Tag Archives: Latin

Pork tinga

This is absolutely fantastic. Rich, deep, spicy flavors + easy and cheap? A serious keeper.  I’ve made it twice now and already can’t wait for the next try.

PORK TINGA

  • 2 lbs boneless pork butt, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions, one quartered and one finely chopped
  • 5 toes garlic, 3 smashed but whole and 2 finely minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 T ground dried chipotle
  • 2 bay leaves

TOPPING & TOSTADAS

  • Corn tortillas
  • Veggie or corn oil
  • Avocado
  • Lime
  • Cilantro (optional, as always)
  • Queso fresco or feta

For the pork….

  1. Bring pork, quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook until pork is tender, 75 to 90 minutes. Drain pork, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Discard onion and garlic. Shred pork into rough ½-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shredded pork, chopped onion, and oregano; cook, stirring often, until pork is well browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, reserved pork cooking liquid, and bay leaves; simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste.

For the oven-baked tostadas….

  1. Heat oven to 450. Arrange 12 six-inch corn tortillas in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets; brush both sides of each tortilla with vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons per tray).
  2. Place a wire rack upside down on top of the tortillas to keep them flat. Bake on the upper- and lower-middle racks until lightly browned and crisp, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.

To serve….

  1. Pile tinga on tortilla. Serve with chopped avocado, cilantro, lime slices, queso fresco or feta, etc.

P.S. The oven-baked tostadas are an excellent thing to have around. I use them for breakfast and top with a fried egg and lots of pico or salsa. Here it is with some leftover beans, an egg, salsa and fresh cilantro:

P.P.S.  This recipe makes a lot of pork. After awhile, I decided to do something different. Stirred in a little BBQ sauce and served on a roll with pickles. See it here with a yummy salad (romaine, grapefruit, avocado and a lime vinaigrette) and homemade ginger lemonade.

Party planning

I need to take a break from work, so here’s some info on a party I’m planning right now. We’re having 25-30 people over on Friday night for apps, sweets and booze. I’m in the middle of a crazy week, so I’m looking to make it pretty easy on myself…but still amazing.  A few tips to that end:

  • I think a spread looks more impressive as a whole if it follows something of a theme (e.g. Italian, Mexican, Comfort food).
  • When the whole looks impressive, you have a little more wiggle room on the individual items. Meaning that you can buy more dishes ready-made or ready-to-assemble.
  • Always plan several items that can be wholly or partially cooked 1-2 days in advance.
  • For a cocktail party, I shoot for 3 savory dishes (1 veggie, 1 vegetarian or seafood, and 1 meat), 2 sweets and 1 signature drink.
  • Try to avoid dished that need utensils or more than 2 bites.

With those rules in mind, I came up with the following 3 menus:

Mexican

  1. Guacamole topped with chipotle puree and toasted almonds, served with chips (vegetarian): Easy-peasy. You have to make the guac the day of, but easy to puree the chipotle in adobo and toast the almonds in advance
  2. Cilantro dip  with crudite (veggies): The dip is store-bought and I’d cheat and buy a lot of veggies already prepped
  3. Oregano-crusted pork tenderloin sliders with pickled red onion and lime aioli (meat): Cheap, delicious and easy. I can make the pork and red onions in advance, the rolls come from the freezer section and the “lime aioli”is just mayo with lime zest and sauteed garlic.
  4. Subtly spicy Mexican chocolate pudding with cinnamon cream, served in little shot glasses (sweet #1): You literally make this dish in a blender. It is so good and easy…and vegan (minus the whipped cream)
  5. Key lime bars (sweet #2): The hardest thing on the menu, so I might think about a substitute.
  6. Margaritas (signature cocktail): Always easy, always delicious. Pre-mix everything and just have it out for people to serve themselves

Comfort food

  1. Michael’s curry dip with crudite (veggie): Easy to make in advance because it tastes better after a day or two…and I can outsource it to my husband
  2. Little crawfish pies (seafood): Store-bought pie shells filled with crawfish etouffee and cooked with parm on top. YUM. The etouffee isn’t “easy” but I’ll end up with more than half of it in my freezer for a rainy day, so I don’t mind the effort
  3. Pigs in a blanket (meat): Come on, people. They are delicious and everyone loves them. Literally just store-bought little sausages rolled in crescent roll dough and baked. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on some before baking, mix up some honey mustard (yellow mustard, honey and a bit of mayo) and Schriracha ketchup, and people with think you’re Christ come again.
  4. Brown-butter rice krispie treats (sweet #1): Just increase the butter a bit and let it get nice and brown before you mix it up. Sprinkle a bit of course salt on top while it’s still warm in the pan.
  5. Peanut butter, chocolate chunk cookies (sweet#2): My earliest signature dish and still a winner. Stay great for days, so you can make in advance.
  6. Bourbon slushes (signature cocktail): Mix it two days ahead and  pop it in the freezer. Then you just separate the ice with a fork and leave it out for people to serve themselves.

