Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pork and Potato and Cabbage -- OH MY!

Tonight I made myself some spareribs & sour kraut with potato dumplings. Good stick-to-your-ribs eastern European deliciousness. And really quite easy. It's boneless pork spare ribs and a jar of sour kraut in the slow cooker all day. Best bet is to pick some ribs with some fat on them so they marinade in the melted fat and fall apart when they're done 6-8 hours later.

The potato dumplings are a little more difficult. And it's a hand-me-down family recipe, so a real recipe doesn't really exist. If I ever write a cookbook (which I doubt I ever will) I'll take the time to figure out measurements and temps and times... but for now, for a blog that only my boyfriend reads, this is good enough. Put a wide pot of salted water on and let it come to a boil. While it's getting hot, put some peeled potatoes in the food processor (or you can grate them with a cheese grater if you don't have a food processor). Mix the potato with flour, salt, a little bit of pepper, and an egg yolk to bind. It should be the consistency of drop biscuit dough. Drop by the spoonful into boiling water -- be sure to keep it boiling. Don't drop too many in at once because 1) it'll cool the water to less than a boil, and 2) they'll all stick together. When they float to the top, they're ready to be taken out.

Now, for most people, this would be good enough. And you can totally eat them this way. And they're really yummy. But my family takes it a step farther. With bacon. While the dumplings are boiling, get the fattiest bacon you can find (I prefer the extra thick cuts) and cut it into bite-sized peices. Start it in a large frying pan on medium heat. When your dumplings float to the top, remove them from the boiling water and transfer them to the frying pan. By this time, the bacon fat should have broken down and liquified and you'll fry the dumplings, making them crunchy &brown and getting little pieces of bacon to stick to them.

When they're evenly browned and fully fried in bacon fat, put them on your plate with some of you deliciously tender spare ribs, and cover the whole plate in slow-cooked sour kraut.

Good for your diet & waistline? Heck no.
Good for your tastebuds? Most definitely. 

Christmas cookie and holiday pot-luck recipes to follow this week. I love the holidays. I hate working so much that I haven't had time to cook or bake much yet. I will also love tomorrow's leftovers :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creating the Perfect Pie

Everyone loves apple pie. I am no different. And for years I've been trying to created the perfect recipe for apple pie.

It all starts with the crust. I like a thick bottom crust and a flaky upper crust for my apple pie. Start with the basics: flour and butter. I also add a little bit of cinnamon and sugar. And bourbon for binding, instead of water.

I cut my apples super thin and soak them in 7UP and more bourbon. Put them in the pie shell, layering, and sprinkling each layer with cinnamon and flour (the flour turns the juices into a thicker sauce).

Add the top crust and cut & decorate. Bake at low temp (about 350 degrees) for an hour. Add thick vanilla ice cream to warm pie. Enjoy.

Anyone want to come over this weekend & help me eat pie?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

Since it was just two of us and my boyfriend doesn't really like turkey anyway, I decided to do something small and a little different... but still tradisional. Turkey breast, pounded thin, with the stuffing rolled up right inside. For the stuffing I used cut up, stale French bread, sauted yellow onion & celery, sage, thyme, salt & pepper, corriander, and parsley. If you actually read this, you'll find I use parsley in everything. I browned all the sides in butter on the stove then put the rolls in the oven to cook through. It stayed moist and it was delicious -- very flavorful. But I guess I didn't realize how huge a turkey breast is bc that was still enough to feed the two of us three meals each! I also did some butter whipped potatoes and canned corn (I wanted green beans almondine but Art apparently doesn't like green foods). And pumpkin pie for dessert! Only this year I didn't do it from a real pumpkin because of the travel & time constraints :-(

Overall, a successful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I've decided to start a food blog

I'm not really sure if anyone is going to follow it (other than my wonderful boyfriend) but I'm doing it. Mainly because 1) it will keep me occupied, and 2) starting a blog was on my 2011 to do list and 2011 is almost over.

My kitchen is my favorite room in my apartment. I'm never without a full fridge and I have more cookbooks than I could ever cook through. Despite all of my cookbooks, I like throwing together random ingredients and creating new recipes. I view recipes as guidelines from which new and exciting things can be created by substituting and adding and changing the details. I intend to post photos and "recipes" for my creations... even if they're disgusting. I'm more than happy to take suggestions as well (if I get any readers). I believe that you can take any combination of pork, potato, and cabbage and throw it together and it will be delicious. I understand the importance of eating healthy but I like a hearty meal at the end of the day. I'm big on comfort food. I'll try anything twice; if I don't like it the first time, I figure maybe I did it wrong so I'll try it again. I always burn chocolate chip cookies but manage to perfect the intricate little Danish almond ring cookies. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm on Iron Chef and pick a random ingredient and see what I can do with it. This is how I figured out I don't like fennel. I also love random kitchen gadgets. I'm working on my plating techniques. I have a huge girl crush on Giada de Laurentis from the Food Network.

I'm 24 years old, from Madison, Wisconsin. I work for the state legislature. I'm also in the National Guard. And I work at New York & Company at the mall. Other than cooking and three jobs, my hobbies & interests include my cat (Tucker), shoes, bar trivia, reading, scrapbooking, Packers football, being Maid of Honor for two of my best friends, and anything Wisconsin Badgers. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Today, I had mac & cheese for lunch and Target-brand golden Oreo's for dinner. This is not typical. No photo or recipe for this entry but I do have a couple from Thanksgiving dinner that I plan on posting soon.

Sara Mae