Busy busy busy

I have a few too many irons in the fire right now, and unfortunately this one is the one that is being neglected.

I’m bird-sitting my parents’ lovebird while they are on vacation with my Niblings. The bird has laid 4 eggs in the 2 weeks she’s been here.

My latest original knitting design is knitted, but getting the pattern and charts together from my notes seems to take as long as knitting it did.

Fermenting is fun! A few new sauerkrauts have come off my fermentation table, including a Carrot Cake Kraut that included pecans, raisins and cinnamon. That jar became Carrot Cake Kraut Muffins. Delish!

The local farmers market started yesterday, a couple of weeks earlier than last year. 

Gardening is proceeding. I planted the flower starts I got at the market yesterday, along with some of the flowers I started from seed and the cucumbers I started. More planting this afternoon. 

Dinner, April 25, 2016


Sautéed swai filets, served over spinach and mushrooms, topped with grilled pineapple and a dab of Dixie Relish. Homemade zesty pickled beets and a simple cucumber and cherry tomato salad on the side.

Dinner, April 24, 2016


After almost a week of uninspired menus and several days that were Festival of Leftovers, finally, a decent meal.

Turkey meatloaf topped with sautéed onion, mushrooms and peppers, roasted butternut squash, and homemade pickled beets. Tomato jam added to meatloaf at the table.

Dinner, April 18, 2016

  
First grilling day of the year!

Marinated some boneless chicken breasts in Italian dressing while they thawed, then grilled them. Served over raw spinach with grilled sweet potato slices, grilled fresh pineapple, and sautéed mushrooms. Condiment: chunky sauce/relish made by chopping a partial jar of canned green tomatoes and peppers.

Dinner, April 15, 2016

  Turkey meatballs (leftover from the other day), topped with tomato jam. Sautéed mushrooms, cucumber and cherry tomato salad, and steamed green beans. Delicious and low-calorie!

Dinner, April 14, 2016

 dinner 
Spinach and feta chicken sausages, beets, and greens with yellow bell pepper. Delicious with a couple chunks of pickled zucchini and some tomato jam.

Dinner, April 13, 2016

 

Turkey meatballs, veg mixture of mixed greens, onion, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Excellent with a little tomato jam and mango chutney. 

Dinner, April 11

Sautéed cod, seasoned with curry powder and topped with homemade mango chutney, mushrooms, beets and cherry tomatoes. 

 

Recipe: Pork and Sauerkraut

I grew up with sauerkraut on the table. Not every day, or even every week. But it was a part of our family meals. Usually, there were sauteéd onions, maybe mushrooms, mixed in. Or it was the filling in pierogi, or served cold on hot dogs. But it was always a side dish, something meant to play with the main flavor of the meal.

This recipe is something that I got from a recipe card at my local Penzey’s Spices. I’m embarassed to say that I never considered using sauerkraut like this, even though it’s such a simple thing. Almost not a real recipe, as much as an idea for throwing things together. I’ve made it with pork tenderloin, cut into chunks, as well as with boneless pork country ribs, and both times it’s been out of this world.

Sauerkraut
Home-fermented sauerkraut, in-process

If you have it, go ahead and use home-fermented sauerkraut. Yeah, I know that’s a bit of an oddity, unless you homestead or follow some food trends. But it’s actually really easy to make, especially if you have an airlock system that keeps the oxygen out of your fermentation vessel, like Pickle Pipes. (Disclaimer: I’m not selling these. I got a set for Christmas from my sister, along with the Pickle Pebbles weights, and they’re easy to use and low-maintenance.)

The last time I made this, I was out of whole fennel seed, so I just tossed in 1/2 teaspoon of ground fennel instead.

Pork
Layer the pork on the kraut

Accompaniment suggestions: prepared horseradish for the meat; beets or carrots as side veg; crunchy roasted potatoes are a nice texture contrast

Pork and Sauerkraut

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes + 1-4 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart sauerkraut, undrained
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • Pork Chop Seasoning or Bavarian Seasoning
  • 6 pork chops OR 2 pork tenderloins, cut into 2″ thick slices OR 6-8 boneless pork country ribs
  • 1-2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. Do not drain the sauerkraut. Place the kraut, chopped apple, chopped onion, fennel seed and caraway seed in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Season pork with Pork Chop Seasoning or Bavarian Seasoning. I like the Bavarian because it’s a salt-free blend (and sauerkraut has a bunch of salt already), plus the mustard seed in it plays really well with the tang of the kraut. Brown both sides of the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If necessary, do this in 2 batches so the meat isn’t crowded in the pan.
  3. In a 4-6 quart slow cooker crock or a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, place about 1/3 of the sauerkraut mixture. Top with the browned pork and then the rest of the kraut. If you can’t fit all the pork in a single layer, then use half in one layer, then 1/3 of the kraut (half of what’s left), another layer with the rest of the pork, and the end of the kraut on top. Add a bay leaf or two. (I always use two so that I know how many to fish out when it’s done.) Cover.
  4. If using a slow cooker, set to high for 3-4 hours (longer if you like to use low or you need to set it in the morning and let it go all day). If using a Dutch oven, place over medium heat until it reaches a simmer, then turn the heat to low and let it be for 1-2 hours.
  5. Serve 1/2 cup kraut with 1 chop/hunk of tenderloin/country rib.