Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Tart

Well, I just dug up my copy of this recipe - it was in the third place I looked. It's a torn out magazine page from Southern Living, I think, that I've had since college. This recipe is always a hit, and has already been especially requested by several family members, so I figured it's a good time to immortalize it. Also I can now rest assured that if I lose my tattered copy, I can find it here on Pots! If you're looking for a little twist on pecan pie, this is a winner.

1 unbaked pie shell
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate morsels
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. sugar
3 Tblsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tblsp flour
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 Tblsp. bourbon
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. pecan halves
garnishes: whipped cream, pecan halves, chopped pecans

Sprinkle morsels in pie shell and chill for 30 min. Beat eggs and next 7 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Pour into tart shell until half full. Arrange pecan halves over filling. Drizzle with remaining filling. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until set.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Two Ways

This first recipe is perfect for that, "OMG - it's 5pm and I have nothing for dinner!" moment. Defrost two pork tenderloins while you have a cup of tea, or glass of wine, and then proceed as follows:

Indoor Pulled Pork

1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 pork tenderloin (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total), cut into one inch slices. Do not forget to do this!
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Pat pork dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with spice mixture.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add pork and cook until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to large bowl, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred meat into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, add broth, barbecue sauce, and vinegar to empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in shredded pork and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on buns with some microwaved, canned, baked beans and sliced cucumbers with salad dressing. Looks like you slaved all day! This serves 4, more if they are small people.

This next recipe takes a little bit of forethought, but just as little work, maybe even less work. I found this recipe through the Enjoying the Small Things blog.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
1 jar of salsa verde (green salsa–any kind)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can chopped green chiles
1 onion, chopped in large pieces

Dump everything in slow cooker and cover. Cook on low until pork easily forks apart (about 10 hours). Serve buffet-style with flour tortillas, cheese, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream. Serves 4.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Easy Peach-Blackberry Crisp

You can use any kind of fruit you like - I had peaches and blackberries on hand.  I got this recipe from my mom and it's delicious and super easy.  I think my favorite thing is that the only added sugar is in the crumble topping.  I love a fruit dessert that tastes like fruit and is not overly sweet.

Fruit Crisp

4+ cups fruit
2/3 - 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup softened butter

Preheat oven to 375.  In a greased 8x8 pan, arrange fruit.  In a medium bowl, mix remaining 6 ingredients and then sprinkle on top of your fruit.  Bake until fruit is tender and the top is golden brown...about 30 minutes.
Enjoy!  I think this is especially good served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, April 18, 2011


i realize i have been sadly neglecting this space.
but you have been, too.
anyway, i made donuts last week and posted them at fanciful no.2, if you want to check them out.
they sure were fun...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tortilla de Patatas - another meatless meal!

I remember when Kristina Joyce made this in college after spending a year in Spain. She waxed poetic about going out with the Spaniards at 11 pm, partying all night, eating tortilla patata and drinking red wine...
I looked up this recipe on spain-recipe.com and made it the other day, and it was really good. Don't be scared off by the 1/2 pint of olive oil - you end up draining most of it off. And I think it might add the extra deliciousness that I miss in most frittatas. This would be great as a breakfast/brunch item too!

  • 1/2 pint of olive oil
  • 5 medium (40 oz each) baking potatoes, peeled, sliced and lightly sprinkled with salt
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 eggs
  • Salt

    Heat the olive oil in a 9-inch skillet and add the potato slices carefully, because the salt will make the oil splatter. Try to keep the potato slices separated so they will not stick together. Cook, turning occasionally, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain into a colander, leaving about 3 tablespoons of oil in the skillet.

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes, and stir to coat with the egg. Add the egg-coated potatoes to the very hot oil in the skillet, spreading them evenly to completely cover the base of the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, shaking the pan frequently, until mixture is half set.

    Use a plate to cover the skillet and invert the omelette away from the hand holding the plate (so as not to burn your hand with any escaping oil). Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and slide the omelette back into the skillet on its uncooked side. Cook until completely set. Allow the omelette to cool, and then cut it into wedges. Season it with salt and sprinkle with lemon juice to taste (optional).

    Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meatless Friday: Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

I got some flak for posting all the ground beef recipes on Ash Wednesday, so I thought I'd share what we're having tonight. This is my favorite pasta dish. The sun-dried tomatoes give the sauce a smoky flavor (similar to bacon), so you won't even miss the meat. Fridays are particularly challenging around here as my spouse eats neither cheese, nor fish. "That's messed up!" I know. But I'd still love to see other meatless entree ideas, so please share.

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion , chopped fine
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound ziti or penne
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Ground black pepper

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and cream. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot. Add sauce and basil to pot and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things I Like to Make with Ground Beef: Shepherd's Pie

This will be good on St. Patrick's Day, with the Irish Soda Bread recipe I posted below. I make this with 2 lbs. of ground beef and it feeds my family of six. Note the complete lack of Cream of Mushroom Soup. How far we've come.

Skillet Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4

Be sure to purchase shredded hash brown potatoes (sometimes labeled “country style”) rather than the cubed variety. Ground lamb can be substituted for the beef.

