Monday, April 23, 2012

Bacon makes it better!

Just a quick tip today for you wanna-be chef-types out there.

Generally, I prepare meat either by frying it in a pan (using either olive oil or bacon fat to prevent sticking) or roasting. The latter method is about the only viable method for larger cuts, like the pork roast I had last night.

Personally, whenever I roast meat (pork or turkey anyway) I take an additional step to make sure the meat is moist without basting - after seasoning my roast but before I put it into the oven, I lay several strips of bacon across the top. As things heat up, some of the fat melts out of the bacon and bastes the meat below, ensuring it doesn't end up dry. And, as a bonus, I get a bacon snack before the meal is ready! (I generally pull the bacon off before the meat is done to allow some browning where the bacon had been - otherwise you end up with "tan lines" on the meat, which any dinner guests might question. Maybe 15-20 minutes for a small pork roast, 30-45 minutes for a decent-sized turkey.)

Bacon. Is there anything it can't do?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mashed carrots, anyone?

Carrots are a pretty good all-around side dish, but my usual methods of preparing them (steaming or baking) tend to get monotonous after a while. Try this one instead.

  • carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (as appropriate for the number of people you're feeding)
  • butter (as appropriate for the amount of carrots you've got - be conservative, it's easier to add more than take away)
  • milk (as for butter)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cumin to taste (optional)
  1. Peel and cut up your carrots, if you haven't already
  2. Boil them until they're very tender
  3. Drain them and combine with the rest of the ingredients
  4. Process in a food processor or mash up "real good"
It's not rocket science, but it will make "something different" as a side. You could also try adding other things (like honey or dill), or substitute orange juice for the milk. Warning - I haven't actually tried that, but I think it might be good... Orange-dill carrot mash?