Burritos? Tacos?

I have no idea what to call these:Of particular note – my first red jalapenos of the season!  Yay!  These are lightly fried flour tortillas with roast pork, refried beans, pico de gallo, shredded cheeses, the fresh jalapenos, a dab of sour cream and a small glop of nacho cheese sauce.  Toastadas?  I rolled these up like burritos but left the ends open.  Tacos?

Mrs J visited the back garden and returned with a bucket full of ripe tomatoes – the first harvest of any real size.  The tomatoes will be coming faster now than we can eat them so I suppose I need to unlimber the juicing machine and start boiling the tomatoes down into Awesome Sauce™.


Mmm… tacos

It’s been way too long without tacos around here.  LOL   These started with deep fried flour tortillas.  It doesn’t take long in the hot oil for these to crisp up so watch ’em closely.  I let these go just a few seconds too long and they were a bit stiff and creased rather than folded, but they didn’t break and fall apart so there’s that.  I bet if I did these everyday I’d get good at it.

For fillings I had some roast pork so I sliced some of that and minced some onions and fresh jalapenos.  Salsa, sour cream, and shredded cheddar went over the pork and a spoonful of refried beans.  Delicious.  I’ll add that I’m really happy that I have cilantro in a container growing just a few steps outside the front door.  My parsley is growing OK but the cilantro, or “soap weed” as Mrs J calls it, is just going wild.  Makes a great garnish even if we are not crazy about the taste.

Roast pork

Slow roasted another pork butt yesterday – rubbed in the Tex Mex chipotle seasoning mix I like, cut slits in the meat and inserted a handful of garlic cloves, and left it in the oven on 250 or so while we went about our Sunday.

They sell those cute little baby carrots now, all cleaned and colorful, they make sauteing pretty easy – just a few minutes in the pan will soften them enough that you don’t get the “still raw” vibe.  The broccoli was steamed and then quenched before cooking both veggies in a mix of olive oil and butter.There are a few different cheeses in this mac n cheese side – a generous grating of aged Parmesan for starters, then some odds and ends from the sliced cheese drawer in the fridge.  I had some mild cheddar and a few slices of muenster, and added some freshly purchased farmer’s cheese along with shredded Swiss.  I used some half & half in the white sauce to round up the fat content of the 2% milk that provided the bulk of the liquid, and added a good sprinkle of ground cayenne.  The secret to creamy, moist mac n cheese is to use a lot of liquid, more than you think you need.  The pasta will soak a lot up and there will be some evaporation in the oven, and the whole dish will thicken as it heats.

Slow roasted picnic ham

I had to go into town yesterday and I used the opportunity to cruise the relatively well stocked supermarket in the next town over.  I was  pushing the cart down the meat department aisle and did a double take when I saw this fresh picnic ham on offer for less than two dollars a pound.I poked several cloves of garlic into the thing, rubbed in salt and pepper, and set it into a slow oven for the rest of the day with the temperature set for 220 or so.  I ran the probe from my handy dandy oven thermometer into the general area of the roasting pan  without sticking it into the meat – I wanted to see how the thermostat in the oven handled the low setting.  There were some wide swings throughout the run but I tweaked the knob until the average was about where I wanted it.  The temps swung from 195 to 245 as the element cycled on and off.  Next time I may place the big pizza stone I have as a moderating thermal mass.  Couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, the ham spent about ten hours in there and I was wanting to finish it up before it got too late so I did insert the probe to see what the temp was inside the roast.  It was showing 165 degrees and I called that done enough.  It would have been fine for another few hours.It was getting pretty late but I went ahead and reduced the roast to rubble and packed the meat away into the fridge for the night.  Most of it, anyway.  This morning I finished tearing the meat into shreds.  I put the bones to good use, toasted them in the oven along with some others that we were saving and then made some more stock.

This evening Mrs J was ready to try some of the pork so we had a wonderful dinner of it along with some shoestring fries.The giardiniera works great on these.


Occasionally curiosity gets the better of me and I set out on an expedition to do a little caving — in my big freezer.  Things get thrown in there and forgotten, often unlabeled.  My last trip turned up a bag of what appeared to be frozen roasted pork that had been chopped.  A quick microwaving of a piece of it proved that guess correct.

