Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Shredded Pork

After seeing these sandwich rolls I knew I had to make them, so I was on a mission to find a way to serve them. I decided they would be perfect for a shredded or pulled pork sandwich, but I didn't want to do a typical bbq pork that my son wouldn't be able to eat. I surfed for some recipes to get ideas of times and amounts, and ended up coming up with the following recipe. It is a very simple but flavorful pork that falls apart when done and can be dressed up any way you like. We made sandwiches and added a little bbq sauce to the top, but it could easily be used for Mexican dishes or any other recipe calling for shredded pork.

Simple Shredded Pork
  • 1 pork loin, approximately 4 pounds
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • broth to make 1/2 cup

Place the pork loin, fat side up, in a crock pot or slow cooker. Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper over top. Spread onions out around the pork. Measure Worcestershire sauce and vinegar into a liquid measuring cup and add broth until it measures 1/2 cup. Pour this and the water around the pork. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Rolls

When I saw these rolls on Lovestoeat's Weblog, I knew I had to give them a try. So far my baking with yeast has been limited to pretzels and pizza dough. So I was a little nervous attempting something more bread-like, but they turned out great. We used them for pork sandwiches the first night, had a couple of weekend breakfasts with egg sandwiches, and will be finishing them off tomorrow with some hamburgers. These are a delicious and versatile roll, and I'll definitely be making them again.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (1 1/2 packages) - I used the equivalent in instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds - I left these out
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour - I used about half of each

Pour the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of brown sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to combine and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 min. In a large bowl using a whisk, combine the milk, butter, brown sugar, salt, seeds, and whole-wheat flour. Beat hard until smooth, about 3 min. Add yeast mixture and the unbleached flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes, dusting with flour only as needed, to make a smooth, soft, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough in a greased deep bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, 45 min. to 1 hour. Gently deflate the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Grease or parchment-line 2 baking sheets. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and shape each into an oblong oval. Place the rolls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, cover, and let rest until puffy and almost double, about 30 minutes. Brush with the egg glaze. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Egg glaze: 1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

My boss gave me a couple of lemons recently from a large bag she had picked up at the store. I have never really done anything with whole lemons before, but these smelled so good I knew I had to find something to bake. Annie from Annie's Eats suggested the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins on her blog, originally found on the Joy of Baking website. The first time I made these I followed the recipe exactly (except I used non-fat yogurt because that's all I could find and they still turned out great). The second time my lemon wouldn't zest well, so instead of making the glaze I used the juice of the lemon in the muffin itself. Both versions turned out equally well.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest, yogurt and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture until just moistened. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and glazing.

Glaze: If glazing, while muffins are baking stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. The mixture should be runny. Once the muffins are removed from the oven, wait five minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the muffins with a spoon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Fannies

My hubby gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Valentine's Day this year. I knew that I wanted to get a cookbook with it, but was tossed up on which one. I wasn't sure if I wanted one for a specific type of food, like the ice cream book I had been eyeing, or if I wanted a go-to book that would cover a wide range of foods. I finally decided on the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, because it has been my dad's kitchen bible for years and years. The photo above shows my shiny new book alongside his with a copyright from the sixties that he got shortly after he and my mom married in 1970. It has tape holding the spine together and is in danger of falling apart at any moment. I think this is the sign of a good cookbook. The books have changed over the years, the newer ones containing recipes for microwave cooking and eliminating recipes for dressing game, but many of the recipes are still the same. I recently made corn bread and the only difference in the recipes from the two books is that the older one called for 1/4 teaspoon more salt than the newer one. So if you're in the market for a new all-around cookbook that has stood the test of time for more than 100 years, consider Fannie Farmer.

Corn Bread

I've never made homemade cornbread before, I have always started with the box from Jiffy. After making it from scratch once, I doubt I'll go back to the box. There is not much extra work involved, and it tastes so good. This recipe from my Fannie Farmer Cookbook had the perfect sweetness to accompany a meal. If I were going to make muffins I would probably up the sugar just a bit.

Corn Bread
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons melted shortening or bacon fat

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan. Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, egg and shortening or bacon fat and blend well. Spoon into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and cut in squares.