Friday, January 30, 2009

Cheddar and Avocado Muffins

Michele over at Life, Lightly Salted recently posted her Cheddar and Avocado Muffins. Bake avocado? Why not?

I had just received about 20 baby avocados from a friend, and needed to find ways to use them up. These muffins sounded perfect.

What is it about me and baby produce, seriously?

(And what's up with Blogger rotating my pictures 90 degrees without my asking? How rude.)

Update, 7/30/09 regarding 90degree rotation: I've found that if you open your picture in your picture viewer, rotate it, save it, rotate it back, save it, THEN upload it to Blogger, it doesn't get rotated.

I used onion instead of shallot, since that's what I had. I (astonishingly) didn't add any garlic :)

They turned out great!

Thanks, Michele, for a keeper recipe.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Cabbage

After making the Creamy Cabbage and Potato Stew, I had about 2/3 of my monster cabbage left. Lucky me, I also had "zesty" Italian sausages in the freezer. A quick stop at the market for a pound of dried Great Northern beans, and I was ready to make The Bitten Word's Tuscan Bean Stew with Sausage and Cabbage.

See this beautiful fond?

It went down the drain. I'm so ashamed. I was prepping the night before making the soup, and decided I could save some time the next day by sauteing the sausage then refrigerating overnight. Stupid stupid me.

Anyway. Moving on. Here's a picture of sauteing veggies. Just 'cause.

When it came time to add the cabbage, I got a little worried. My trusty Descoware was too small! But I forgot that cabbage wilts quickly. So I was soon able to add more. Then wait a little. Then add more. Until I had what I thought was an appropriate ratio of cabbage to other stuff.

Verdict? Very good soup. Sausage, greenery, beanery. How could you go wrong?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I've Been Tagged, with a Brief Mention of Food

Betts over at Damn Yankee tagged me in a meme, so here goes:
Here’s what you/I have to do:

1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late, and you can't go digging through the bowels of your closet for the cutest bag you have. So what if it's ugly; we'll love you anyway. It should be the bag you carried today or the last time you left the house.

2) Tell us how much it cost. Go ahead, and slay us with your frugality and your ability to grab a good deal. Or if you decided to pony up a lot of money, good for you, girl... you deserve it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.

(3) Tag some of your people. And link back to me, so everyone knows why we're having this little show and tell.
Here's my bag. It's Liz Claiborne, I've had it for a couple-three years, and have no recollection of what it cost, maybe $20, probably at TJ Maxx. I tied a knot in the strap because it was just a little bit too long. (And now I can't find a replacement bag with a long enough strap!)

Here are the contents:

Wallet, scrunchy, powder, mirror, eyeshadow, nail file, chapstick, lipstick, eye drops, keys, checkbook, random bits of paper for shopping lists. Also my phone and a little case for my flash drive and SD memory card reader. And no, I didn't clean it out prior to the pic, I have to keep it minimal because the (new) wallet's so damn big there's no room for anything else.

And, since this is a food blog, here's some spaghetti.

And here are some jalapenos poached in olive oil.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creamy Cabbage and Potato Stew

Somehow I ended up with way too much chicken broth in my freezer, so I've been looking for recipes that'll help use it up. I found this recipe for Creamy Cabbage and Potato Stew over at Food for Laughter, and it sounded just right for this gloomy weather.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except that I removed the bacon after crisping it, and added it back in right at the end. And I added a clove of minced garlic, because I do that with everything.

At first glance, the recipe doesn't look like much - just cabbage, potato, bacon, onion, milk and broth. But it's sooooo good! Hubby couldn't stop eating it, and kept asking me what "the secret" was. No secret, just good eastern Euro comfort food. This was perfect for the cloudy day - creamy from the potatoes, which were just starting to break apart, slightly sweet from the cabbage, with the gentle porkiness of bacon.