The day before I had dumped some dried pinto beans into a bowl and covered them with water so soak over night.  “Pork ‘n beans” — that phrase jumped into my head.  I set out to try my hand at it.

Thawed, the roast pork went into a sauce pot with a diced onion to cook down a bit.  It was very fatty and I wanted to render some of that out and to get some browning on the pork bits.  After the pork browned and I had spooned out most of the rendered fat, I tossed in a couple of teaspoons of cumin seeds.  Next came 4 cups of chicken broth and the drained beans. It needed something more, and I had noted a bag of just that something in the freezer.

Last winter I made some pozole (pasole).  I had roasted a pork butt with plenty of garlic and onions, and some dried ancho and other chilies.  I strained the juices and pureed the peppers and onions with some of the juice.

I dumped the puree into a stock pot and was well on my way with the pozole dish when Mrs J declared the broth to be too damn hot.  Sigh.

OK, I ladled much of the offending broth into another sauce pot and replaced it with unseasoned broth.  I still had a goodly amount of the other.  What to do?  Aha!

After reducing the offending broth enough to fit into a plastic ice cube tray, I stuck it into the freezer overnight.  It worked as expected:

I have used one or two of these before in chili where they were pretty much wasted because of all the other chili seasonings.  They made a world of difference when I added them to the pork and beans.

I had a few spoonfuls over the left over Kentucky biscuits  that were getting stale.  The beans weren’t quite done yet but I could tell they were very good.  They really needed better than those  old biscuits.

Mmm… Another batch of my world famous bacon cheddar jalapeno cornbread!   I went all in with this batch, red marconi peppers, lots of minced jalapenos, some minced red onion, a good handful of cheddar, the same of sweet corn, and bacon grease.  Mrs J declared the corn bread my best ever!  I think she may be coming around!


Lazy Sunday.  I went to the store this morning and was thinking it was Saturday until I got there.  Made no difference for the grocery trip because they are open Sunday mornings.  I was going to buy some beer to cook the refried beans I had planned but the blue laws restrict beer sales until after noon.  I had some stout beer at home so I wasn’t too bummed.  I think it worked fine.

I wanted to do a South Western themed dinner but didn’t want to do the usual nachos.  I have some roast pork put up in Mason jars that I figured would make great carnitas.

Carnitas, literally “little meats”, is a type of braised or roasted (often after first being simmered) pork in Mexican cuisine

…Prior to serving, the pork, along with some of the rendered liquid, is placed in fairly shallow pans to maximize surface area, then roasted at high (375 to 425 °F or 190 to 220 °C) heat for a few minutes to produce the desired alternating texture of succulent softness and caramelized crispness.

–via Wikipedia

I was right, the canned pork came out great, some crispy brown edges and butter tender.  Yummy!  Traditionally served on corn tortillas but the fried flour tortillas worked fine.

The refried beans were simple enough, start some onions in oil, sprinkle in some cumin seeds and add some minced garlic and a minced jalapeno.  Then dump in a couple of cans of pinto beans and use a potato masher to mash half of them into mush.  Simmer the mixture for an hour or more, adding beer (or chicken stock) as needed to keep them from drying out.  They need stirring pretty often to keep the beans from sticking.

Enchiladas were tortillas stuffed with chorizo sausage, onions, cheese, and a bit of ancho sauce.  Cover the stuffed rolls with a cheese sauce, enchilada sauce, drizzle some ancho sauce on, bake at 350 for 30 minutes then sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and return to the heat.

The guacamole was about as uncomplicated as it could be:  Mash two avocados with some finely chopped onion and the juice of a lime, add a teaspoon of salt–Ta Da!


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Mmmushroom Gravy.

Mutter mutter…Called out and me sans ripe tomatoes.  Well, just going to have to get by somehow.  Here is a nice meal of pork with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

The pork was sliced from a Boston butt I roasted weeks ago and froze for later.  Braised those slices in some chicken stock and finished them with a can of mushroom soup and a few small cans of whole buttons.  The pork simmered covered for a couple of hours and was falling apart by the time it was served.  The asparagus was tossed with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and roasted at 425 for five minutes on a baking tray.  The potatoes were mashed with minced garlic, sour cream, and a dollop of ricotta.  Good stuff.


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