Tag Archives: Sick delicious

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!

My mom’s pancakes

Listen, my mother can make the best pancakes in the world. I regularly order pancakes and I am telling you that only once (ONE time) did restaurant pancakes even come close to challenging mom’s. On a related note, if you find yourself in Fredericksburg, Tx, consider stopping at the famous Rather Sweet bakery and ordering the pancakes.

I’m including the basic recipe below, but you’ll notice that the pictures capture a slightly more accessorized version. As my dad quite correctly pointed out, my love of souped-up pancakes came from his hotcakes recipe, which was handed down from my grandmother, Bummy. The picture shows banana and toasted pecan pancakes- I made them for my hubby’s birthday breakfast. We did not divorce that morning. I love to add blueberries and lemon zest, or sauteed apple bits with cinnamon (my favorite version from Dad). You get the picture. My only bit of advice when it comes to toppings is to listen to Mae West- too much of a good thing can be wonderful. If you’re adding blueberries, add a damn bucket of them!

  • 1   Cup cake flour
  • 4   teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4  tsp. salt
  • 3/4  tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream (lowfat is fine)
  • 1 Cup buttermilk (don’t even think about using regular)
  • 2 Tablespoons corn/veggie/canola oil
  1. Stir (or even better sift) together dry ingredients.
  2. Beat wet ingredients, including egg yolk (but NOT egg whites) together.
  3. Whip egg whites until foamy and lightly stiff.
  4. Mix dry mixture with wet mixture, then gently fold in egg whites.
  5. Heat grill and coat with butter. You’ll need more butter with every batch, so just get over it. It’s pancakes. They involve butter.
  6. Drop ~1/4 cup per pancake on hot griddle. If using toppings, sprinkle on top of each pancake at this point. Once you see nice, big bubbles and the underside is golden, you can flip those suckers.
  7. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven while you attack the next batch.

Green chile sauce

In honor of my recent trip to New Mexico, I am posting my recipe for green chile sauce. Some stores roast fresh green chiles during the season and I’ll just buy a few pounds, process them (de-seed and slice or dice) and freeze them. The heat of the sauce depends almost entirely on how well you de-seed the chiles. A few grocery stores also sell frozen, processed chile, usually Bueno brand, in the freezer section. Or, you can order them online here.

Basically, this sauce is delicious. I used it in green chile enchiladas, with breakfast tacos, on turkey burgers. You get the picture. It’s just plain good.

Here it is on a cheese omelet with a side salad of tomatoes and avocado:

Here it is with a breakfast taco made of scrambled eggs,  sauteed potatoes and sliced avocado:

Anyway, here’s how it goes….

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 C roasted green chile, diced
  • 1 garlic toe, minced
  • 1 C low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/2 t Mexican oregano (not 100% required, but good)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and, if using, the Mexican oregano, and saute for 30 seconds to bloom. Add the flour and cook for another 30 seconds to remove the flour flavor.
  2. Slowly whisk in chicken stock. When fully incorporated, stir in green chile. Simmer on medium until you reach desired thickness. I like mine a little runny, but not liquid.
  3. Stir in honey and salt to taste.

Homemade pasta

This is going to be a long post. Long like luscious strands of tagliatelle, as opposed to long like a self-indulgent rambling. Hopefully.

I got a pasta machine last year for Christmas and have absolutely loved it. It’s so insanely delicious and fun, and nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. I know you can do it without a pasta machine, but I have no idea how. Assuming you have one of these suckers, here’s how it works….

First you make the pasta. I use this recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a measuring cup mix the eggs, water and oil and salt. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the flour and mix with a fork (or your fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated. Do not force the dough to take all of the flour. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.

At this point, you’ll start kneading the dough with the pasta machine.

  1. Set up your pasta machine, clamping it to a table or countertop, and turning the dial to the widest setting (usually setting number 1 on the dial). Initially, I divide the pasta dough into two pieces. Working with the first piece (keep remaining piece covered with plastic wrap), flatten it into a rectangle shape. Starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers at the fattest setting.
  2. Once passed through, Fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers (like a letter) pressing lightly on the top of the piece of dough to seal it. Pass this new pasta letter through the fattest setting (#1) again.  Repeat this step 2 times
  3. Now, keep passing the pasta through the machine, at successively skinnier settings until you reach the desired thickness. At this point, it’s best to work with a helper, so one person can turn the crank and the other person can guide the dough into the machine with one hand and catch it with the other hand, being careful not to stretch or tear the sheet. You may also want to cut it half a few times if it gets too long or fat. It benefits from kneading, so don’t worry if you have to manipulate it a bit.
  4. At this point, check out a real cookbook. 🙂 If you’re making ravioli or lasagne, you may want thin sheets. If you want fresh pasta, your machine has an add-on that cuts the sheets into lovely strips of pasta.

