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Beer Braised Pulled Pork & Crunchy Slaw Sliders

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Life’s been busy, but I wanted to get this recipe up in time for the Super Bowl, in case someone is looking to step up their party game to something other than cocktail weenies with ketchup.  Though, if that’s your Super Bowl tradition, go for it.

I wouldn’t mind munching on these pulled pork sandwiches instead, however. I came up with this recipe after eating the most delicious pulled pork sliders at The Tipsy Pig. I think I captured (copied?!) the fantastic combination of sweet, tangy and crunchy.

When it comes to pulled pork, I’m not a fan of barbeque sauce and I don’t like it too sweet.  This recipe uses no ketchup (!) – instead, beer, brown sugar, vinegar, and chopped tomatoes form the base of the sauce (which, I suppose, is my version of homemade ketchup). I cooked the pork shoulder in a slow cooker so I didn’t have to tend to it, but you could also cook it on low heat in a dutch oven on top of the stove. Or, for that matter, in a low oven. (If anyone tries these other cooking methods, please let me know how it comes out.)

The crowning touches on this dish are the soft Hawaiian sweet rolls and the tangy, crunchy cole slaw. Yum.  I like using the mini dinner rolls – they look cute and are easy finger/party food. One serving is about two sliders.

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Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes

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Obviously I have a bit of a sweet tooth lately, with carb-o-rific posts of cupcakes and ice cream. And I need more recipes to use up the buttermilk that only seems to come in large cartons.

One day I will again post a recipe including some vegetables and meat, I promise. But for now, pancakes.

Pancakes hold a soft spot in my heart, as I grew up with “pancake Sunday” breakfasts, a specialty of my parents, particularly my dad. As a result, I rarely order pancakes at a restaurant, much preferring the homemade kind. Of course, this usually requires work on my part, but making pancakes from scratch is really easy and so much tastier than what you get out of a box (even with a name like Krusteaz — brings back memories of skiing in Tahoe).

In an effort to bulk up the original family pancake recipe – to make it more filling and healthier – I added several different whole grains (whole wheat, oatmeal and cornmeal for crunch) and buttermilk to keep things moist.

As with a lot of what I cook, I like contrasting textures, so I typically add fruit and nuts to my pancakes, most often a classic banana and walnut combination.  To prevent your additions from burning on the griddle (way better than a frying pan, get one if you don’t have one), cover them with an extra dollop of batter before flipping.

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Soy Waffles with Raspberries

Soy Waffles with Raspberries

When Rourke and I decided to start a family, I was blissfully ignorant of the myriad of issues that could crop up during pregnancy. Sure, my organs would get a little squished to make room for a baby. But really, humans have been producing offspring for quite some time now. This is what we were made to do, right? And how many stories have you heard of women giving birth with no idea that they were pregnant leading up to it?

One health problem that can pop up during pregnancy is gestational diabetes, and guess who has it? When I was first diagnosed, I wasn’t thoroughly shocked. Among the risk factors of gestational diabetes is a family history of diabetes, being of Asian descent, and being older than 25 while pregnant. Check, check, and check. I’ve been able to manage the diabetes with diet and exercise and truth be told, for the most part I haven’t had to modify my diet too much. Fewer carbs, more protein, and more vegetables. Relatively easy to do when you cook your meals at home.

The one meal that I was a bit concerned about, though, was Sunday breakfast. I wrote a while back that Rourke generally makes breakfast for me on Sundays. The problem is, most of those breakfasts depend on things like french toast, waffles, or some kind of delicious baked good. All things that would send my blood sugar skyrocketing. Never fear, though, because with the internet at your fingertips anything is possible.

Screen shot 2010-09-13 at 9.42.33 PMOne site that has been indispensable is livestrong.com. The cool thing is that if you input a recipe, it spits out the nutrition facts. After a bit of research and experimentation, Rourke was able to put together a waffle recipe that not only tasted good, but was safe for me to eat. Take a look at the nutrition facts to the right.

