Friday, May 10, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Carnitas is one of my favorite mexican meats. Its so tender, juicy, and melt in your mouth good. When I saw the recipe in my Bon Appetit magazine it was a MUST TRY. Trying to weave some Mexican cooking in to impress the boy. He approved and said it was at the top of his list of carnitas. *pats self on back*. He was craving taco night every time he visited. I made Nachos with it the first night. I freezed the left overs and heat back up with water for several taco nights.
I attempted taking it to work for lunch as well. The annoying thing about packing tacos is all the different condiments have to be packed separately - tortilla, cheese, salsa, carnitas. It was a lot of separating out but well worth it!!!
|Carnitas Taco with all the fixin's: Queso Fresco, Frijoles, Pico de Gallo, Tomatillo Salsa, Sour cream, Guacamole|
via Bon Appetit
- 2 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles
- 4 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 12 ounces lager (such as Modelo Especial or Budweiser)
- 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt - (I found it to be a bit salty, I would reduce to 3 tsp in the future)
1. Toast chiles in a dry large heavy pot over medium heat until slightly puffed and lightly darkened on both sides, about 2 minutes.
2. Remove from pot; let cool. Stem chiles and halve lengthwise; discard seeds.
3. Bring chiles, pork, beer, garlic, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in same pot.
4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, 60-80 minutes.
5. Uncover pork; simmer until liquid evaporates and pork begins to brown, 20-25 minutes.
6. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot, until pork is shredded and browned, 10-15 minutes.
7. Add 1 cup water to pork; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, for about 1 minute.
DO AHEAD: Carnitas can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill. Reheat with 1/2 cup water in a covered pot, adding more water if needed to keep pork moist.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Spring means Strawberry season is here!!! Strawberries and Apples are my absolute favorite fruits and I can never get tired of them. Strawberry peak season (depending on local) is roughly April - June. From the first peak of sun, Manny and I decided to go Strawberry Picking at Froberg's Farm in Alvin, TX.
The whole experience is pretty organized. You walk into the mobile building and workers direct you to the back. You buy the bucket for $1. Strawberries are $2 a pound and are weighed at the end. A full bucket holds about 5 pounds ($10) worth of strawberries. Strawberries in peak season go for about $1 a pound at the supermarket so you do pay a 100% premium for the experience of picking fresh, local strawberries. Before you are set into the fields, you get a run down of the rules and advice on how to choose the ripest berries (red all the way to the top).
And we're off!
We walk through fields and files of strawberries, all the cute red pops of color against the lush green bush. For some reason, I thought strawberries grew in a huge bush like blueberries. I was doing all kinds of aerobics trying to get the blueberries on the side of the bush. Strawberries are much easier to pick.
Strawberry bushes have pretty white flowers on them. So cute! I like picking strawberries better than Apples cause the "grossest" things you will find is a few small holes, small bugs, or mold on the strawberries. I remember with apples, you had to deal with some nasty big bugs and holes (worms?! thank god I never saw one though).
Our first strawberry! Ripe and red all the way to the top.
We are picking strawberries for about 30 minutes before we filled up our shared bucket. Kids really have an advantage in this activity - they are much lower to the ground. I'm 24 but the constant squatting was killer on my thighs! Look at me doing the asian-squat. Manny ain't got nothing on the asian-squat!
Tips: (1) wear old shoes or boots
(2) do a few leg stretches for all the squatting
Ta-da a full bucket!
As we walked back to the entry building, I spot the beautiful tree that is adorned on the Froberg's bucket. It is such a beautiful tree!
Right outside the building are various herbs and flowers you can buy. Somehow I got sucked into getting a jalapeno plant for the plant pots I inherited from my neighbor who moved out.
I came for strawberries and walked out with a Jalapeno plant. Let's hope I don't kill it.
Inside the building is a farmer's market. There's everything from fresh produce to pies, honey, and snacks. The prices are comparable to the grocery store and you can feel good about supporting and eating local :)
mmm so many yummy things to do with these strawberries! I'm writing down a grocery list to get ingredients for Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Shortcake, and more. Stay tuned!!
View all pictures below.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
In 2009, I studied abroad in Hong Kong for a semester. I loved everything about Hong Kong - the exciting daily discoveries, meeting new friends, and the culinary adventures. I rode a bus to the MTR ( the mass transport system in Hong Kong) to Hang Hau mall. I would often go by myself between classes or when I wanted to catch up with myself. At Hang Hau mall there is this little bakery that I loved. Inside the bakery they sold Pao de Queijos and I would eat them by the dozen. I had these before in the states at Fogo de Chao but the Hong Kong version was so delicious. I looked these little guys up to find that they originate from Brazil. Why would Brazilian baked goods be in a Chinese bakery?
Brazil has the largest Japnese population outside of Japan. The Japanese migrated to Brazil on the Kasato Maru treaty in search of better living conditions. The majority went to work on coffee plantations. The Japanese adopted their version of the Pao de Queijo. In Hong Kong, there is a strong Japanese influence on the culture. Japanese goods are popular in Hong Kong from make up to electronics to food (ramen restaurants were wildly popular when I was studying abroad). So this little cheese puff made its way from Brazil to Japan to Hong Kong to my kitchen. Talk about the globalization of food!
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/4 C butter, melted
- 1/3 C water
- 1/3 C whole milk
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2 C tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2/3 C crumbled queso fresco (Mexican cheese)
- 2 beaten eggs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pour olive oil, butter, water, milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and place over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately, and stir in tapioca flour and garlic powder until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese.
4. Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
The bread is chewy like Japanese mochi.