hibernation food: pork ragu

pork raguwelcome to hibernation station. clearly, its the end of january and i actually just want to  hop in a hot air balloon that takes me to somewhere warm, say, belize. i think that would do. but at this point, ill take 20. it was a few weeks back during one of the negative days that i decided pork ragu was in order. thanks to DALS, this recipe has been on repeat this winter. it is the perfect weekend meal and the worlds best leftovers. like, i actually can’t stop counting down the minutes until lunch when i can eat this the rest of the week. salivating. the pork falls apart in your mouth, the wine makes it rich and the herbs bring out a freshness. IT JUST WORKS GUYS. so if you find yourself wondering what you are going to eat this weekend and you have a few hours to spare, i promise you won’t regret it when this fills your home with the yummiest aromas. happy friday! DSC00340DSC00356

pork ragu over pappardelle (serves 6ish)

  • 2 to 2 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small pat butter
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano
  • small handful of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness
  • pappardelle, cooked to your liking
  • freshly grated parmesean

here’s how:

first off, if you don’t have a large enough pot to do this in the oven or just love your crock pot to pieces, don’t worry — you can use either. i’ve done both and either way works well. if you do decide to go the crock pot route, i would do it on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, until the meat is falling apart. now the fun stuff!

preheat oven to 325°F. take the pork out, salt and pepper both sides, don’t skimp on the s + p. add olive oil and butter to large dutch oven or stock pot and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn, about 1-2 minutes. add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all.

add the onion and garlic to the pork and saute for 1 minute. then throw in your tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. once it starts boiling, cover, and put in oven. braise for 3-4 hours, turning every hour or so. the liquid should always come about 1/3 up the pork so add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed, i usually opt for the wine for richness. pork is done when it’s practically falling apart. take it out of the oven and grab out any stems from the thyme and oregano. next, pull it apart with two forks or mash everything with a potato masher, my preference. when it’s is ready, put pappardelle noodles in individual bowls and top with ragu and lots of parm. dig in!

ragu

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hibernation food: pork ragu

wellness wednesday: adobo chicken salad with lime vinaigrette

DSC00416i’m going to start with it says it feels like -20 right now and i never want to leave my big comfy chair. as i am positive no one else wants to leave their bed. that has absolutely nothing to do with this salad, forgive me. yesterday, i watched this video on ‘a cup of jo,’ and in turn made me want to cook up something fresh and healthy. my mother always says “only shop the perimeter of the store” and let’s be real, that usually doesn’t happen — but yesterday, i succeeded! as i am sure most of you do, i find it way harder to eat healthy in the winter when all i want is comfort food…hello french onion soup. i will say though, this salad was light but filling and the chicken is out. of. this. world.

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adobo chicken salad with lime vinaigrette (serves 2)

for the chicken:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, from a can of chipotles in adobo (i used la morena – usually in the mexican section of your market; save one chipotle pepper and chop it)
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

for the vinaigrette:

  • 1 lime, around 2 table spoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

for the salad:

  • 1.5 heads of lettuce (i used a mix of red leaf and romaine), rinsed and chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped

here’s how:

are we ready to rumble? add the chicken to a baking dish or ziploc bag and season with salt and pepper. then, add all ingredients to your dish or ziploc bag. toss so all of the chicken is evenly coated. marinate until you can’t wait any longer to start cooking. in theory, it would be great to let it sit for 2 hours or more, but who has that time at the end of the day? i marinated mine for about 45 minutes and it was still fab. when you are ready to cook the chicken, get out your non stick skillet and place it over a burner on medium-high with a small splash of olive oil. once its heated, add the chicken to the pan. cooking times will vary depending on the cut of chicken. breasts will take around 6 minutes per side with the pan covered. tenders will take 3-4 minutes per side, uncovered.

now let’s chat about the vinaigrette. put all ingredients into a food processor or jar and mix to combine. taste, then add more lime or oil if desired. that was hard.

to make the salads, add your lettuce to the bowl then top with even amounts of corn, beans, tomato, and avocado. sprinkle your chopped cilantro on top. add desired amount of chicken then top with green onions and dressing. pour glass of wine and serve!

