I feel very confessional today.
I love Costco. Maybe even a little more than I love my family. Did I type that out loud? Seriously, I go to Costco at least once a week and always come home with all sorts of awesome things — and not just stuff that come in 400-pack boxes.
Here are some things I picked up yesterday:
Gluten-free, free-range, super easy-peasy, and pretty tasty. I threw one pack in the freezer and will use the other pack throughout the week. I packed a few meatballs with some leftover braised cabbage and brought it to work.
Ito-en makes my favorite bottled Japanese tea and I love having these bags around to make green tea on the fly.
I eat tons of guacamole so I’m happy this comes in a three pack.
Our Costco stocks some top-shelf cookbooks along with the crap. I spied signed copies of Michael Chiarello’s new Bottega cookbook but it was next to Sandra Lee’s latest cookbook. I guess you have to take the good with the shitty. Come holiday season, they bring out the really fancy cookbooks like Alinea, The French Laundry Cookbook, etc. I hope they stock Modernist Cuisine when it comes out…
Other products I regularly pick up at Costco:
- Grimaud Farms duck confit
- Large bag of Haas avocados (on the Clean Fifteen so I’m okay with them being conventionally grown)
- Large bag of bell peppers (yes, I know it’s on the Dirty Dozen list but sometimes I can’t help myself – especially when I want to roast off a bunch of them)
- Amylu Sweet Carmelized Onion Chicken Burgers
- Rosie Fully Cooked Organic Free Range Chicken Strips
*UPDATE 7/11: I don’t buy the chicken meatballs, chicken burgers, or free range chicken strips anymore because there’s sugar and/or bad oils in ‘em.
Plus, you can return almost anything (save some electronics) at anytime with no box or receipt — even years later. I’m sold.
One of my favorite cookbooks on the shelf is Molly Stevens’s All About Braising. Her recipe for “World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage” is AWESOME. My adapted version of this recipe is a mainstay in my veggie side dish arsenal because it transforms a lowly humble vegetable into a dish worth oohing and aahing over. Yes, it takes 2.5 hours from start to finish, but the total prep time is only ~10-15 minutes. Plus, it makes your house smell so dang yummy.
Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:
- 2 tablespoons melted lard, ghee, or bacon grease for coating the baking dish
- 1 medium head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
- 1 large red or yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch coins
- 1/4 cup bone broth or water
- 1/4 cup melted lard, ghee, or bacon grease
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Aleppo pepper (optional)
- Aged balsamic vinegar
Here’s what to do:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with the melted fat.
2. Lop off the tough stem end of the cabbage and divide it into 6-8 wedges. Keep the core attached so the wedges stay intact after the long cooking time. Don’t worry: The tough core will get super tender, too.
3. Place the cabbage pieces in a single layer in the greased dish — a little overlap is okay. Toss on the onions and carrots and drizzle with broth and the melted fat. Season well with salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper (if using). Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven.
4. Cook the cabbage undisturbed for 1 hour. Crack open the foil cover and carefully flip the wedges over. Reseal the dish tightly and braise for another hour or until fork-tender.
5. At this point, you can remove the cabbage to cool and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it (up to 4 days). When you’re ready to serve, crank the oven up to 425 F and bake until browned (about 15 minutes).
6. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.
I’m not a NPR listener. Whenever my friends talk about what they heard on Morning Edition, I smile and nod while secretly thinking about all the crazy stuff I heard on Howard Stern that morning. Still, Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift have an award-winning food show on Public Radio (or so I hear) and their cookbook, The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper, has some great recipes. A recipe I make over and over again is their Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes,” which I’ve modified slightly (to make it super-Paleo AND super-simple). You can make this dish ahead of time and it’s the dish that keeps on giving.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 5 large cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons grassfed butter
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
I started by filling up a large (6-quart) stock pot with an inch or two of water. I put the pot on a burner set on high, dumped in a steamer insert, and put on the lid.
While waiting for the water to boil, I washed and trimmed a large head of cauliflower and cut up the florets and stem. I then grabbed a packet of Trader Joe’s peeled garlic from the fridge and sliced up all the cloves. Don’t worry about how everything looks because it’ll get pulverized later in the Cuisinart.
Once the water in the pot was boiling, I threw in the stems, half of the florets, and all of the garlic. I salted everything liberally.
Then, I put in the rest of the cauliflower, seasoned with more salt, replaced the lid, and steamed everything until it was soft (~10 minutes). You won’t overcook it — trust me.
Once the florets were done, I dumped everything into a colander and let it drain.
I dumped everything into my Cuisinart food processor (fitted with the steel knife), and added some fresh cracked pepper, microplaned nutmeg, and the butter.
Final step: I processed everything until smooth. After one last taste for seasoning, I put my faux “mashed potatoes” in a big bowl, covered it and popped it in my fridge. These faux “mashed potatoes” reheat beautifully in the microwave!