Friday, August 16, 2013

Food Waste Friday and True Food Confessions--Aug. 16, 2013

It's time for Food Waste Friday, when the Frugalgirl encourages us to post pictures from the previous week of wasted food from our household. This accountability hopefully will help us to be more careful with our food and maybe save some money. Also, I am using this public forum to encourage us to eat out less which includes better meal planning. You can follow how we are doing in this endeavor by reading True Food Confessions.

This Week's Food Waste
Lettuce and Tomato

I bought a bag of lettuce that had seen better days before I even opened it, but I did manage to save some of it. However, a tomato turned rotten waiting for me. But the other dozen or so tomatoes we got from Uncle Billy were put to good use (made salsa) before they met with a similar demise. Also saved were a cucumber, mushrooms, and the last of the yellow watermelon. Fresh produce is hard to keep up with. Sometimes it feels like I am spinning plates in the air to use it before I lose it.

This Week's True Food Confessions

The making of Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut

A little cooking and its leftovers, good sandwich supplies, and fresh salsa and humus kept our bellies full this week. And oh, I should mention there were also leftovers from Ward's favorite Chinese restaurant. We have developed a pattern over the last couple of months with our eating. We eat in most of the week and eat out sometime over the weekend. This usually happens when we're away from home on an outing. .

We did try a new recipe this weekend thanks to Theodore who took the time to look one up and buy the ingredients. We made Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut from the blog Dad Cooks Dinner. The recipe has pork ribs, bacon, potatoes, and sauerkraut as the main ingredients. And guess what? The carnivores in the family loved it. And guess what even more? So did I.

I have copied the recipe below from this link.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut

Cook time: 8 hours

  • 6 quart or larger slow cooker (Crock Pot brand is fine, but I like my fancy one from All-Clad)
  • 8 oz bacon, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 2 lbs sauerkraut, drained and rinsed (I prefer bagged sauerkraut)
  • 1 lb new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lbs pork western ribs or pork country ribs
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (Riesling or other dry white wine)

1. Brown the bacon: Put the bacon in a cold fry pan and turn the heat to medium.  Cook, rendering the bacon fat and turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned and crispy, about ten minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon. Leave 2 tbsp bacon fat in the pan, and dispose of the rest.

2. Prep and layer ingredients in the crock pot: While the bacon is browning: Drain and rinse the sauerkraut, and place in the bottom of the slow cooker crock in an even layer. Scrub the new potatoes and put them in a ring against the outside edge of the crock. Core and dice the apples, and put them in the middle of the potatoes. Sprinkle the brown sugar, thyme, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves into the crock. Sprinkle the pork with 3 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper, then layer on top of the other ingredients in the pot. Put the browned bacon in the pot whenever it is ready; in my case it wound up on top of the apples.

3. Saute the aromatics:When the bacon is done, add the diced onion, crushed garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt to the pan. Saute, scraping the browned bacon drippings into the onions. Cook until the onion is starting to brown around the edges, about five minutes. (While the onion is cooking, continue with the layering the ingredients step if it is not done yet.) Add the wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. Scrape any remaining browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then pour the onion/garlic/wine mixture into the crock over the top of the pork.

3. Slow cook the pork: Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.

4. Plate and serve: Remove the pork ribs to a plate. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon, cut into quarters, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and throw them away.  Stir the ingredients left in the crock into the sauerkraut, then remove the sauerkraut to a serving platter using a slotted spoon. Ladle a cup or two of the liquid left in the crock over the sauerkraut, ribs and pork. Put the pork and potatoes on top of the platter of sauerkraut, and serve.

*Pork Roast: Instead of the pork ribs, use a pork shoulder roast. Increase the cooking time to 10 hours on low or 5 hours on high. *Add smoked sausage: If you have a pound of kielbasa or smoked sausage, slice it and add it on top of the apples. You'll have bacon, smoked sausage, pork ribs, and sauerkraut. What could be better?
*Use red wine instead of white wine: Red wine is common in German sauerkraut, so if that's all you have, go ahead and use it.
*Riesling: Riesling comes in a wide variety of sweetness levels, from dry (no sweetness) to syrupy sweet (dessert wines). A dry to semi-sweet Riesling is my preference for this recipe. German Rieslings have their sweetness level as part of the name; look for halbtrocken (off-dry), or trocken (dry). Really, any inexpensive white wine that isn't too oaky will work. (Avoid cheap chardonnay, which tends to be very oaky.)
*Why a cheap white wine? Because about half a bottle goes into the slow cooker. I can't bring myself to cook the good stuff for hours. I save the good stuff to drink. If you're serving a crowd, get a cheap bottle for the pot, then some better wine of the same type for everyone to drink with the meal.

Until next time...