This month was long, and we were snowed in for part of it. I had all the zest that a new year brings, even with slight cabin fever. So, cooking and recipes were solid this month. I tried seven new recipes in total, one of which I wrote about earlier in the month (chocolate chip cookies).
Here are the remaining six recipes:
Pork Roast Braised with Milk and Fresh Herbs (Epicurious)
This recipe is similar to Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk, but I have to say: I like the pork better. The meat was tender and juicy; though I did cook it the full 2.5 hours and regret that. It could have been pulled out at 2 hours, so pay attention to the timing if you make it. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written and it came out perfectly. I served it with mashed potatoes, honey and butter glazed carrots and broccoli sautéed in garlic. There was plenty of sauce (which I thickened with a slight slurry of cornstarch and water). My kids and husband loved it.
That said, not everyone was thrilled with having it as leftovers. Something about pork doesn't really lend itself to being reheated. It gets dinged a star for that because I rely on leftovers to keep this crew fed.
Verdict: 4 stars
Classic Buttermilk Waffles (King Arthur Flour)
These were easy to whip up and the batter held its shape in the waffle iron - no oozing out the sides. I've had that issue before, even without overfilling, so you know....it's the little things.
I thought the addition of almond flour was interesting. I did it exactly as written, and the crew loved them. I made a big batch and put them in the fridge for the week to come. I don't know that this recipe is hands-down better than any others, but I'll definitely use it again.
Verdict: 4 stars
Fettuccine Alfredo (Food Network)
My kids were actually talking about fettuccine alfredo one night, asking to go to the Olive Garden or something. At the grocery store the next day, I looked up a recipe on my phone. This was the first thing that came up, and the list was short and the directions looked simple, so I tried it.
This meal was a big hit in this house. We had leftovers, and they were all eaten up quickly. I'm sure there are other, more complicated recipes and variations on this classic, but if you're in the mood for simple, rich, filling comfort food, you'll be hard pressed to do better than this.
Verdict: 4 stars
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (for hangovers) - (Cup of Jo)
I didn't make this to help with a hangover. I'm 42. Hangovers are a thing (pretty much) of the past. If I even have two glasses of wine, I pay for it for days. So, I keep it pretty light around here. But....I was looking for something warm to make on a rainy evening, and I'm always looking for ways to add veggies into my diet.
The soup is dead-simple and delicious. I'm not sure the milk and cream is doing me any favors stomach-wise, but I wanted to try it as-written. I might play around with it using chicken stock and less milk. I used 1 teaspoon of salt for the pot, which was plenty. It really bothers me when recipes simply include: sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Um....how much sea salt? When do I add the salt? Those things matter!
Verdict: 4 stars
McCann's Irish Oatmeal Cookies - (McCann's Oatmeal Box)
My daughter wanted oatmeal cookies but with chocolate chips rather than raisins, so when I saw this recipe on the back of the box, I dove right in.
These cookies are more like English Oaties (if you've had those) rather than an American cookie. They're not soft and chewy. They're a little drier and heartier, more like a biscuit. That said, they were great. They pair well with a cup of tea and a dreary day. My family ate them but wasn't going crazy for them. I'm not sure I'll make them again, as I run toward a soft/chewy cookie myself, as does my family. Also, if you try this recipe, maybe stick with the raisins. The cinnamon and chocolate was a tiny bit strange. Like I said, they were all eaten, just not with gusto.
Verdict: 3 stars
Buttermilk American Loaf Bread - (Cooks Illustrated by way of Genius Kitchen)
This recipe was a huge flop for me. I put the dough in the oven to rise (after I'd turned the oven off after reaching 200 degrees). I don't know if the heat killed the yeast or what I did wrong, but the dough never rose. I baked it anyway, after letting it rise a bit longer, and it was just a flat, dead mess.
I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation, and I'm sure I did something wrong. When I consulted my sister (the RosyLady), who has been to culinary school, she suggested I didn't let the oven cool down long enough after heating it.
Listen, this is too much for my basic culinary skills. I can't be working with recipes that finely tuned.
Verdict: 2 stars (only because I'm sure it works well for someone else)
I also made the Thomas Keller Chocolate Chip cookies this month. Big, big, big hit.
In all, it was a great month for food. I tried new recipes, found a few keepers and didn't feel like I was stuck in such a food rut. We'll see what February brings. I've got more buttermilk to use up, so I'll be on the lookout for scones or perhaps a bread I can actually work with.