Wednesday, December 31, 2014


There is nothing so comforting to me than cooking.  And when I'm cooking for someone else, it's all the more satisfying.  It's New Year's Eve!  It's the first one I've spent alone in 10 years.  My sweetie is in Hawaii visiting his daughter over the Christmas break. How lucky is he, and how lucky is she!  This year it's me and my little man, Matrix.   He's kinda like - ok, mom, whatever.  But he's good company!  I mean -- how entertaining is that photo of him on my desk.  This is a fairly regular pose whenever I'm on my computer.  He needs to make an appearance.  He even feels the need to walk across the field of view whenever I'm on a Skype call.
--We are enjoying the fire I put in the wood stove tonight. It's going to be really cold tonight.  Down into the 20's I think.   I made myself a small shaker of Cosmopolitans to last through the evening while I cook and write my blog.
As many of you know, I haven't written a regular blog for a long time.  I've been posting shorter posts on FB  about what I've been cooking. But blogging allows me to
share a few more details.  Well, what it really does is allow to me tell you more than you really want to know about what I'm doing, cooking and thinking.  Who cares right?  It doesn't matter.  Blogs allow people to say whatever they want no matter what anyone thinks.  I guess we figure that if you don't like what we have to say, you won't read it, right?   But I hope I don't get to that point - where you don't want to read anymore. 
Tonight I'm starting dinner for tomorrow - New Year's Day!  I've invited a friend to come for an early dinner of a traditional European meal of Pork Roast with Sauerkraut and Dumplings.  Later we'll watch a movie that came in the mail from Netflix "The Hundred Foot Journey".    Big surprise- it's a foodie movie about restaurant owners! 
Unfortunately, since the grocery didn't have a proper pork roast in the in the refrigerated case, I had to improvise.  I had to get some country style ribs, and a few pork steaks.  You have to have some bones in the roast to get the flavor you need, so the ribs will add that flavor and they are very meaty.  Instead of roasting all this, I've put it in the crockpot.  Layered with sauerkraut, sautéed onions and sliced garlic, it should turn into a succulent dish with lots of flavor!   A light sprinkling of caraway seed will add that distinct flavor that only caraway seeds can give to this dish.
Of course this meal needs something else.  Just pork and sauerkraut does not a meal make.  So I'll make home made dumplings to toss with the drippings that the pork will render with the sauerkraut.  The recipe for the dumplings can be found at my post for Chicken Paprikash  at How to make Nokedli (Hungarian dumplings)
Did you know that Pork is a traditional New Year's dinner because it is believed that because pigs root FORWARD as they search for food, it is symbolic of moving forward in life.  And because Pigs "used to be" so fatty, they also represented prosperity with all the fat and richness of the meal.  So serving a pork roast was to represent a year of prosperity to come to those who prepared and ate it! (The fact that I didn't use a big fat pork roast cuts way back on the fat that this roast  will render, but not on flavor!  Using ribs will give the kind of flavor that you can only get with cooking meat on the bone!It's also a good example of how you can improvise when what you really want isn't available.  I would have preferred a nice Pork Butt for this!)
 I also wanted to make something that would be a nice contrast to the Pork and sauerkraut, and although it too is cabbage, I chose to make sautéed red cabbage with apples and onions.  It is sweet and delicious!    This is a small head of red cabbage sliced as you would for slaw, sautéed with a sweet onion. 
Just sauté a large sweet white onion in a little olive oil, add the red cabbage and a grated sweet apple, salt pepper and voila!  A succulent healthy side dish! 

I'll post some more pictures of the completed meal tomorrow!

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year!  I've learned that gratitude for what you have can open the doors for allowing more good fortune to enter your life.  Be grateful and prosper!