8 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (see note)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 onion , chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups frozen peas and carrots mix , thawed

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic and microwave until potatoes are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, cook beef and onion in large heatproof skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef mixture in colander.

3. Return drained beef mixture to pan. Stir in thyme and flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in broth and Worcestershire and cook until sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in pea and carrot medley and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Scatter cooked potatoes over beef mixture and brush with remaining butter. Broil until potatoes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve.

Things I Like to Make with Ground Beef: Sloppy Joes

Actually, this is something I like to have my children make. It's very simple, and I have a high schooler and a couple middle schoolers who are more than capable of making this. I'd like to thank French's mustard for the recipe. It doesn't look like much, but my kids said they were the best Sloppy Joes EVER!

Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 tbsp. oil

2 cups chopped onion

3 lbs. lean ground beef

2 cups barbecue sauce or ketchup

1 cup yellow mustard

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 pkgs. (15 oz. each) hamburger buns

HEAT oil in large pot. Saute onion 3 min. until tender.

ADD beef to pot. Cook until browned, stirring to separate meat. Drain well.

STIR in barbecue sauce, mustard and Worcestershire. Simmer about 5 min. until flavors are blended. Spoon on buns.

Things I Like to Make with Ground Beef: Burgers

We had this last night for Fat Tuesday. Loaded with cheese and bacon, they are very decadent. You have to cook these pretty thoroughly or the incorporated cheese causes them to fall apart.

All-American Burgers (serves 4)
1.5 lbs. 85% lean ground beef
1 cup shredded cheddar
8 strips cooked bacon chopped fine (Roll your eyes, Sara, as I wax poetic about the virtues of pre-cooked bacon one more time!)
4 t. yellow mustard
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Wash your hands, take off your rings and mix beef with cheese, bacon, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.

Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, (or not, if some of your people are not adults) and lightly pack into 1 inch thick patties.

Tip from Uncle Jim: Put a depression in the center of each patty, this will give you a more uniformed shaped burger in the end, because they tend to swell in the middle.

Then, hand plate of patties to your spouse for grilling. He should be able to take it from here.
If he's not home yet, grill burgers over very hot fire WITHOUT PRESSING DOWN ON THEM, until well seared on both sides and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.

Serve with buns and other burger accessories.

Things I Like to Make with Ground Beef: Meatloaf

I bought a lot of ground beef recently, and reflected on how far I've come since my first years of marriage: Sloppy Noodle Casserole, Chuckwagon, and Shepherds' Pie with (I'm ashamed to say it) Cream of Mushroom Soup. There are some pretty amazing things to be done with ground beef, including my annual Valentines' Day Heart Shaped Meatloaf, All American Burgers, Easy yet Awesome Sloppy Joes, and Skillet Shepherds' Pie.

First, my meatloaf recipe comes from a cookbook by friend of Pioneer Woman, Pam Anderson, titled The Best Recipe. She recommends a meatloaf mix of 50% ground chuck, 25% ground veal, and 25% ground pork. I'm too lazy and cheap to do that. I use a very gourmet mix of 80% lean ground beef and 93% lean ground beef. It probably doesn't matter how lean the beef is for this, because the fat drains out of a free form loaf anyway.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
Serves 6-8

Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

¼ cup ketchup or chili sauce
2 T light or dark brown sugar
2 t cider or white vinegar

Meat Loaf

2 t vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 t dried thyme
1 t salt
½ t ground black pepper
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
¼ t hot red pepper sauce
½ c milk, buttermilk, or low-fat plain yogurt
2 lbs. ground beef ( or ground pork, ground turkey, or any combination of)
2/3 c crushed saltines (about 16), or quick oatmeal or 1 1/3 c fresh bread crumbs
1/3 c minced fresh parsley leaves
6 oz bacon (8-9 slices)

1. Glaze: Mix all ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup and set aside.

2. Meat Loaf: Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 5 min. Set aside.

3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, pepper sauce and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers (or oatmeal or bread crumbs), parsley and cooked onions and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended.

4. To bake free form: Cover a wire rack with foil; prick foil in several places with a fork. Place rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy clean up. Set formed loaf on rack. Brush loaf with all of glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise over loaf, overlapping them slightly and tucking them under loaf to prevent curling. (This is where you can get super romantic and shape your meatloaf like a heart for Valentines' Day.)

5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160F, about 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Really GOOD Irish Soda Bread

I'm not that Irish, so I never even heard of Irish soda bread until college. What I experienced then was dry, dusty, and conducive to cotton mouth. In fact, this is what "traditional Irish soda bread" is supposed to be. Let's face it, Ireland: not known for fabulous cuisine. Then I met Aunt Deb, another Kraut married into this Mick family, and she gave me the World's Best But Least Irish Soda Bread Recipe. All of Aunt Deb's recipes are World's Best, such as her Cranberry Salsa, her Margarita, but I'm getting off track. What makes her soda bread so amazing is TWO, count them, that's TWO WHOLE CUPS of Sugar and ONE ENTIRE QUART of Buttermilk. I think that if you add 2 cups of Sugar and 1 qt. of buttermilk to any baked good, it would be better. This recipe yields 3 9x5 loaves of the most cake like raisin studded deliciousness. Tastes great toasted, and buttered. Yes, butter that goodness!

