No need for standing rib roast with this easy overnight pork roast

Making a big prime rib for Christmas might not be up your alley or in your budget.

It’s a delicious cut of meat, to be sure, but cooking it can be nerve-wrecking. Beef isn’t as forgiving as pork, and if you have some guests who don’t like beef that’s still pink in the center, you’ll be twisted into knots trying to cook the meat to everyone’s liking.

If you’re looking for another meaty main dish that is cheaper, easier and less fussy to prepare, check out this overnight roast pork from “Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead” (Ten Speed Press, $35) by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.

This overnight pork roast might take a long time in the oven, but it's a relatively quick way to cook a nice big cut of meat that you might serve around the holidays. Contributed by James Ransom
This overnight pork roast might take a long time in the oven, but it’s a relatively quick way to cook a nice big cut of meat that you might serve around the holidays. Contributed by James Ransom

The method is simple: Make a paste with garlic, brown sugar and various spices. Rub it all over a boneless pork butt. Roast at a super high temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, and then drop the temperature to just about as low as your oven might go. Continue roasting 6 to 8 hours, and then you can serve the meat sliced on its own with juices from the pan or shredded and tucked into tamales or tacos.

You can take out the brown sugar and maple syrup and add red pepper flakes and paprika for an even bigger flavor, but don’t skip tying up the roast. No matter if you’re roasting pork or beef, using kitchen twine to make the meat more compact will keep the meat from falling apart in the oven, but more importantly, it creates an more uniform shape that ensures the meat cooks evenly.

This overnight pork roast might take a long time in the oven, but it's a relatively quick way to cook a nice big cut of meat that you might serve around the holidays. Contributed by James RansomOvernight Roast Pork

1 (5-lb.) boneless pork butt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle (or chili powder in a pinch)

Tie the pork with twine in several places so that it’s nice and compact. Place it on a plate or small baking sheet and season liberally with salt. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.

Combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic and ground chipotle in a small bowl. Add a couple pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Smear the sugar, mustard and garlic mixture all over the pork, concentrating a good amount on the top of the roast, where the fat is. Nestle the pork (fat side up) into a roasting pan or cast iron baking dish just big enough to hold it. Put it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until you startto smell garlic and sugar. Remove the pork from the oven and cover the pan tightly with foil. Return the pork to the oven and turn the heat down to 200 degrees.

Leave the pork in the oven overnight to cook for at least 6 hours and up to 10 hours. When you wake up, your house will smell amazing and the pork will be tender. Cover the roast with foil, let cool and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

When you’re ready to eat it, slice or shred what you think you’ll need, put it in a covered baking dish, and reheat in a 200 degree oven. Serves 10-12.

— From “Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead” by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (Ten Speed Press, $35)

Royal icing tips to make those Christmas cookies extra special

Royal icing can be deceptively simple. Some powdered sugar icings or glazes are made with simply powdered sugar and a little liquid, but real royal icing is a little different.

Or a lot different, depending on whom you ask. In “Christmas Cookie Swap! More Than 100 Treats to Share this Holiday Season” (Oxmoor House, $19.95), you’ll find this base royal icing recipe from that has meringue powder to get the correct consistency for decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread houses. Meringue powder is usually sold in cans in the baking aisle of the grocery store. If you don’t have meringue powder on hand, you follow Alton Brown’s recipe for a three-ingredient egg white royal icing.

Royal icing is what makes decorated sugar cookies so special. You'll have to pipe a thin line around the outer edge of the cookie and then fill it in after the outer line has dried. Contributed by Oxmoor House
Royal icing is what makes decorated sugar cookies so special. You’ll have to pipe a thin line around the outer edge of the cookie and then fill it in after the outer line has dried. Contributed by Oxmoor House

To fill in cookies like the one shown here, pipe a thin outline around the edge of the cookie and let it dry before filling the cookie in with additional icing. If you don’t let the outer line dry, your icing will spill over the edge of the cookie before it dries. A hint: If you are going to use it to decorate a gingerbread structure, decorate the panels of the house while they are lying flat so the icing doesn’t drip. Let the icing dry for an hour before you start packing them up or building your gingerbread construction.

And just a reminder: If you missed our Christmas cookie section a few weeks ago, you can find the winning recipes from our holiday cookie contest, as well as some impressively decorated cookies from local bakers and tips from Dorie Greenspan, at austin360.com/yearofbaking.

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. meringue powder
5 to 6 Tbsp. warm water
1 tsp. light corn syrup
Food coloring paste (optional)

Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, water and corn syrup in a large bowl. Beat at medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 5 to 7 minutes. Divide and tint with food coloring, if desired. Icing dries quickly, so keep it covered at all times. Makes 3 cups.

