Saturday, February 23, 2008

Picante Sauce and Refrigerators

Tip: Check out the website for fabulous cleaning tips.

Browsing around in Real Simple website the other day, I came across a printable cleaning tip page for kitchens. The tasks were broken down by daily, weekly, and seasonally. Quick, easy to keep on track - it is wonderful!

Under seasonal tasks, it listed cleaning out the fridge. Ooops. I am not sure what season we are in or when the refrigerator last had a seasonal cleaning. Which led me to open the door and at least peek inside.

Why do I have 4 jars of picante sauce? Different brands even? (You only see three here - see recipe below). This must be in the "True Texan Manual" - something about acceptable picante sauce inventory.

The fridge is still waiting for a cleaning. There is one less jar of picante - I made the recipe below and took it to Cat's house. I mixed everything in a zip lock back the night before - it helped marinate the meat - and put it in her crock pot at noon on Saturday.

San Antonio Stew

2 pounds stew meat 1 can beef broth
1 cup hot water 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
8 ounce jar Pace picante sauce
¼ cup chopped parsley 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounce can tomatoes 3 med. Carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
10 ounce box frozen corn
½ cup water 2 tablespoons flour (for thickening)

Mix all except ½ cup water and flour in the crock pot. Cook on low all day. Mix water and flour until smooth and stir in stew to thicken.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Root Beer Glazed Pork

A wonderful recipe, moderated, from a gourmet group dinner we attended.

2 cups root beer 2 cups beef stock
2 pound boneless pork loin 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
4 teaspoons olive oil

To make the glaze combine the root beer and the stock in a medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a thick syrup, about 1 cup, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the grill to medium high. Season the pork loin with the Cajun seasoning. Place on the grill and cook, turning occasionally and basting with the olive oil, until a meat thermometer reads 140 to 150 degrees. (If the pork is drying out too much, wrap it in foil and finish on the grill or in the oven).

To serve, slice the pork and drizzle with the glaze. Enjoy!

Sinks and Sweet Potatoes

Tip of the Week: Always scrub out the kitchen sink before going to bed.

Last week, Don and I were invited to sub-in at a gourmet group dinner. Our assignment was to make bourbon-mashed sweet potatoes. Simple enough. First the sweet potatoes are baked on a cookie sheet until done. I put them in the oven, told Don to take them out when the timer rang, and went shopping with my daughter. Got home, took a nap, and started assembling the sweet potatoes. Uh, oh, they were not exactly done. No problem. I peeled them and started microwaving them. For some reason it took two small bowls and a plate to accomplish this. Potatoes then went into a large bowl with bourbon, brown sugar and a little salt. Started the mixer, and uh, oh again. There was hard lumps where there should have been whipped potatoes. The kitchen now smells like Lynchburg, Tennessee. No problem about the lumps - into a sauce pan they go for a little stove top finish. Slow cooking in all that bourbon to steam those pesky lumps did the trick - almost. To assure a perfect product, a little time in the food processor should smooth everything out (pun intended). Then, back into the large bowl, add some heavy cream, beat, and into the ceramic container. Finished by 7:28, due at the party at 7:30 - perfect.

Except for the kitchen sink. Let's count the pieces of kitchen equipment used: 1 cookie sheet, 2 small bowls, 1 small plate, assorted spoons, assorted measuring cups, 1 large bowl, 1 sauce plan, 1 food processor, 1 pair beaters, and a ceramic casserole dish. All of that equipment got dumped in the sink as Don and I headed out the door. When we got home, I broke the rule above and went straight to bed. Little did I know that youngest daughter was coming home with a friend - and you already know what they saw in the kitchen! What a mess. From now on, I must obey my own tips!