July 4th

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos (Pork Stew in Green Salsa)


Tomatillos may look like small green tomatoes hiding in a papery husk, but they are something very different. They are a member of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomatoes in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They are tangy and add an amazing flavor to this pork stew. Choose small, bright green tomatillos in the husk for this recipe. Peel the husk and gently wash the sticky residue off the fruit before using. 

Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead and I didn't get a picture of the finished product! 


    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 (3 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups chopped fresh tomatillos
    1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
    1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
    2 teaspoons dried marjoram
    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 cup water
    1 pinch salt, or to taste (optional)
    sour cream
    cooked white rice


    Stir together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cumin in a large ziploc bag. Place the cubed pork into the mixture, and stir well to coat the meat with the seasonings.
    Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, place the meat into the hot pan in a single layer. Pan-fry the pork until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove the pork to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.
    Cook and stir the onion in the hot pan over medium heat, adding more olive oil if necessary, until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and stir in the garlic, tomatillos, chiles, marjoram, chopped cilantro, and water. Check seasoning and add 1 pinch of salt to taste, if needed. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, 1-2 hours.
    I served this stew over steamed white rice, topped with sour cream and cilantro.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vanilla Bean Churros

Cinnamon, sugar, vanilla beans and fried sweet dough. What's not to like?? If you have never tried a churro, you are truly missing out! You could call them a kind of doughnut, however they are more like a French beignet made with a very lightly sweetened choux paste. Fried and tossed with cinnamon sugar they are then dipped or eaten with rich decadent chocolate sauce or a smooth and creamy dulce de leche sauce.

Vanilla Bean Churros

1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in large bowl or baking dish.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour all at once until mixture forms a ball. The dough will be very stiff. Continue to stir until it is smooth and has no lumps. Allow to cool for just a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place large star shaped pastry tip (I used a Wilton 1M) in a pastry bag. Place dough in bag and pipe long strips onto wax paper. You can make the traditional sticks, or any shape you like. Chill piped dough in fridge while the oil is heating. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees. Drop chilled churros carefully into hot oil. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Dark Chocolate Sauce
4oz dark chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
¼ cup heavy cream

Mix chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on 50% power until melted and smooth. Do not over heat! Burned chocolate is not tasty!!

Dulce de Leche Sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweetened condensed milk in oven proof dish. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Set the dish inside a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Check the water level often, adding more hot water if needed. After the milk is nicely caramelized remove from the oven and whisk gently then allow to cool.

You can use the dulce de leche as is or add a little heavy cream and warm slightly for a thinner sauce.

Store any leftovers in the fridge.