And of course, it's better the 2nd day. Provided your Hubby doesn't eat it all on the 1st day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Corn and Black Pepper Crackers

If you saw my last post on bacon candy, you'll understand why I had to make these crackers. Sweet bacon reminds me of baked beans, and baked beans remind me of cornbread. I didn't want to make cornbread, but I had this recipe from the NY Times bookmarked for Corn and Black Pepper Crackers. And the rest is history.

I mixed up the batter as per the directions, and the resulting "batter" was very thin. I didn't think there was any way I could bake spoonfuls (sorry, spoonsful) of this without them all running together. So I added two more tablespoons each of flour and cornmeal to thicken it up a bit.

They were nicely corny, nicely peppery, but I think slightly too spongy, which was probably from my meddling with the recipe. Whatever, they still tasted good. And if you have some left over, they'll get soft, but all you have to do is re-crisp them in the oven. Try them, you won't be disappointed. Especially if you have them with bacon candy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bacon Candy

Yeah, I said bacon candy. And you know what? It's frickin' delicious.

I found the recipe on Hey, that tastes good!, and bookmarked it immediately. I have no idea why it took me so long to make this. I feel the need to make up for lost time and make it every day for a week.

3 ingredients - bacon, brown sugar and chili powder. Bake.

Absolutely amazing. I want to put it on top of fried rice. I want to crumble it on top of clam chowder, or a salad. I want to put it in ice cream.

But instead I settled for having it on top of a cornmeal & black pepper cracker (see next post for the crackers, they're delicious too!). Once you let the bacon cool, the sugar makes it pleasantly chewy (and possibly bad for teeth with fillings), and you also get the slight after-burn from the chili powder. This is my new favorite addiction.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

My MIL picked up some super-huge scallops from Costco the other day, and I just knew I had to wrap them in bacon. I decided I wanted to plate them on top of crispy potatoes, with some sauteed greens on the side. I also knew I needed some kind of sauce.

The wheels inside my head were turning - russet or red potatoes? Lemon cream sauce? Should I use wine? How should I cook the potatoes? Should I grill or boil the scallops? With the help of some friends, I settled on red potatoes, parboiled then broiled, and a tart mustardy sauce using Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. And some blanched and sauteed broccoli rabe on the side.

I am so completely happy with this dinner - I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and it turned out to be one of the better things I've ever made.

So without further adieu, here's what I did. And please note that all measurements are approximate, because I can't measure to save my life (which is why I'm no longer a chemist).

Bacon Wrapped Scallops on Crispy Potatoes with Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

10 large scallops
10 thin slices bacon
2 red potatoes
1 bunch broccoli rabe
minced garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper & hot pepper flakes
white wine vinegar
chicken broth
aioli garlic mustard sauce (you could probably use equal parts mustard and cream to substitute)

Pat the scallops dry, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cut the potatoes into slices a little more than 1/4" thick, parboil them for about 5 minutes, then drain on paper towels. Blanch the bacon for 30 seconds, and drain. Separate the leaves from the broccoli rabe, blanch for 5 minutes in salted water, stop the cooking under cold water, then drain.

Stretch out the bacon and season with pepper. Starting at the narrow end, wrap a slice of bacon around a scallop, pulling the bacon tight. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. Toss the potato slices (gently!) with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the bacon-wrapped scallops and the potato slices onto a heavy baking sheet, and broil 6 inches from the flame, about 6-7 minutes per side. The bacon should get crispy, and the potatoes should start browning.

While the broiler is broiling, heat some olive oil in a skillet, add some garlic, and saute for a minute. Add in the broccoli rabe, some salt and red pepper flakes, and some white wine vinegar if you wish. Saute until cooked to your liking.

For the sauce, heat about 2 teaspoons olive oil with 2 teaspoons butter, add in some minced garlic, and let cook for a minute. Pour in some chicken broth, about 1/3 cup, a splash of white wine vinegar, salt & pepper, and about 2 teaspoons aioli garlic mustard sauce. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat and let simmer a bit, until it thickens. Right before serving, swirl in some more butter, because butter is good.

