That’s right, you heard me….this is the week where we eat in. No take-out. No restaurants….time to get to know your kitchen stove a little better. You buy the groceries and prepare the food….so old school, baby! But thing about the money you’ll be saving….not to mention the calories you’ll be saving, and you’ll feel so accomplished! In fact if you want to get serious about it, you can sign up to take the pledge to eat in this week, February 22-28th, on THe Huffington Post. For me this is no sacrifice, since we eat in usually 5 nights out of 7 anyway….but for those of you who do lots of carry-out…it could be a little more difficult.
I started Friday, cooking pork belly with roasted turnips and carrots. Yes Paul, pork on a Friday. Shoot me. And one reader asked where on earth one gets pork belly and how on earth does one cook it. Well, I get mine at HanAhReum, the Korean supermarket on Rolling Road in Catonsville. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a regular grocery store, but you could ask the butcher if they can get it in. As to how to cook this most fabulous cut of pork, I will refer you to Jamie Oliver’s pork belly…he is also obsessed with it. His simple but fabulous recipe is a good one. Easy but luscious..you’ll never look back.
I also did some beef short ribs this weekend….also bought at the Korean market. For these I tried a new-to-me recipe from Bon Appetit 2006, in which the ribs are seared, and then braised in red wine and vegetables. Those same veges are pureed at the end which makes a gorgeous thick sauce…I loved it, and hopefully so did my next door neighbors who have a new baby, and I thought they could use a dinner. Serve it with some smashed potatoes drizzled with olive oil and, everyone will love you.
Tonight, still eating in…I reheating black-eyed peas I had cooked last week…. with chicken broth, smoked sausage, onion and red peppers(I love red peppers)….and lots of garlic of course. Very healthy, and if you’ve never tried black-eyed peas….you really should. If you cook them from dried, ridiculously inexpensive. Like all beans.
And one blog reader, Gabrielle, asked about the recipe for roasted eggplant. Oh, Gabby…it’s sooooo easy, and once you start roasting vegetables(I learned from the Silver Palate cookbook), you’ll see there’s really no better way to prepare almost any vege. Eggplant, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, turnips, onions, red peppers…you name it…they’re all enhanced by roasting as it reduces them to their best essence. How to? Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put your cubed(large cubes) of eggplant on the baking dish…drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt and toss, so that they’re all covered. And don’t be too shy with the salt. Make sure it’s a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes. (It will take longer for potatoes and sometimes a touch shorter for green beans or asparagus…check at 15 minutes.) Once its brown and caramelizing on the bottom, give them a flip and put back in for another 5 -8 minutes, and you’re done. Trust me…these are good alone or on a salad, and can be served hot or at room temperature.
And if you find you love eating in and all the $$$$ you’re saving….check out the book, The Art of Eating In, by Cathy Erway…it’s by a woman who swore off eating out for two years, get this, in New York City…the biggest restaurant town in the world! “Two years, three apartments, countless food events and some strange restaurant-free “dates” later, she was able to turn eating in into something of an art, rather than mere survival method.” Sounds like a good read…I’m definitely checking it out!