Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What I'm Reading Today

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Hope you're celebrating with some Mexican food and Margaritas.  Enjoy your fiesta.

Puerco con Chile Negro (that would be Pork with Dried Pasilla Chile Sauce)...this recipe just moved to the top of my "must cook" list, thank you Los Angeles Times.  Pork Shoulder, also called pork butt, is one tough cut of meat just waiting to have the tenderness coaxed out of it.  It's inexpensive because it needs a lot of love.  Slow cooking over low heat turns the meat juicy and succulent.  Lately it is my favorite cut to cook, I really think the flavor is the best and it takes so well to all kinds of seasonings.  Here its simply braised in water then the liquid it cooked in is combined with toasted pasilla chiles (dried poblanos) to make a second braising liquid.  Yes, the meat is braised twice (can't you just taste how tender that will be?!).  In the end, which I'd make the next day, it's combined with onions, avocado, and cilantro and stuffed into bolillos (Mexican rolls) for what I'm guessing will be one of the best sandwiches/tortas ever.  

If seafood is more your thing, this Shrimp and Crab Campechana from The New York Times will fit the bill in a snap.   A campechana is a Mexican seafood "cocktail" where the fish is tossed with not only lime juice but Clamato too. Unlike ceviche, where raw fish is cooked in citrus juice, the seafood here (crab and shrimp) is cooked before it is added to the dish so its good to go as soon as you mix it together.   Tossed with fresh pico de gallo and lots of chunky avocado, this would be a perfect light dinner or an appetizer with a side of homemade tortilla chips.  We were in Mexico last week and ate tons of ceviche and guacamole.  I think this campechana will bring me right back.

Tostadas are traditionally crisp tortillas topped with beans, meat, and greens-much like our Americanized taco salad (without the gigantic tortilla "bowl" to serve it in).  In the San Francisco Chronicle there is an extensive, but tantalizing recipe for Homemade Tostadas.  The pickled onions as well as the guajillo-chipotle marinade for the chicken can be done well in advance-I'd even marinate my chicken the night before.  Grilling the chicken and building the tostadas takes no time once the other prep is done.  I love the idea of making a big pitcher of margaritas, a pot of Mexican rice, and serving these at an al fresco dinner party, Cinco de Mayo or not. 

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!

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