Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zucchini Monterey

This is a family favorite, and one of my personal favorites.  I made it for Zak's birthday with the pork recipe I just posted.  Zak isn't a huge fan of zucchini, so I figured this would be a decent way to maybe get him to like it.  He didn't love or hate it, but he is a little bit more open to the idea now!  This is a great side dish and pretty simple to make, once you get it through your head that it's not too difficult.  

I made 4 zucchini and kind of eye-balled the ingredients.  The most important things are: cooking the zucchini long enough so that it's not crunchy or too soft, and, while you're cooking the vegetables, add in salt and pepper until it tastes good.  But here is the recipe, enjoy!  

6 zucchini
3 Tbl. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped green onion
(1/4 c. white onion, optional)
salt & pepper
3/4 - 1 c. monterey jack cheese

1.  Cut a V down each zucchini, roughly a quarter of it.  Chop up.
2.  Boil rest of zucchini about 5 minutes, until they're not crunchy, but not falling apart.  They'll turn a little opaque in color.
3.  Meanwhile, sauté in butter: zucchini, green onion, garlic and, if wanted, white onion.  Season to taste.
4.  Drain zucchini, and scoop out a channel in each; add the pulp to the sautéed mixture.  
5.  Stir in 1/2 c. - 3/4 c. cheese -- however much you want.
6.  Spoon into zucchini shells, place in baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
7.  Bake covered (or uncovered, until cheese is slightly browned) at 375 degrees about 20 minutes.

all done!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce

We saw this on an episode of America's Test Kitchen a few weeks ago, and I was trying to get a clear answer from Zak about what he wanted for his birthday dinner.  As we salivated over this pork, he said, 'I want that.'  And so I went off, searching for the recipe on-line.  I found it on a site for grandparents, so go figure.  It was a simply enough recipe, I just fretted about finding someone I knew with a roasting pan (success), and making the sauce.  I wanted it to be more of a thicker, glaze-type sauce, but it didn't turn out to be that way.  And we couldn't remember how it looked like on the show, so whatever.  It still tasted good--everything was sublime, and we have a lot of delicious leftovers we are excited about!  The pork was salty in a good way, and the sauce really helped balance that.  It was an excellent birthday dinner, I rounded it out with some mashed potatoes and zucchini monterey.  Great birthday dinner!

Pork shoulder
1 bone-in pork shoulder/butt, 6 - 8 pounds
1/3 c. salt
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
black pepper

Peach sauce
10 oz. frozen peaches, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups) or 2 fresh peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. + 1 Tbl. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbl. whole-grain mustard

1.  Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat.  Combine salt and brown sugar, rub over entire pork shoulder and into slits.  Wrap roast tightly in double layer or plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
2.  Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 325 degrees.  Unwrap roast and brush off any excess salt mixture.  Season with pepper, transfer to V-rack, coated with nonstick cooking spray and set in large roasting pan.  Add 1 quart water.
3.  Cook roast, basting twice during cooking (and add water as needed), until meat is extremely tender and thermometer inserted registers 190 degrees, about 5 - 6 hours (it was ready in 5).
4.  Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, loosely tented with foil for 1 hour.  Transfer liquid in roasting pan to fat separator and let stand 5 minutes.  Pour off 1/4 c. jus; discard fat and reserve or discard remaining jus.
5.  Bring peaches, wine, sugar, 1/4 c. vinegar, 1/4 c. defatted jus and thyme to simmer in small saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups--about 30 minutes.
6.  Remove thyme, stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar and mustard, and keep warm.
7.  Using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone until it can be pulled free from roast.  Serve, with sauce.

before cooking, it had marinaded for 24 hours at this point

all done, and smelling delicious!

it was so tender, the meat just fell off nicely
peach sauce

a really, really good meal

Peach Cake

I made this cake for Zak's birthday this year, and it turned out really well!  I was a bit nervous, since it was a new recipe and didn't know what to expect, but everyone seemed to really like it!  I got the recipe from this site, and made it on Saturday for the party Sunday.  My only complaint is that, with the brown sugar/cinnamon sugar combo on top, it didn't look really pretty/edible because it was brown.  So to cover that up, I put some fresh peach slices that I let sit in some sugar and vanilla for a few hours on the top and it made it look much nicer!

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2/3 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 fresh peaches, peeled and cut into slices (I used 5, since we had so many)

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

4 (? I don't know how many I used) peaches, peeled and sliced -- let sit in mixture of sugar and vanilla  (optional, do after cake has cooled)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (or line with parchment paper) 12 - inch spring form pan.
2.  Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
4.  Add vanilla in with the milk.
5.  Alternately add dry ingredients with milk and vanilla.  When mixed well, gently fold in peaches.
6.  Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle together with topping.
7.  Bake 50 - 60 minutes.
8.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing spring form collar.  Cool completely before serving.

before adding topping and baking

all cooled, you can see why I wanted to add peaches on top, right?


kind of caught him off guard, but look how nice the cake looks!

it was very moist and soft inside-I was a bit worried I didn't cook it as long as I should've, but everyone really enjoyed it, so whatever!