Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dad's Pico de Gallo

I am totally obsessed with my dad's pico de gallo. He makes it all the time when I go home to visit in the summer to use up the tomatoes he plants in his yard. I had yet to make it myself but since joining a produce co-op I have had so many tomatoes that I was trying to think of other ways to use them. Thus I have been making this all the time. The chopping is not my favorite but after making it more often, I have gotten much quicker. I eat the entire batch myself - I swear! I hate sharing it but I will definitely share the recipe with you so you can make it yourself.
Dad's Pico
5 roma (or any other) tomatoes, seeded, small dice
1 small yellow or white onion or 1/2 a large one, small dice
1 jalepeno chile, seeds and membrane removed, ultra small dice
1-2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped (I like tons but you can add what you like)
2 tsp. salt (start with this and add more if you need to)
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
Combine diced vegetables in a bowl; sprinkle with salt and sugar. Stir in vinegar and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Taste and adjust as needed. Serve with tortilla chips. Tostitos Bite Size Rounds or Scoops are my personal fave.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

I have been obsessed with trying new pork recipes ever since we had these pulled pork sandwiches at my sister Erica's. I totally loved them and have never had much pork in the past, so I've gotten really curious about pork recipes. I love any shredded meat in tacos and burritos and when I saw these slow-cooker pork tacos, I knew they were a must try. The Food Network has put out a new magazine and I found the recipe there. I picked up the Feb./March edition at the grocery store and it has some tasty looking things.

This is my adaption of the recipe - didn't change too much except for the original recipe called for ancho chilies and pasilla chilies. My grocery store didn't have pasillas so I didn't get those. I also got thinking that the 6 chilies called for were too many chilies. There are also chipotles in adobo in the recipe so I knew the meat would have plenty of flavor. I opted for only one ancho chile and I think it's perfect.

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos
Food Network Magazine (with adaptions)

1 whole ancho chile (any large, mild chile would work - I used a poblano before too)
4 cloves peeled garlic
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce (I used 2 - you could also use just one)
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
Kosher salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder (I used a pork sirloin roast)
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving (We made burritos with yummy uncooked flour tortillas!)
Toppings such as cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, lettuce, etc.

Put the chile and garlic on a paper plate and microwave about 45 seconds until soft and pliable. Stem and seed the chile; cut into big chunks. Transfer garlic and chile to a blender. Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tbsp. olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tbsp. salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. You can play with this a little - the first time I made it I cooked it on low for probably 8 hours. The second time I cooked it for about 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low.

Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with the toppings.