Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pork barbecue, slaw and onion rings

Pork butts were on sale last week so I needed to find a recipe for barbecue, of course I've made it before but never found a recipe I really liked. So at 9:30 the morning I was planning to cook it I was trying to find a recipe. I had one from Food Wishes bookmarked. He has a video for it and when he pulled the bone out the entire thing fell apart it was so tender, unfortunately his recipe take 12 hours, still I would like to try his method of cooking. So I found another recipe at Bird Food with a more reasonable cooking time, 300 degrees for 6 hours. That's better! Her recipe also had a dry rub, but I didn't have any dry mustard so I had to search for another rub. Found one! Culinary Infatuation had one with ingredients I had on hand though I did alter it slightly.

The recipe I used ended up being....

1 5lb pork butt (shoulder)
2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tbs cumin
2 tbs smoked paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs coarse salt
1 tbs black pepper

liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the ingredients for the rub. Rub on the pork butt. Place butt in enameled dutch oven. put in a ramekin of about a tsp of liquid smoke and filled with water. (next time I would rub smoke on the meat then coat with rub and add a little water to the bottom.) Cover with lid and bake. I checked after about 4 hours and was getting very tender and a little dark so I reduced the temperature to 200 degrees for the remaining 2 hours.

When done remove bone and transfer to cutting board, I used tongs and it was very tender and falling apart. Chop or pull the pork to your desired consistency. Add the barbecue sauce of your choice and make your sandwich.

I really did like this recipe, I might play around with the rub but the technique is definitely a keeper.

Most people in these parts like slaw on their barbecue sandwiches, not me, but most do. The only slaw I actually like is from KFC, so I decided to try a copy cat recipe that I found on had good reviews and for good reason it really did taste a lot like Kentucky Fried Chickens coleslaw. The only substitute I mad was using a tri-color bagged slaw mix that I chopped a little finer by pouring it in a bowl and using kitchen scissors to cut in into smaller pieces. I think it would have been a little closer if I had just used green cabbage.

KFC Coleslaw 
8 cups finely diced cabbage (about 1 head) 
1/4 cup diced carrot 
2 tablespoons minced onions 
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 cup milk 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 cup buttermilk 
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar 
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cabbage and carrots must be finely diced.( Not too fine or it won't be like KFC). Pour cabbage and carrot mixture into large bowl and stir in minced onions. Mix remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour over vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

On night two, I made onion rings to go with the leftovers. A quick and easy way to make onion rings it some take some pancake mix, the kind where you just add water, mix it with water until its the thickness you want it to be, slice your onions into rings and coat in the mixture. Fry them until brown. I used about half an inch of oil in my cast iron skillet.

I added some to my sandwich and they gave it a nice little crunch.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing

Yum! These cupcakes are really good. The cakes themselves were nice and moist with a good texture. I used regular dark raisins instead of golden because that's what I had. You could use a little bit more spice. They would have been a little bland had it not been for the flavorful icing. I didn't measure the orange zest, I zested one orange and used half in the cake and half in the icing, I'd say next time use three quarters in the cake and and the rest in the icing. If you are planning to make them for an occasion where appearances matter then you should make the icing as late as you can, it seems to break down a little faster than it most similar icings, maybe the acid from the juice.

I would definitely make these again and I loved the flavor of the icing. The recipe came from Adventures of a Baking Brunette.

Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing

For cupcakes
2 cups of grated carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Dash of allspice
Zest from a large orange
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Jumbo eggs (or 3 large, as the recipe says)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of golden raisins

For icing
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Make cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

Coarsely grate enough carrots to measure 2 cups using large teardrop holes of a box grater.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, grated carrots, orange zest and vanilla in a large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined. Then add raisins and fold into batter.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack, about 1 hour more.

Make icing:
Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Whisk in zest and 2 tablespoons juice until smooth. If icing is too thick, add more juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. Dip top of each cupcake into icing, letting excess drip off.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spiced Potatoes

I don't have a picture but I tried this recipe for spiced potatoes. I wasn't a huge fan, but  the smell was amazing. I loved the smell of curry powder. I couldn't even resist buying a curry plant at the nursery because the wind kept blowing and that lovely warm fragrance was calling to me.

