I did not get to finish writing Part Two of yesterday’s post about New Year’s Intentions (Eventually I did…Check out Part One and Part Two here). Oops, I missed January 1st! But that’s OK! Because I highly doubt anybody is on pins and needles awaiting any of my posts, and because I did lots of other productive things today! Big Daddy Orange worked (Golf Course Superintendents work almost everyday…except Christmas. Golfers are hardcore!), but he got home fairly early and brought Dunkin’ Donuts home with him.
Me + Caffeine = Insane Productivity + No Sleep For Days…but it’s so delicious!
Alright, its been over twelve hours since I had the delicious beverage, but as you can read, I have already used five exclamation points…I’m still going strong.
He suggested we take all of the Christmas decorations down and I wholeheartedly agreed. As much as I love Christmas, it is easier for me to just accept that it is over at this point instead of letting it linger a few more weeks. It’s like a Band-aid. Plus, it just seems to feel messy in here after the holidays with all of the needles falling off the tree and new toys strewn about.
- got the tree, garlands, and all of the last remnants of the jolliest season tucked away (find my storage tips here)
- rearranged the living room
- cleaned the kitchen thoroughly
- did laundry (well, washed some and hung it around the basement since we are without a dryer for a week!)
- washed a tub full of “new” Legos purchased from a kids’ sale.
- enjoyed a visit from some good friends
- played and cared for Tangerine all throughout
- AND…cooked a delicious New Year’s dinner
Pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings with black eyed peas. Many cultures prepare foods on New Year’s Day that that believe will bring good luck for the coming year. I’ve heard somewhere before that pork/ham is often chosen because pigs eat by rooting themselves forward – something we generally aspire to do each year. Move ourselves forward in positive motion, I mean…not eat like pigs, although this is America! We do what we want! Similarly, the Christmas turkey scratches backwards in the dirt and this “buries the past”. Very interesting, right?! The sauerkraut aspect of this “good luck” meal is a Pennsylvania Dutch thing, which stems from German tradition, and it tastes so good with pork. I’m really not sure where the black eyed peas come in, but “I gotta feeling” they’ve been thought lucky for a long time, too. 😉
Although the first day of 2014 is over…I wanted to share my recipe. While I don’t enjoy cooking, I’m actually pretty good at it when I do. It’s the day-in-and-day-out monotony of meal-planning, shopping, and preparation that just really makes me loathe it. I guess that’s why I love baking though…it’s more of a creative, special event to me rather than a chore. This is one of those dishes that everybody seems to do differently, and actually I tend to do it a little differently each time as well. I like to marinade my pork and reserve some of it to make a pan sauce. I know it is nothing fancy. Chances are, you reading this (yes, you) make an awesome pork & sauerkraut recipe as well…and I’d love to hear it, so please comment below! One year I made this in the crock-pot and it was equally as yummy, although the dropped-on dumplings need to cook a little longer that way.
Pork, Sauerkraut, & Dumplings
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (many are fakes, is yours?)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (here is why I avoid soy and only use certain brands, preferably fermented like this tamari)
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- lemon juice (whatever I can get from one…maybe 2 tbsp?)
- 1 tbsp. dry mustard (but pretty sure I used prepared Dijon before just fine)
- 1-2 tbsp. parsley (freshly chopped or dried)
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced all but one that is sliced into thick chunks
- 1 2-4 lb. pork (I like tenderloin)
- To later make a pan sauce, you will need 1/2 – 1 chicken cup broth and 1-2 tbsp butter (NOT PART OF THE MARINADE)
- Mix all marinade ingredients (except pork and the thickly sliced garlic) in a gallon Ziplock bag. Reserve 3-4 tbsp of the marinade mixture in a small bowl in the fridge for later (before the meat ever touches it, of course!).
- Use the tip of a sharp knife to make a few slits all over the pork and insert the chunks of remaining garlic deeply into the meat.
- Place pork into marinade in bag. Seal tightly and let marinade in the fridge for 4 hours. (Although today, I only let marinade for about 90 minutes and it was still awesome)
- After finished marinating, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, sear each side of the pork for 2-3 minutes over a hot skillet (medium-high heat). I leave this pan on the stove for later.
- Transfer seared pork to a large oven-safe dish and cook for 2 hours or so until the meat has reached 160 degrees (Although I think “they” dropped the safely cooked temperature of pork to be 145. Use your judgement?).
- Pour the amount of sauerkraut you want all around, or on top of, the pork about 30 minutes before it is finished. I’ve used a can or bags before, but prefer fermenting my own. It is EASY and you can, too, right in a mason jar like I do. I like to mix it with caraway seeds (if I didn’t ferment it with them already) and add a little beer to the whole pot. Whatever beer.
- To make the dumplings, I’ve followed the Bisquick recipe before and they are delicious (albeit GMO-ridden). Today, I didn’t have Bisquick so I quickly combined 2 cups flour and 2 eggs in a bowl, then added less than a cup of water until it was the right consistency. Drop spoonfuls of the dumplings right on top of the pork and sauerkraut, and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, and then covered for 10 minutes or until finished cooking. These were yummy, but a little denser than I like, so I’ll have to learn how to make non-Bisquick dumplings sometime. There was no time today. I had to hurry so that Tangerine could eat dinner before bed. He LOVED it all, by the way!
- Back to the skillet you used to sear the pork, put it back on medium heat…add the broth and scrape up any pieces left from the searing. Today, I used turkey bone broth that I made from our pastured holiday bird (if you aren’t making your own bone broth, I strongly encourage you to enhance your life with that!). I used probably about 3/4 cup today. Add the marinade you reserved from earlier and let it cook/boil down for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add the butter, continuing to stir until melted.
Pour over mashed potatoes and pork (yes, it already has the sauerkraut juices – it mixes very well though. We like to save some of this sauce for leftovers to keep it moist or to make pork sandwiches). Enjoy with black eyed peas, or greens for good luck as well!
Probably served 4-6. Our two plates were half of it, and we eat big servings. Yummy leftovers!
Happy 2014, everyone! Please comment below with your recipes, suggestions, stories, etc. I want to hear from you! But be nice, I’m new here…This is my necessary disclaimer that this blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure. I am only a mom with an education background. I must let you know that any essential oils statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. I simply approve for myself and family of such things that I deem safe, effective, and positively life-transformative. I encourage you all to be informed and empowered with your health. Also, some of my posts may contain affiliate links. When you click them, you help me to cover a small portion of the cost of this blog. I appreciate your support so that I can continue to do what I love. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Odds & Evans’ ideals, my personal use, and those I believe would be of value to my readers.