— From “Christmas Cookie Swap!: More Than 100 Treats to Share this Holiday Season” (Oxmoor House, $19.95)

Crema Bakery’s cookie drive for the Austin Children’s Shelter returns

Jessica Forkner, owner of Crema Bakery & Cafe, 9001 Brodie Lane, is again hosting a cookie drive to benefit kids who are spending Christmas at the Austin Children’s Shelter.

You can donate $10 at the counter, which will buy a box of cookies for children who receive care and other services from the shelter. This is her fourth year to deliver these little boxes of joy to those kids. The deadline to donate is Friday. You can call the cafe at 512-282-1300 with questions or visit the website, cremabakerycafe.com.

Crema Bakery & Cafe in South Austin hosts a cookie drive every holiday to send cookies to the Central Texas kids in the care of the Austin Children's Shelter. Contributed by Crema Bakery & Cafe
Crema Bakery & Cafe in South Austin hosts a cookie drive every holiday to send cookies to the Central Texas kids in the care of the Austin Children’s Shelter. Contributed by Crema Bakery & Cafe

Nerding out about a cookbook cafe at the new library downtown

I was super excited to see the news this week that the new library downtown will have a cookbook-themed cafe from the restaurant group that runs Easy Tiger and 24 Diner.

We’ve known that there will be an eatery in the library for a few years now, but it was unclear who would run it. Apparently, no other restaurant groups officially bid on the project. (Side note: I think we could interpret this as a sign of a less risk-averse restaurant industry at the moment. The city’s first serious food-library partnership is an unproven concept, but I’m genuinely surprised that more restaurants didn’t want to take on that risk.)

Heidi Tse, project coordinator for Austin Public Library facilities services, recently tours the screened-in porch of Austin’s new Central Library, set for completion in the spring of 2017. The library will include a restaurant that will feature recipes from cookbooks available for checkout at the library. Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman
Heidi Tse, project coordinator for Austin Public Library facilities services, recently tours the screened-in porch of Austin’s new Central Library, set for completion in the spring of 2017. The library will include a restaurant that will feature recipes from cookbooks available for checkout at the library. Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman

The city received some inquiries, but it was the Easy Tiger/24 Diner/Italic/Irene’s team that came up with a cookbook cafe concept that — here’s where the fun really starts for me — “will have a changing menu compiled directly from cookbooks available for library checkout,” said Lauraine Rizer, Austin’s officer of real estate services.

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I mean, seriously. Can you imagine ordering an Ottolenghi dish and loving it so much that you check out the cookbook it came from? The cafe will certainly become a place for food-related book clubs to meet or local cookbook authors to host their events.

It’s a small thing, I know, but I am ridiculously excited about this creative new culinary space if only because it will put cookbooks in a different kind of light.

What do you think about this cookbook cafe idea? Which cookbooks or authors would you love to see featured?

 

Cuisinart recalls 8 million food processors over broken blades (and one of them is mine)

Bad news, Cuisinart fans.

Conair, which is the parent company of the leading food processor brand, is recalling 8 million food processors because pieces of the Cuisinart blade can break off and wind up in food. On Tuesday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said nearly 69 people have reported finding pieces of blades in their processed food, including 30 who have cut their mouths or broken their teeth.

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Twenty-two models of Cuisinart food processors have been recalled because of possible blade breakage. Contributed by Cuisinart

At issue is the S-shaped, riveted blade that can crack over time. The 22 models of recalled food processors were sold between 1996 and 2015.

UPDATE: Looks like I have one of the recalled food processors. I submitted the form online and should be receiving a replacement blade soon. No estimate when I’ll get it, though.

One of the recalled Cuisinart blades is sitting in my kitchen right now. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
One of the recalled Cuisinart blades is sitting in my kitchen right now. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Conair said owners of these machines should stop using them immediately get in touch with Cuisinart for replacements. The problem is: The Cuisinart phone lines are jammed, and I’ve had troubles getting the website to load. After a few tries, however, I was able to get to a helpful page at recall.cuisinart.com where you can find out if your food processor is included in the recall and request a replacement.

The recall covers 22 models of food processor that were made in China and sold between 1996 and 2015. The blades in question have four rivets.

From the release:

This recall involves the riveted blades in Cuisinart food processors with model numbers that begin with the following:  CFP-9, CFP-11, DFP-7, DFP-11, DFP-14,  DLC-5, DLC-7, DLC-8, DLC-10, DLC-XP, DLC-2007, DLC-2009, DLC-2011, DLC-2014, DLC-3011, DLC-3014, EV-7, EV-10, EV-11, EV-14, KFP-7 and MP-14. The model number is located on the bottom of the food processor. The blades have four rivets and are silver-colored stainless steel and have a beige plastic center hub. Only food processors with four rivets in the blades are included in this recall. Cuisinart is printed on the front and on the bottom of the food processors.