The seasoning oddly enough didn't give a lot of flavor, maybe because they were a little old? Maybe I would have liked it better with red potatoes. I don't love the taste or the texture of russet potatoes. BTW if you try it, use and old or dark spatula to stir with. I used a light colored plastic spatula and it is now stained yellow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cabbage Noodles

I've got an aunt that makes boiled cabbage and noodles I haven't had often but it's really good seasoned with some Jane's Krazy Mixed-up Salt. I saw this recipe at Handle like candy for something really similar but fried. I thought frying the cabbage brought out a little bit of sweetness, which was nice, but it was a little dry, and I think overall I prefer this dish boiled. It was okay but I'm not sure I would do it this way again.

Here's the recipe but go to the website for step by step pictures.

Cabbage Noodles
1 head of cabbage - chopped (core removed)
1 bag of egg noodles
1/2 stick of butter (the real thing!)
1/4 cup of Crisco (vegetable shortening) - it's comfort food, remember!
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt the vegetable shortening and add the chopped cabbage. Sautee on medium heat. Stirring occassionally to keep the cabbage moving and so it doesn't burn on the bottom. 

You want the cabbage browned (see below). To be technical, you need to caramelize the cabbage to bring out the sweetness. It will probably take about 35-40 minutes of sauteeing and stirring to get it to this point. Do NOT cover with a lid at any time! You want the water to cook out and caramelize the sugars.  

Now you want to boil the noodles. Once they're tender, drain and mix with the cabbage. I like to let it sit on very low heat so that the noodles have time to absorb some of the butter/shortening and the cabbage flavor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grilled Chicken Aioli

I found this great little recipe at Thyme for Cooking. A mayo and soy sauce marinade sounds a little odd, but every really liked it and I would definitely make it again.

Grilled Chicken Aioli

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs mayonnaise
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder - or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano

In small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the marinade - whisk well. Pour over chicken breasts and let marinate for 10 - 45 minutes. Remove from marinade and cook on barbecue grill for 8 - 12 minutes per side or until done (test - take a peak). OR sauté in nonstick skillet for 8 - 10 minutes a side, until done. Serve, sliced or not.

I used 5 or 6 chicken tenders and  sauteed it but I'm sure it's great grilled as well. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not that great chocolate pudding

I tried this recipe for chocolate pudding but although it looked pretty enough, it wasn't as rich and chocolatey as I would have liked. It's not something I would make again. On the plus side, it was easy and all the ingredient were things I always have on hand. The only thing I varied on was using 2% milk instead of skim.

I poured mine in ramekins and garnished with WhoNu? chocolate chip cookies. I got the crispy ones instead of the chewy and I was hoping the pudding would soften them up and make them better. I think it actually made them worse. The chewy ones are actually pretty good and they have added calcium and fiber and all kinds of vitamins. They seem like a good idea if you or your kids aren't getting all the good things you need in your diet. BTW I don't work for them or anything, LOL!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spicy Roasted Chicken

I didn't get a photo of this one but the pictures at Dinners for a Year and Beyond where I found the recipe are pretty good so you can check there to see what it should look like. I halve the recipe to make one chicken. The spice rub was pretty good, not too overwhelming. I didn't have any mashed potatoes so I skipped making the gravy. The chicken was tender, especially the dark meat. The breast meat seemed really moist and tender while I was cutting but seemed a tiny bit dry by the time I ate it and after rereading the recipe I realized it said to cover with foil after it came out of the oven, maybe that would have helped the breast meat stay juicier.

Here is the halved recipe

Spicy Slow Roasted Chicken and Gravy

for chicken

1 (5-7 pound) whole chicken
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

for gravy - (full recipe, I didn't try this)

1/4 cup of pan drippings from chickens
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
salt and lots of pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wash chicken and remove giblets. Place chicken in a roasting pan.
(I used a 9x13 glass pan lined with heavy duty aluminum foil.) Set aside.

Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture on the chicken, both inside and out.

Roast the chicken, uncovered, at 250°F for 4 - 4 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature is about 170 degrees. After the second hour, baste the chicken occasionally (about every 30 minutes or so) with pan juices. The pan juices will start to caramelize on the bottom of the pan and the chicken will turn golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil. Let the chickens rest about 10 minutes while you make the gravy.

Meanwhile, for the gravy, add the drippings to a saucepan over medium high heat. When heated, whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Gradually add the stock and milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until gravy thickens. Season to taste with salt if necessary.

To serve, carve chicken and place on a large platter. Pass gravy with chicken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Here's another recipe I made ages ago that I am just getting around to posting. I made it twice. The first time I used real butter and frozen blueberries, it was really good. I made it again the next week using I can't believe it's not butter and fresh blueberries. It was okay but not as good as the first time. I'm not sure which of the changes made the difference. If I'm remembering correctly the buttermilk had been in the fridge awhile and had a stronger smell when I made the first cake, I suppose that could have made a difference as well.

The recipe came from epicurious via The Goddess's Kitchen.

Instead of greasing and flouring the pan I used baker's coating. It's fantastic for cake pans. I've never had anything stick when I use it.

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake 

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups frozen blueberries
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour (or use bakers coating)10-inch-diameter Bundt pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 2/3 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in orange peel and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely. Transfer cake to plate, sift powdered sugar over or makes a glaze using powdered sugar and a small amount of milk (you can always add more milk, once it's too thin it's almost impossible to thicken it up again).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baker's Coating

I found a recipe for Baker's Coating in a book called Morning Glories by Sharon Kebschull Barrett. It's like a brush on version of Bakers Joy you use it whenever a recipe calls to grease and flour a pan.

I adore this stuff. I never have cakes stick when I use this. All it is is equal parts oil, shortening and flour. The author uses 1 cup of each and suggest a double batch if you bake a lot. However that is wat too much for my needs so I only use 1/4 cup of each.

Baker's Coating

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour

In a bowl beat all ingredients together with an electric mixture. It will be the consistency of sour cream. Put in an airtight container. It doesn't need to be refrigerated and according to the author it keeps indefinitely.

To use, brush a thin coat onto pan with a pastry brush.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Bars

This is another recipe I meant to post ages ago and never got around to. I found the recipe at Something Sweet. It was ok but I like plain lemon bars better.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mama Pilla's North Carolina Green Beans

I made this last summer when the beans were coming in. I found the recipe at bitofnutmeg but the link no longer works but it was simple enough to remember and it tasted really good.

fresh green beans
salt pork (or fatback, streak of lean, ham hock, etc.)

Rinse your beans. Snap the ends off your beans and snap them into 2 or 3 pieces. Place the beans in the crockpot and cover with water. add in 2 or 3 pieces of salt pork. Cook about 6 hours.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Easy Lemon Bars

These are not your usual lemons bars. I like them but they didn't go over well with anyone else. I ended up eating almost the whole pan myself. However having to eat that many bars by myself means I don't think I'll be making them again.

So Easy Slap Ya Momma Lemon Bars

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
   Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Add the egg and oil; mix until well blended. Mixture will be slightly dry. Reserve one cup for the topping, and pat the rest into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
   Now, bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Place aside to cool 15mins. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the baked crust. Take the reserved crumble cake mix mixture over the top.
   Bake for an additional 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set and the topping is lightly toasted. Cool before cutting into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

unbaked bottom layer

baked bottom layer

Cream Cheese Mixture

Unbaked bars

Finished Lemon Bars

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Applesauce Cake

I had a jar of applesauce I needed to use up before it expired so I decide to try this recipe from the Ladies Of The House. It was okay, soft and had a good texture but it was missing something. It wasn't spicy enough to be a spice cake and I used more raisins than it called for it didn't seem like enough. Maybe some diced apples or more spices would make it appeal to my taste more.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Real Home Fried Chicken

I tried another recipe from The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook by Dottie Griffith. The picture in the book looked amazing; crispy,  crunchy and golden. Mine was fine but it wasn't crispy. Maybe it's because they were using bone in, skin on chicken and I was using boneless skinless tenders. I've never fried bone in chicken, is it the skin that makes the difference?

