Friday, September 3, 2010

On a Roll!

Inspired by a teammate's recent post on shredded pork, I developed an immense appetite for some shredded goodness. But 6 hours of cooking were a huge turn off. I know slow cooking is a beautiful thing, but when I want something, I want it ASAP. So naturally, I started thinking about using the pressure cooker. I went to Fairway, got a piece of smoked pork butt, threw it in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes (and used the "natural release method" for the pressure to subside, IE, allowing it to sit while I went for a run with Olive and Hiro) and voilà! -the meat just fell apart between my fingers! I mixed in some BBQ sauce (a smoky flavor.. maybe one day I will attempt to make my own, but honestly.. there is only so much a girl can do in one night!) and served it on a brioche bun with slow-sautéed onions and peppers. Wow, I think I saw Jesus that night.

I decided recently that I need to do more baking. I have a lot of kitchen toys that are just sitting there most days, collecting dust, AND I have a big appetite for desserts (as well as a boyfriend who has an even greater appetite for desserts!), so I really wanted to do more pastry. To start, I picked something relatively simple: upside down apricot cake. I did my best to make this recipe less of a calorie/cholesterol bomb than it was (subbing butter with Earth Balance and part of the sugar with Splenda) .. but it still turned out to be ridiculously decadent. But so fucking good.

My next pick was inspired by our recent trip to France, where the pastries are obviously insanely good. I wanted to make something with an almond filling, which both me and Daniel totally adore. So I picked an Almond Pear Tart .. of course I modified it to be a little less heart-attack inducing but there is only so much you can do when a recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter! It turned out so beautiful that I was afraid to try it - what if the flavor is a let down? Well, holy shit, it was not. I was sitting on the sofa literally going "um, I think I took this to a whole new level." Damn right I did. I also think it motivated Daniel to wake up this morning and do a bike workout.. or at least talk about doing one.

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