Go to recall.cuisinart.com or trying calling 877-339-2534 to find out how to replace yours.

 

Food delivery news: Randalls launches in-house grocery delivery; Shipt partners with H-E-B

There’s so much food delivery news these days, it can be hard to keep up. Here’s a whirlwind of delivery news to keep you abreast of your options for getting groceries delivered without leaving the house.

Shipt (shipt.com) is now offering grocery delivery from H-E-B and Central Market stores in the greater Austin area, including a number of suburbs. You can find out more about the services and sign up for a yearly membership, which costs $99 and includes free delivery for the year, but then you’ll place your orders through the company’s app.

Instead of partnering directly with a third-party company, Randalls has launched its own in-house delivery service. Customers can order through shop.randalls.com or through the Randalls app for same-day delivery. There are various fees for the delivery, depending on the amount of the purchase.

Instead of partnering with a third-party company, Randalls is now offering in-house delivery from its stores in Austin and Houston. Contributed by Randalls
Instead of partnering with a third-party company, Randalls is now offering in-house delivery from its stores in Austin and Houston. Contributed by Randalls

Whole Foods offers several methods of delivery, but the newest partner is DoorDash, which is specializing in the delivery of Whole Foods’ prepared items. You can browse the offerings through DoorDash’s app or website, doordash.com.

If you just need something quick from the convenience store, you might check out GoPuff (gopuff.com), which promises delivery to many areas of Austin in less than 30 minutes. The company has been in Austin for about a year and is based in Philadelphia.

Austin-based MezzeCulture offers cultural experiences, expands to Miami, NYC, D.C.

Want to learn more about various cooking cultures without taking a class?

MezzeCulture is an Austin-based company that coordinates activities — often around food and drink — to introduce people to new flavors, traditions and experiences. The startup has been around for about a year and has already expanded to Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, San Francisco and New York City.

Restaurants, coffee shops, dance studios or individuals with a knack for teaching host small group events coordinated by MezzeCulture, says founder Fatin Kwasny. Upcoming Austin events include a pasta-tasting at Il Forte Italian and ongoing deals with local companies, including Wasota African Cuisine, Austin’s Habibi and Stroop Club. You can explore the upcoming events at mezzeculture.co.

MezzeCulture is an Austin-based startup that connects people who are looking for cultural outings, including dinners, with businesses and entrepreneurs who can provide them. Contributed by MezzeCulture
MezzeCulture is an Austin-based startup that connects people who are looking for cultural outings, including dinners, with businesses and entrepreneurs who can provide them. Contributed by MezzeCulture

Sur La Table at the Domain Northside launches cooking classes in new space

It’s been a few years since Whole Foods shuttered its culinary center downtown, but it wasn’t long before the Sustainable Food Center and Patricia’s Table opened their culinary classrooms. Central Market and Faraday’s Kitchen Store have long offered cooking classes, and now there is another option if you want to learn how to make homemade pasta or decorate Christmas cookies.

Earlier this year, Sur La Table at the Domain Northside opened a cooking classroom, where instructors are now teaching daily classes about everything from tamales and homemade pasta to holiday desserts and New Orleans cooking. (This is a new location, in addition to the older location in the original part of the Domain.)

Sur La Table at the Domain is now offering cooking classes every day of the week. Contributed by Sur La Table
Sur La Table at the Domain is now offering cooking classes every day of the week. Contributed by Sur La Table

The space holds about 20 students, or slightly fewer for the hands-on classes, and they have classes scheduled through the end of March. Most of the classes are taught by their in-house instructors, but they bring in some cookbook authors and outside teachers. During winter break, they’ll be hosting several five-day kids’ cooking camps that cost $250, but most of the classes are in the $49-$79 range. You can browse and sign up for the classes at surlatable.com, or by calling 512-873-7179 or emailing cooking152@surlatable.com.

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to specify the location of this Sur La Table at Domain Northside.

Making party-worthy savory pies with Frito pie, green bean casserole, beef stew fixins

Just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore pie, I got an invite to a pie party.

Even though it’s the middle of cookie season, the pie party was Saturday, and the task was simple: Bring a pie, and it better not be from a store.

I thought about making the Sunday Supper Pie from Francine Bryson (below), which was our recipe of the week yesterday, but I didn’t have any beef in the freezer. Oddly, I did have the ingredients for green bean casserole, so I decided to make a green bean casserole pie. Pretty genius, right?

Well, not compared to what my boyfriend had up his sleeves. Eddie loves Frito Pie and had decided he wanted to make a Frito pie-inspired pie, maybe with a crushed Frito crust. I wasn’t totally sold that the chip crust would work without getting soggy, so I was happy when he dug up this Frito Pie Pie recipe that used a traditional pie crust.

