Sunday, November 6, 2011


I haven't made a meat dish in a while. This is not because I don't think you should eat meat, it's more a function of the empty nest.

In fact, I find myself cooking less and less, and struggling with quantities. Despite the fact the the kids have been on their own for four years (and one of them for 7--how did that happen?), I still find myself growing, shopping, and cooking for four. And then I have enough leftovers for days and days. Really, I could get away with cooking once or twice a week and then Wei and I just living on leftovers, like we did in college.

It's especially frustrating because right now I have tons of time--my hoped for new job did not come through (yet), and I've cut my teaching schedule back to almost nothing. So I have lots of time for cooking. But with fewer people, and less income, I really have to be careful about not wasting food.

Wasting food, of course, is practically a national pastime. About half the food grown (!) never gets to the table. All you have to do to see how cavalier we are about food is to walk through any cafeteria after lunch, or a park after a big event, to see the trash overflowing, not just with trash, but with uneaten, often perfectly good food.

The EPA has lots of suggestions about how to mitigate the problem, and resources for study. There are entire organizations dedicated to reducing food waste.

Which all seems kind of silly. Because like a lot of things, this is really in our control. Don't buy what you don't need, and eat those leftovers!

This lasted us for 3 meals:

Pork Xandaloo
Grind into a light powder:
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cardamom seeds
3 in stick cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds (if you've got 'em)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ight brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric

if you like heat also use:
2 small hot peppers (like a shishito), cut fine
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix into:
5 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
up to 6 T water if needed

Pork chops, whatever cut you like. I used very thinly cut boneless center loin

10 T oil
2 large onions

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Fry onions, stirring frequently, until they are a rich, dark brown. Remove onions with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil. Sear the meat on both sides, until the fat starts to carmelize, Turn down the heat and add the sauce. It should cover the meat; if it doesn't add a little water. Bring to a simmer, then place the onions on top. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Serve over:

Garlic rice
1 cup rice
4 medium cloves garlic

Prepare rice according to package instructions. Using a garlic press, add the garlic when the water comes to a boil.

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