Last week I was watching one of my favorite cooking shows called "America's Test Kitchen". It is a PBS show on Saturdays. I love it! They were showing a recipe for a Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork Tostada. When they were finished making it, the host, who is hosting his 11th year of this show, tasted it and said that it was in his top 5 recipes of all the 11 seasons of the show! I knew I needed to try it. I made it for dinner on Sunday and invited my parents (who LOVE any kind of Mexican food), and it was a hit! It was a little spicy to me (I am a wimp!), but my husband and parents thought it wasn't too spicy at all -so you can adjust the amount of chipotle powder according to your liking, but it has an amazing smokey flavor that is delicious! This recipe looks hard, but really isn't! I highly recommend checking out the full story at America's Test Kitchen. (You do have to enter your email address, but they just send you emails and don't share it with others.) You can also replay the entire show from this web sight and watch her make these by clicking on http://www.americastestkitchen.com/episodes/detail.php?docid=26922 . (this recipe is towards the end of the show - you can fast forward to it by sliding the little button at the bottom to 17:25)
Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork Tostadas (Tinga)
from America's Test Kitchen
2 pounds boneless pork butt , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces (cut off the big pieces of fat, but don't get too concerned about the rest, because it cooks out when you boil the meat)
2 medium onions , 1 quartered and 1 chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder (I found this in the McCormick Gourmet Collection-the glass bottles - under the name Chipotle Chili Pepper and it was kind of expensive, but after tasting it, I think it is well worth it!) (Just found out that Walmart sells it for $3.59 - I payed $8.59 at my grocery store!)
2 bay leaves (I left these out, not a big fan)
5 medium garlic cloves , 3 peeled and smashed and 2 minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I couldn't find these in my store, so I just used dried thyme)
If frying your own tostadas -
3/4 cup vegetable oil
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (or you can skip this step and purchase flat tostada shells)
queso fresco or feta cheese - crumbled (this was my first time trying queso fresco - LOVED it! It comes in a little round shaped package - a Mexican cheese)
fresh cilantro leaves
1. FOR THE TINGA: Bring pork, quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook until pork is tender, 75 to 90 minutes. Drain pork, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Discard onion, garlic, and thyme. Return pork to saucepan and, using potato masher, mash until shredded into rough ½-inch pieces; set aside. (You can do this first step up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerate - which I did)
2. Heat olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shredded pork, chopped onion, and oregano; cook, stirring often, until pork is well browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, reserved pork cooking liquid, and bay leaves; simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste. (It needed more salt than I would have thought.)
4. If you decide to fry your own tostadas -TO FRY TOSTADAS: Heat vegetable oil in 8-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using fork, poke center of each tortilla 3 or 4 times (to prevent puffing and allow for even cooking). Fry 1 at a time, holding metal potato masher in upright position on top of tortilla to keep it submerged (see photo below), until crisp and lightly browned, 45 to 60 seconds (no flipping is necessary). Drain on paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
5. TO SERVE: Spoon small amount of shredded pork onto center of each tostada and serve, passing garnishes separately. (the sour cream helped cool the spiciness of the meat)
Monday, January 31, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
This recipe is from my back-fence neighbor, Cherie, who is a wonderful cook. I was lucky enough to borrow and copy her entire family cookbook of wonderful recipes. This recipe tasted kind of like one of my favorite dishes at PF Chang - Crispy Honey Chicken. It was very easy to make and used ingredients that you usually have on hand (I always like to have a couple of fresh lemons on hand - just in case!). It is something that I think kids would love because it is sweet and doesn't have any of those "green things" that kids sometimes won't eat. :)
Honey Glazed Chicken
from my friend Cherie
1 c flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-2" pieces
1/2 c butter or margarine, melted (divided)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP soy sauce
sesame seeds as a garnish (optional)
hot cooked rice
In a plastic gallon bag, combine flour and cayenne pepper. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat. Pour 4 TBSP melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish. Add coated chicken, turning pieces to coat with butter. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Combine brown sugar, honey, lemon juice, soy sauce and remaining butter. Pour over chicken. Bake for 15 more minutes, until bubbly. Serve over hot rice, with sesame seeds sprinkled on as a garnish.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I take a number of cooking magazines. My husband was looking through my new Cooking Light magazine and said " I want this whole plate!" It was recipes for grilled pork chops and these Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes and broccoli with lemon zest. I made them tonight and the pork chops were OK, but the potatoes were AMAZING! Wow - the flavor was SO good. Caramelized onions have such a totally different flavor than regular onions. I highly recommend this as a wonderful and refreshingly different side dish.
From Cooking Light Magazine
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1 1/2 lbs chopped peeled baking potatoes
1/2 c fat-free buttermilk (I could only find low-fat)
2 TBSP butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook over medium-high heat, saute 15 minutes or until golden.
Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Into the potatoes, add the buttermilk, butter, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher. Stir in the caramelized onion. Yield: 4 servings.