Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Saints are no longer the "Aints"

I realize I’m a few days late in writing about this year’s most exciting Super Bowl, but it’s probably still in the minds of many New Orleans inhabitants. The Saints can no longer be nicknamed the “Aints” because they finally got into the Super Bowl and won it for the first time since it began in 1967.

Do you know which East Coast team won the most Super Bowl titles since then? No, it’s not the Patriots, but they do reign from the state that begins with a “P” (see answer below).

The real reason I’m writing my Blog today is not about the sport of football, of which I know little about, but to inform you of the favorite menu item I served at our Super Bowl Party. Bill likes to have friends over to watch the game; I’m more interested in preparing the food creating different menus each year.

Aside from a creamy baked macaroni and cheese with a crunchy bacon topping, I made barbecue pulled pork sandwiches—the “hands down” favorite. The recipe takes a long time to braise in the crock pot, but is easy. I made a simple rub of 3 ingredients to cover the entire pork shoulder roast and put it in the crock pot with onions and water to braise before I went to bed. On Sunday morning during breakfast, our guests asked what was cooking aside from the usual breakfast smells. Bill told them I cooked barbecue pulled pork during the night for our Super Bowl Party.

Recipe: BARBECUE PULLED PORK SANDWICHES                         
Yield: About 15 sandwiches


4 pound pork shoulder roast

3 onions, sliced thick

For pork dry rub:

1/3 cup paprika

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon onion powder

Mix pork dry rub ingredients together and rub it all over the pork roast, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Meanwhile prepare the barbecue sauce.

For barbecue sauce:

2 cups catsup

1 cup water

½ cup apple cider vinegar

5 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ tablespoon ground black pepper

½ tablespoon ground mustard

½ tablespoon onion powder

In a medium sauce, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened becoming more flavorful. Cool sauce in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate while pork roast is marinating in the dry rub.

Braising Process:
After 8 hours, remove the pork shoulder roast from refrigerator and put in a crock pot. Cover it with sliced onions and water, put the lid on and set the crock pot time for 8 hours on low and let it cook overnight. In the morning, remove the roast; throw away the onions, grease, and water. After the roast has cooled, remove the outside fat layer and discard. Pull the pork apart with a fork or your fingers. Clean out the crock pot; put the pulled pork and barbecue sauce in it and cook on low for another 1-2 hours before serving. Serve on your favorite bun.

                                  Answer: Pittsburg Steelers

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sinfully Sexy Desserts for Valentine's/Presidents Weekend Feb.12-14

I plan to flex my culinary muscle for the upcoming Valentine's/Presidents Weekend on February 12-14.  In addition to my regular breakfast fare, I will introduce homemade breakfast sausage and cinnamon buns.  I received as a gift a sausage maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer and will be testing several recipes.  My better half, Bill, has the task of taste tester and hopefully he considers this a perk! 

For afternoon tea in honor of Valentine's Day, I will make some sinfully sexy desserts, like cinnamon chocolate fudge and mini raspberry marble cheesecakes (recipe below).  We still have a room for one more couple.  So if you're interested in a romantic weekend in an idyllic location, please call us at 1-800-258-2625.



For cheesecakes:

1-1/2 cups ground graham crackers (about 12 sheets)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1-1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar

1 6-oz. container fresh raspberries

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, room temperature

Baking Process:

For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 F and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Stir together ground graham crackers, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press 1 tablespoon crust mixture firmly into the bottom of each lined cup. Bake until set for about 5 minutes and transfer tins to a wire rack to cool.

Process raspberries until smooth and pass puree through a fine sieve into a bowl discarding solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar.

Beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, then scrape sides of bowl, With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1-1/2 cups of sugar in a steady stream; add salt and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each. Fill with 3 tablespoons of cheese mixture over each crust. Dollop ½ teaspoon raspberry sauce in a few dots over each and, with a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling. Place each tin in a roasting pan and pour enough hot water into pan to come three-quarters of the way up sides of cups. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, 22 minutes. Carefully remove tin from water bath and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate in tins at least 4 hours and remove from tins just before serving.