Slow Cooking

We are slow cooking a pork butt in sauerkraut and apples on Sunday.  That got us thinking about cooking slow.  When you are a single mother, you cook at warp speed.   There are women who probably have the kids in the kitchen helping, like a Waltons episode, and we wish that was us, but our kitchens were filled with questions about homework or playdates and “do I have to’?s?” and “not that again?s”.  The goal was to make a meal that they would eat, enjoy and still be good for them in 30 minutes or less without resorting to frozen dinners.  But the meal mattered.  It said “I love you” just as much as the words we spoke as we kissed them goodnight.

Now that we are cooking without the urgency of getting a meal to the table, we found we were still cooking as if we had a deadline.  Instead of moving around the kitchen in a leisurely but purposeful fashion, we were rushed and breathless. The shopping was fun and relaxed. The meal was enjoyable and relaxed. We needed to bring that same feeling to the cooking.  It was time to concentrate on slowing down.  We started putting everything away as we used it.  One thing at a time.  It slowed the pace and as a side benefit, left us with a cleaner kitchen.  We thought more about what we were actually doing which in turn, allowed us to use what we learned to improvise.  Sitting at the table or in the backyard,  we looked at recipes and talked about what we’d like to try next.  It took a few weeks to lose that harried feeling but it worked. As it worked and as we relaxed, we also became more confident in what we could do-more daring (for us) in our choices and our sense of possibilities.  Now the whole day is about shopping and cooking and friendship; laughing at our mistakes and celebrating our successes. We come to the table at the end of the day in the same way we started.

The Menu:

Pork & Sauerkraut, Mashed Root Vegetables, Mache Salad, Rye Bread & David Lebovitz Carrot Cake


Slow Cooked Pork Butt with Apples and Sauerkraut

  • 4 lb. pork butt
  • 16 oz. sauerkraut
  • 2 granny smith apples peeled, sliced and cored
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • generous amount of Bavarian seasoning

Place apples in bottom of slow cooker, place pork butt on top of apples.  Layer sauerkraut over pork butt, shake Bavarian seasonings and place bay leaves on top.  Pour red wine and beef broth in cooker.  Cook about 9 hours until tender.

Mashed Root Vegetables

  • 4 red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 parsnips, sliced
  • 1 small celery root, diced
  • 1 small turnip, diced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced & carmelized in butter

Cook  vegetables in boiling water until tender.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Place in large bowl.  Add two tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup milk and the one quarter cup water.  Mash until tender.  Add carmelized shallots and serve.

Mache Salad

  • One bag Trader Joes Mache Greens
  • Two avocados peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red  grapefruit, peeled & cut in to sections

Toss with lime juice & olive oil

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