Thursday, April 29, 2010

Buttermilk Bread

Ever buy buttermilk for a recipe and then wonder what the heck you're going to do with the rest of it? It seems to only come in unnecessarily large containers (which makes me wonder... do people actually drink buttermilk??). I mean, I love pancakes, but there are only so many I can eat. So, I looked for some alternate uses for buttermilk and came across this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I have no expertise whatsoever when it comes to baking bread from scratch, but this was very easy to do... you just need a mixer with a dough hook to do all of the hard work for you. The buttermilk makes this a bit richer than a regular white bread, and honey adds a hint of sweetness. It was great for peanut butter sandwiches, french toast, and just smeared with butter (but what isn't good smeared with butter?).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Indoor Pulled Pork with Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

At 8:30 AM on Saturday, while most normal people were sleeping or eating breakfast, John and I headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for our weekend food project of pulled pork. ("indoor" pulled pork, as we live in an apartment with no outdoor space). I sent John to the meat section while I groggily staggered up to the coffee bar for my caffeine fix. A few minutes later, John comes waltzing over, clearly pleased with the giant pork butt he picked out. We wandered around for about 10 more minutes looking for Liquid Smoke, finally found it by the barbecue sauce, then we checked out. And yes, we cracked inappropriate jokes about pork butt all the way home (Hahaha... "cracked"! See what I did there?). We're mature.

I call this a project because it took all day to make. Granted, most of the day,  the pork is spent either brining or cooking, so it does not require constant attention. And at the end of the day, every last minute was worth it. We could barely muster any coherent sentences as we took our first bites: "MMM. So... mmm... wow... mmm... ohmygosh... tastymmmyummm." There are so many layers of flavor: the brine infuses the meat with the liquid smoke flavor, the spice rub adds a little kick, and the homemade barbecue sauce was just ridiculously good (you mix in some of the pork cooking liquid, which I think is the key ingredient here).

This makes a lot, but a quick Google search told us that pulled pork freezes well, so you don't necessarily need to have a big crowd to help you eat it. Serve on rolls to make sandwiches, or just eat it straight up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Maple-Ginger Glazed Chicken Breasts

I'm not entirely sure why, but lately I've become obsessed with things that are glazed. Savory things, too, not just cakes and donuts. I went through some cookbooks as well as my favorite recipe websites and just typed in "glazed", and came across a lot of interesting recipes. I settled on these glazed chicken breasts for dinner this week because they were easy and I had all of the ingredients on hand. The glaze had a lot of flavor for not having a lot of ingredients, and was a nice way to dress up an otherwise pretty boring piece of chicken. Maple syrup adds sweetness, soy sauce adds a savory component, and ginger and cayenne add a little kick.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese

The employees at my local Quizno's know my order. If I don't come in for awhile, they ask where I've been. I'm pretty sure the owner wants to set my friend up with her son. It's very sweet, but probably an indication that I was eating lunch out a tad too often.

In an effort to kick that habit, I try to make a big batch of something-or-other at the beginning of the week so that I have leftovers for a few days. Baked pasta dishes are always awesome when reheated, so I thought I'd give this recipe a try. I printed it out in January when I was on my Cooking Light rampage, but never got around to making it (probably because John had just gotten his pasta maker and was cranking out homemade ravioli... mmm!).

This was definitely a good choice... it was just as good for lunch as it was for dinner. The only change we made was using mild Italian turkey sausage, rather than the hot.