Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: February 12, 2014

Tonight for dinner I was having a hard time deciding what to do.  First I marinated some country-style pork ribs in soy sauce, garlic spread, and apricot jam, but then decided that I didn’t want to make them.  Instead, I made an apricot-dijon pork chops with mixed dark greens and tomato cous cous.  Because I get really tired of chicken and we’re trying not to eat so much red meat on weekdays, I often opt for pork. I find that I’ll alternate between chicken and pork from week to week to keep things interesting.  I didn’t realize this until just now, but from the history of my posts, it sure seems like it.

Though I’ve been cooking for a while now, I’m just starting to learn the real value of acidity in food.  Sure, I’ve used lemons and limes with fish and chicken, but I’ve never really gone into the world of vinegar.  I’ve recently started adding a little bit of red wine vinegar to sauces and it does wonders.   I have yet to really starting using any of the other vinegars in my cabinet, but will be experimenting soon.

For the pork, I had purchased a giant pork loin chop that Sprouts (it was even the smallest they had).  It was butterflied when cut away from the bone, so they tied it together with a string. I knew the piece of meat was pretty thick, but I didn’t realize that it would provide me with four pork chops!  I spent $3.64 on the cut of meat.  Boy was that a deal!  So note that readers cooking for families.  Buying a big piece of pork and making a few slices can save you money.  Stores seriously will charge you more for cutting the meat for you.   Just buy a large piece of beef chuck instead of the stew meat. It’s the same thing, but can be 50+ cents to the pound cheaper.  Anyway, I was feeling quite thrifty last night and proud of myself for getting more bang for my buck.

Power green cous cous
½ c vegetable stock
¼ c roasted garlic spread
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 c water
1 ½ c cous cous
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced
3 c dark green medley
2 beef tomatoes; diced
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium-sized pot, bring stock, garlic spread, vinegar, and water to a boil. Once boiling, add cous cous and parsley.  Turn off heat and cover pot for 5 minutes.  Add greens and tomatoes.  Mix until greens are wilted.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Leave lid off on low heat until ready to eat.  Stir often.

1.       I used a roasted garlic spread that I had gotten in a gift set from Costco during the holidays.  You can use any jarred garlic spread or make it yourself.  I’ve been trying to use this jar up but will probably make my own in the future.  Recipe for that is TBD.
2.       Power greens are from Costco and are a mix of organic baby kale, chard and spinach.  I buy a 1.5lb bag and it will last me about two weeks if I put a couple of dry folded paper towels in the bag after I open it.  I keep them in the front of the fridge as mine gets really cold in the back and will make them freeze and/or wilt.  I found that if I keep them outside of the vegetable bin they last longer.  I’m guessing it’s the better air circulation. Our fridge is old, so it doesn’t have great vegetable bins.  I also leave the bag open with the top folded over to prevent spilling rather than zipped up.  I treat my bags of spinach the same way.
3.       Beef tomatoes are those large, round tomatoes that you find at the grocery store.  They are not actually beef.
4.       Unless you seed the tomatoes, which I didn’t, they will add a lot of liquid to your cous cous. This is why I left it on low heat with the lid off until we were ready to eat.  I liked that the tomato juice and seeds helped flavor the cous cous. 

Apricot-dijon dressing
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp water

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk until smooth.

1.       For some reason I have an excess of apricot jam. I normally don’t buy jams or jellies, but I think I had them for an appetizer dish that I was going to bring to a party.   It’s been sitting on the fridge door for a while and I recently discovered that it was there.   I’ve started making sweet and savory sauces to use it up. 
2.       This would make a great marinade or even salad dressing if you made it in bulk.  I would avoid whole grain Dijon if you are going to use it as a salad dressing.

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