Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 58: Pulled Pork Ragu over Fettuccine, Bruschetta, Salad, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Tonight I had the privilege of dining with a dear friend and her family!  I brought them supper because her husband is traveling for work and I know it can be difficult to be home alone with kids in the evenings and to think about supper, dishes, baths, etc.  People have done similar things for me since Randy is away a lot with work (and before it was school + work) so it was nice to be able to "pay it forward."  Isn't that what the body of Christ is supposed to be doing for each other anyway?  It was a treat for me, too, because I got a break from my own nightly routine--sometimes you just need that one night "off" to kind of break up the monotony.  My own family had cheddar corn chowder from the freezer for dinner.

For the meal, I wanted to bring something "kid-friendly" but also something an adult could appreciate, too.  I remember seeing a recipe for a slow-cooker pork ragu in a magazine once.  I think I even tried it, and it was just OK.  I didn't care much for the sauce recipe it had.  I think it was supposed to be a very "simple" sauce for an easy dish.  But I thought, I love my own spaghetti sauce recipe, and I always have some in the freezer, why not just use that?  (Don't mess with perfection, right?)  So I simply bought a pork roast and threw it in the slow-cooker this morning.  I covered it with spaghetti sauce and cooked it on low all day.  When I got home, the house smelled delicious!  I feel like I'm always gambling with hunks of pork on how tender they will be, so I usually prepare for the worst.  I got out my largest knife and fork to attack the meat on the cutting board when I removed it from the slow-cooker.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I touched it and just fell apart!  I put my knife away and got out 2 dinner forks and easily shred the meat and returned it to the sauce.
 I served it with lots of parmesan cheese and salad.

I love bruschetta and so does Randy!  And for us, the more garlic, the better!!!  I usually say 1 large clove of the garlic per plum tomato used.  Tonight I used 2 of each.  This recipe decently covered 6 slices of bread.

6 thick slices of French bread
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1-2 TB balsamic vinegar
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced (1 slice per slice of bread)
salt, pepper

Mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture evenly onto the slices of bread, on a baking sheet.  Place the slices of cheese on top and put under the broiler until the cheese melts.  Be careful not to burn the bread! :)

Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Peanut Butter Frosting (Ina Garten)
12 TB room temperature unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream (plain Greek yogurt)
2 TB brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350* and prepare the muffin tin with liners.  Cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.
Mix together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the milk mixture and the dry ingredients alternatively into the butter/sugar mixture and stir until it's all incorporated.
Divide the batter into the liners.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely before icing.

Peanut Butter Icing
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup peanut butter
5 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Combine all ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until light, fluffy, and smooth!

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