Monday, May 07, 2007

Oink, Oink.....

So here's the deal, last night I concocted a last minute dinner for the extended family in the form of smothered pork chops a la big sexy(lol).

5-6lbs. pork chops(pork loin, bone in)
4 12 oz. jars of pork gravy(or you can make from scratch)
1 1/2 onions(combination of 1/2 white and 1 yellow), thinly sliced
1 1/2 cans(12 oz.) sliced mushrooms
2 packets Goya Ham flavored concentrate(powdered)

Seasoning/Marinade for chops:
Garlic powder
1/4 cup soy sauce
black pepper, freshly cracked

*Note: I kinda eye balled the initial marinade so apply as much as you like but NOT too much.

Add olive oil to the pan turn heat to high

next add thinly sliced white onions and saute'

next place pork chops on top of onions and brown chops

next, add jars of pork gravy, mushrooms and top with 1 yellow onion thinly sliced

place in over to continue cooking at 325 degrees fahrehiet

cook at that temperature for 45 minutes

finally, increase oven temperature to Broil and continue to cook for 50 minutes.

serve immediately.

Total cooking time: 1hr & 30 mins.

Not bad for some last minute dinner plans.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Cinco de Mayo(Belated)!!!

Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo a.k.a. The Fifth of May is primarily a regional, and not a federal, holiday in Mexico; the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

So naturally, as a current resident of Tucson, this is a time of celebration for many! In the spirit of the day we had some taqueria style food whipped up by the household. I am usually the one cooking all of it but today I only took on salsa duties. I decided to keep it simple since I had worked earlier in the day. I put together a roasted tomato & tomatillo salsa. Now I know you're probably wondering what I know about salsas or mexican food in general but believe me I know a thang or two homie. I have a HUGE advantage by residing in the southwest just shy of the mexican border. As you may also know, I used to cook full time as a profession. During that time, I came across a kind co-worker who just so happened to reside from Mexico City. She was the first person to introduce me to the traditional mexican cuinary fare. I mean when I learned my first salsa, I made this right in her own molcajete( mexican style mortar & pestle, made of lava rock), she brought from home. It was a roasted serrano & tomato salsa. I also learned how to make refried beans, antojitos("little whims") such as, sopes & quesadillas, I also learned how to make Horchata...the list goes on, so like I said Im pretty well versed but would LOVE to learn even more! Anyways, enough tootin' of my own horn. Here's a basic recipe of that salsa. Hope you like it. If it seems too hot, cut back on the chiles or take out the seeds inside.

Roasted Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa:

3 tomatoes
3 tomatillas
5 jalapeno chiles
11 serrano chiles
1-2 garlic cloves
handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
salt(to taste)


Roast All ingredients until charred a bit on the outside. You can place in a plastic sandwich bag(closed) and later remove them to take off the darkened skins. Alternately, you can leave the skins on for a more rustic appearance. It won't affect the overall taste much.

Note #1:

You can do this on a comal or put it in an over on "broil" for 5-8 mins on top shelf(spray ingredients with a little pam or alike spray)

Grind ingredients in the following order:

1.)garlic & chile peppers(make a paste to use as a flavor base, add salt here to use as an abrasive to aid in grinding)

2.)tomatoes & tomatillas

3.)Lastly, roughly chop cilantro and add just before serving.

Note #2:

You can use a food processor(pulse feature)or an immersion blender(stick blender) to make the salsa but keep in mind the traditional method and far superior method would be to use a molcajete.

Oh yeah, before I forget we also had tacos de carne asada(Carne Asada tacos)& Nachos(far from traditional mexican food....LOL).

To make your own tortilla chips:

1 bag of corn tortillas of your choice, white or yellow
vegetable oil

turn oil in fryer up to 375 F.

take the stack of tortillas and slice in half horizontally, making semi-circles

now with each individual semi-circle slice a "V" into it diagonally

you should end up with roughly 3 stacks of pyramid shaped chips, if you want more

slice down the middle of each chip stack(this entire process is called quartering)

repeat process with other semi-circle

once oil has come up to correct temperature drop chips in but DO NOt over crowd the fryer, because each time you drop chips in it will drop the temperature of the oil and you want the oil as hot as possible, in order to get a crisp chip with as little grease as possible.

cook chips for 3-15 minutes until crisp. *See note below.

*Note: cooking times will vary depending on brand of tortillas. just experiment and keep a close eye on them as they cook.