Know what happened to me yesterday? I was doing homework and reached into my bag to grab my Orgo notes and *almost completed* homework assignment when I realized it wasn’t there. Panic ensued. THEN I realized I *may* have left it in the student lounge in my physics building so I drove all the way to campus. Doors locked. Not to be thwarted, I walked the entire perimeter of the building until I found a delivery entrance that was open. Then navigated through the basement maze till I found a stairwell that was open. Then made it to the lounge where I saw my notebook and homework sitting untouched on the table…through the glass of the locked door. Cue tantrum. Echos of my displeasure rang down the empty halls. No janitors to be found. The lock was resistant to being picked by a hairpin. Or pens. Or my car keys.
So…I had to print a new copy of the assignment (due first thing Monday…I was not going to chance the lounge still being locked at 7am). I’d already done it once, how bad could it be? Yup…genius I am that bitch took me 3 hours. Cue tantrum #2.
So Super Bowl! Actually, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use the actual name of the event without infringing copyright or something. It’s true. No, really. Ever wonder why all the TV commercials just call it “The Big Game?” The NFL is protective like that.
This it fortunately or unfortnately one of those years where I have no legitimate preference for either team–Seattle and Denver both have awesome programs, great coaching, great cities, and hot quarterbacks. I guess I’ll pick Denver, though, since I actually lived there for a year. Fair? Good. Let’s go eat football food.
My winter break was almost seven weeks long. Seriously. I have never…in my LIFE…had this much time off to do absolutely nothing. Maybe it would be OK if I was like all of my classmates and took a trip somewhere? Or if I was capable of sleeping 14 hours a day? Except no.
The house is cleaner than it’s been or will be for decades. I’ve put in a bazillion hours of MCAT prep. I volunteered at the hospital. The pups have gotten more walking in the last 6 weeks than they had all last year. Ate a few too many of those chocolate covered acai berries (the ones from Costco…dangerous). Too much…*way* too much…has been spent at Target. I don’t know what else to do, you guys.
Class starts next week and it’s the home stretch…4 more months of pre-med and then…well, I’ll let you know. Maybe. Lots of *life plans* in the works and I’m honestly not necessarily sure how it’s going to pan out. Not gonna jinx it. Nope nope. I can tell you, though, that we will be…moving…again. Since I left college I have moved through 3 different states, 1 year-long deployment to Iraq, 5 different homes. Six if you count my CHU in Iraq but I really don’t think that counts. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone unless you have some weird desire to live in a big tin box and sleep on a plastic mattress that smells like mothballs. Blech.
Enough of that…how about I make you dinner? Following my weird BBQ fetish, I’ve been doing a lot of Asian cooking lately. And by that I mean I’ve been putting fish sauce and coconut aminos in *everything.* I recommend it.
This dish can be made meatless or with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork…or all of the above. We like options, don’t we?
My camera has been MIA for a few weeks…and then last night my phone decided to walk off, too. Cue the iPad photos.
So this one was kind of a last minute thing, as my cooking endeavors so often are these days. We’ve got finals next week and to say I’m just strung out would be a major compliment. My daily routine for the last 10 days has pretty much been “wake up drink coffee go to library drink coffee study all day drink coffee come home collapse into catatonic heap on the couch and fall asleep watching reruns of Parks and Rec.” Winning.
This is a great dinner on those days you don’t really want to cook but maybe, just maybe, want to have something that resembles “real food.” I’ve been eating waaaaaaaay too many baked potatoes…with pickles straight from the jar…and spoonfuls of almond butter…yeah. Sometimes it’s nice just to eat off a plate, you know?
I may or may not have posted this recipe before. But this one is a weeeee bit different, I swear, but still a fun riff on hot wings. At least my photography skillz are moving beyond toddler-level. You guys weren’t exactly loving the pig’s feet when I made posted my recipe, but pleasepleaseplease trust me that pig tails are a helluva lot better and less weird to eat. Pinky swear.
One thing I did differently this time was indulge my obsession with Tessemae’s and use this sauce instead of making my own. I guess I was making up for the fact that I completely re-did the brine…but this batch was infinitely better and more tender and juicy.
1 c Tessemae’s Hot Wing Sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
For the Brine:
6 c Water
2 Lemons, Quartered
2 Onions, Chopped
¼ c Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T Salt
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 T Black Pepper
Combine the ingredients for the brine and pour over the pig tails. Allow to sit for 12-24 hours. This is an essential step to ensure the meat is tender.
Drain the pig tails and marinate in the hot sauce for at lease one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange pig tails on a greased baking sheet and brush with additional sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. With tongs, flip each pig tail and brush with more sauce. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
We first decided to hop on the Paleo bandwagon almost 4 years ago when we lived in Texas and giant cuts of meat were plentiful and–most importantly for us–affordable. I didn’t know a pork loin from a chop at the time since I’d always been a good girl who opted for whole wheat pasta over fatty meats, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t have to learn quick. The first time I bought a Boston Butt I actually thought it was the pig’s ass meat…score one for immature curiosity.
