Discovering a New Way to Use Cookbooks and Recipes

Two years ago I delved into Tyler Florences’ Inside the Test Kitchen. In it, he had a recipe for Seared Pork Chops with Creamed Kale and Fennel Apricot Salad. This was a tasty dish but left me wanting. One of my issues with this dish was the creamed kale. There was nothing wrong with the recipe, it’s just as a personal thing I have issues with the texture. All in all though this dish was inspirational… and that’s when it hit me: Use recipes as flavor pairing inspirations.  Continue reading

How to Have Home Cooked Meals When My Husband is Out of Town for Work…

It’s not often anymore that my husband has to travel for work but when he does I still want to have enjoyable meals. This is hard enough when feeding only two people but gets even harder when trying to feed just myself. What I need are meals that are fully cooked (cause I don’t want to cook when he’s not here if I can help it) and portioned out but that will not go bad or soggy since I need food for two weeks.

My first thought was a lasagna. This keeps well and is easy enough to reheat. My next thought was breakfast sandwiches. These are simply egg and bacon sandwiched in an english muffin. I can cook the bacon ahead of time so when I want them it’s toasting the muffin and microwaving a single egg.

Out of the four meals I knew I would need (2 weeks of lunch and 2 weeks of dinner) I was half way there but I was getting stumped. Nothing was too exciting. Salads wouldn’t keep well for that long and I didn’t want it all to be heavy food. Then recently our garage freezer broke down and to fix it i had to empty it. While emptying it I took the opportunity to take stock of what I had and what I needed to get rid of. One of the things I had in there was a lot of pork loin from last fall. I was just beginning getting into seasonal cooking and ended the season with way too much pork. Since my approach to how I cook meant I wouldn’t be cooking pork until the fall I wanted to get it out of the freezer and what better time than now. This lead me to making another batch of my Pork and Roasted Tomatillo Stew. What I love about this dish is not only is it super tasty but because we pressure can it the stew is fully cooked and portioned out. It’s a true grab and go. Thankfully I even have some leftover cornbread muffins from the last time I made it. So this meal it all about getting old stuff out of the freezers!

Making the stew is pretty straightforward. The recipe calls for a can of beans but I use dried beans instead. I also didn’t precook mine as I knew not only were they going to get cooked with the stew but also pressure canned. The pressure canning time is 1 ½ hours which would be plenty for cooking my beans. If you are going to make this stew and not can it then either pre cook your beans or use a can of beans.

FOR THE STEW:

  • 1 lb Tomatillos, husked and quartered
  • 1 lb Roma Tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Pork Loin, cut into ½ -inch cubes
  • 1 White Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 16 fl ounces Chicken Stock
  • 300 Corona Beans, dried (You can use whatever bean you like)

Toppings and sides:

  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Jalapeño Corn Bread Muffins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the tomatillos and tomatoes on a baking sheet, toss with 2 Tbsp of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once. Set aside and lower the oven temperature to 350°F.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy, ovenproof pot, warm 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, cook the pork until it is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the pork to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, the onion, and the garlic to the pot and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, tomatillos, tomatoes, broth, and beans and stir to combine.

Cover, transfer the pot to the oven, and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Season with salt and pepper and serve, topped with a dollop of sour cream. and hot sauce.

FOR CANNING:

  • 1 inch Headroom
  • Pressure Can 1 ½ hours, 15 pounds pressure

How to Put Away Your Groceries, Menu Planning (Part 3)

A lot goes in to getting dinner on the table. The first step is creating the plan. What are you going to make every night? Then there’s putting together the grocery list. Next, you have to do all the shopping but when you come home with the groceries what do you do? Putting away your groceries can make getting dinner on the table much easier and here’s how… Continue reading

Deconstructing and Reinventing the Thanksgiving Turkey

I am obsessed with the images of Norman Rockwell. This time of year is no exception. The iconic image “Freedom From Want” is one a lot of us know. This depicts Mom setting down a perfectly roasted turkey, fully intact, on a giant platter, in front of Dad looking proud, and the family looking happy and excited. But is this just a beautiful fiction illustrated by one of our greatest American artists? Continue reading