Friday, May 2, 2014

Updates & Recipes

My new Book
My new Book
Starter just mixed: Day 1 and Day 2
Starter just mixed: Day 1 and Day 2
Yesterday I wrote about my excitement with the new influx of cookbooks to my shelves, mainly about bread baking. I started out almost right away, making a "Seed Starter" from scratch. I am fishing entirely for wild yeasts to ferment my starter, so there is no commercial yeast added at all to give it a boost. The particular book I am following for this recipe (The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart) calls for starting out using 1 cup of white rye flour mixed well with ¾ cup of water on the first day. He explains that there may be little, if any, activity in the first 24 hours. On the next day, we mix together 1 cup of bread flour with ½ cup of water and combine this with the mixture from day 1. There is still anticipated to be very little action in the starter after the second 24 hours (tomorrow morning). Tomorrow morning, I will discard half of the starter already made (the option being to share with a friend who is into this same thing, so they might pick up the ball and continue from this point). Again I will mix together 1 cup bread flour with ½ cup water and combine with the remaining starter. It is anticipated that this time there will be a bit of fermentation taking place. I will keep tabs on that. On Day 4 it will repeat again. For the time being, I am anxiously awaiting the wild yeasts who will presumably work their magic. For now it is a boring enterprise, but I have faith!

For now, I have a couple of recipes I wanted to post, but realized that in all the hullabaloo surrounding the arrival of 4 guys into the house for a week and the Wine Tasting Event that happened on April 12th, while I was cooking nonstop, I entirely forgot to get photos of some of my finished meals. I made a most excellent Chicken Curry one evening and Naan. Since I made the Naan breads while the guys were out fishing, I did take photos of the finished product. The Chicken Curry however, was completely gone before I realized I had no photos. I made buns and potato salad earlier in the day while they guys were fishing, so I got photos. The pulled pork was finished just as they arrived home for dinner. RI will post the recipe for the pulled pork as it turned out so very good.  My pork roast had been frozen. I left it in the fridge overnight, but it was still frozen in the center when I started the roast in the crock pot.

Pulled Pork BBQ on Homemade Buns
Pulled Pork BBQ on Homemade Buns

Pulled Pork

Serves about 8 or more

1 (4.5 pound) pork shoulder roast
1 large onion, quartered, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seed, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout or other liquid of choice
1½ to 2 cups Barbecue Sauce of choice

At around 8 or 9 AM, set the onions into a crock pot and set the pork roast on top of the onions. Combine all the spices together and sprinkle them over the meat. Pour on the entire Guinness Stout, cover the crock pot and set on High for 8 hours. If your roast is not frozen, you may set the crock pot on Low for the full time, or switch to Low about midway through the cooking time. I have a Crock Pot with a removable heavy crockery insert. If your slow cooker is thin walled, you may need to adjust cooking time.

Once the meat is cooked through and falling-apart-tender, remove the meat from the pot and set on a plate to cool slightly. If the remaining liquid in the crock pot is more than 1 cup, pour the liquid into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until reduced to about 1 cup of liquid. Add the barbecue sauce to the liquid and stir to combine. Set aside.

Using 2 forks, pull the pork apart into ragged shreds. Add the pork to the sauce in the pan and toss well to combine. Serve on buns with a side of Mustard Potato Salad and Coleslaw.

Basic Coleslaw
Basic Coleslaw

Basic Coleslaw

Makes about 6 - 8 servings

8 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot, peeled, shredded
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds good quality pepper

Place cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage, combining well.

If you love pasta salads, there is a recipe I made recently that is good without mayonnaise if preferred, although I do add a little for the creaminess it imparts. I do use Dijon Mustard in the salad. I note this because I have a sister who hates both mayo and mustard. For anyone out there with this same dilemma, I have no idea what I would substitute for the mustard in this recipe. Maybe pickle relish? It would need something suitably piquant to compensate for the missing mustard flavor. 

Pasta Salad

Serves 8
Pasta Salad using rotini
Pasta Salad using rotini

1 pound pasta (rotini, fusilli, penne, shells, etc)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 bell pepper, sliced in thin strips and halved
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 - 4 scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup Greek olives, whole or chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
few grinds black pepper

¼- ½ cup fresh herbs of choice (such as parsley, cilantro, chives, basil, dill)
¼ to ½ cup mayonnaise, optional
1 cup shredded cheese of choice (cheddar, colby, mozzarella, cheese blend, etc)

Cook the pasta according to package directions in copious quantities of boiling water with at least 1 tablespoon salt. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water aside. 

Place the carrot, bell pepper, peas, celery, scallions and olives into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until they are nicely creamy. When al dente, drain the pasta and pour it into the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over top and toss well to combine. If the pasta seems dry after a few minutes, add in the reserved cooking water. If using mayonnaise, add it in now, and stir well to combine. Add in the fresh herbs and cheese and combine. 

When I made the pulled pork, I served it with my Mustard Potato Salad, but this Pasta Salad would go equally well.  Enjoy!

My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest

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