Sunday, January 28, 2007

In which I go all iron cheffy

Y'all, my kitchen smells like banana chocolate chip nut muffins right now. WARM banana chocolate chip nut muffins. It's all I can do to not tear one open and devour it, singeing my hard palate on the searingly hot chips and "woofing" in breaths of air over my burning tongue to try to cool down the nearly molten muffinry to an acceptable level. Oh yes, they smell THAT good.

To distract myself, I shall transcribe for you two new recipes I monkeyed with this week in an ongoing effort to get all iron chef on a few simple ingredients; stretching out foodstuffs from one meal to the next. This week's main ingredients times two? Pot roast and pork ribs. MmmmMMMM!


A) You've seen the crock pot pot roast recipe (posted, I believe, on the 18th of this month). This week, the basics stayed the same (roast, tomatoes in garlic and olive oil, water, seasonings, 8-10 hours on low, taste, make O mouth, etc.), but instead of leaving the sauce brothy, it got whizzed up with an immersion blender to a smooth gravy. Children will eat whizzed-up tomatoes when they won't eat chopped ones. Go figure.

B) The leftover now-smooth and tomatoey sauce was used as the base for beef stew. I threw a buncha cut up precooked potatoes and carrots into the sauce (yes! leftovers!), shredded up a great whack of beef and chucked that in there, and once it was heated through, thickened everything with a flour slurry (1 TBSP flour mixed dwell with 2 TBSP warm water). I made a big-ol biscuit out of Bisquick mix, topped it with some shredded cheese, and voila- dinner is served. Took about 20 minutes start to finish, and was deeeeligh.


So, one night this week I was all "what's for dinner tonight?" and decided to cook whatever I grabbed when I plunged my arm into the freezer's meat section (clarification - the freezer's red meat section. I reconfigured the freezer a couple of weeks ago and now the chicken and fish have their own shelf. I'm not OCD, I'm just ORGANIZED). What I came out with was a package of country style pork ribs.

Frozen! So, in the defroster (microwave) they went while I seasoned about 1 1/2 gallons or so of water with bay leaf (4) whole mustard seeds (1 TBSP), and whole black peppercorns (1 TBSP). Chucked the still half-frozen ribs into the bubbling pot and parboiled them for 20 minutes to get them mostly cooked.

Meanwhile, I mixed up 1/2 cup of ketchup, 2 TBSP red currant jelly, and 1 TBSP of prepared whole mustard, nuked it to melt the jelly, and mixed to a smooth consistency. (Note: If you don't have red currant jelly, grape will do fine. If you don't have prepared whole mustard, regular spicy brown will do.)

The ribs were plucked from the boiling pot, placed on a cookie sheet, slathered on one side with the ketchup mix, and set to cook in a 350F oven. I put a little of the seasoned boiling water in the bottom of the cookie sheet to keep things moist. 20 minutes later, they got turned and reslathered, and 20 minutes after that they were done. A little mediterranean coucous n' peas on the side and yay! Dinner!


There was about a gallon of that seasoned water left over from the pork rib boilage. I couldn't just chuck that out, so I brought out the crockpot and dumped the water ONLY in there, being careful to not add in the whole mustard or peppercorns (or, you know, the bayleaf as well).

I rinsed a pound of black beans (1 bag) and threw them in the water. Set the pot to "low" and stirred 'em about once an hour, just because I could. I found a ham hock in the freezer (from when? and why did I have that? I still don't know, but gifts from the gods are funny things sometimes) and threw that in at about hour 6. Coulda done that at the start, obviously, if I'd know I'd HAD a ham hock.

Once the beans were soft I added some cayenne pepper (tsp) and chili powder (2 tsp) to flavor 'em up. Made some rice. Put cooked rice in bowl, topped with beans and sliced leftover pork ribs, added a dollop of no-fat sour cream, and again, dinner! Yay!


I'm totally into this "make two meals from one starting material" thing. Pretty soon, I'm sure, I'm going to try to stretch to three, and really irritate the snot out of my family with the "hey look! Mom's made dessert out of old pork rinds and potato peelings!" thing.

And you can be sure I'll tell you allllll about it when I do.

Well, there's a slightly less warm banana chocolate-chip muffin calling my name. I gotta go.

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