crockpot

how to impress your friends with bacon

Posted by Corie

I’ve been getting some flack for not writing about my favorite food group on the blog yet… bacon. Hello people, I couldn’t just half ass my first bacon related post! That wouldn’t do all that thick cut, crispy goodness justice. I had to wait for the perfect recipe. One that got my tastebuds excited for bacon all over again. Guess who found one? This gal.

A bacon Kevin Bacon

A bacon Kevin Bacon

Hold up. Isn’t bacon bad for you? Isn’t it so fatty? Like bad fatty? Won’t all that fat make me fat? Blah, blah, blah… NO. Stop right there. Yeah, sure, bacon’s a processed meat and eating bacon at every meal every day wouldn’t be smart, but we’ve talked about this before… fat does not make you fat. Actually, about half the fats in bacon are monounsaturated fats, more specifically oleic acid, which is the same one claimed to be the heart healthy element in olive oil.  Times are a-changing. We know that saturated fat isn’t as harmful as we once thought and that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t affect the cholesterol in the blood. Woah. Knowledge bomb.  There’s a good deal of sodium… I mean bacon is cured. However, if you’re mostly avoiding the biggest culprit of sodium in the diet [processed, packaged foods and beverages] then you can take some salty bacon every once in a while.

Bottom line, if you’re working hard and living a healthy lifestyle, then you deserve some bacon, dammit! Don’t let anyone tell you any different.There is so much possibility in a few strips of nature’s candy.

Some bacon rules to live by:

  • Get the good stuff. Quality, quality, quality is key. What that pig ate, affects the composition of the meat you’re getting as well as the conditions that pig was in. Put the good stuff in, and you’ll get better stuff out. It’s worth it.
  • Get the thick stuff. That’s where it’s at. Get more bang for your buck. The thick cut stuff is more satisfying, unlike housing a pan full of wimpy bacon slices.
  • Get your priorities straight. Bacon isn’t a main dish. You don’t want a plate full of bacon with a side of something else. It should be treated like a dish enhancer. Everything tastes better with a little bacon. Don’t overdo it.

Alright, back to the food. I had been wanting to stuff sweet potatoes with bbq pulled pork. I even bought a really nice pork shoulder from whole foods, but had been dragging my feet about it. Then, a few nights ago, my mom made these AH-MAH-ZING sweet potatoes that were twice baked and stuffed with bacon and shrimp. OMG incredible. I was inspired and got right to work on these bacon and pulled pork stuffed sweet potatoes. They’re even orange for halloween. OoOoooOOOoo spooky.

Bacon & Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet PotatoesIMG_3586

3 huge sweet potatoes (or 4-5 medium sized potatoes)

3 slices thick-cut bacon

1 pound pulled pork (recipe I used is below, but any would do)

Kerrygold Butter

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Rub your potatoes with olive oil, put em on a backing sheet and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until soft. While those are cooking, throw your bacon in a pan over medium-high heat and cook those babies up. When done. chop up into pieces and put aside.

When the potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, leaving the oven on, and let them cool a little. Slice the potatoes in half horizontally if huge and if small then just take the tops off. Scoop out a majority of the sweet potato flesh [things are getting graphic] and put it in a big bowl. Mash it all up until super smooth. Then throw in your bacon and some of your pulled pork. Use your judgement here and put in as much or as little pork as you’d like. Throw in a little bit of kerrygold butter, like a tablespoon and mix everything all up. Season to taste.

Scoop your mix back into the sweet potato skins and throw them back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Take potatoes out. Smother with more pork. Eat.

Sweet & Savory Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

2 medium yellow onions, sliced thin

4 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 cup low sodium chicken broth or stock

1 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 3-5 pound boneless pork shoulder (aka dat pork butt), any twine or netting removed

1-1 1/2 cups bbq sauce (optional)

Throw your onions, garlic, and chicken broth all into the slow cooker. Mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub the mix all over your pork getting all the nooks and crannies. Then set the pork shoulder on top of the onions and garlic. Put the top on and cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 8-10 hours until that pork is for tender.

Go do your shit

Turn your slow cooker off and carefully move the pork shoulder to a cutting board.  Strain the remaining liquid and onion mix into a bowl that can take some heat, through a mesh strainer. Discard the onions (or save if you like them). Set the liquid aside.

Using two forks, shred your pork into bite size pieces, getting rid of any large hunks of fat. Return the meat to the slow cooker and add in your bbq sauce or add back in some of the cooking liquid to keep the pork nice and juicy. Taste and season if necessary.

adapted from chow.com

References for all that science-ness. Let’s be evidence based and shit.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544536/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

http://journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/Abstract/2006/01000/Dietary_cholesterol_provided_by_eggs_and_plasma.4.aspx

http://authoritynutrition.com/is-bacon-bad-or-good/

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balance and braised beef short ribs

Posted by Corie

The title of today’s post makes a lot more sense than you think it does. Don’t worry, I’ll only ramble a little and then get right to the good stuff.

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Life is a juggling act. There’s a bunch of different pieces getting all thrown around. It takes practice to get this perfect balance of work, and health, and family, and food, and happiness, etc, etc. The problem lies within this struggle we have with time. There’s never enough of it or there’s too much of it. Progress takes time. Work takes time. Exercise takes time. Sleep takes up time. You’re all thinking “reading this stupid ass blog is taking up my time”. Big shocker here, cooking takes time too. Bottom line… how do we do it? How do we squeeze in the prep and cook time to make quality meals and healthy foods when we’ve got all this other stuff going on?

The answer is balance. When you’re crunched for time and you’ve got a lot of stuff you should probably be doing… When standing over the stove and staring at your food cook is just not gonna work… When you know that the day you have planned is gonna suck the friggen life out of you… think crockpot [or something like it]. You can shove a whole meal in a crockpot, let it cook all day, and it’ll be there waiting for you once you hit that busy-day rock bottom.

Braising is even cooler than crock potting. My food nerd is showing. Sorry, I’m not sorry. When you braise a food you sear it at high heat first. Let’s say your searing up some beef short ribs. The browning gives those ribs this amazing first layer of flavor. Then you add in your onions, carrots, and something moist like red wine and beef stock to let that meat simmer in for a few hours. Go to the gym. Go get your work done. Go take a nap, for pete’s sake you deserve it! 3 hours later, come back and pull that out. Hello complexity. Hello delicious intermingling of flavors. What you get is beautiful.

 

Braised Beef Short Ribs

8 beef short ribs (not regular ribs, these are jacked up,

big ass, meaty beef short ribs.. oh and they’re grass fed)

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepperIMG_3447

Olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

handful chopped sundried tomatoes

healthy pinch dried thyme

healthy pinch dried rosemary

2.5 cups dry red wine

3.5 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed, oven safe pot heat up some olive oil until it’s screaming hot. Generously season your short ribs with salt and pepper. In batches, throw them in and brown on all sides. When they are browned and beautiful, pull them out and set aside.

After you’ve gotten through all your ribs, turn the heat down a little and with another splash of olive oil, cook your onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Throw in those sundried tomatoes and give everything a little stir.

Season with the thyme and rosemary. Let that soak in & cook for another minute or two. Now add back in the short ribs, pour the wine and beef broth over everything. Stick the whole pot in the oven.

Go get your shit done. You’ve got roughly 2.5 hours. Come back and whip up a little veggie right before serving. We ate ours with mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. It’s good shit.