Sunday, February 3, 2013

PW: Another 2012 Catch-Up Post

PW: Roasted Cauliflower
Verdict: So good!  A nice change of pace and super easy!
Cook it again: Absolutely.
Cost Factor: This was ferociously expensive.  That's because cauliflower is about $4 per head, and we bought five heads before we actually made this.  Four of them got moldy before we could cook this.  By the way, did you know cauliflower gets moldy approximately one minute after you bring it home?

Toss cauliflower florets in oil and salt and pepper.  (If you are running into the same problem I had, make sure there's no mold on said florets.  Also, have your husband cut the cauliflower.  It's safer that way.)  Bake on a baking sheet until they turn color; then put in a baking dish and cover with a butter/panko mix.  Bake until golden brown on the top.  We had more panko than we needed, but this dish was three important things:  tasty, healthy, and easy. Oh, and a fourth thing:  different from what we normally do.  Everyone in our family loved it -- it was flavorful, tender but not mushy, and we thought the buttery breadcrumbs added just the right fanciness to the cauliflower to distinguish it from, say, a box of Green Giant steamer veggies (which we also love; but we loved this more)


PW:  Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice
Verdict: Very good; not sure about the pineapple's necessity.
Cook it again: Absolutely. Especially the pork chops.
Cost Factor: Pork chops and fresh pineapple are the only non-pantry items but if you don't usually have soy sauce, sriacha sauce, peas, onions, and honey it could add up in a hurry.

1.  Core and cut up a pineapple.  Have your husband grill it.  We did this indoors on our grill pan.  It took surprisingly longer than we expected, but it was easy.

2.  Start your rice.  We used a rice cooker and I added a touch too much water -- more a function of changing our brand of rice than of a real measurement error, but the rice ended up just a hair too mushy for my liking.

3.   Start browing your pork chops; when they get some nice color, add the sauces and the onions and let them cook up.

Pork chops post cooking, before the delectable sauce.

Our cast of characters -- the photo was kind-of an afterthought.  You get the idea, I hope.  Oh, and the Biscoff spread?  Not part of the recipe.
 When the sauce is done, pour it right over those pork chops that are patiently waiting.
Tell me these don't just look amazing.  I won't lie: they really, really were.  The next morning the smell lingered and I was hungry for pork chops at 5:45.  They were that good.

 Another shot in case the first one didn't make you swoon:

Okay, so the pork's done and you take the same pan and use it to fry your rice. First you do an egg, then add the rice, peas, pineapple, etc. etc.  Two bits of advice:  1.  make sure your pineapple's not half fermented.  Learned that the hard way.  And 2.  Use new peas.  We used regular old frozen sweet peas and they are really just not sweet enough for me.  I'm not a big pea fan, so I'm kind-of picky.

I'm from NY.  I am really, REALLY picky about my Chinese food.  As fried rice goes, this was fine for a home recipe, but if you're craving Chinese (and also from NY), this probably won't do it.  It's a nice home effort, though.

Serve that stuff up, pronto!  Mmmmm-mmm!

Make sure to pick out the nearly-fermented pineapple. 


PW: Burgundy Mushrooms
Verdict: Oh wow.  These are no joke.
Cook it again:  Heck yes.  But it's not exactly a weekday side dish.
Cost Factor: Mushrooms and burgundy, or another red wine.

PW says these are an all-day dish, and they are.  Her recipe calls for something like 4 pounds of mushrooms, and believe me, Mick and I could have eaten four pounds of these mushrooms all alone.  But we didn't know that going in, and since it's just us, we halved that.  (I was worried that might mess up the simmer time, but it didn't affect it.)

Anyway, you make what is basically a butter and burgundy marinade (sure, with some other stuff, but does the other stuff count?!) and the mushrooms simmer in it all day long.  Nine hours.  Now, think about that.  If you want dinner at, say, 6pm, you need to have these simmering by 9am.  I do my very best to not be functioning on all cylinders before, say, 10:30 on a weekend (and my weekdays start far too early to be prepping a side dish before work), so these had to wait for a weekend.  I thought originally I'd make them for Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen, and so these were a December "hurry-up-and-make-this" dish.

They were totally worth it.

PW says that they will almost taste like steaks on their own when they are done.  I can't really attest to that -- she says it almost as a "no, please try it" plea for people who don't like to eat mushrooms.  Trouble is that Mick and I love mushrooms, which makes me not a good judge.  They were good.  They weren't particularly pretty -- and my photo is from my cell phone, so that makes it even worse.  I'm not sure I'd have predicted, if I hadn't known, that they took all day to make.

Can you see the water line on the pot?  That's how much these reduced down.  Oh, soooo worth the time!

Verdict: If you like mushrooms, and if you like wine, you need to make these.  Serve them with a ig, hearty, juicy, rare steak and a big bold glass of red wine and savor every bite.

You won't regret it.


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