May 26, 2011

barbecue pulled pork sandwiches

You know those days when you just really want to get up early to throw a giant hunk of pork in the crockpot so it can slow-roast all day and you can come home to the wonderful smell of pork that's all ready to fall off the bone and be shredded for a tasty sandwich?

Yeah. Me neither.

You know those days when you go to Trader Joes and see that someone has already gone to all that trouble and even packaged it up nice and cute, and all you have to do is stick it in the microwave for two minutes?

I love those days.

Here lies one of my favorite "homemade" meals that requires very little effort and produces delectable results. I can't really even qualify it as homemade. That's cheating. I didn't even make the coleslaw. But I did make the onion strings! And you should too, because they are insane.

 Crispy Onion Strings 

1 large onion, very thinly sliced (I use sweet Vidalia)
1 cup flour
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable Oil

Place onions and buttermilk in a large dish or bowl and stir or toss to coat all onions with buttermilk.
Heat oil over medium high heat. 
Mix flour, cornstarch, Lawry's, and pepper in a medium bowl. 
When oil is hot, add the onions (drained, or just pulled out and shaken a few at a time) a few at a time to the flour mixture, tossing to coat. Shake off excess flour and add onions to hot oil (don't crowd the oil). Fry until golden brown and drain on paper towels. After I put them on the paper towels I like to throw some more lawry's on there and toss them for extra flavor, but it's up to your taste. 
Work in batches until completed.

 BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
About 3 Servings

1 container of Trader Joe's BBQ pulled pork
Brioche (or other) buns
Coleslaw of your choice
Crispy onion strings (see above)
Make onion strings. When they are almost complete, toast the buns by placing them face down on a preheated buttered flat top pan. Warm up pork according to package directions. Assemble sandwich: Bun, Pork, Coleslaw, Onions, Bun. Try to fit your mouth around that sandwich. Enjoy!

May 21, 2011

cucumber, tomato and avocado salad


 You guys.
I have made my husband fall in love with vegetables.
Three vegetables, to be exact. And only in this dressing.

It's a conditional love, but love nonetheless.


Seriously he asked for this two nights in a row. He even went to the store the second night just to get a tomato and an avocado so I could make it. Actions speak louder than words. And the words were speaking pretty loud.


This is a perfect, perfect summer salad. It's incredibly light and fresh-tasting, with just enough depth of flavor from the oil and vinegar.
Take it to a picnic, have it on the patio, eat it in the car with the top down. So hood.

Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad
Serves 2

1/2 Cucumber, peeled and sliced, with the slices then cut in half
1/2 Tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 Avocado, coarsely chopped
1 T. olive oil (I use lemon-infused)
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 T. sugar
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Add cucumber and tomato to a bowl and sprinkle with all of the ingredients except the avocado. Toss well to coat. Add avocado and toss gently.

You may need to play with the amounts of things for the flavor you want. I actually didn't measure things so these are estimations.

May 17, 2011

coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

That's a mouthful.  Quite literally. 

These cookies are chewy and decadent and kind of took the place of breakfast and the better part of my lunch sweet tooth controls me.

 Last night I was pretty stressed out and thought I would bake something to calm me down. I just wanted to throw ingredients together and create a spectacular, mind-numbingly delicious, forget-all-your-problems cookie. I grabbed things left and right like a bride at a blowout sale, and...ended up using bread flour instead of all-purpose. 

After deliberating over whether a suuuuper chewy/dense cookie would be quite as satisfying, I decided to chuck my progress and start again (fortunately I had only mixed dry ingredients at that point).

I also used some really brilliant weird methods to make this cookie, which actually didn't end up turning out too bad. I wanted to melt the butter like I do for some of my other chocolate chip recipes, in hopes of adding a caramel-y flavor dimension to the cookie. I also added the chips while the dough was still a tad bit warm, so they melted slightly and were more of chocolate swirlies than chocolate chips. But I liked the swirlies. I really shouldn't use that word when talking about cookies, should I? Noted.
Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups oats
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
approx. 2 cups chocolate chips

Combine flour, oats, coconut, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until it boils and bubbles slightly. Remove from heat and stir in sugars. Stir in vanilla. Stir in eggs, one a time, quickly so as not to cook them. Gradually add dry ingredients to saucepan, mixing to combine. 

If dough is still pretty hot, let it sit a bit before adding your chips. If you don't want your chips to melt at all, let it sit until cooled. After adding chips and stirring gently, put dough in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking sheet. Use about a 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie. Bake 9-10 minutes.

May 10, 2011

braised chicken with apples and sage

Given that the weather is a humid 87 degrees outside and all I really want is an ice cold alcholic beverage with an umbrella in it, it's hard for me to get excited about this dinner right now. But I can remember how delicious it was when I made it and therefore am inclined to post it. Anyway, tomorrow it could be back down to 50 degrees again and/or maybe there will be rain and a chance of a tornado and nothing will sound better than a homey bowl of chicken and potatoes. (In the basement.)

This is Chicago.


This dish is wonderful because it's quick and easy to make and has that comforting rustic flavor from the sage and the apples. Serve it atop sour cream mashed potatoes (I recommend Yukon Gold) and you have yourself a creamy, stew-y bowl of happiness. 

Braised Chicken with Apples and Sage
Recipe found here

6 boneless chicken thighs
2 red apples, sliced and peeled
1 yellow or sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh sage, julienned
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Chicken stock
salt & pepper, flour
Olive oil & butter

Preheat oven to 400.
Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat and add a swirl of olive oil and a pat of butter. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, remove to an oven safe dish.
In the same pan, add the apple slices and onion. Cook until tender, but not falling apart. Add the sage and brown sugar and stir until the sugar is melted. Add the vinegar and combine. Pour the apple mixture over the chicken pieces. Pour in enough chicken stock so it reaches halfway up the side of the chicken. Cover and bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes or until the chicken is done.

I take back my previous statement. It was actually pretty easy to get excited about this dish again.

May 5, 2011

tomato soup with roasted corn quinoa

Sometimes you overdose on Memphis BBQ. (which you should, naturally, if you go there)

Sometimes you follow up your BBQ weekend with fudge and a lot of wine and cheese and crackers.

Sometimes you think you've gone too far to ever return. 

Those are the times when you break out the quinoa. 

Then you combine said quinoa with roasted corn and tomato soup and you feel okay about life again.

I served this tasty dinner with avocado toast. It acted as sort of a palette cleanser. It was fantastic.

It's super easy. I used half a carton of Trader Joe's Creamy Tomato soup and combined it with the following (for 2 servings):

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1 ear of fresh sweet corn (you can use frozen or canned if you like)
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, shave off kernels of corn cob and slice green onion.
Heat a swirl of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Add corn, green onion, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add cooked quinoa and combine.
Spoon heated tomato soup into bowls and add quinoa mixture on the side.

This is easily my current favorite dinner. Or lunch.