To plate, place a scallop on top of a potato, top with sauce, and serve the broccoli rabe on the side (the sauce goes good on the greens too).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Irish Beef Stew

In the ongoing effort to clean out my freezer, I defrosted what (I hoped) was about a pound of beef stew meat. Perusing the interwebs, I found Elise's recipe for Irish Beef Stew, and decided to go with it.

I had to make a few changes to Elise's recipe - for starters, the grocery store didn't have single bottles of Guinness, and what the hell am I going to do with a 6-pack, so I replaced it with Newcastle. Which I guess makes this an English Beef Stew. I added mushrooms because beef and shrooms go well together, and I forgot the parsley and tomato paste. I also had to improvise a substitution for Worcestershire sauce, since mine smelled moldy-funky and had to be disposed of. A smashed up anchovy, a little soy sauce, a little cider vinegar, and a dollop of oyster sauce - I'm not sure if it even remotely approximated W-sauce, but it seemed to work in the dish.

After sauteing the veggies, I saw that I had all these delicious browned bits on the bottom of the saucepan, and couldn't bear the thought of all that happiness going down the drain. So I deglazed it with a little of the stew broth, and dumped it into the stew. Later, while simmering, I decided that the stew was more soupy than I wanted, so I ladled out a bunch of broth and reduced it, then added it back to the stew. Much better.

Copious amounts of black pepper, a little salt, and done. Delicious. Although if you make it, I recommend you don't forget the tomato paste and parsley like I did, it seemed to need that extra punch. Maybe tomorrow I'll pick up some of each and doctor up the leftovers. Can't hurt, and beef stew always tastes better the second day anyway.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seared Lamb Loin Chops

Mary might have had a little lamb with snowy white fleece, but I think I was luckier, in that I had some beautiful thick lamb loin chops. These babies were serious, 1 1/2" thick!

I could've done something complicated, like marinating, or a sauce with mint or parsley, but I just wanted to taste the lamb. So I coated the chops with olive oil, and seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.

I heated up my cast iron skillet until it was smoking (be careful, the handle gets hot!), and seared the chops for 5 minutes on each side, for a perfect pinkness in the middle (my camera's wonky, they were pinker than the picture!). For Hubby & Youngest, I cooked them for a minute more on each side, because they like their protein a little more cooked than I do.

After searing, I made a quick sauce from the happy charry bits in the skillet, some beef broth and red wine, reduced it down, and added a bit of butter, because you can never go wrong with butter.

Mmm...lamb chops.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Twice Baked Red Potatoes with Feta and Green Onion

I love potatoes. I love feta. Why not combine them?

Twice Baked Red Potatoes with Feta and Green Onion

red potatoes (Russet would work too)
olive oil
green onion
minced garlic
salt & pepper

Coat the whole potatoes with a little olive oil, poke with a fork a few times, and bake on a sheet or directly on the oven rack at 350 for about an hour. Let cool a little, then cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the insides, leaving about a 1/4" shell.

Mix the potato innards with some crumbled feta, minced garlic, and chopped green onion, seasoning with salt and pepper. Stuff this back into the potato skins, and place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350, until the skins are crispy, and the tops start browning.
Delicious. And that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fried Smelt

I bough a package of little fishies at Major Market, dreaming of crunchy fried smelt. I had never made them before, heck, never even had them before, but I knew I wanted them.

The only thing I was slightly worried about was the fact that they were whole. And not gutted. Did I want to take the time to gut and clean? Not really. And tons of people have eaten them whole and not died. So I went for it.

My MIL said that you can soak the little fishies in lemon juice prior to cooking to remove some of the fishiness, so that's what we did. After a quick soak, they were rinsed, because I didn't want an overpowering lemon flavor.

I used a package of Zatarain's Fish Fry, augmenting the seasoning with a little black pepper and garlic powder. The Fish Fry was well-seasoned to begin with, but I can't seem to cook without adding more pepper and garlic to almost everything.

Still moist from their rinse, the fishies were dragged through the Fish Fry, until nicely coated.

