Tag Archives: carnitas

I’ll Have What She’s Having…

The lovely and talented Anne at From My Sweet Heart blog has been kind enough to give me this blogging award. In fact, it’s a cooking award, so I’m especially flattered. I don’t really consider myself a food blogger, since I tend to throw recipes and food reviews in with a bunch of random family and travel topics. As I’ve said before, my blog is a lot like my junk drawers. You never know what you’re going to find. And since I’ve started featuring The Complete Package’s recipes as well, I’m assuming I’ll have to share this award with him. Look, honey! We got a cooking award! Can you believe it? He’ll probably say that you’re all tuning in to see his recipes instead of mine. He may be right. If he is, free to keep that little nugget to yourself. I’m fragile. I can’t take that kind of rejection. It could break me, and no one wants to find me in the pantry drowning my sorrows in a pan of warm brownies. Trust me… it ain’t pretty.

In honor of Anne and her faith in my blog, here’s a rundown of some of the recipes TCP and I have posted over the past year. Click on any picture to see the full post. And Anne – thanks again. You made my day. Truly.

Posole - Mexican Stew

Mexican Martinis

Carnitas - Mexican Pulled Pork

Hidden Treasure Cupcakes

Muffaletta Sandwiches

"Chicken Bucket" Coleslaw

Crunchy Fried Chicken

Old family recipe - Sweet Pickles

Flank Steak Sandwiches

Mom's Adorable Little Piggy Buns

Smoked Pork Ribs

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

And in the spirit of sharing, here’s where I go to find culinary inspiration:

Comfortably Domestic
The Hill Country Cook
Jenna’s Everything Blog
A Sweet Pea Chef
Gingerbread Bagels
Brown Eyed Baker
Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Honey Sage

If you have time, click on the links above and visit these fine ladies. They are creative, inspirational and a lot of fun, and I love them all. And don’t forget to visit Anne at From My Sweet Heart. She’s a great example of the best thing about blogging – the new friends you make along the way. Have a great week!
-NB

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Book Recommendation: Plate to Pixel

Plate to Pixel by Helen Dujardin, Wiley Publishing

If you read The Pioneer Woman’s website, you’ll know that she recently posted another “visit to the ranch” giveaway weekend. This one features a late July weekend of macaron baking and food photography tutorials. Did I enter the contest? You betcha. Why? Because I just bought the food photography book published by her special guest, Helene Dujardin. If you’re a food blog junkie, you’ll know her work from her lovely Tartlette blog. I love Helene’s blog for her gorgeous food photography. Yes, her recipes are also stellar. She is a trained pastry chef, after all. But her luscious photographs are like no other. They’re food art. And since I have a new Canon EOS Rebel T2i (my first “big girl” camera) and absolutely no photography experience, I was thrilled to discover that Helene had published a digital food photography and styling guide. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered it, and couldn’t wait to dig in.

What I love most about Helene’s book is that it’s laid out in a start-to-finish manner, beginning with food photography basics and ending with an “after the capture” chapter on photo transfer, editing, storage and copyright tips.

In between, she shares tips for lighting, food staging/styling and composition. Helene shares her knowledge in a straight forward, easy to understand manner. And while I may never have a career as a professional food photographer, I am certain her guide will help me become a better overall photographer.

On that note, I would like to share some news. I was recently contacted by a graphic design company about the use of a photograph that appeared in my blog. It was a photo I took for my carnitas recipe. After exchanging a few e-mails, I agreed to allow them to use the photograph for a marketing campaign if the client chose to include my photo. Well, weeks later, the client did indeed select my photo for inclusion in their campaign, and I received a small check for the limited royalty-free use of my photo. That’s right. In the loosest possible use of the term, I am officially a professional photographer. It may be the world’s shortest lived career, but I was excited none the less. For now, I’m framing the final letter, the check and the photo for posterity’s sake. Even if this turns out to be a one hit wonder, I can at least look at it, smile and remember when.

Note: I’d like to thank Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker blog for introducing me to Plate to Pixel through a recent post. Proof positive, in my opinion, that you can always learn more by reading other bloggers. Thanks, Michelle!

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Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Technical Stuff

Let’s Go South of the Border for Carnitas (a.k.a. Mexican Pulled Pork)

You Gotta' Try Carnitas - Mexican Pulled Pork

This recipe was featured on the America’s Test Kitchen on PBS, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to try it after the host, Chris Kimball, proclaimed that it is one of their “Top 10 Recipes of All Time.” We love Mexican food, and The Complete Package (my beloved) is a nut for pulled pork. Trying this one was a no-brainer for us. The technique is a little unexpected, but the results are fabulous.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 pork shoulder roast, boneless, 3-4 pounds
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 orange, quartered with seeds removed
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 bay leaves, whole
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 cups of water
To serve: flour tortillas, guacamole, minced red onion, cilantro, sour cream

Preheat your oven to 300F. Trim the pork roast to remove most of the fat (leave some on); cut into 2”x2” cubes. Place into an oven safe saucepan or Dutch oven along with the onion, orange, the juice from the limes, the bay leaves, salt, pepper, cumin & oregano. Place on the stove over medium-high heat and bring up to a full simmer, stirring occasionally. Place a lid on the saucepan and move it to the middle lower rack of your oven. Bake at 300F for 2-3 hours, or until pork is fork tender (if you poke it with a fork, it easily slides off the fork). Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Using a slotted spoon, move the pork into a bowl, and strain the liquid, placing it back into the pan for a glaze. Reduce the liquid over medium-high heat until the liquid reduces to about one cup.

Using two forks, pull each chunk of pork into two pieces, placing them back into the bowl. Toss with the reduced glaze to coat all pieces evenly; season with salt & pepper to taste. Place a baking rack onto a rimmed cookie sheet or a baking pan with raised sides (to contain any liquids). Place pork chunks onto the baking rack so that the juices will drip onto the baking sheet, about 1” apart. Put the baking sheet back into the oven on the lower-middle rack and allow to broil for 5-8 minutes, or until the meat starts to crisp on the top. Remove from the oven, flip all pork pieces, and place back in the oven to broil for an additional 5-8 minutes on the second side, or until edges are crisp but not burned.

Remove the meat from the oven. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top and give it a sprinkle of salt. Serve with warm flour tortillas, guacamole, minced red onion, cilantro, salsa and sour cream. The result – pulled pork so tender it melts in your mouth, with crispy broiled edges that will make your heart sing. The addition of fresh lime juice and salt at the end really perks it up. Leftover pork (if there is any) would be awesome as a filling for enchiladas, tamales, or burritos. Now go forth and get your carnitas on! Or in Spanish: Ahora ve en la cocina y hacer algo de carnitas para cenar esta noche!

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