Monday, January 16, 2012

Cooking by computer

Hello. My name is Mrs. B. And I am addicted to The Food Network.

I say this with no shame. I love to cook. I love to eat out. I love experimenting with new foods and fiddling with the tried-and-true as well.

Therefore, I thought I'd check in with "The Pioneer Woman" Saturday morning just to see what was up at the ranch. I folded some laundry for the illusion of productivity.

I'll tell you what was up at the ranch: Spicy Dr. Pepper pulled pork, au gratin potatoes and cilantro slaw.

She had me at Dr. Pepper. And chipotle chiles.

I like The Pioneer Woman blog. The photography is wonderful, the posts are entertaining and there are basset hounds, (sorry, Ben!) but I don't use too many of her recipes. (Well, except for these fabulous tomato soup and spaghetti recipes.) Most are a little too "ranch-y" for me.

Perhaps because she lives on a ranch? Hmmmmm. I might be onto something there.

But I couldn't resist the siren song of Dr. Pepper and chipotle chiles so I recreated PW's meal yesterday. Via computer.

Here are a couple of things I've learned about cooking by computer:

1. DON'T use The Food Network recipes -- go directly to the chef/cook's website and/or cookbook.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to chef/cook's website and/or cookbook.

Maybe it's just coincidence -- or a weird run of bad luck -- but I tend to find errors or omissions in a goodly number of FN recipes.

Plus, the FN recipes for pulled pork, cilantro slaw and potatoes served 18! Last time, I checked there were just two of us here at the Nine-One-Four. The PW site shaved the recipes down to a more manageable 6 to 8.

Sorry, Food Network. Just sayin'. I love you bunches otherwise.

2. DO read the reviews. This is where you find out about those pesky errors or omissions. You also get some handy-dandy tips on tweaking recipes. Case in point: A number of reviewers thought pulled pork was too spicy.

Eleven-ounce can of chipotle chiles and adobo sauce? Well, duh-hhh. 

I used a 7-ounce can. And I should've known better.

But more on that later. Let's get on to PW re-creation project, shall we?

What could be simpler? One onion, one 11 7-ounce can of chipotle chiles and adobo sauce, 2 cans of Dr. Pepper (aka, 24 ounces), brown sugar  and a 4 1/2-pound chunk o' pork butt (or pork shoulder, depending where you live), throw in the oven and bake, low and slow, at 300 degrees for 6 hours.

I love the color green!
In go the Dr. Pepper, chipotles and brown sugar.
And why, yes, as a matter of fact, the chipotles DO look like
big, fat blood-sucking leeches.
Do you have a problem with that?
A little Dr. Pepper dividend for the cook!
In its labeling, Dr. Pepper proudly boasts that there are only 150 calories in a 12-ounce serving. That and enough sugar to rot most teeth in the free world. This being the first pop I've had since soccer road trips ended six years ago, I had a serious sugar buzz on for the rest of the afternoon.

A few hours into cooking, it was time to give things a little taste test.

BWAAAAHHHHH! Wa-aa-aay too spicy. And I'm pretty spice-tolerant. One can only imagine the nuclear impact of an 11-ounce can of chipotles. It's a miracle the Drummond ranch is still standing.

I went into the kitchen equivalent of DEFCON ONE, fishing out all the chipotles I possibly could and applying a liberal dose of brown sugar with a salt chaser. 

Better. Still fiery but no longer capable of incinerating the human esophagus.

Onto the taters and cilantro slaw. . . . . 
My lone little purple Peruvian adds a festive touch, don' t you think?
Do not skimp on the g.a.r.l.i.c.
I beg of you.
This. Is. Serious. Comfort. Food.
The cilantro and cayenne take cole slaw to a whole new level. A WHOLE new level. Trust me.

Note: In Saturday's PW episode, Ree wisely left out the jalapenos
mentioned in the original recipe. I would strongly advise the same.

Just looking out for your stomach lining.
And finally it was time to cobble the whole thing together.

The Wonderfully Patient Spouse had two helpings of the slaw (along with everything else). 
And he doesn't like slaw.

Enough said. Thanks, Pioneer Woman. 

And, Food Network? Apart from
the pesky recipe thing, you rock my world.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmmm. Sounds good! I'll have to check out the Pioneer Woman site.