Italian/Mediterranean

  1. Rebecca F’s delicious prosciutto wrapped goat cheese (meat): So easy, plentiful and yummy. They do need to be assembled the day of the party, but it’s an easy job for a hubby or child (hah)
  2. Puff pastry tartlets with pesto, fresh mozzerella and sun dried tomatoes (vegetarian):  Another day-of job, but easy and great at room temp.
  3. Mediterranean platter (veggies): Store-bought grape leaves, hummus + crudite, olives, and Marcona almonds
  4. Nutella and banana tea sandwiches (sweet #1): Seriously. Nutella and bananas in perfectly square, little white-bread, crustless  sandwiches
  5. Meringue cookies with lemon curd (sweet #2): Store-bought meringues with store-bought lemon curd. Add a blueberry or raspberry on top and we’re in business
  6. Blood orange Sangria (signature cocktail): Add “blood orange” to the title and people will think it was harder. 🙂 Better if you make it a day in advance

So, 3 menus that are all easy, delicious and well-balanced. My honey picked the last one for the party. What do you think?

Either way, I’ll start linking back to some of these recipes. Fun, fun!

Green Chile Pork Tacos

Sigh. This is honestly one of my favorite dishes I have ever made in my whole life. SO delicious! Meaty and spicy and tangy and earthy and soft and crunchy. Basically, perfect. Also, easy. Hells bells!

Here’s the problem…I don’t really have a recipe, per se. More like some vague instructions. Still, it’s so easy, I don’t see how it can go wrong. It seems like a lot of steps, but it’s a lot of passive cooking and it literally made 20 tacos.

I’m breaking it down into 4 separate sections- pork, pickled red onions, sauce and tacos.

Pork

  • Slow cooker
  • Pork roast (needs to fit in slow cooker)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Veggie oil
  • Chicken broth
  • Roasted green chiles (I used hatch frozen)
  • Seasoning: Mexican oregano, Salt & Pepper, Flour
  • Yellow onion
  1. Get ~2 T veggie oil heating in large skillet over med-high. Meanwhile, trim the pork of outside fat. Pat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and pat in (about 2 Tablespoons). When oil is very hot, add pork and sear on all sides.
  2. While pork is searing, slice onion into thin half moons (pole to pole, then across). Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. When pork is seared, place on top. Add green chiles to taste (I used a full container of hot, so about a cup).
  3. Add enough chicken broth (or water + bouillon) to come 3/4 up roast. Smash and peel garlic, and add whole. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon mexican oregano. Put slow cooker on high for first hour, then cook on low for 6-8 hours. The meat should fall apart.
  4. Remove meat from pot, cover and set aside. When cool enough, strain remaining solids (onion, chiles, garlic) from liquid and set aside for sauce.
  5. Defat liquid by placing in fridge and removing top fat when cool OR by using a fat separator.  Place remaining liquid in small pot and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until reduced to ~1/3-1/2 cup.
  6. Meanwhile, shred meat with two forks or fingers. When liquid is reduced, stir into pork and set mixture aside.

Pickled red onions

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into rings (OPTIONAL)
  1. Thinly slice onions into half moons and place in medium, heat-proof bowl.
  2. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt and optional jalapeno to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When boiling and sugar fully dissolved, remove from heat and pour over onions.
  3. Stir to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for 30-60 minutes. Strain liquid and reserve onions.

Green chile sauce

  • Reserved solids from pork
  • Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Blend reserved solids in blender until smooth. If too thick, add a bit of water.
  2. Add ~1-2 teaspoons honey (you can always add more later, but you can’t take it back) and salt and pepper to taste. It should be spicy and creamy.
  3. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to emulsify.

Tacos

  • Corn tortillas
  • Green chile pork
  • Creamy green chile sauce
  • Sweet, sour and spicy pickled red onions
  • Optional: cilantro, feta or cotija cheese, shredded carrots and/or cabbage
  1. Warm corn tortillas over gas burner until slightly charred or wrapped in foil in 350 degree oven.
  2. Place pork in tortilla. Top with pickled onions, green chile sauce and optional toppings. I don’t have a picture of it, but I LOVE it with carrots, so don’t discount that.
  3. Eat!

Chipotle cream

I drizzle this sauce over a roasted corn soup, but the leftovers are always fantastic on just about anything, especially tacos. Sorry I don’t have a picture, but close your eyes and imagine what creamy, smoky, tangy delciousness looks like.