If you’re used to making waffles, you’ll see a few major differences in this recipe. Primarily, the use of soy flour instead of all-purpose flour, and the high ratio of eggs to flour. Both things help to increase the protein and cut the carb content in the waffle.

Rourke’s normal waffles are crisp on the outside and light on the inside. I won’t lie to you; these waffles don’t have that wonderful texture. But topped with a cup of raspberries for a touch of sweetness, I’ll make it through this pregnancy just fine.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Buttermilk Cupcakes

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Or should I call them “chocolate and cassia cupcakes?” What I always thought of as cinnamon apparently is not as it seems. Why is food so tricky? Remember what I found out about currants?

“Ceylon” or “true” cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, originated in Sri Lanka and is the type of cinnamon commonly used in Mexico, India and Europe.  “Cassia” cinnamon comes from the bark of a related tree and is what we are used to in the U.S., but also is popular in China. The latter is supposed to have a more pungent, less nuanced flavor. One of these days I’ll have to do a head-to-head taste test of canela vs. cassia.

Back to the chocolate. For a party, I made (way too many) cupcakes. So for now, I’ve taken a break from my ice cream eating and have switched it up to chocolate cupcakes. Not a bad deal. I was looking for something decadent but interesting, and these fit the bill. I think the addition of buttermilk is what keeps the cake nice and moist. I also thought that there might be too many flavors going on — chocolate, cinnamon and almond (in the buttercream frosting) — but they all work together well. You don’t taste the coffee — it just serves to enhance the chocolatey-ness. Bittersweet chocolate chips are a fabulous surprise when you bite into one.

This cake recipe would also be good for making a regular-sized cake — it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had.

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More Granola

More Granola

I’ve always loved granola. Chewy granola bars, crunchy granola bars, the granola that’s used in yogurt parfaits — I’m an equal opportunity granola eater. While not exactly low calorie, the majority of the fat found in a nutty granola is unsaturated so you don’t have to feel too guilty about eating it. As with most things, just don’t go crazy.

I made a batch of a tried and true recipe from Emeril Lagasse (BAM!) that I’ve used for years. And then after I made it Jenn reminded me that Margot had posted this master granola recipe a few months back. And you know what? They’re pretty similar! I think it just goes to show that great minds think alike :)

Anyway, this is one of those loose granola recipes — the kind best suited for a yogurt parfait or eaten in a bowl of milk, like cereal. Or sprinkled over ice cream. I like to think of it as the little black dress of granolas — a yummy, all-purpose granola that’s suitable for a variety of things. The recipe says it’ll keep for up to a week at room temperature in an airtight container, but I’ve kept it in the fridge for two weeks without any problems.

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Blueberry Ginger Snap Ice Cream

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It turns out that California and Texas have something in common other than historically belonging to Mexico. The residents of these two states have good taste… maybe not in fashion or political candidates, but at least when it comes to summertime dessert.

Or maybe they just have more cows than anyone else.

California and Texas produce more ice cream than any other states in the nation. This summer, I have been contributing significantly to California’s economy by purchasing (and yes, eating) a lot of this product. But last weekend, we decided to save our pennies and try to capture the summer flavor of blueberries (which seem to be coming from Canada right now, by the way) with our own frozen concoction.

I love ice cream. It is especially drool-worthy when chock-full of fruit, crunchy cookies or nuts. Swathed in hot fudge. Dripping onto warm pie. Solo in a cone or in a cup. Dipped in Jimmies. Layered and frozen with cake.

Not surprisingly, something this good goes way back in history. However, after doing a little (superficial) research into the origins of ice cream, I was more confused than enlightened. Who came up with this treat of rich, creamy, frozen goodness? Was it the Chinese? Italians? French? British?

Shrouded in darkness. Cloaked in mystery. Maybe it’s that recipes were so carefully guarded over the centuries that the story has become “the myth.”

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