Insulate Your Attic…with Marshmallow Fluff?

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I’ve been cooking for years, and being a proud Southern cook, I’ve smothered my share of pork chops and chicken. Last weekend, however, I realized that “smothering” is very similar to (if not the same as) braising.

This month’s Bon Appetite (Oct. 2007) features these short ribs, and after cooking them, I totally see how they made the cover.

Everything comes together at the end. The ribs cook away in two bottles’ worth of Cabernet for a few hours until they are falling off the bone.

The wine imbues the meat with a deep, rich flavor – and it makes a nice reduction at the end.

We served it over the magazine’s recommendation of Gorgonzola polenta, but to be honest, I didn’t care for it. To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of blue cheeses.

Next time, I am going to serve it over my Roasted Corn Grits. That will make it perfect.

Even though I didn’t love it, the polenta was okay. I’ll post about it tomorrow. Bridget actually said it was better the next day. “Not as blue cheesy,” Bridget said.

Make this for company.

Hello Blake Makers. After months of using a basic WordPress template, I’m giving my blog a make-over. The new design will be live later this week (it’s being loaded now). It’s been baking in the over, and needed to get just a little browner. It’s done now, and sitting on the counter cooling.

I’m super excited and I’m about to take Blake Makes to the next level.

Blake Makers, I need your help. I braised some pork chops this weekend, and made some amazing gravy to go with it. Although the flavor was right on, how do I make this gravy thicker and creamier?

Here’s how I made it:

I seared 3 pork chops in a hot, heavy-bottom pot with a little oil. I got a good crust on the chops and then removed them from the pan.

I added a little oil and a little butter to the pan, followed by a chopped onion.

I cooked the onion over medium heat for a few minutes until it started going translucent (and a little brown). I added a couple of cloves of minced garlic and cooked for about a minute longer.

Next, I added 1 cup of chicken stock, and then returned the chops – after which, I covered and cooked on low for about an hour (or longer).

Just before we were ready to eat, I added a few tsp. of minced Rosemary, some chopped Parsley and a splash of Dry Sherry (next time I’ll add Cognac).

The flavor was amazing, but the consistency wasn’t there. To thicken the sauce, I added a little flour-in-butter mixture (see left).

It thickened it a little, but not enough. Should I add more? How can I make it creamier? Add cream?

I’d love any help you guys could give.

I’ve always loved flavor combinations. As a child, I didn’t think they got much better than mint and chocolate.

Admittedly, this notion of mint/chocolate being the be-all, end-all followed me to adulthood – to the moment I discovered Nutella.

For all you Blake Makers that have never heard of it, much less tasted it, it’s a luscious, creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread. They eat it a lot in Europe. I compare it to peanut butter. It’s got the same consistency, but much more rich.

One of the best meals I ever had was sharing a Nutella crepe with Beez in Paris. It was our last day there, and it was freezing. We bought the crepe on the street, walked to the Louvre, and ate it in the park. It was warm, decadent and the perfect way to end our trip.

Last weekend, I smeared a ton of the stuff on some big, fluffy pancakes. I bought the jar on Friday. It was gone by the following Wednesday. I usually pour myself a glass of milk and eat it right out of the jar.

For those times when I feel too guilty to do that, I’ll slice an apple and eat it that way.

Just to be clear, I LOVE NUTELLA!

Miss Eaves’ Grilled Cheese

September 27, 2007

Miss Eaves was my third grade teacher. She gets the honor of having this sandwich named after her, because it reminds me of my childhood (and because “Eaves” sort of rhymes with “cheese”).

This post is nothing special or life-changing. It’s just a nice photo of something we all need from time to time.

Like a hug.

To Make:

Make plain cheese sandwiches using regular sliced bread and Kraft singles (we call it slicker cheese in our house because of its resemblance to a yellow rain pancho).

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and melt some butter in the pan.

Gently cook the sandwich until golden on both sides.

I smash the sandwich down right at the end (that’s the way my mom did it).

Cut diagonally into two pieces.

We ate these sandwiches with beef and barley soup for lunch. Good day.

I try very hard to take beautiful pictures for Blake Makes. We’ve cooked a lot of stuff for the blog (and of course we eat every night), but if it doesn’t look good, I don’t post it.

I broke that rule tonight because this is pot roast. Maybe pot roast isn’t meant to be pretty, but it’s so good.

I don’t think you can screw it up either. I season a big roast with tons of Kosher salt and black pepper.

I heat a pan (not non-stick) to blazing, rub the roast with a little oil, and SEAR!

This is just to seal it, so get a nice crust on all sides (and the ends).

Next, I throw it in my crock pot with some potatoe, onions and carrots. I also toss in a few sprigs of thyme.

Cook it all day. It’s ready when you get home from work (and to nibble at over lunch).

I know it’s redundant, but we serve it over rice. Tuck in.