First you soak the chicken in buttermilk. Anytime you are frying chicken the buttermilk is a good idea it makes it juicy and tender. The you dip it in flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. The you fry. This recipe had you frying in oil deep enough for the chicken to float. Don't. Not if you are making tenders. It tasted the same as how I normally make them using much less oil.

I would really love a recipe where the tenders are actually crispy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Banana Pancakes

In honor of National Pancake Day I found this recipe for banana pancakes at Morning Song. The pancake batter was much too thin for me so I suggest adding additional flour or less milk if you want a thick and fluffy pancake. The banana syrup I really liked. All in all they were some pretty good pancakes.

Banana Pancakes with Banana Caramel Syrup

2 bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

Cut bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.

1 large bananas, mashed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, (I used 2 tbs icing sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (as Muslim I didn't use this)
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk (you can make your own buttermilk out of 2 cups milk and 2 tbs white vinegar, wait for 10 min., until it thickens )
2 large eggs

Additional melted butter

Whisk flour and sugar in large bowl. Mash banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in melted butter.

Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Purple Hull Peas

While my sister was vacationing in Texas I was at Ollie's when I found The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook. It seemed perfect, I might not be be out west but I could bring the west to me! The first recipe I tried was for purple hull peas. I don't really like beans unless they are green or baked but these weren't too bad, bacon makes everything better. To my serving after it was plated, I added a tiny speck of molasses which cut the beany taste.

 Black-Eyed Peas

1  16 oz. pkg frozen black-eyed peas with snaps or purple hulls or 1 pint fresh peas
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Combine peas, onions, stock, and bacon in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover saucepan and cook until peas are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Make sure the liquid doesn't cook away. They should be almost covered with liquid. When peas are tender add salt and pepper.

To use dried beans: Soak 2 cups peas in water overnight, drain, and proceed as above using 4 cups of stock or water. Do not add salt until tender. Increase cooking time to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Don't let liquid cook out.

Makes 8 servings

From The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook by Dottie Griffith

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yet another carrot cake

I made a carrot cake for my dad's birthday last month. I tried one made with applesauce substituted for some of the oil using this recipe. I made as instructed by the recipe except the baking time, 40 -50 minutes for a 9 in cake? Sound much too long to me. I ended up baking about 30 minutes but it still ended up being dry. I added lemon extract to the frosting instead of vanilla because I prefer the taste of lemon with carrot cake. The pecans I used may have been going bad according to my dad. They didn't expire until May but I don't like the taste of nuts so I can't tell if they have started going rancid. This recipe wasn't a keeper for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

I have a ton of blueberry muffin recipes bookmarked but I was looking for an easy one and I found one at Mom's Fridge that turned out very well.

I didn't have a lemon so I skipped the zest. Next time I will add some extract; vanilla, lemon, almond; something to kick up the flavor a notch.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put muffin papers in 12 regular size muffin pan cups. Set aside.

Stir together flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, butter, and lemon peel; add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake in preheated oven 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Makes 12.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein

I am such a  bad blogger, I haven't posted since September. I've cooked a lot and taken photos of plenty of dishes but I haven't been in a mood to write. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things so I'm posting about last nights dinner.

Lo mein isn't my favorite thing but I had all the ingredients on hand so I thought I'd try it anyway. It didn't taste much like take out but it wasn't bad. I made extra sauce but it ended up being too saucy and the sauce was much too thick so I would recommend cutting back on the cornstarch. I added some red pepper flakes to the leftovers to give it a little kick, that made it a little less bland.

I found the recipe at Mom's Fridge and it was okay but i don't think it will go into permanent rotation.