Saturday, April 17, 2010

cabbage, beets and pork

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. When I am cooking, I like to use the vegetable and meat to its full potential, meaning I don't like adding a ton of ingredients to it. So many vegetables and meat are good on there own, they just need proper seasoning. Chris and I bought the cookbook Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller. It is a great cookbook, the layout is really cool and the recipes are wonderful. It is packed with so many different things to make. The cabbage and pork brine are based on recipes from this book.

Recipe - pork brine
Makes enough for 4 chops or butterfly.
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon thyme
5 garlic cloves, crushed
teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup salt
4 cups water

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Boil for about a minute. Then take off heat and cool it completely, I put it in the fridge to speed up the process. When it is cool, place the pork into the brine. You can brine for at max 3 days. When I made this meal, I let the pork brine for about 2 hours. When ready to cook the meat. Heat olive oil in a pan. Dry the chops with a paper towel. Place in the hot pan. Cook for about 4 minutes a side. When cooking meat, try not to move it when it's cooking. Place in pan and let is cook until it's time to flip, this will help you get the nice crisp, browned outside and you will still have a nice moist inside. Chris jokes that I am the best at cooking meat in a pan. I think it is my years of practice in college, I think I ate a chicken breast every night for many many years. I use an Anolon titanium pan, it is great, because it is non-stick, but you will not get scratching or peeling. But don't worry, when I was in college, I am sure I had some craptastic pan and my chicken would turn out fabulous.

Recipe- beets
olive oil

This is a simple recipe. People think it is difficult to cook beets, but it is so easy. First you want to chop the greens off. Then head to the sink and start scrubbing. Don't be afraid of the dirt, it will clean up real fast. This time I used golden beets, but you can use this same method for any variety. It is really nice to cook a bunch of beets and then you have them in the fridge and can add to any meal.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. When you are done cleaning them, they will look so pretty! chop off the tops and the tails. Wrap them in tinfoil. Pour a little olive oil into the tinfoil and sprinkle a little salt. Place in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes. Cooking time will vary due to the size of your beets. When you take them out of the oven, it is easiest to get the skins off when they are hot. Peel the tin foil off and use a paper towel to pull the skins off.

When ready to serve cut them in slices. I eat them plain or I sprinkle a little olive oil, balsamic and parmesan. You can try many different things with beets.

Recipe- Cabbage
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 head red cabbage
olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Who knew you could cook cabbage, I usually just see it in coleslaw. This recipe is great because the cabbage gets this great nutty flavor from the pistachios.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Half way through toss them around a bit, to makes sure they are browning on all sides. When done, set aside. The pistachios that I bought were sort of large, so I chopped them up, you can do this or leave them as is.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the cabbage. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, tossing it frequently.

Add the shallots and chicken stock. Bring this to a simmer. Keep tossing the cabbage. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the stock has evaporated. You want the cabbage to be tender, not mushy! Combine the nuts with the cabbage and you are ready to serve. This recipe is great for leftovers. We had a bunch of leftovers, so for a week I just added a little cabbage to my meal, so tasty!

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