Saturday, March 6, 2010

Banana Muffins

I had three bananas in the freezer to use and that's just the right amount for banana bread. I also had walnuts and mini chocolate chips sitting around waiting to be used for something. I used a recipe my sister had for banana muffins and toasted walnuts to add to the batter. I mixed in mini chocolate chips and boy did they turn out really good. They were pretty easy to make too, which is always a good thing.

Pizza Pasta

My mis-en-place. Fancy French term for "everything in its place".
Just before adding the sauce.

This was a fun meal. I used up my last two Italian sausages, added black olives, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, garlic, and tomatoes to the pot. All the best pizza toppings. A little red wine, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and some Italian seasoning added to the mix, and it made one tasty spaghetti sauce. I had some organic multi-colored corkscrew pasta that I cooked up. Before adding sauce to the cooked pasta, I topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese, then added sauce, and more cheese on top. The cheese melted and got all stringy just like with pizza. I really enjoyed this one.

Infamous Apple Enchiladas

We had a potluck at work for National Tortilla Chip Day. I wanted to do something that fit in with that idea, but was unique at the same time. I wanted to do something with apple pie and then turn it into Mexican food. The easiest way? Enchiladas. There are recipes out there for dessert enchiladas, but most of them call for that nasty canned fruit stuff for pies. Blech. So I got my dad's apple pie recipe and just used the filling part to develop my own recipe. I cooked the apples the day before assembling the enchiladas. I did it in a pan on the stove with water, spices, and some lemon juice. I cooked them till they were about half done, then drained and cooled them. I saved the juice and added caramel sauce to it. I used that to dip the tortillas in and then with the apples and more caramel sauce, I made them into enchiladas. When I finished baking them a lot of liquid was sitting in the pans so I took out the liquid. Since they'd be refrigerated overnight I didn't want them to get soggy. But I saved that liquid and added more caramel sauce and used it as the sauce to serve it with. It needed something so I got some whipped cream and Cool Whip to serve it with. They all got eaten so they must have turned out ok.

The Pork Post

It seems as though I made a lot of stuff with pork over the last month, so I thought I'd write about it all in this post. Since I no longer eat beef, I eat a lot of pork, because depending on the cut, it acts and cooks in much the same way as beef. This dish was a crock pot meal. Black bean soup with sausage. It was really tasty, just spicy enough but not too spicy. I've never cooked dried beans in the crock pot before but it turned out really well. This was a great hearty meal for a cold winter night. Definitely would make it again.

Pork stew. I've spent a lot of time developing this. I used red potatoes this time but any variety will work. I use chicken broth instead of any mixes. I put the pork in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and then fried it up for a while to get it nice and browned before adding the veggies and liquid. Because of the flour I didn't have to thicken the stew. I seasoned it with more of the spices from the flour mixture and added some thyme. It was really delicious.
Another crock pot meal. This time it was pulled pork for tacos. Really easy, pork, salsa, pepper, and green chilies. I used this for tacos and nachos. This was really easy to make and really tasty. It makes a lot, so it's good for a crowd.
The nachos I made with the pulled pork. Very delish.

February Baked Goods

So I am finally getting caught up with the baking/cooking I've done in February and so far into March. First up, English Muffin French Toast. Not a recipe I was following, but one I just made up. I thought it might be interesting, two nationalities in one dish, even if it's just in the name, but it turned out ok only. The English Muffins don't absorb liquid on both sides really, and the texture is just off. With French Toast, you want the bread to almost turn into a liquid and then re-solidify when you cook it slowly, like a bread pudding, but with English muffins, the texture is just too dense to really do that. It's too chewy. That would probably be why you don't see this done in restaurants. But it was a fun experiment.
Smore's Brownies. Looked awesome. Concept great. Outcome? Not so much. The marshmallows didn't bake into the brownies at all so whenever you tried to take a bite, the brownie crumbled and the marshmallow ended up as one big gloppy mess. I might be willing to try it again sometime and actually mix the marshmallows into the batter instead of just setting them on top. The chocolate chips and walnuts could all be mixed into the batter for that matter.
I like Rice Krispy Treats. I like chocolate. I thought, why not combine the two? So I melted a bunch of chocolate in with the butter and marshmallows. It took forever for it to melt together, which I'm sure has something scientific behind it dealing with fat content and gelatin and whatnot, and then I added the rice krispies. They mixed pretty easily, but when I poured them into the pan and tasted them later on, they were really hard. And kept getting harder and harder. I reheated some in the microwave the next day and it softened a bit, but super hot rice krispy treats aren't that tasty. Again, it was a good experiment, and I see now why if I want chocolate rice krispy treats, to just use chocolate rice krispies instead.