Fried 'em up in a little canola oil, et voila. Crunchy, fishy (in a good way!), salty. They kind of reminded me of the dried squid I get occasionally at 99 Ranch Market. I could eat these like popcorn.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fingers Crossed and Resolutions

Yup, a meme. Bob at Cooking Stuff tagged me, and now I need to list four things I would wish for (fingers crossed) and four resolutions, of the New Years variety.

Fingers crossed is easy:

1. My Oldest gets her sh&t together.
2. I don't lose my house. I'm currently upside-down, as is my smile :(
3. My family and friends, especially my adopted mom, stay and/or get healthy.
4. I win the lottery (hey, that would help with #2, right?).

I don't do New Year's resolutions - 1) I don't like to set myself up for disappointment, and 2) Why wait for a New Year? If you want to change something in your life, do it. Don't risk waiting 11 months.

I told a coworker that I resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions, and by doing so, I had immediately failed, and he told me that was an "unenterable paradigm". True. (And his comment confirmed my opinion that he's a bigger dork than I.)

So...if I were to make resolutions:

1. Finally pick one language to learn fluently instead of random bits and pieces of 20 different ones.
2. Finish Dante's Inferno. I've been trying for about 10 years.
3. Cook my way through (at least a little!) my 100ish cookbooks and 499 bookmarked recipes.
4. And finally, like Bob, try not to be so negative. It doesn't bother me much, but it seems to piss off the people around me.

I don't tag as a rule, so feel free to participate if you'd like.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quick and Tasty Carnitas

I know, I know, carnitas aren't quick. You need to roast the pork forever.

But not if you've got a Northgate Market near you. And if you live in southern CA, you probably do!

MIL came home with two large chunks of roasted pork, tub of "salsa mexicana", and a pack of guaraches (thick slipper-shaped corn tortillas). I shredded the pork and skillet-fried it without adding any fat, until it got crispy. At the same time, I placed the guaraches directly over a low gas flame to heat them through and get a little crispiness. Then pile some carnitas on a guarache, add some lettuce (or green onion or cilantro if you have it), a squeeze of lime, and a dollop of salsa.

Alternatively, spread some salsa on your guarache, and distribute the carnitas on top, then bake until slightly dried out and a little crispy. Hubby says that guaraches are normally spread with a chile paste (much thicker than the salsa we had) and baked until the chile dries out, then topped with some sort of protein, some avocado, cilantro and lime. Sounds amazing, but I didn't feel like making chile paste, and didn't have any cilantro or lime. So you get what you get, and you don't make a fuss.

Quick, easy, not too terribly bad for you, and totally delicious.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Non-Food Post - Books Read in 2008

At the beginning of 2008, I decided to keep track of all the books I read for the year. I was about to add another to the list, when I realized it's 2009 now!

So, here's what I read last year:

Dark Love – ed. Nancy A. Collins
The Man Who Ate Everything – Jeffrey Steingarten
Drinking, Smoking & Screwing – ed. Sara Nickl├Ęs
Duma Key – Stephen King
The Art of Eating – MFK Fisher
Dragon’s Winter – Elizabeth Lynn
Going Postal – Terry Pratchett
Consider the Eel – Richard Schweid
Best Food Writing 2001 – ed. Holly Hughes
The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, Caviar and the Geography of Desire – Richard Adams Carey
Best Food Writing 2002 – ed. Holly Hughes
Best Food Writing 2003 – ed. Holly Hughes
Best Food Writing 2005 – ed. Holly Hughes
A Fortress of Grey Ice – J.V. Jones
Best Food Writing 2006 – ed. Holly Hughes
The Amber Spyglass – Phillip Pullman
Shadows – John Saul
One Door Away from Heaven – Dean Koontz
The Man Who Ate the World – Jay Rayner
Amador – Fernando Savater
The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy
Serve the People – Jen Lin-Liu
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure – Dave Gorman
Garlic Lover’s Cookbook – Gilroy Garlic Festival Committee
Eight Immortal Flavors – Charles Leong, Johnny Kan
The Origins and Development of the English Language – Thomas Pyles
A Widow for One Year – John Irving
The Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan
The Novice – Trudi Canavan
The High Lord – Trudi Canavan
Just After Sunset – Stephen King
In Evil Hour – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Linguistic History of English – Robert A. Peters
Shattered Mirror – Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Of Love and Other Demons – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

