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I really can’t take any of the credit for the main attraction on this one. When NTS came home with some deliciously thick, deliciously marbled shoulder cuts, it was obvious from the start that they were meant for the crock pot. NTS mixed up the dry rub himself–I have no idea what was in it–and massaged those shoulders.

I’ll take credit for the cheesy cauliflower, though. It seemed like the sort of comfort food you should serve with pulled pork. Especially if you don’t have any potatoes in the house. And for the sauerruben–like sauerkraut, but with thin strips of turnip in place of the cabbage–which I pickled with my own two hands. Well, with my own one hand. That was the day I skinned my knuckles jumping out of a cherry tree, so all the massaging was left to my un-bandanged hand. Clearly I need to practice tree climbing more, or on more forgiving trees.

Pulled pork

Not the best food-porn picture; my camera doesn’t really do low-light. But I promise you, it was delicious.

But I digress. The point is, sauerruben is delicious. Almost delicious enough to justify julienning an entire turnip by hand. (Almost.) I see a mandoline in my future. And it added the fresh, tangy notes we needed to balance out the rich, spiced pork and creamy cauliflower. Other options here would be a green salad or cucumber salad.

The recipe for sauerruben, part of my continuing quest to pickle all the things, can be found on the blog phickle, along with recipes for almost anything else you might want to home pickle. Unlike regular pickling that involves a canning bath, I have found that lacto-pickling produces delicious results with very little effort. (On the other hand, I won’t have produce from my own garden in the winter. As I don’t have a garden, I’m not at a life stage where this makes a great deal of difference.)

For cheesy cauliflower, you can use my previously posted recipe, which is fabulously rich and makes a fine dinner on its own. Or you can make the quicker version below, which is lighter, faster, and works well as a side dish. Especially when the main attraction is as fabulous as this pork.

Quick Parmesan Cauliflower

Serves 2-4
Time: 10 minutes active, 25 minutes total

1 head cauliflower
Olive oil for frying
2 cubic inches fresh parmesan
1/4 c Greek yoghurt
Garlic powder or minced garlic, 1 clove
Onion powder
Salt
Pepper

  1. Remove cauliflower stalk and cut into bite-size or smaller pieces. (Make food-waste prevention pickles with the stem and the large veins from the leaves, if you like. I cut them into 1/4″ or thinner slices and add a spoonful of minced garlic to the brine. They’re deliciously tangy pickles.) Steam cauliflower 13 minutes in microwave.
  2. Coarsely grate parmesan. Parmesan from a can is not even a little bit the same; cheddar or other cheese would be better.
  3. Saute steamed cauliflower in olive oil over medium heat until edges are brown and caramelized. If using fresh garlic, fry the garlic for one minute before adding the cauliflower. If using garlic from a jar, add add at the same time as the cauliflower.
  4. In your bowl that’s still warm from the microwave, mix cauliflower, cheese, yoghurt and spices to taste.

If you struggle with meal planning, I leave you with this suggestion: pick one savory or sweetish meat, one starchy, creamy and/or cheesy side dish, and one lighter, green and/or tangy vegetable. If the latter happens to be fermented, it has the side benefit of requiring zero effort on the day you make dinner. Just scoop and go. Possibly my new favorite approach to side dishes.

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