Monday, March 1, 2010

"Dude Food" & "Cakes Men Like" - (Heavy Mental) Pot Roast and Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Date I made these recipes: February 28, 2010

Dude Food – Recipes for the Modern Guy by Karen Brooks, Gideon Bosker, and Reed Darmon
Published by: Chronicle
ISBN: 0-8118-1679-6
Recipe: Heavy Mental Pot Roast – p. 32-33

Cakes Men Like by Benjamin Darling
Published by: Chronicle
ISBN: 0-8118-0007-5
Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake – p. 36

Well, tomorrow is my hubby’s birthday and so of course I made him dinner and a cake. And he had full reign over what he wanted for those two items except I directed which cookbooks he had to peruse. Never mind that it’s his birthday; it’s my collection and my blog so there!

Since our nicknames for each other since we started dating have been (a very tongue-in-cheek) “Dude” and “Babe,” it was not at all unusual for me to have him select the main course from Dude Food. If you’ve been reading my last couple of blog postings, you’ll know that my last couple of meals have been underwhelming but this one was a winner. As Andy so aptly said: “This combines my favorite food groups of beer and chocolate—how bad could that be?”

Similarly, I hit the jackpot with the Pineapple Upside Down Cake from the book Cakes Men Like. If that isn’t simplistic enough for you then I don’t know what is.

This being the last day of the Olympics, I had to tune in to the USA v. Canada Hockey game and let me just say that hockey and loose cake flour do not go well together! I ended up with (seemingly) half the dry ingredients on my fleece jacket. Although the US lost, it was a great game, even going into sudden-death overtime. Eh, you can’t win them all but at least I won where it counted the most—my man’s birthday dinner!

And so here they are - Andy Martin’s birthday selections! (Both of these dishes cook at the same temperature, 325F. Was that a considerate husband, or what?!)

Heavy Mental Pot Roast – serves 6 (Note: total cooking time is 4 hours, 30 minutes)
Two 1.4-ounces boxes onion soup mix, such as Knorr
One 1.2-ounce package brown gravy mix, such as Knorr Classic
½ cup brown ketchup
One pint strong dark stout, such as Guiness Extra Stout
1 square Mexican sweet chocolate, chopped (or substitute 1 square semisweet chocolate plus ¼ teaspoon cinnamon)
3 ¼ pounds beef pot roast
3 baking potatoes, quartered

Combine the onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Blend in the ketchup and stout. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F.

Pour the stout mixture over the bottom of a roasting pan and add the pot roast, turning once to coat. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and turn the meat over. Add the potatoes and tightly recover the pan. Cook 2 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Remove the pan again and carefully pour off any liquid into a saucepan. Cover the roast and set aside.

Cook the liquid over medium-high heat until thick and gravylike, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slice the meat and arrange on a platter with the potatoes. Pour 1 cup of the gravy on top. Serve extra gravy at the table.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake – makes one 8-inch layer
1 ¼ cups sifted Cake Flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening (I thought they meant Crisco until I read the recipe instructions and found I needed to use butter)
½ cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 slices pineapple
1 cup pecan meats

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt and sift together three times. Cream butter thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg; then flour, alternately with milk, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 8-inch iron skillet. (Big Note: I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I used a regular cake pan and it was fine…except the sugar will not melt as well as it should. Mine glopped all over the place—so much for presentation!). Add brown sugar and stir until melted. (Big Note #2: This instruction was fraught with peril. First I melted the butter in the microwave then added the sugar and that took forever so I went with stovetop. In what seemed to be seconds, I went from barely melting sugar to practically on fire. I had to stop and open the back door to air out the kitchen! Then I poured the burnt mixture down the drain but that created quite the clog. All in all, I spent more time trying to chisel off hardened sugar than I did anything. Step 3 was to go back to the microwave and this time, it melted just fine but it didn’t pour in the pan. Geez, Louise!)

Arrange the pineapple and nuts over the sugar mixture then pour the batter over the contents of the skillet. Bake in a 325 oven for 40 minutes. Loosen cake from sides and bottom and serve upside down.

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