1/2  Cup sour cream

2-3  teaspoons pureed canned chipotle (about 1 pepper + some adobo sauce)

1       teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/2  teaspoon lime zest

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine the sour cream, pureed chipotles, lime juice and zest. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper
  2. Mix well and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Stir before using

Romesco sauce

I have been a bad, bad blogger. Life’s just been a bit nutso with work and family and blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I am back on this horse….starting with Romesco sauce. Yum. My mom and I first tried this as an accompaniment for empanadas and it was de-licious. Now, I am not about to make empanadas on any given Monday, so I needed some other dishes for this crazy yummy (one might say sick delicious) goodness. That turned out not to be an issue at all. Here’s what it is excellent with:

For breakfast, with a fried egg

As an appetizer with grilled sausage

As a side, with roasted potatoes

On a sandwich, with roast pork, arugula and whatever else your little Dagwood heart desires

Finally, I would like to note that, while the ingredient list is somewhat long, there is ONE step for actually making the sauce. That’s as easy as it gets, people. So, let’s get started:

Makes about 4 cups

1 Cup Marcona almonds, toasted

7 cloves garlic

3/4 Cup EVOO

2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (2 parts red wine to 1 part balsamic does in a pinch)

1 small hot chili (serrano, thai, etc.) or 1/4 t cayenne

2 Cups roasted red bell peppers (it’s better if you roast them fresh, but I use canned about 75% of the time)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a food processor, puree everything except the peppers until smooth. Add the peppers and puree until smooth, but textured. Sauce keeps for about a week in the fridge

Quick gazpacho

I don’t have a picture, but (as a friend pointed out) it’s a good time to post this recipe. We’re finally getting to that point of the year, in Texas at least, where we can get great tomatoes. My little tomatoes aren’t quite there yet, but they’re getting closer every day…check it out:

Anyway, this a great easy recipe that you can make in the food processor. Even though I’m letting a machine do most of the work, it looks much prettier at the end if you mince a small portion of the veggies by hand.  That’s not officially in the recipe, but it really is better.

3 ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes, cored and quartered
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch pieces
2 small cucumbers, one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into rough 1-inch pieces
1/2 small sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium toes garlic,  pressed through
2 teaspoons table salt
1/3 cup vinegar (sherry is best, but red wine vinegar works too)
ground black pepper
5 cups tomato juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 Cup ice cubes
EVOO for serving
  1. Process tomatoes in food processor fitted with steel blade until broken down into 1/4- to 1-inch pieces, about twelve 1-second pulses; transfer to large bowl.
  2. Process peppers until broken down into 1/4- to 1-inch pieces, about twelve 1-second pulses; add to bowl with tomatoes. Repeat with cucs.
  3. Process onions until broken down into 1/4- to 1-inch pieces, about twelve 1-second pulses. Set onions aside in a separate bowl and add the garlic, salt, vinegar, and ground pepper to taste. Let sit 15 minutes, then stir in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers and let stand 5 more minutes, until vegetables just begin to release their juices.
  4. Stir in tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes; cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours.
  5. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes, and serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon EVOO. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days

Pescado Veracruzano

This is one of my all-time favorite weeknight dinners. It’s fast, has super intense flavors and is a one-pot dish. It tastes just like a little Mexican beach town.  Taste the jalapeños before adding. If they are good and spicy, 2 will be plenty. Sometimes they are puny and you may want 3.  I usually serve this with crusty bread and a salad. If you don’t feel like making a salad, think about adding half a head of kale. Just wash it REALLY well, tear it into pieces and add in step 2.2 (with tomatoes, jalapenos, etc). It’s yummy and filling and full of iron.

2          thick, uniform pieces of firm, white fish like Cod or certified planet-friendly Sea Bass (about ¾ -1 lb)

2          T EVOO

1          small white onion

2-3       fresh jalapenos, seeded and cut into thin strips or rounds

2          cloves (or toes, as I call it) of garlic, sliced thin

2          tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips

2          T fresh oregano, chopped course

½         C  sliced green olives

1          C dry white wine

¾         C fish or shrimp stock (clam juice can be substituted if you’re lame)

1          lemon, juiced and zested

Salt & Pepper

  1. Cook fish
    1. Check your fish for bones, pat dry and season both sides with salt and pepper
    2. Heat a large, deep pan or pot over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. When hot, add 2 T EVOO and add fish. If your fish has skin, cook first skin-side up.
    3. Sear fish until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook other side for ~2 minutes.
    4. Set aside on a plate and cover with foil
  2. Make soup
    1. Return pan to high heat and add remaining oil. When very hot, add onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent and golden (about 3 minutes).
    2. Add the jalapenos, garlic, tomato, oregano and olives. Cook , stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes, until tomatoes start to release their juices.
    3. Add wine, broth and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook until the booze has burned off and the broth is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes
    4. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and any fish juices (from plate of cooked fish), and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve soup
    1. Laddle broth into bowl
    2. Nestle fish into broth
    3. Let rest for 2-3 minutes to cool slightly and let fish warm through
    4. Eat with crusty bread