Saturday, January 29, 2011

Best Brownie I ever ate...

I can't take credit for this recipe at all, but will gladly share it. It showed up in this months Bon Appetite magazine in an article all about cocoa and cocoa recipes. This brownie is unusual in that it uses cocoa powder and browned butter. A little bit of work extra in making, but well worth the effort. Link HERE.

My only caution is to make sure you use a good heavy pan to brown the butter as too thin a pan you run the risk of scorching the butter before it is beautifully browned.

The recipe calls for a "natural unsweetened cocoa" but doesn't make a specific brand request. I used a dark chocolate cocoa from Surfas' Culinary District weg site. The brand I used is their "Black Onyx" cocoa which is an extra rich cocoa which I use in all recipes calling for "cocoa powder". The link to buy it yourself is HERE.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thai Noodles and Chicken

So my friend Janie sent me this recipe that looked good but would have served an army, calling for nearly double the ingredients this cut down version made. Even this version will serve a small platoon, and man is it good. Hat tip to Janie for the start of a wonderful recipe.

I will warn you in advance that the prep work is a bit tedious but well worth the results. Best to get it all prepped mis en place style as it stir fries up very quickly. If you try to just dice or julienne as you go you will wind up with something over cooked instead of tender crisp. Take the time to prep and have it ready to go all at once will make your life a lot stressful.

Thai Noodles and Chicken
  • 10 oz rice noodle cooked according to package directions.
  • 1 T light cooking oil
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 red chili pepper minced & seeded
  • 1 carrot - julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • zucchini julienned
  • 1 bunches scallions - sliced on the diagonal into 1/2" pieces, green tops reserved
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast diced
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 t. yellow curry powder
  • 1 T lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 t lemon zest
  • 3/4 c chunky or creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 c hot water
  • 1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • reserved sliced green onion tops

Cook rice noodles and drain. Add oils to a 3 qt sauce pan and heat over medium high heat add vegetables, chicken and spices to hot oil and stir fry 3-4 minutes. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar and hot water, add to vegetable mixture. Add noodles, bring bring to a simmer. Add more water if it gets thick (I had to add about 1/4 c). Remove from heat and add garnish. Serve in bowls with crunchy chow mien noodles sprinkled on top for a little extra crunch.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Drunken Pulled Pork...the Crock Pot edition

My kids love pulled pork sammies, my wife will eat it without the bun...a carb counter amongst us. Regardless its stupid easy to do as all it needs is a long braise. Its a hit any day of the week, but on Sundays when its my day for basketball tournaments I need to rely on the Crock Pot to get Sunday dinner on the table.

This version isn't all that different from the oven braised version I blogged a while back. It simply takes the pork butt roast from being cut to fit into a braising pan to being whole to slow cook all day in a crock pot. Mine is older than I care to admit but still is a very handy tool to have in the kitchen for those busy days you either don't have the time to cook dinner or you don't want to heat up the entire house with an oven. Either way its a long slow braise and the results are fork tender ready to pull apart pork roast.

One thing I've discovered is that it is true that cooking bone in yields more flavor. When cooked until fork tender there is no butchering required to get around the simply pulls right out and you can go about using a pair of forks to pull your pork.

Even though I am using a bottled BBQ sauce for the sandwiches, I still pull a lot of spices into the mix to pick up the same flavor profile basted deep into the pork. Its just a more flavorful end result. Prolly why its a hit with the fam.

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

  • 7 lb bone in pork roast
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 2 t Steak seasoning (I use Lawry's brand Montreal Seasoning Salt)
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Bottle beer (I use a light amber wheat beer)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce

Add ingredients in order listed to crock pot. Set on low and cook 8 hours. Remove pork roast from the braising liquid. Using a fork peal off pieces of meat. Using two forks, one to hold down the meat and another to shred pull your pork into bite sized shards. Add your favorite BBQ sauce to the shredded meat, heat and serve on hamburger buns.