Friday, May 29, 2009

Sticky Bones

I don't really know what else to call this. The recipe is based on this one at Recipezaar called Sticky Asian Pork Neck.

I modified it a bit to what I had on hand, and what sounded tasty. Since I definitely plan on repeating this sauce on other types of meat (spareribs!!), I couldn't really call it Pork Neck anymore. So...we're gonna call it Chi Gwat, or Sticky Bones. Sound good?

Sticky Bones

Meaty bones (I used 5 pork neck bones)
1/4 cup Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup (loosely packed) brown sugar
2 T. finely grated Ginger (I used a microplane) (Use about 1 T. of powdered ginger if you don't have fresh)
2 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 tsp. Chili Sauce
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder

Heat on high until the meat is cooked, about 1 hour, and reduce to low. Turn the meat over once an hour to give it a good glaze.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

(My bones were frozen when I put them in, so I left this on high for about three hours. Next time, I could put it on low in the morning and let the glaze get even stickier.)

*A note on meat - If using Pork Neck bones, go for the absolute meatiest ones you can find. If using something else, like spare ribs, make sure the meat has just a bit of fat on it, otherwise your ribs will come out tough. Alternately, you can boil your ribs first to tenderize them, and then put them in the slow cooker.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Artisan Bread At Home

You, my friends need to make this bread. This is the Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, and it is AMAZING. It is really similar to Mark Lahey's No Knead Bread, but additional yeast lets this dough turn into SOURdough...and it's really just about the best bread I've ever had.

I got the book at the library, and it's currently on my very short Book Wish List (hint, hint!)

I'm posting the recipe here so I can keep making this bread until I get my hands on my own copy of the book. The book is centered around this basic recipe, but gives you instructions on making so many other things with the dough. (I'll include instructions on how to make pretzels from the dough that are OUT of this world.)

Master Recipe:

In a 5-qt bowl or food-safe container, combine 3 cups lukewarm water, 1 1/2 T. yeast, 1 1/2 T. course salt (less if using table salt) and 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

That's it! Stir it until it is well combined, cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid (not too tight!) and leave it on the counter until the surface of the dough rises up and flattens on the top.

At that point, you can throw the whole thing in the refrigerator. You have enough dough to make four loaves of bread, or...a lot of pretzel bites. You can leave the dough for up to two weeks, and it will get more sour over time.

On baking day, cut off a chunk of your dough, quickly shape it into a round loaf, slash the top (I forgot to slash mine...that's why it looks like a Nintendo Goomba!) and let it rest for 40-90 minutes. 20 minutes before you bake, preheat your pan (on the middle shelf, please) and oven to 450. (I like to use a dutch oven. If not using a dutch oven, put a broiler pan in the oven that you can add 1 cup of boiling water to when you bake your bread.)

After the 20 minutes are up, throw your dough into your prepared pan, cover (or add boiling water to a broiler pan) and let it cook for 30 minutes. (Cover for the first 20 minutes if using a dutch oven, and remove the lid for the last 10 minutes.)

It's really that simple, and this is SERIOUSLY good bread.

To Make Pretzels

Instead of forming a loaf, break off small pieces, roll them into balls, and drop into a large pot of boiling water prepared with 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Boil 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a towel to dry for a few minutes, then put them into a preheated 450 degree oven, just as you would with the normal loaf of bread. (Be sure to preheat your pan as well, and line with parchment or a Silpat to keep the pretzels from sticking.) Make sure to sprinkle them with plenty of course salt, and brush them with a glaze of 1 beaten egg and 1 T. water. (I haven't tried this with a dutch oven, but I suppose it would work - you just wouldn't be able to bake as many at once.) Bake for about 30 minutes. Delicious!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Angel Food Cupcakes

These were originally Chocolate Chip Angelfood Cupcakes, from Baking Bites...but I can never leave well enough alone.

These were AMAZING and tasted just like marshmallows. I highly recommend!

Angelfood Cupcakes

3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup sifted cake flour (I used AP flour, with a bit of cornstarch added)
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips (I left these out, but they would be quite tasty left in, too!)

Preheat oven to 350F. Very lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan (skip this step if your pan is nonstick).
In a small bowl, sift together cake flour and 1/4 cup superfine sugar.
In a large bowl, beat room-temperature egg whites until foamy, then add in cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of superfine sugar while the mixer is on high speed, beating the egg whites to soft peaks. Blend in vanilla extract.
Fold in flour mixture, adding it in two or three additions, and fold in chocolate chips when all other ingredients have been incorporated.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin tins, filling them just about to the top.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until tops are golden brown and the cakes spring back when lightly touched.
Cool on a wire rack (unless you have a convenient way to flip the whole cupcake pan upside down). Cupcakes may sink slightly when cooled right-side up, but there is not a great difference between cooling them upside down and not with these small cakes.
Cool completely before using a butter knife to release the cupcakes from the muffin pan.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

LowFat Banana Muffins out my 'drafts' folder, and I found this! The recipe is from These muffins were so tasty...and fairly low-guilt!

