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cooking the books 01

 

I will just begin this post by saying that I am probably crazy. Nevertheless, I've decided to embark on a new blogging adventure called "Cooking the Books," wherein I endeavor to cook at least one recipe from every cookbook the Library owns. A casual consulting of our catalog shows me that the library currently owns 1,735 cook books, which means that if I cook a new recipe once a week I will be finished in approximately 33 years (just in time to retire!). 

I haven't done something ridiculous like giving myself an unattainable deadline—this isn't some Julie and Julia experiment (though if Amy Adams would like to play me in the slightly boring movie of my life, I'm all for it). You won't hear about all the recipes—because they won't all be winners—but every month I'll bring you an update on my progress working through our entire 641 collection. 

Of course, I chose an incredibly busy week to start this experiment (because why not?), and so as a full time working mom my mind naturally turned to the slow cooker. Slow cookers can be amazing for those busy, busy days when you don't have a lot of time but still want a great dinner. Plus, during the summertime I'm often reluctant to turn on my oven because I live in a shoebox of a house and the oven heats it up ridiculously fast. 

My first recipe comes from Taste of Home's THE NEW SLOW COOKER. If I'm being totally honest, this wasn't my favorite thing I've ever cooked, but it did fit the bill for a very busy day. The recipe came together in just under 15 minutes, which made it pretty easy to fit into my morning routine. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, and I did enjoy this Asian-inspired twist on a traditional pulled pork. I have an electric pressure/slow cooker that has a saute setting that made the sauce come together in about 5 minutes (instead of the 30-40 the recipe recommends). As a bonus, I smelled like seared pork the whole day. This made A LOT of food, and I think it actually tastes even better left over. No picture for this one, because pulled pork is notoriously difficult to photograph appealingly. 

Teriyaki Pulled Pork Sandwiches 
from THE NEW SLOW COOKER: THE BEST RECIPES FOR TODAY'S ONE-POT MEALS
by Taste of Home
(2007)

Ingredients: 

1 boneless pork shoulder roast (3lbs), trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup teriyaki sauce, divided
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 whole-wheat hamburger buns
1 can (20 oz) sliced pineapple, drained

1. In a large skillet, brown roast in oil over medium-high heat. Cut in half; place in a 5-qt slow cooker. Add the onion, 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender. 

2. Remove roast; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour and remaining teriyaki sauce until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Cover and cook on high for 30-40 minutes or until thickened. 

3. Shred meat with two forks; return to the slow cooker and heat through. Spoon 1/2 cup onto each bun; top with a slice of pineapple. 

Yield: 8 servings
(or, you know, 50, depending on how much you eat. My husband and I are going on 50). 

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