The Shame, The Burning Shame!

I did something utterly embarrassing for lunch today. If you’d like to help me rid myself of the appalling amount of shame I have associated with this activity, you can read all about the dirty deed here:

Brie

There’s nothing like public atonement to cleanse one’s soul (and palate).

And for those of you wondering what I ate it with…a fork. Just a fork. No crackers, no fruit, no anything. A FORK.

*runs off sobbing*

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Wilted Spinach Salad with Sauteed Pork, Apples and Blue Cheese

Instead of a long write-up today, I’m just going to post pictures of our latest dinner with the recipe at the end.  Enjoy!

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The final product.

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Mincing the shallot.

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A savory vinaigrette.

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Matchstick apple slices.

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Fresh spinach from the Farmers Market.

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Sizzling chops, lightly seasoned and coated.

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Wilting the spinach.

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The delectable and pungent blue cheese.  $16 per pound; it was a gift.

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Spinach and apples, ready to go.

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Serve with a side of rosemary & thyme potatoes and a big appetite.

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading Wilted Spinach Salad with Sauteed Pork, Apples and Blue Cheese

Iiiiiiiiiit’s…bacon!

Hooray for bacon!  So many wonderful uses, such unparalleled taste, so few ways to go wrong with it!  Right?

Except, perhaps, for this monstrosity:

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Holy shit, that’s a lot of grease.

This, my friends, is a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, Cheese-Whiz-filled hot dog.  Go ahead and vomit now; I’ll wait for you to return.

The wretch-inducing, myocardial infarction of a snack comes to us courtesy of…Seattle, of all places, and the fine folks at The Stranger.  But there’s more!  Check out the article itself for additional pictures of the construction and eventual consumption of the deep-fried bacon-cheese-dog, including this picture:

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…which will all but ensure that you will never want to eat a hot dog again.

There’s also a recipe, should any of you be intrepid enough to actually recreate this masterpiece of cholesterol, saturated fat and unpronounceable chemicals at home.  If so, I would definitely make sure to conduct this experiment in a well-ventilated area and — as the article helpfully instructs — don’t fry the dogs for too long or the “cheese” inside will explode.  Basically, one way or another, these things will kill you.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Beer-Cheese Bread

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe since I wrote about it last month and, well, I’m scatterbrained.  But a few lovely readers have taken advantage of the shiny, new EMAIL ME! feature to the right to remind me.  Thank you, readers!

So without further ado, I present:

Beer-Cheese Bread
Serves: 6

1 bottle of beer (12 oz)
3 cups self-rising flour (King Arthur makes the best…)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter (melted, divided into two portions)
1 cup grated or shredded cheese (optional)
 
Mix together all ingredients until well-blended, including the first half of the melted butter.  No kneading necessary, but I do mix it with my hands a bit towards the end.  It will be nice and sticky when mixed together.

Pour/scrape into a lightly-greased loaf pan (2 small loaf pans or one large) and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Halfway through baking, take the bread out of the oven and pour the rest of the melted butter on top.  You’ll know the bread is done when the top is golden with a bit of brown.  Remove from oven and serve warm.

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To me, the best part of this recipe is the fact that the bread is incredibly versatile.  You don’t have to knead it, you don’t have to let it rise and you can either make a sweet, breakfast bread by leaving out the cheese or a dusky, savory bread by using a darker beer (say, Shiner Bock or St. Arnold’s Amber) and an adventurous cheese.

Lately, I’ve been using finely grated sheep’s milk romano, which of course pairs nicely with the hearty bean and vegetable soups that I’ve been making to accompany the bread.  The romano is sharp and salty, which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the sugar and the yeasty taste of the beer.  All in all, I’m quite a big fan of the romano cheese in the bread.

But there are also the good standbys: mild Cheddar and finely diced chives (about half a cup) make a delicious appetizer-style bread.  And Monterey Jack or Colby Jack with minced jalapeños makes a great Mexican-inspired bread, especially if you use Dos Equis or Tecate for the beer.  And you can always leave the jalapeño seeds out if you’re seeking flavor instead of fire.

Leave out the cheese entirely for a light, slightly crumbly bread that’s great to serve with jam and butter as a breakfast treat.  And if you use the cheapo beer (like Miller Light, which — normally — blech, but it’s okay here), there’s almost no taste of beer whatsoever — just a light, yeasty taste which is very refreshing and clean tasting.  So no one needs to know that you’re serving beer bread for breakfast!

Have fun, experiment and let me know what you come up with!  I’m always interested to see what concoctions people create out of this simple recipe.

Happy baking!