(Happy-Go-Lucky Memoirs of a Foodie and her Peeps)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork and Buttery Cornbread

In my last post I mentioned how Hubby and I spent Sunday doing some low and slow bbq style cooking, including the brisket that I talked about there. Well, also whipped up during our lazy, rainy afternoon was some most excellent Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Buttery Cornbread (as is customary you will find the recipes that we based our adventures on at the links). Both of these were super easy and required little attention. Here are our versions, as usual slightly altered from what we found online:

PULLED PORK


Ingredients
  • 4 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • 24 fluid ounces of root beer
  • Homemade bbq sauce (Hubby’s recipe consisted of approximately 12 ounces ketchup, 6 ounces molasses, 6 ounces Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon or two of garlic power, a tablespoon or two of onion powder, a half-tablespoon of cayenne pepper, and a half-tablespoon black pepper)
Directions

Place the pork tenderloin in a large crock pot along with the root beer. Cover and cook on low until well done and the pork shreds easily, about 5 to 6 hours.



Shred the meat with two forks and mix it with the bbq sauce.





Like a lot of barbecue that isn’t of a typical Carolina style, this one was all about the sauce. We tasted the meat before mixing it with the sauce, and truthfully, couldn’t quite discern the root beer much, if at all. Therefore, we don’t know that it was necessary to use root beer per se, and perhaps any liquid of your choice would have done. Once it was coated in the sauce, though, damn was it good. All those kudos go to Hubby for the sauce he created. Sauces and rubs are, after all, his forte.

BUTTERY CORNBREAD


Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 and 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ear of corn, raw, kernels removed
Directions

Preheat your oven to 400-degrees.

In a mixing bowl (we used a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar.  Combine the eggs and milk in another bowl. In a third bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

Add the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter/suger mixture alternately until everything is incorporated.


Dump in the raw corn kernels and give it one last twirl.


Pour the batter into a greased 13x9 dish and Bake at for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold. 





I'll tell you what -- the name of this cornbread did *not* lie.  It was super-buttery and delicious.  A lot of times I will spread butter onto my cornbread before eating it -- that was wholly unnecessary with this one.  =)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beef Brisket and Parsnip Puree


Over the weekend, since we had a completely rainy/wash-out type Sunday on the agenda, we decided to stay in the house all day to do some crock pot and time-lengthy oven cooking….bbq style. There were several dishes to be made, each leaving us with plenty of leftovers for the week’s lunches and subsequent dinners. The first two recipes I will talk about in this post, and the other two I will address in a second blog later this week.

The Brisket

I found the brisket recipe at foodnetwork.com courtesy of Tyler Florence. He calls it, as he does with most of his stuff, the “ultimate.” You can click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to see the actual recipe. I am not going to re-type it here this time, like I usually do, because while it was certainly a good brisket, and we also really liked the vegetables that came from it, it was definitely not, in our opinion, the ultimate. The only changes I made from Tyler’s instructions were to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned (halved then hand crushed), garlic that was already peeled (not still in the head), and I used dried thyme, rosemary and parsley. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe exactly. I also decided at the end to make a gravy with the juices that everything was braised in. Here are a few pictures of my process:

Four pounds of raw beef brisket.

The chopped veggies; essentially, an over-sized mirepoix.

Going into the oven.

Coming out of the oven.

Cooked brisket straight out of the braising process.

Veggies and braising liquid right out of the oven.

Drained veggies.

Freshly sliced brisket.

Making the gravy.

The Parsnip Puree

What I really want to focus on today is the parsnip puree that Tyler suggested be served with the brisket. We had never really cooked with parsnips before, and so we thought this would be good experiment in something new. Well, it was fantastic, and quite frankly, hands down our favorite part of this entire dinner. Here is exactly how I did it:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and gently smashed
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick of butter, cubed
Directions

Place everything except the butter into a pot over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, and then cook until tender (for mashing, basically). This should take about 10-15 minutes.



Place parsnips and all remaining pan liquids in a food processor with the butter (don't forget to remove the bay leaf at this point), and puree it until the texture of whipped potatoes is achieved.



Serve. You could also (but I didn’t) add more cream and/or milk to achieve a runnier consistency, if desired.

I am sure that it’s mostly due to the butter and cream content that these were so very yummy, but the flavor of the parsnips themselves still shone through strongly. This was a complete success of a side dish that we will undoubtedly use again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creole-Andouille Macaroni and Cheese

Wow, it’s been a while!  I see that I haven’t posted in over a month, since right before St. Patrick’s Day….but I am here today to inform you that from now on when we want pasta in our house, we get to use our shiny new KitchenAid stand mixer pasta roller attachments (more to be added to that collection in the future I am sure).  Why, you ask?  Because last night, we used up our last box of store-bought pasta in a very, very delicious protein-packed macaroni and cheese recipe, the basis for which I dug up here while searching for ways to use andouille sausage that we’d procured at a lovely local shop called Karl’s Sausage Kitchen. 


Mmmmmm.  Here’s my version of the found recipe:


Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (dry), or one-half box, of Rigatoni pasta
  • 8 ounces of andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • ½-cup chopped onion
  • ½-cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 and ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used one-year aged Vermont cheddar, and shredded it myself)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, depending on the level of spice you desire (I made my own mix from Emeril’s recipe)
  • ¼-cup plain bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter

Method

1.  Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.

2.  Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole with oil, butter or cooking spray.

3.  Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, rinse and set aside.

4.  In a large skillet, cook the sausage, onion and bell pepper until the onions are translucent.



5.  Remove this mixture from the pan and set aside.

6.  Using the same skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, stir in the flour to make a roux.  Then pour in the heavy cream and the Creole seasoning, stirring frequently until it starts to thicken.  Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.





7.  Stir the cooked pasta and the sausage-onion-pepper mixture into the cheese sauce, mix well, and then spoon it all into the casserole.



8.  Top with the bread crumb/butter mixture and bake (uncovered) for 30 minutes.



9.  It will be hard resist, but try to let it cool before eating it.  Serves 3 to 4 quite heartily.



The quick and dirty review – We thought this dinner was fantastic and we will surely make this dish again.  Even kitty couldn’t get enough….no really, I had to steal the bowl away from her and then she went into a happy cheese coma.  Enough said.  =)