Archive: December 2013

2013 did not go as planned. At the beginning of the year I fully expected to still be a teacher at the end of it. That’s not how the year worked out, and I’ve spent the last six months trying to figure out this new identity. Stay at home mom? Work at home mom? Temporarily at home mom?

The truth is that I have no idea what 2014 will look like, at least not professionally. I’m pretty sure my home life will still be as warm and fulfilling, and my friends and family will still be amazing. I hope it will be full of creativity and new knowledge. I hope I try lots of things and don’t completely fail at them all.

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You guys, I am not even playing around with this one. Heavenly. Transcendent. Silky. Luscious. And on the table in thirty minutes. I love you Bon Appetit. I seriously, seriously love you sometimes.

I just can’t even talk about this one. Make it, eat it, look at it. Happy New Year!

Creamy Pappardelle with Leeks and Bacon (from Bon Appetit)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise
Kosher salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

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Bon Appetit just never ceases to amaze me. They do high brow and low brow so well together on the same pages, and sometimes you really, really need that. I love to cook, and I love busting out the duck recipes as much as the next person. But sometimes you just really need to make and eat something called Sloppy Tacos. Sloppy joes, but in a taco. It’s just…so wrong. But everything about it is so right. Sloppy tacos are where it’s at.

So much so that apparently I never took any photos of the assembled tacos. Too busy eating, apparently. So I’ve just got photos of meat.

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I have the Wagamama cookbook, and ages ago I wanted to make the Shichimi Duck Ramen recipe. But I couldn’t find shichimi anywhere; the staff at my local Asian market had no idea what I was talking about, which seemed really strange to me. I could have ordered it, but I kind of wanted to make the dish immediately. When you are presented with the possibility of duck ramen for dinner, it is incredibly difficult to wait.

I was also faced with the dilemma of the broth. After introducing Adam to the joys of this ramen recipe and all its variations, he really now prefers his ramen dishes to be like a bowl of pasta instead of a soup. So, I kind of improvised a lot from the original recipe and basically made a duck version of our favorite ramen.

The Wagamama recipe is here if you want the full, glorious brothy experience. I only followed the recipe for the cooking of the duck; the noodle prep was exactly like the pork ramen recipe linked above (but with vegetable broth). Since I couldn’t find shichimi I used a whole lot of black pepper, toasted sesame seeds, and a chili seasoning I picked up from the Asian market instead. I’m calling this Duct Tape Duck Ramen since I cobbled together two recipes to improvise something yummy.

To cook the duck:
2 boneless duck breasts (skin on)
2 tsp shichimi* (if you can get it, or substitute your favorite chili, peppery Asian seasoning)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

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So here’s my second pulled pork recipe of the year. This one is from, and it lives up to the “easy” in the title. Put stuff in the slow cooker and just leave it alone. I made this back in August, when I also made and put up my own peach barbecue sauce with the summer season’s haul. I think I may have even made this recipe the same day I made that heavenly peach cobbler. The barbecue sauce is still a work in progress, this is the second year I’ve made it (last year I threw in habaneros). I improved my notes from last year, but last year I didn’t write down the barbecue sauce recipes I looked at for ideas. I looked at more than a dozen to compare ingredients and quantities, and then in the end I added stuff as I tasted the sauce. I did not use ketchup. I’ve put the recipe for it after the pork, and it was enough to make 4 or 5 pint jars and can them.’s Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 cups barbecue sauce (optional, my recipe follows)

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