Low Fat Banana Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup nonfat milk
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 small ripe bananas, mashed

Preparation:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a nonstick 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper cups.

In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Make a well in the center.

In a medium bowl, combine canola oil milk, egg, vanilla. Add wet ingredient to dry mixture, followed by mashed bananas. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Fill muffins cups two-thirds full. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Homemade Pasta with Toss-Together Sauce

I put this together last night, and it was so good.

The pasta recipe is from Pioneer Woman, and it couldn't be simpler:
Allocate 1 egg for every person you want to feed. Allocate 1/2 cup of flour for every egg. Understand?

I wanted enough for a few meals, so I used 5 eggs and 2 1/2 cups flour.

Start with your flour in a bowl, make a well in the top, and crack in your eggs. Combine with your hands, adding more flour as necessary. Remove to a WELL floured board, and knead the pejeebies out of it, until it is no longer sticky OR tacky. (I think I ended up adding nearly an extra cup of flour. It was a rather humid day!)

Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

When you're ready, roll it out as thin as you can with a rolling pin, and slice it up with a pizza cutter. Easy peasy! (I sliced mine into long fettuccine-type noodles, and then cross-ways into about 2 inch sections.)

I put the noodles in a plastic container in the fridge while I waited for Lo Gung to get home - they only cook for a few minutes. (Tip - use LOTS of water!!)

For the sauce:
Combine in a dutch oven:
Meat (I used leftover chicken sausages, three of them)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. oil (my meat didn't have a lot of fat in it, and I needed something to cook the garlic in)
Hardy greens (I used about 8 leaves of collard greens)

When it all smells lovely, add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce, and 1 can of water, two teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Simmer away! (I let it simmer for at least an hour and a half, to really combine the flavors.)

When the pasta was done cooking, it still wasn't as tender as I'd like, so I added the pasta to my sauce pot, along with a few ladlefuls of the pasta water, covered it, and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes until we were ready for dinner.

Top with fresh grated Parmesan. Om nom nom. The collard greens soaked up the vinegar flavor, and the sauce was perfect for the eggy noodles.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grandma Mary's Jell-O Salad

Grandma had so many different Jell-O salads...but this is the first one I found in my recipe files.

Grandma Mary’s Jell-O Salad

3 small boxes jello, 4 cups boiling water. Mix until jell-o is dissolved. Add 1 can matching pie filling. Mix well. When jell-o starts to gel, add 1 tub of cool whip and mix together.

(Methinks I took this recipe verbatim from a phone call.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Soda Pop Cake

This recipe is listed so many places, I hardly even know who to credit for it! I originally heard the recipe linked to the Jenny Craig weight loss we'll go with that. The cake is egg free, fat free...and really, just fun to make!

Ingredients and supplies:
1 box cake mix (the two-layer size) (I used yellow cake)
1 can soda pop (12 oz.) (You can use diet if you're into that sort of thing, but I used regular because Aspartame scares me. I used Sprite, to give my yellow cake a sort of lemon lime flavor)
1 toddler, in an apron
1 long wooden spoon
1 enormous mixing bowl
9x13 pan, greased

1. Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your pan.
2. Stand your toddler on a chair next to you. Show her how to dump the whole bag of cake mix into the large bowl.

3. Open the can of soda, and let your toddler dump all of that into the large bowl. (Try to stop her from drinking it, if you can - you need the soda for the cake, and it will give her cavities. Trust me.)
4. Give said toddler the long wooden spoon, and let her go to town! When she has mixed the cake to within an inch of its life, wrestle the spoon back and give it a few good whipping stirs. You want to get all the lumps out. (You could do all of this in a mixer, as well, but then your toddler wouldn't get to play with a wooden spoon!)

5. Dump the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake according to package directions. Mine took about 33 minutes.

6. Hand the messy spoon and bowl over to your toddler. Come on - when else are you going to have a batter bowl that is completely egg free??!

Let the cake cool completely before cutting it. The cake is very sticky and crumbly...but moist. (I know - that sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me. The cake really, really wants to just crumble down to moist, sticky chunks.)

(I've heard that chocolate and Dr. Pepper is a great combination for this, or chocolate and cola. about confetti cake with strawberry soda! The mind boggles.)