Monday, December 28, 2009

Authentic Sour Beef And Dumplings

Prep: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cook: 6 hours
Yield: 12 servings

1-1/2 cups water, divided
1-1/4 cups cider vinegar, divided
2 large onions, sliced, divided
1 medium lemon, sliced
15 whole cloves, divided
6 bay leaves, divided
6 whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 beef sirloin tip roast (3 pounds), cut in half
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 gingersnap cookies, crumbled
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash pepper

In a large plastic bag or bowl, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, half of the onions, lemon, 10 cloves, four bay leaves, peppercorns, sugar and salt; mix well. Add roast. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Drain and discard marinade. Place roast in a slow cooker; add pepper and remaining ingredients except gingersnaps. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove roast and keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Stir in gingersnaps. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until gravy is thickened.

Two to three hours before roast is finished, boil potatoes whole until tender. Drain well. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Peel and grate potatoes. In a bowl, combine the eggs, 3/4 cup flour, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add potatoes; mix with hands until well blended. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls; roll in remaining flour.

In a large kettle, bring salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings, a few at a time, to boiling water. Simmer, uncovered, until the dumplings rise to the top; cook 2 minutes longer. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Serve with roast and gravy.

Tips and Tricks
If your roast is large, make sure to cut it in half for even cooking. I skipped the bay leaves for the second half of the recipe. You could also use various types of vinegar if you don't have cider vinegar. I strained the onions and other ingredients out of the gravy, but you could leave them in if you prefer. Be sure to not overboil your potatoes. Russets work best, other varieties of potatoes don't have the starch content needed for dumplings, and overcooked potatoes will not form balls. The refrigeration step is crucial, I also refrigerated my grated potatoes for about 30 minutes to make sure they were dry enough. Mix only until combined, overkneading will negatively affect the quality of the dumplings. If the pot is not large enough, you may need to cook them in two batches.
Make It Healthier
Trim fat from roast. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Push buttons on slow cooker. Crush gingersnaps.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This year's Christmas Cookies:

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters
1 teaspoon vanilla (I allways put a little more in)
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking powder and set aside

in a mixing bowl mix butter and sugars until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla mix until well blended add flour and stir until combined stir in oats cranberries and white chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 12 - 14 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is still soft

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Pork Salad

I had a sweet pork salad at Costa Vida last week and was determined to find a way to make this delicious dish at home.

Prep: 30 minutes (plus 6-8 hours to slow cook the sweet pork)
Yield: 6 Salads

* 1 head of Romano lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces.
* 1 can Black or Pinto beans
* 3 Cups of Sweet Pork (recipe below)
* Cilantro Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)
* 6 flour Tortillas
* Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
* Tortilla strip crunchies
* Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)

Place a warm tortilla in a bowl or on a plate. Place approximately 1/3 cup of warmed sweet pork and 1/3 cup of warmed Bush’s beans on the tortilla. Place a portion of rice on top of the beans. Place lettuce over the meat and beans. Sprinkle ¼ cup of pico de gallo over the salad as desired. Drizzle with cilantro ranch dressing and top with a healthy amount of tortilla strip crunchies. Serve and enjoy.

Mexican Sweet Pork

* 4 lb pork shoulder roast (the more fatty the roast, the better)
* 1 Cup of Pace Picante sauce. (Medium heat is best, but the mild version will work)
* 2 Cups brown sugar
* Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove pork roast from packaging, and wash. (Avoid cutting the roast to expedite cooking time)
2. In a separate bowl, mix picante sauce and brown sugar and whisk until sugar is mostly dissolved.
3. In a crock pot or slow cooker, place the roast in the cooker and cover the roast with the mixture of picante sauce and sugar.
4. Place on medium heat, cover and simmer. Check it every hour or so to rotate roast in the juices. The roast will eventually produce enough juices to make the right consistency, so do not add water.
5. Once the roast is fully cooked, it will begin to fall apart. Use a fork to separate the meat into smaller segments. Cover and continue cooking.
6. After 8 hours, continue to shred the meat until no chunks remain.
7. If it appears to be too juicy, turn slow cooker down to its lowest setting, remove the cover and let it reduce as needed.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

* 1 package of Hidden Valley ® buttermilk ranch dressing, prepared to pkg directions
* 3 Tbsp of prepared salsa verde
* cilantro (1/4 bunch)
* 2 cloves of garlic
* ¼ cup lime juice
* 1/8 tsp Tabasco

Clean and rinse cilantro and remove large stems. Pour prepared ranch dressing in a blender, and add cilantro leaves, salsa verde, garlic, lime juice and Tobasco. Blend until cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until dressing has thickened.

Pico de Gallo

* 1 cup diced tomatoes (remove seeds)
* 1/3 cup diced red onion
* 1 Jalapeno diced (at least a Tablespoon, but more if you prefer)
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 2 limes juiced (about 1/3 Cup of lime juice)
* 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus extra for garnish
* Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Chill.

Cilantro Lime Rice:

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
* zest from one lime
* 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1 tsp. salt

Add the oil to a sauce pan and heat on low. Add the garlic and rice to the oil and saute for 2 minutes on medium heat stirring frequently.

Add the chicken broth, salt, lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or according to rice package directions.

When the rice is done, add lime zest and chopped cilantro and stir to mix in. Serve immediately.