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. (Note: These aren't overly sweet muffins, so if you like sweeter muffins, adjust the sugar/splenda)

2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly add the flower mixture to the large bowl until just blended. Mix in the craisins and the walnuts. (I should note that I "chopped" my walnuts in my silver bullet blender and ended up with ground walnuts with some larger pieces. I just dumped it all in the bowl.)

3. Spoon the batter into 18 non-stick muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove muffins from the oven and let cool slightly. (I had no patience to let them cool because I was hungery. Please. Let them cool. They'll come out of the muffin tins much easier for you than they did for me!) Remove muffins from the pan and let cool completely. (I didn't wait for this part either. They were really good nice and warm.)