Fun fact: it’s the ham that’s the pig’s ass. Just FYI. Boston Butt is the pig’s upper shoulder, like up around the shoulder blade and is an incredibly tender, meaty and fatty cut that is superb for slow cooking. Don’t let the layer of fat freak you out–for one fat is good for you, and for another it renders down considerably during the cooking process and flavors the rest of the cut. It can be seasoned minimally or maximally (try this recipe, or this one, or this one), but this recipe is my go-to for a busy week night because it’s FAST, EASY, and DELICIOUS…and makes enough leftovers to keep us fed for a few days if needed. When we were at Ft Hood and had to commute in at 4:30 am, then not get home till 7:30 pm, this was an absolute lifesaver. I’d make a 5 or 6 pound butt on Monday, shred it up, and we’d have dinner and lunches till Wednesday.
Ever cooked with pig’s feet before? I sure hadn’t till this weekend. You know me…I see a weird part of an animal and I just…HAVE to eat it. That sounds awful. Pleassssse don’t get grossed out and run away just yet…they were actually quite delicious. A little interesting to eat, but delicious.
I know pig’s feet are generally used just as a flavoring agent–I’d only ever seen my mom use pig feet and hocks to make split pea soup. And I guess you see them pickled but that just looks nasty to me. There isn’t too much meat on them but a nice amount of fat and skin, which gets soooo tender and crispy when they’re slow cooked in the sauce then broiled to perfection.
Warning: you will get messy. I started off with knife and fork but realized that it’s so much easier to tear into them with hands and bare teeth. Kinda like ribs. Soooo I wouldn’t wear white. Trust me, it got a little primal in here.
For some reason, brats and sauerkraut is Ross’s most-requested meal. Not that I’m complaining…I like it when I don’t have to plan dinner since I almost always get the “Whatever you want to make!” response when I ask. More than anything, though, I like it because it’s easy. It’s comfort food that can be dressed up or down with whatever you’ve got on hand.
If you haven’t noticed, though, I’ve been hella busy with school this summer and Ross is all over the place, too. More than I’d like to admit, we’re not even home for dinner at the same time, so the crock pot has been a godsend. Ross was really skeptical of brats in the crockpot…and to be honest, I was, too since I was afraid they’d just disintegrate. Nope! We got juicy bratwursts that actually seasoned the ‘kraut as they cooked. Feel free to add whatever you’d like but it was so nice to have just a few ingredients to toss in together before I ran out the door. This one’s a keeper!
There’s something to be said for a rich, hearty, tomato-saucey, meaty, Italian meal on a cold night in late spring. Obviously a nice Chianti makes it even better.
The secret to success with these babies is the triple meat combo. You get the juiciness and richness of the beef, fattiness of the pork, and a nice kick of flavor from the veal. The texture is unmatched by your run-of-the mill beef meatballs and this combination of seasonings is pretty much my go-to for Italian-inspired dishes. It’s also a very easy meal that can be prepped ahead of time if need be. I made this batch in the morning and cooked them shortly after I got home after work.
Ah, work…I don’t miss it. I’m functionally unemployed now that I’m officially out of the Army for good. It’s…liberating. Class starts in a week and a half but until then I’m catching up with family and friends. I love living so close to loved ones for the first time since I left home. Don’t get me wrong, I got to visit and live in some great places the last 8 years and I have so many experiences that have made me who I am, but I guess its’s time to reconnect with my inner homebody.
I will say, however, that I most definitely did NOT miss this East Coast humidity. I walked outside yesterday morning and felt like I got body-slammed with a wall of moist heat. Ugh. I already miss the crisp Colorado mountain mornings…but then again I don’t miss the snot rocks. Those are pretty painful in case you didn’t know.
So who’s in the mood for a giant hunk o’ meat? No wussie pork chops here…even though they’re showing their sweeter side.
Oh, and as an added bonus this meal only takes 30 minutes…probably less. And there’s only six ingredients, counting the salt. How cool is that? I was debating whether or not to post this since it’s not exactly Whole30 or 21DSD friendly and I know a lot of people are detoxing before summer rolls around, but I couldn’t resist. If nothing else I think this would make a KILLER meal for your first day after you’re done. Much better than destroying your decade old twinkie stash, no? I mean, it’s a big juicy pork chop, slathered with maple syrup that carmelizes all over in the oven. You get some sweet, some salty, some savory…and just trust me, you’ll want some sweet potatoes on the side. All the drippings from te pork and syrup just get soaked up by the potatoes like a sponge. You’ll thank me, I promise you.
I can’t believe how hard it is to find pork belly–the only place I can find it in the Springs is at the commissary. This is problematic because in a couple weeks, we’re moving back east where there won’t be a commissary…thus stripping me of my sole source of offal and other fun cuts. That’s…really depressing. Somebody hold me.
Also, I’d like to bitch for a second on how hard it is to find chipotles. I mean, they’re so popular, but the only form they’re in 99.99% of the time is canned with adobo sauce and like a bazillion other wacked out ingredients like sugar and sulfites. Ew. But lucky for you today, I found a bag of plain old dried chipotles and was able to kick out this dish. It’s so damned good–pork belly is way too underrated…and all the fat haters out there just ruin it for everyone. It’s a giant, fatty, hunk of bacon. What’s not to love?
Another note, though. There are a bunch of different ways to prep a pork belly, all equally delicious but it comes down to personal preference and frankly, time (for me at least). Melissa summed up a few methods here. but I almost always use the sear-and-crockpot method.