That's 37 books in 365 days, or about 1 every 10. Admittedly, some of them were cookbooks, albeit with long sections of text and minimal recipes. Some of them were brutal (but I loved them anyway), specifically the 2 English language history books. Apparently, I like to punish myself, because I have two Anglo-Saxon Readers, an Old English anthology, and a book on the Indo-European dialects on the list for this year. Yes, I'm insane.

I'm always looking for reading recommendations - what do you suggest?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

I had picked up a baby spaghetti squash, not knowing what I'd do with it - I only bought it because it was so cute! Only about 6 inches long, and a nice bright yellow. Along with the spaghetti squash, I also picked up a baby acorn squash. Again, cute!

For size reference, that's a 9x9 dish:

Last night I cut it in half, and roasted it at 375 until it was done. I shredded out the "spaghetti", and stuck it in the fridge.

Today, I cooked up a quick tomato sauce, using crushed San Marzano tomatoes, a little garlic and onion, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I mixed the sauce into the squashy strands, placed half of it in a dish, sprinkled with basil, a layer of sliced fresh mozzarella, the rest of the squash, more basil, more mozzarella. Into the oven for about 30 minutes.

Verdict? Thumbs up all around! Healthy, cheesy, tomatoey, a little crunchy from the squash. I don't think you'd fool anyone into thinking this is spaghetti, but it's delicious in its own right.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Awesome Product Alert - Sahale Snacks, Part 2

A while back, I wrote about Sahale Snacks Sing Buri cashews (yum!). Soon thereafter, I was contacted by a lady from the company, who wanted to know if I was interested in trying their new line of products. Remembering the deliciousness past, I immediately said Yes, please!

Today my box of goodies arrived! There are three varieties, Almonds with Cranberries, Honey & Sea Salt, Cashews with Pomegranate & Vanilla, and Almond PB&J with Peanuts & Berries.

First up, the Almond PB&J. Nicely nutty (duh), tart berry flavor, not just from the dried berries themselves, but also from concentrated strawberry juice. There's also a hint of vanilla, and a bit of salt. My kind of snack.

Next I tried the Cashews. The pomegranate flavor isn't too pronounced, but it's definitely there, along with dried apples, vanilla, and again, a hint of salt. Very nice. (And we won't talk about my stupid cashew allergy.)

Lastly, the Almonds with Cranberries, Honey & Sea Salt. Wow! Sweet, salty, and there's sesame seeds! I could eat the whole bag. Definitely my favorite.

If you haven't tried these, you really need to go out and get a bag (or 3 or 4)!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Corned Beef Hash

I like corned beef and cabbage, but what I really like is the corned beef hash you get to make the next day. Lots of work for a plate of hash, but sometimes you just have to do it.

Obtain your corned brisket. Don't get one with a spice packet, get one that's vacuum sealed with the spices pressed into the meat. Cover with water, and simmer for at least 3 hours.

Appetizing, isn't it?

This next pic isn't any more delicious-looking, huh?

Let the brisket cool, then slice against the grain. While the meat's cooling, throw some quartered red potatoes into the water and boil until tender. Remove the potatoes, then add chopped carrot, celery and onion, and boil until tender. Remove those, then add cabbage wedges, and boil to your desired doneness.

No, there's no cabbage in the picture. 'Cause I forgot about it until I walked by the cutting board and saw the wedges. Doh!

Anyway, on to the hash. Next day, chop up a little of everything into bite-size pieces. Heat a skillet, spray with a little cooking spray (you could use butter or oil), and fry until you start getting crusty bits.

Top with an over-easy egg and some hot sauce.

