Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(Not So) Secret Pomegranate Carnitas

This is the way I ate my carnitas: on a tortilla smothered in goat cheese.

 The truth is, I'd rather share the recipe than hoard it.  That's why I'm calling them (Not So) Secret Carnitas, rather than my initial inclination to call them Secret Carnitas.  The secret ingredients are mentioned in the directions, but not on the ingredients list.  I was inspired to create this recipe after working with the Chevy's Cookbook recipe several times.  They use Pepsi, I'm using sprite for a lighter and more fruity flavor.  They use OJ, and I am using several different juices.  The method is the same.  Anyway, enough with the explanations, here's the goods:

-1 lb pork butt or shoulder
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-2 or 3 teaspoons paprika
-a pinch of cayenne
-salt & pepper
-1L of Sprite or maybe more, get a 2L bottle
-1/2 cup orange juice
-3 squirts lemon juice
-2 or 3 pomegranates
-3 tablespoons of shortening

1. Cut the pork into cubes.  Remove the excess fat.
2. Combine paprika, cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Toss the pork cubes in this mixture.
3. Pour in about 2 cups of sprite, the OJ, and the LJ.  Squeeze the juice of two pomegranates into the bowl.  Strain the juice through your (clean) hands so the skin doesn't get in there.  Let the seeds in though.  Stir.  Cover the bowl and marinate it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
4.  When you are ready, take the pork out of the fridge.  Heat the shortening in a large pot until it starts smoking.  Then (carefully) put the pork into the shortening, reserving the marinade.
5. Brown the pork in the shortening for fifteen minutes.
6. Pour the reserved marinade into the pot.  Stir and then simmer for 2 hours.  (I know, it takes a long time, but it's worth it.)  
7. Cover with additional sprite, and add pomegranate juice as needed to cover.  *Psst: you can also add little bit of honey or sugar once everything gets cookin'!
8.When the pork is ready it will be dark and very moist.  It should sort of fall apart when you get ahold of it.  
9.To serve, warm a tortilla in a tiny bit of oil and heap a couple of pork pieces on top.  I spread *goat cheese on my yellow corn tortilla and layered the carnitas on top of that. The perfect taco?  Could be.  You could add whatever condiments you want.  Oh yeah.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barack Obama Victory Chili

*Stock photo of Obama graciously provided by Ville13Stock

I promised I would make chili in honor of Barack Obama's historic election, and I did not lie.  Oh yes.  I made it.  It was yummy.  Unfortunately, I left my camera at my mamas' house last weekend, so there is no photo.  Instead I am inserting a photo of Obama.  Maybe I will make it again next week and then add in the photo of the chili.  My moms are coming down this weekend, and are bringing my beloved camera back to me.  Here is the recipe for my Barack Obama Victory Chili:

*Note: all of the meat I used was local, organic, and humanely treated.  I hope you spend a little extra money and effort to make sure the meat you eat is raised and butchered ethically.  If you can't, hey, make it vegetarian.  It will still taste good I promise.
-1/4 lb. ground chuck
-3 slices of bacon
-1 can  of pinto beans (You can use dried beans and soak them overnight.  I didn't have time, so I bought a dreaded can, but it was still really good.)
-1/2 white onion
-3 cloves of garlic (OK, let's be clear, I like a LOT of garlic.  You can use less.)
-2 small home-grown bell peppers, equivalent to 1/2 of a large store-bought bell pepper
-3 squirts of ketchup, or more if you want
-1 bay leaf, optional
-paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste
-olive oil

1. Chop your veggies and your bacon into small pieces so everything is ready.
2. Add some oil to a cast iron pan or whatever you want to use.  Sauté onions, and bell pepper until soft.
3. When the onions and bells are soft, add in the garlic.  I don't like to add the garlic too early because it can burn.
4. Add your ground chuck and bacon pieces to the pan.  Stir it all together, making sure the chuck gets broken up and browned on all sides.
5. Add paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.  Careful with the cayenne, unless you like it real spicy.
6. Now add the can of beans.  I poured in the bean juice too, but you can strain it out if you don't want to use it.  If you don't use the bean juice, add some stock to keep your chili from being too thick.
7. This is where I add the bay leaf.  I wait until I have a liquid to add it into, so it doesn't burn.
8. Smoosh the beans until half of them are mushy and half are whole.  This gives the chili a nice thick consistency while still remaining chili and not bean soup.
9. Add 3 squirts of ketchup (or more) and stir the whole thing together.  Simmer until it looks right to you.
10. Take out the bay leaf and serve.
11. While you eat this glorious chili, take some time to reflect on the history of the U.S. and the significance of Barack Obama's election.  Also think about the mutual love of chili that you and Obama share. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Goat Cheese Wrapped in Chard

OMG.  I think I have entered Nirvana.  I just made the most incredible dish. I got the idea from one of my FAVORITE blogs, Chez What?.  He made his in a fig leaf, but otherwise it is the same.  I wrapped up a chunk of goat cheese in a large chard leaf and popped it in a skillet.  Then I chopped up some tomatoes, dusted them with salt and pepper, and popped them in the skillet next to the chard and cheese packet.  Once the cheese was all soft and melty in the chard, I took the stuff out and unwrapped it.  The author of Chez What? served his tomatoes on top of the leaf and next to the cheese, with the leaf open.  I stuck my tomatoes in there, wrapped it back up and ate it like a burrito.  I served a spicy chicken sausage on the side.  I had this for lunch and it is so good I may eat it again for dinner.  I am not kidding.  Try it.  And visit Chez What? if you haven't already, because it is a truly incredible resource and a beautiful website.