Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homemade Brownie Comparison

Before this week I don’t think I have ever made brownies from scratch. 1) I love me some Betty Crocker fudge brownies and 2) I’m largely disappointed when I try homemade brownies at bake sales, etc. Some restaurants do it right (mmmm, I’m thinking of you Wilde Roast CafĂ©), but I’ve never had a homemade version that made me ask for someone’s recipe.

I’ve had this Fudgy Chocolate Brownies recipe from Martha Stewart Living saved for about three years. I made them last Saturday in hopes of bringing them to a party. Sadly, they were overcooked and dried out (egad, is there anything worse than dry brownies?) Beyond baker's error, they were just too rich and not the right consistency for me. I didn’t love them and ended up tossing them out.

Now that I was started on this brownie path, I figured I may as well keep going. Last night I made Mark Bittman’s brownies and they were/are heavenly. Fudgy and sweet, with just the right crusty crunchy top.

What I thought was interesting were some glaring differences in the two recipes:
Martha’s called for eight ounces, Mark’s called for two (the online recipe calls for three)
Eggs, sugar, flour
Whatever Martha’s recipe calls for, Mark’s calls for roughly half that amount

Obviously that would lead you to believe Martha’s recipe would be bigger/thicker/more to the brownie, but I didn’t find that to be the case. They were slightly bigger, but not by much.

Survey says: Mark Bittman brownies win.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Easy & Yummy Cranberry Pot Roast

From here:

2-3 pounds beef or pork roast or stew chunks
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes, or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 (16-ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce
that's it!

The Directions.
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Plop in the meat (frozen is fine), and add the onion and soy sauce. Pour in the entire can of cranberry sauce over the top. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. If you are cooking on high, you may need to "help" the meat break apart by taking it out an hour or so before serving by cutting it into chunks, then returning to the sauce. Serve over mashed potatoes, and with a green salad.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork Chops with Horseradish Sauce

Please, I beg of you, do not be afraid of that horseradish in the title. You don't taste it at all when you taste how good these are. I'm visiting my grandparents in Florida and we had these last night, something I had a quite a bit when I lived with them for a summer. YUM.

Pork Chops with Horseradish Sauce from Italian Country Cooking

4 pork chops, 1/2 lb each (can do bone-in or boneless)
Fresh ground pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 T red wine vinegar
1 cup brown stock (beef stock)
Couple good spoonfuls of horseradish (recipe calls for 3 ounces peeled horseradish root, grated, but let's be honest here)
Chopped parsley

Pound pork chops to flatten slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate dishes. Dredge each chop lightly in flour, dip in egg mixture and coat lightly in breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so mixture adheres to chops.

In skillet large enough to hold chops, melt five tablespoons of butter. Over medium heat, cook chops about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm while making the sauce.

Discard grease from skillet. Deglaze with vinegar. Add stock and scrape up anything left on the pan. Cook over high heat until sauce reduce and begins to thicken, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in horseradish and whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon sauce over chops and sprinkle with parsley.