Aunt Deb's Irish Soda Bread

8 c. flour
2c. sugar
3 T. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
1 15 oz. box raisins
3 eggs
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 quart buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of the dry ingredients. Add the raisins. Stir in everything else.
Pour into 3 greased 9x5 loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

molten chocolate cake

this is what i made for valentine's day.
super easy and super good.
my favorite combination.


Serves 6
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Whipped Cream , for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  3. Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Molten Chocolate Cake - Martha Stewart Recipes

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buttermilk Bread

I recently discovered this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. It's amazing. The recipes are super-easy and delicious. The main theme of the book is how to quickly and easily make that kind of bakery-style artisan bread with a shiny crackly crust. However, to make that kind of bread, they tell you to use a pizza stone (which I don't have) so I tried this recipe for a buttermilk loaf instead. It was heavenly, especially warm from the oven. It is soft and airy and really flavorful, and in the book they also recommend using the dough for cinnamon-raisin bread, which would be awesome too.
They say this recipe is enough for three 1 lb loaves, but I just halved it and made one larger loaf. The book also advocates making a huge batch of dough which sits in the fridge for a week or two developing flavor and waiting for you to hack off a chunk at a time whenever you want to bake. This would be very dangerous for me and my carb-hound kids, so I just make one loaf at a time.
Here is the recipe...I've included the halved amounts in parentheses, because they're kind of awkward:
2 cups lukewarm water (1 cup)
1 cup buttermilk (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 T salt (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 T sugar (2 1/4 tsp)
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (3 1/4 cups)
butter or neutral-tasting oil for greasing the pan
* I recommend using room-temp buttermilk, and according to the authors, using unbleached flour is kind of important, since the bleaching process alters the proteins in some way.
1. Mix everything together without kneading. ( I just use a wooden spoon)
2. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temp for about two hours
3. At this point you can refrigerate it for up to 7 days.
4. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Dust the dough with flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. ( they call this "gluten-cloaking" the loaf...fancy!) Elongate the ball into an oval and drop it in the pan.
* The dough is really wet and sticky so it is supposedly easier to work with when it has been refrigerated.
5. Allow the dough to rest for 40 minutes (or 1 hour and 40 minutes if the dough was refrigerated) Dust the top with flour and slash the top with a sharp knife. (they say to brush the top with melted butter, but I never did...)
6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
7. I remove the loaf from the pan right away and cool it on a wire rack...until my family can't resist the temptation to cut into it any longer. Seriously, I finally put away the small piece that was leftover, and Kateri pushed a chair over to the counter and sneakily unwrapped it so she could keep eating it...it's so good.
I've tried the 100% whole wheat loaf, too, which is good and I am going to try to make their master recipe in my dutch oven, since I don't have a pizza stone, but here is their website if you are interested. They have videos and tips and troubleshooting...enjoy!
**** Sorry everyone...I just made this recipe and realized I had written the half-recipe conversions wrong...I fixed it! *****

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beef Stew

It doesn't look like much, but trust me, it's darn tasty.

I had to post this recipe because it is one of my favorite winter meals (and I made it last night): hearty, hot, yummy, and easy! It's from my dear mother and it is delicious. I use a slow cooker, but I'm sure you could adjust it to use a dutch oven if you prefer that.

Here you go:
1 ½ to 2 lbs. boneless chuck beef – cut into 1” to 1 ½ “pieces (I've had great luck just using whatever kind of big chunk of beef is on sale at the grocery store)

4 medium sized red potatoes (I use whatever kind I have: russet, gold, etc..), peeled and cubed (12oz. small red potatoes, peeled & quartered, about 2 cups)

5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces (2 ½ cups baby carrots cut in half)

2 yellow onions cut into chunks

5 celery stalks (2 cups approx.) Cut into ¾’ pieces

(If you have them, you can add Mushrooms, cut in half or quartered)

3 cans beef broth concentrate (Campbell’s 10 ½ oz, do not dilute)

Salt & Pepper (I like lots of pepper)

Put everything into slow cooker and cover: cook on low-heat setting 8 to 10 hours OR
high-heat setting 4 to 5 hours.

Just before serving…

Thicken stew with a roux made of …

½ cup butter
2/3 cup flour or less
3 ½ cup hot beef broth from the stew pot (if you are a little short on broth just add water
to the broth)
Kitchen Bouquet – browning & seasoning sauce
Salt & Pepper

In a 2 ½ quart sauce pan, melt butter and add flour. Cook and stir, mixing into a paste.
Slowly add hot beef stock. Stirring to mix well. Cook and stir until gravy comes to a
gentle boil. Add a little Kitchen bouquet for color. Salt & pepper to taste. Return gravy
to slow-cooker with the rest of the stew. Mix again.

Serve with crusty bread and a green tossed salad. Yum!