Wednesday, January 13, 2016

J = One Man's Junk is Another Man's Juicy Deliciousness

Today is January 13.  This month is almost half-over.  Incredible how time flies, yes?

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, because it's been my experience and theory that people usually intend to change something about themselves or their lifestyle...something they are unhappy with, but up until December 31, they have not quite galvanized themselves to change.  January 1 seems to be as good a time as any to cast away bad habits and begin new ones.  And, then for some reason, those resolutions fall apart in the dreary, icky, cold grayness that is usually January (here in the Midwest, anyway). 

And then, for all that, I did actually make resolutions for myself this year.  Even though I expect to fall off the wagon a lot, I feel I must have something to work towards.

1. I have endeavored to be more creative this year.  I did repair my son's First Act guitar and I have the primary instruction books.  I'm going to teach myself how to play guitar this year.  I also want to write more, and even finish a few of the novels I've done for NaNo over the past few years.  And hey, I think maybe I'll submit one or two to an agency.

2. As a family, we're going to be cutting back more on the processed, high-carb, wheat-laden foods.  Breads, sweets, pasta, rice, potatoes will be replaced by more proteins like meat, nuts, cheese, etc.  Fruit and vegetable intake will increase also.  This, I've found, is really a rollercoaster process...I mean, it's absolutely shocking how MUCH of the American diet relies on starches and sugars.

So there's that.  And I'm still on about this Kitchen Alphabet Challenge, and I admit, I've really slacked off here.  But, all I can do is keep on keepin' on, right?

A few days ago, I opted to make a wonderful lentil chili, and to it, I added some roasted, pureed beets.  The earthy taste was not easily detected, but the color added to the chili was gorgeous.  Then, using this recipe at Food & Wine as inspiration, I saved the beet peels and pureed them with some caraway use a paste rub for pork tenderloins.  The caraway was definitely a nice tasty touch, the beets not so much, but as you can see in the picture at left, it added a beautiful bit of color.  I took the tenderloins out of a 400 degree oven when they temped at 140...and they were juicy and perfect.

Long story short: slightly undercook your pork.  It's worth it.

I've been trying to steer away also from the typical American plate: protein, starch, vegetable.  That's how I (and countless others, I imagine) grew up eating...biggest meal of the day was dinnertime.  Tonight, it was just the pork and a lima bean gratin...modified from the great Alice Waters' cookbook The Art of Simple Food.  The family liked the vegetables, but I'd like to try a more colorful bean next time, because even though I like limas...their color is a little on the blah side.

I admit, I was intrigued by using discarded beet peels for a rub.  It worked out well, and I'll be keeping my eyes open for other such reuseables.  Because - it might be junk to you, but it's not to me!

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