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wellness wednesday: adobo chicken salad with lime vinaigrette

get your shine on

loren hope braceletsometimes, i like to get rid of all my stacked bracelets and layered necklaces and go with one single piece. to live on it’s own, it has to be special. enter loren hope, the usa made jewelry line that is classic, yet modern. all three pieces are versatile enough to wear with jeans and a tee or a night out. which is your favorite?loren hope necklaceloren hope earrings                                                                   1 | 2 | 3

get your shine on

warmth

love print 2it’s no surprise that i am ready for some warmth in my life right about now, hello – it is january in chicago. and while i’d love to jet set off to somewhere breezy and warm, there is just zero chance of that happening. instead, i am inserting myself into these prints and daydreaming that i am the L hand in max wanger’s love print. the LA based photographer really nails it when it comes to capturing such happy moments. so here’s to having a week filled with wanderlust!tulumice cream 2                                                                 1 | 2 | 3

warmth

the ratatouille, from ratatouille

ratatouilledo you like veggies? i like veggies. do you like tomato sauce? i love tomato sauce. do you like pretty food? i sure do. should we be besties? why not. if you answered yes to all of the aforementioned questions, then you will no doubt love this ratatouille, especially now that were besties.  this is one of those meals that looks a little tricky and time consuming, but in all seriousness, the hardest part is cutting the parchment paper. it is perfect for so many different occasions, a sunday meal that can be taken for lunch the rest of the week or for a little dinner party with friends. and let’s be honest, a perfect excuse to watch remy whip up some rat-tastic meals. i’ll leave you with that and promise to never make up words about rats (blegh) ever again.ratatouille ratatouille ratatouille ratatouille

ratatouille 

  • 3/4 yellow onion, finely chopped and divided in two bowls
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1 can tomato sauce/puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  eggplant
  • 1  zucchini
  • 1  yellow squash
  • 1-2 red bell pepper
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves pulled off
  • salt and pepper
  • a few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving
  • parchment paper

here’s how:

preheat oven to 375 degrees F. next, chop your veggies. i like to start with the main ingredients: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper. trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. for the red pepper, trim the end and remove the core very carefully.

now let’s get to slicing. with a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper very thinly — probably about 1/16 of an inch if using a mandolin. for me, i usually use my mandolin for the yellow squash and zucchini and a knife for the eggplant and red pepper as its easier, but feel free to do whatever works best for you! next, chop your onion and garlic so you can start assembling.

now comes the fun part! pour in half of the tomato sauce to your oval baking dish or until the bottom is covered. to this, add half of your onion, half your garlic garlic, one tablespoon of olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. arrange slices of sliced vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a teeny bit of each flat surface is visible (see in above pictures), alternating vegetables. usually i have leftover veggies, so i do another layer! if you’d like to do the same — pour the remainder of the tomato sauce, onions, and garlic over the first layer and repeat.

drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the veggies along with your little thyme leaves and season with S + P. cover the dish with a piece of parchment paper that fits inside (picture below). i forewarned you, this is the hardest part. bake for 40-50 minutes or until the veggies are clearly cooked and the tomato sauce is bubbling up around the outskirts of the pan. take out and let cool for about 5 minutes.

serve with a dollop of goat cheese on top over any grain you like or dunk some bread into it, whatever you fancy. i happen to fancy couscous. enjoy!

ratatouille

adapted from smitten kitchen.

the ratatouille, from ratatouille

the new year

champagnehi lovelies. i hope you all had a fabulous new years and are ready for the 365 ahead! along with many others, i choose not to have resolutions because there is about a 0% chance of me actually following through. while i’ve never been interested much in freaking out over the new year, this year i felt different. i want to focus more time on the aspects of my life that make me happy and less time on worrying about the things i cannot control. so here’s to trying yoga, being present, always having painted nails and blogging more! DSC00244DSC00249while it was completely freezing on new year’s eve here in chicago, i couldn’t fathom wearing tights with this dress. so, in turn i braved the cold temperatures and snow and was on my way! in the end, i’m glad i went sans tights and loved how easy this dress was. i hope you all had a fab night and here’s to 2014, may it be the best one yet!

dress: karen zambos | shoes: steve madden | necklace: zara | rings: tiffany and vintage

the new year