Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Heart Peanut Butter Cookies

I saw these little heart cookies on Pinterest. They were cute. And easy. And I realized that I haven't shared my very favorite peanut butter cookies with you.

So I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and give you a cute Valentine's idea and my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.

Of course you don't have to make hearts if you're Valentine's Day averse. You can just make neutral little circles. And then you can roll them in sugar. And they are pure deliciousness.

Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 36 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes/batch
Cost: $3.55
flour: .20, butter: .60, peanut butter: .50, sugar: .20, brown sugar: .15, egg: .10, chocolate chips: 1.80

1 1/4 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C peanut butter
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 C chocolate chip cookies, optional
sugar for rolling or dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter and peanut butter. Beat. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat.

Add dry ingredients. Mix.

Add chocolate chips if using. Mix.

To shape into hearts, take two small balls and form them into a...wait for it...heart shape (you can do it). Then mash with a fork like you normally would with peanut butter cookies.

Alternatively, you can always just roll these into a traditional ball. Then you can roll these in sugar, which gives these a delicious crunchy outer shell.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. (You can also bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.)


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Asian Pork

Ah, winter. You are beloved to me in so many ways. I honestly love the cold weather (as long as I have my warm fireplace). I love the holidays, the comfort food, sweaters, boots, jeans, fuzzy socks. I love it all. Except for one tiny thing. I cannot for the life of me get a decent picture of any food I make any time surrounding the dinner hour. It's just too dark and my photography skills end when the light does. Thus. You will have to make due with this picture I snagged of this Asian Pork in its pot for now. By the time it was plated and pretty, the light was fading and everyone was ready to start eating off their own fingers, so dinner had to be served quickly. One day I will replace this picture with something staged and lovely. But for now it's all I have.

You may comfort yourself with this comfort food I made you and then took an un-staged picture of. You're welcome.

Not only is this fantastic, but it's also the perfect thing for feeding a crowd. This is how I was first introduced to it. We were at my sister's house for Christmas. All 700 gatrillion of us. And we all needed food (preferably food that wasn't just cookies). My sister made this Asian Pork (she actually made Asian beef, which you can do too; it's delicious with both types of meat). She said it is her go to big crowd pleaser. And it was. And it is.

It is also dead simple, so you can please your crowd and also spend most of your time hanging out with them instead of with your dishes in the kitchen.

The one caveat is that it takes forever to cook. It just simmers and simmers and simmers its little heart out. And every little simmer is worth it. But it takes four hours of simmering, so this needs to be made on a lazy afternoon, or a time when you're home with your family for the holidays or, in my case, on a day when you'll be sitting by your computer screen all afternoon anyway, so why not cook something amazing while you're at it.

Note: I suppose it could be made in the crock pot, but the sauce will suffer a lot--it just won't be right. Stove top simmering allows the sauce to reduce into an epic creation that you'll lick off your plate. Crockpotting will leave tender, but blander meat in a puddle of watered down sauce. So... my advice is to leave it stove top. But you don't have to take my advice now, do you?

Asian Pork
Serves 10-16
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Cost: $10.00
pork: 7.00, soy sauce: .30, mustard: .10sweet and sour sauce: 1.50, onion: .10, carrots: .50, peas: .50

2-3 pound pork (or beef) roast
2 C water
1/2 C soy sauce
bottle sweet and sour sauce (I used a 16 oz bottle, but it is a bit forgiving, so you could use smaller)
2-3 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 onion, diced small (or grated)
3-5 carrots, peeled and diced small (or grated)
1/2 lb peas (half a bag)

Sprinkle pork with salt and sear in heat resistant oil (I used a Dutch oven).

Add water, soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and spicy mustard.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered with a lid. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Check it every once in a while. If the liquid is getting low, add more water. If the pork looks a little dry on top, flip it over.

About 30-45 minutes before serving add the diced onions and carrots. Cover and simmer another 30-45 minutes.

At end, take out the pork and shred. Then return it to the pot, add the frozen peas, and heat through. (Add a bit of water if you need a little more sauce.)

Serve over rice



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