Bacon!

Here’s a fun recipe to use up a head of cabbage you may have in your refrigerator. My five-year-old daughter will eat a few bites of my coleslaw, but she told me this dish was “super terrific,” so I’ll be making it again 🙂

Plan to be working in your kitchen for at least 90 minutes, and perhaps as long as two hours. This is a stew, so it’s a great dish for winter, but on any non-super-hot day, it works well.

Cut one pound of sliced bacon into 1.5-inch-long bits and fry it all in a skillet (with a bit of olive oil, if needed). Keep poking the bacon with a fork (or two) in order to cook it all thoroughly and evenly. Don’t let it get too crispy, but make sure it all gets cooked.

While the bacon is cooking, peel two pounds of potatoes and cut them into one-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a small pot, cover them with water, put the lid on, and heat the pot on high until it boils. Then cook the potatoes at a managed boil for five minutes. DO NOT DRAIN THE POTATOES.

Take a Dutch / French oven and sprinkle garlic salt (I love Himalasalt), pepper, and minced onions on the bottom. Wash a head of cabbage, peel off the grody outer leaves, core it, and cut the cabbage into small chunks. Place the cabbage chunks in the Dutch oven on top of the seasonings.

When the bacon and the potatoes are ready, put them (along with all of the potato water) into the Dutch oven, and add as much water (or homemade chicken broth–just boil the legs and wings in a soup pot for an hour the next time you roast a chicken) as you need to cover everything in the pot. Heat the pot over low (or, at most, medium-low) heat to a simmer, and keep it simmering for an hour, stirring periodically.

Serve with bread. (I like the Rye Sourdough recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, although I make it with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Enjoy!

Simple Sausages and Apples

This hardly qualifies as cooking, since the quality of the ingredients almost entirely determines how good it tastes, but I have loved this dish since I was a child. It’s a great thing to put in the oven if you have work to do and want to get dinner squared away before getting started on your work.

You’ll need a pound of pork sausage links (the breakfast kind); I get mine from Pure Sprouts. If you are lucky enough to live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, you can get yours there, too. If not, Organic Prairie is a good substitute. Yes, they’re expensive; non-factory-farmed pork is expensive. It also tastes much better, is better for the environment, and is less guilt-inducing because the animal had a good life before it became your dinner.

Slice five or six medium to large Fuji apples. Place them in a large Pyrex baking dish and cover them with the breakfast links. Pour maple syrup over the whole thing and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees. I like to bake it covered for 60 minutes and then uncovered for another 30. If the pork isn’t done by then (use a meat thermometer to check), you can re-cover it with foil and bake another 30 minutes.

Pork Chops You’ll Want to Eat

People always say to me, “TO, I know you like pork chops, but I just can’t eat them. They’re so dry!”

Because of fears of trichinosis, a lot of us grew up eating pork chops cooked beyond the point when anything should be eaten. One remedy for this problem is a meat thermometer; of course, you have to keep opening the oven to check the temperature of your chops, which is rather tedious, and you might have something else to do.

The other solution is a marinade. Here is a simple one that will keep your pork chops tender and delicious:

Whisk together equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a bowl. I like to use Mrs. Bragg’s vinegar and Newman’s Own Organics oil. Whisk in onion powder–not too much. I usually give the container three good shakes for two pork chops.

Put your chops in a Pyrex dish. A loaf pan nicely fits two small chops. Pour the marinade over the chops–make sure it covers them completely–and cover the dish with foil. Refrigerate for at least six hours.

Cook the chops at 350 degrees with the foil still on the dish. For chops that are one inch thick, I cook them two hours, until the marinade has completely cooked away (for the cut I usually buy, this takes two hours). Verify that the chops have reached 170 degrees, and then stand back while your family enjoys them!

A side note: Many of us are the cook in the family because we enjoy it. Others, however, are the main (or sole) preparer of meals because their spouses claim kitchen incompetence. This meal is incompetence-proof. Simply fill a 9×9-inch Pyrex dish with apples cut into chunks, cover with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon, and bake in the same oven as the chops for the last hour of cooking. You have a lovely meal that even the non-cookers out there can prepare.

Deep-Fried Parsnips

Yes, that’s right. If you would like to work this root vegetable into your diet, but are struggling to sell your family on the idea, try deep-frying, like so:

Cut parsnips into the size and shape of French fries. Dip cut parsnips into (1) a mixture of corn flour and all-purpose seasoning, (2) a mixture of two egg whites and two tablespoons of whole milk, and (3) Orgran rice crumbs. Deep-fry in sesame oil until the fries turn light brown.