Budget Epicurean

Budget Epicurean: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork

Slow cookers are a godsend to any busy cook, I myself often throw ingredients in it early in the day in order to come home after a long day of teaching, research, attending classes and work. But they can also add joy and flavor to a lazy Sunday. As the weather cools, warm and filling foods fill my imagination. With some prodding from my boyfriend, this led to inspiration for some slow cooked BBQ pork.

Ingredients:
1 pork loin
5-6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion
1/2 cup vinegar
2-4 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

Step 1: Cut shallow grooves in the loin and insert garlic cloves. Place in the slow cooker with the vinegar, and the onion cut into chunks. Rub the top of it with the brown sugar, and put on high for 4-6 hours.

This is what it looks like after about 4 hours on high. I cut it into 4 chunks to shred it easier. Drain off the excess liquid and throw out the onion and garlic. Using two forks, shred the pork and return it to the slow cooker. Cover the meat with BBQ sauce and mix well.
 Then leave it in the slow cooker on low for another 1 - 5 hours, to let it stew and the BBQ to cook into the meat. This is the first way to eat the pork, on a bun with some extra BBQ sauce. I had steamed broccoli and baked beans as side dishes. However, you usually have plenty of meat left over. Therefore, this post includes a special bonus dish. With the leftovers, a great snack or even full meal is BBQ pork over tortilla chips. Just sprinkle on the pork, add cheese and heat in the microwave. Then add sour cream and enjoy!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

As stated previously, cold weather is made for soups and stews. But you can only throw meat, vegetables and some kind of stock together so many different ways. Sometimes I need a soup of a different texture. Given that the days of grilling and baked potatoes are slowly fading, I decided to make the soup adaptation of baked potatoes. It is creamy, cheesy, thick and filling. Not to mention it is relatively cheap to make (unless you skip the bacon, but I wouldn't recommend it). The way I made it, you will need:

For soup base:
6 medium baking potatoes
3 cups of chicken broth or 3 bouillon cubes (for vegetarian use veggie broth)
Approximately 12 oz cheese (I used marbled cheddar and colby jack)
1/2 block cream cheese

Soup addition:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooked bacon
Handful of chives
3 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
1/2 block cream cheese

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to 3 cups chicken broth. Either boil for 1 hour, or put on hot in a slow cooker for 4 hours. Then liquefy the cooked potatoes in a blender and put into a soup pot on the stove. Add the cheese and cream cheese and put on low. While the soup simmers, in a blender combine the milk, chives, bacon, garlic, onion and the rest of the cream cheese. Liquefy all of the ingredients, and then add to the soup pot.
Once the soup simmers and begins to thicken, taste the soup and adjust to your liking. Then if you want to be all fancy, you can serve it with a sprinkle of cheese and bacon, a dollop of sour cream and a piece or two of chives.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lentil soup

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

This soup was inspired by the place I waitress at for the soup base (which I forget the fancy name of) and a version which adds sausage. Omit it if you want something vegetarian. It is healthy and hearty, perfect for a nippy fall evening. It makes quite a bit, so be prepared to share, store or eat it for every meal for a few days!

Ingredients:
1 medium potato, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 mild sausages, sliced´╗┐ (omit for vegetarian)
2 cups lentils
3 cups water or stock of your choice
3 celery ribs
1/2 medium onion
4 sprigs parsley
4 cloves garlic
a handful fresh basil
a few tbsp olive oil
black pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, get the water or stock boiling.
2. While heating the water, in a blender, combine the celery, herbs, onion, garlic and a few tbsp olive oil and liquefy into a paste. This is the base of the soup, and adds an indescribably fresh and delicious flavor!
3. Add the base to the pot, along with all the veggies and 2 cups of lentils.
4. Brown the sausage (loose or sliced, I cut mine into slices) in a pan. Add those to the pot.
5. Let the whole thing simmer at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can put all the same ingredients into a Crock Pot on high for 4-6 hours.
6. Enjoy! It tastes even better after sitting in the fridge overnight or a few days!


This recipe submitted to the May 2014 "Cooking with Herbs" challenge!

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

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