I made enough pie crust for both of us. He made his pie (Seriously easy: Mix a few eggs with two cans of chili and then bake in a pie crust. Top with cheese and Fritos.), I made mine (Make green bean casserole; put it in a pie crust.) and we headed to our friend Lindsay’s annual pie party.

Frito Pie is usually served as a bowl of chili with Fritos on top, but this Frito Pie is chili baked in a traditional pie crust and topped with cheese and chips. Next to it is a green bean casserole pie. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Frito Pie is usually served as a bowl of chili with Fritos on top, but this Frito Pie is chili baked in a traditional pie crust and topped with cheese and chips. Next to it is a green bean casserole pie. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’d never been to this annual affair, where guests bring sweet and savory pies to compete in several categories, including the ugliest and the most creative. We had egg nog pie and a cherry pie that tasted like an Old Fashioned. There was a sushi pie with a rice crust and tequila-spiked key lime pie Jell-O shots. Chicken pot pies and an eggy breakfast pie, plus peanut butter and blueberry pie pops and handheld apple pies that were the size of an iPhone. (Apple Pie-phone was the name of that dish, I believe.)

It has been a while since I’d been to a competition potluck that was quite so much fun. People took it seriously enough to make some really fun pies, but they didn’t take it too seriously that the competition outweighed the holiday party. (And Eddie’s pie almost took the top honors!)

It was a good reminder that pie is good to eat any time of year, and it doesn’t have to have an ounce of sugar to win over your guests.

This Sunday Supper Pie is made with roasted butternut squash and potatoes, mixed with browned beef and gravy. It’s from “Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen” by Francine Bryson. Contributed by Sara Remington
This Sunday Supper Pie is made with roasted butternut squash and potatoes, mixed with browned beef and gravy. It’s from “Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen” by Francine Bryson. Contributed by Sara Remington

Sunday Supper Pie

Pie baking champion Francine Bryson doesn’t just make sweet pies.

She’s been eating savory pies since she was a young child, and her mother used to make this pie after church on Sundays. Roasted butternut squash and potatoes are tossed with small cubes of stew meat that have been browned in a skillet. Bryson, who is based in South Carolina, thickens the filling with a quick stove-top gravy and then bakes it in a regular ol’ pie crust.

As the title of her book, “Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter, $22), suggests, this is country cooking at its finest. It’s comforting, homey food to warm up your house on one of these cold weekends and, if you’re not used to eating savory pies, could inspire even more meat-potatoes-and-gravy pies this winter.

— Addie Broyles

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
3 medium russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 lb. beef for stew, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the squash and potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with the seasoned salt and thyme. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add the beef pieces and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Drain the beef on paper towels. Reserve the skillet.

Fit the pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Add the beef, squash and potatoes to the pie shell.

Pour the beef broth into the pan juices in the skillet. Whisk in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil over high heat and whisk until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the pan gravy over the meat and veggies. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

— From “Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen” by Francine Bryson (Clarkson Potter, $22)

Winning iced lemon cookies will be a keeper for your recipe box, cookie tin

Few of our contestants bake (and ship) as many cookies as Arleen Acton, who ended up winning the taste category of our Holiday Cookie Contest with her iced lemon cookies.

Arleen Action won our Holiday Cookie Contest with these iced lemon cookies that are topped with crushed pistachios. Mark Matson / For the American-Statesman
Arleen Action won our Holiday Cookie Contest with these iced lemon cookies that are topped with crushed pistachios. Mark Matson / For the American-Statesman

The Leander-based baker, who moved to Central Texas from Indiana a few years ago, starts making cookies before Thanksgiving so she can make any tweaks to the recipes and test out new ones to add to the rotation. She packs them up carefully by placing layers of bubble wrap and parchment paper — cut to match the size of the tin — between the cookies, so they won’t shake around. She then sends dozens of these cookie packages to friends and families all over the country.

The pistachio-topped lemon cookies she brought in were just perfect, in part because they were bite-size but also because they were baked and iced with such precision. Each was uniform, and the judges loved the salty, tart, sweet combination of the shortbread, nuts and lemon icing.

Iced Lemon Cookies

Acton makes these cookies a little smaller than you might expect them to be, so, as with all cookies, the yield will vary greatly depending on the size of the dough you place on the pan.

For the cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar, for flattening cookies
For the topping:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, oil and lemon peel until well blended. Beat in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt until well blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap, refrigerate 2 hours.

Heat oven to 325. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies into 2-inch rounds with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown.

Blend powdered sugar and enough lemon juice for desired spreading consistency. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Sprinkle pistachios on frosting before it sets.

— From Arleen Acton