Here’s some pics of stuff I did….

Butternut squash Ravioli with brown butter & sage

Fresh linguine with mushroom sauce


 

Birthday dinner

Well, the birthday dinner was a big success. The table was covered with candles, bright colors and little toys. I hung old pics (mostly Polaroids) from the chandelier and got these great balloons that say “Happy Dumb Birthday.”

It all started off with my spicy acorn squash soup, topped with some crispy caramelized shallots:

You can see the carrot cake in the foreground, but here’s a better picture of its insane deliciousness:

In between those scrumptious bookends, I serves roasted asparagus (I should add that recipe) and this Tuscan chicken dish I made up a million years ago. Basically, you serve chicken cutlets with crisped prosciutto and a mushroom Madeira sauce on creamed spinach.  I came up with it when I was on that Devil Atkins diet. It was a keeper, though. Here’s a pic…

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!

Raspberry brown sugar gratin

3 ingredients, people! You are 3 ingredients and 15 minutes away from an insanely delicious and elegant dessert. Really, how can you not jump on that? Come on. It isn’t the prettiest girl at the dance, but it is the one you want to take home to meet the parents, knock up and live happily ever after with. Did I mention that it only has 3 ingredients?

1 pint (2 cups) fresh raspberries (or your choice of berry)
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream or crème fraîche (at/close to room temp to ease folding)
1 cup dark brown sugar

  1. Preheat broiler and set rack to lower middle level. Gently fold raspberries and sour cream together in a shallow 1-quart dish.
  2. Evenly sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the dish.
  3. Run the dish under the broiler until the sugar just starts to caramelize. Watch VERY carefully. Eat at once.

Some good meals that I am too lazy to post recipes for

1. Leftover (delicious) pot roast becomes a divine sandwich….pot roast, garden tomatoes, arugula, whole wheat bun and a smokey pickled ocra on the side.

2.  Roasted chicken, avocado and ricotta salata omelet, fresh corn, green chile and mushroom hash, and garden greens with garden serranos and lime juice

3.  Roasted salmon with tomato and basil relish, carrot mac and cheese, cucumber salad and garlic green beans

4.  Spicy Indian curry with chickpeas, garden peppers and tomatoes with garden cucumber raita

5. Tandoori chicken, garden tomatoes with sea salt and lime, and arugula, avocado and mango salad with spicy mango chutney dressing (ok, I’ll probably include that dressing because it was so scrumptious)

All you can eat shrimp!

A few weeks ago, I decided I better scoop up some good Gulf shrimp while the gettin’s good. My market generally has both fresh and frozen gulf shrimp. It’s great to buy the frozen shrimp before they thaw it, so you can just put it straight in the freezer (they are able to flash freeze those suckers on the boat, so they stay really yummy for at least a month or two). So, I knew I would freeze a pound, but wanted 1) a intensely shrimp-y dish to cook up right away, 2) something intensely shrimp-y that I could make and put in the freezer. The problem with frozen shrimp dishes is that the texture of the shrimp ends up wonky- sort of mushy and nasty. A dilemma, no?

After pouring through a few cookbooks and websites, I decided I would try shrimp potstickers. They freeze beautifully and I loved the idea of just being able to pull out a few at a time. You know what? They are awesome! They are perfumed with shrimp flavor- light, fresh, delicate and insanely delicious. AND nowhere near as much trouble as I thought they’d be. Honestly. The filling is made in a food processor and then I rolled them the next day (while watching Dirty Harry, thank you very much). Check it out:

Before sealing:

All sealed up (and creepy looking):

Ready to eat:

As for my ready-to-eat, intensely shrimp-y dinner, I opted for New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp. Lordy. It was my first time making the dish and Michael’s first time eating it. It was soooooo good. The basic idea is to cook unpeeled shrimp in a skillet with a shrimp stock, Worcestershire sauce, butter and creole seasoning. Serve it in the skillet with French Bread.

I made some tasso maque choux and kale on the side. And, yes, that is Coors Light you see.It’s leftover from a party, so lay off.

In summary, BP can suck it.