Is it worth 4 hours of active cooking and an overnight rest just for a plate of this? Yes, definitely.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Saveur, Jan/Feb 2009

Because I was lucky enough to win Elle's birthday giveaway, I am the proud owner of a year's subscription to Saveur. This came just in time, as I had let my previous subscription expire in an effort to save some cash. Thanks Elle!

Typically I only summarize recipes, but you have to check out the article on the Mangalica (pronounced 'mangalitsa') pig from Hungary in this issue. They're so cute and furry! Also don't miss "Better Than Butter", a short essay on why bacon fat rules. And much more - this issue rocks!

So here's a roundup of the yummiest looking recipes from my 1st issue:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Food & Wine, February 2009

Not too many recipes jumped out at me from February's Food & Wine:

The issue was saved for me by some good reading:
  • Is Wine in Half-Bottles Fully Worth It? - Lettie Teague writes about her half-bottle experiences.
  • Argentina's Best Reds for $10 to $20 - I love Argentinian reds, now I have a list of new ones to try.
  • Dinner with a Deity, Master Chef Michel Bras - a culinary god cooks dinner in a Manhattan apartment.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Faux Chilaquiles

Wow. This is the best thing I've made all year. Wait, this is the only thing I've made this year. But still. This was freakin' awesome.

I took the last of the leftover carnitas that MIL made, and shredded it. Fried it in a dry skillet until crispy, dumped it onto a plate. At the same time, I "scrambled" an egg, the way Hubby likes it - crack the egg into the pan, cook until almost set, poke the yoke, flip, cook a little more until the yolk isn't runny, remove from the heat.

In the skillet used to crisp the carnitas, I heated up some of MIL's homemade chile sauce, then tossed in some tortilla chips to soften in the sauce. Throw in the pork and the chopped up "scrambled" egg, flip and toss for a few seconds. At the last second, because Hubby asked "where's the cheese?", I chopped up a stick of string cheese, and added that, flipped and tossed some more.

End result? Little bits of crispy pork, some soft tortilla chips, some still crispy, gooey bits of cheese and egg throughout, all coated with a spicy sauce. Amazing. I love spur-of-the-moment 10pm snacks.

Homemade Margherita Pizza

After having the best margherita pizza of my life at Uncle Tony's, I decided to try my own (knowing that I'd fall far short of their masterpiece).

I used the basic no-knead bread recipe, adding a little sugar and some olive oil, per Chef John's recommendations.

Let me tell you something - this dough is a pain in the ass for making pizza. It's so sticky, and barely wants to hold itself together, that there's no way you'll ever be able to toss this. I could barely roll it over the backs of my hands to stretch it without ripping it.

After fighting to get it stretched to my semi-satisfaction, I spread the dough with some garlic-olive-oil, just a couple of cloves of minced garlic barely warmed for about 5 minutes in oil, to infuse the oil with garlicky goodness. Then I laid on the sliced tomatoes (seeded and dried on paper towels) and sliced fresh mozzarella. I baked this at 450 until the crust started browning (which took a lot longer than I thought it would), then sprinkled with basil, and gave it a good dusting of salt and pepper.

The first try was ok, but not great. The fresh mozz practically disappeared because it baked for so long, the tomatoes started getting a little dried out, and the dough was more bready than pizza-y.

For the 2nd pizza, I prebaked the crust alone for about 5 minutes, then topped with tomatoes and mozz, and baked until golden. When it came out of the oven, I sprinkled it with basil, and brushed the whole thing with the same garlic-olive-oil mix as in the first pizza. Then, salt and pepper.

The 2nd one was better, because the tomatoes and cheese weren't baked as long, and the garlic didn't get bitter from being baked. But the cheese still mostly disappeared. And with both versions, I wasn't happy with the crust - this dough is wonderful, but better for a loaf of bread than for a pizza, in my opinion.

I'll definitely be trying my own pizza again, next time with a different dough recipe, and baking the crust almost all the way before adding the tomatoes and cheese - I love the barely warmed pieces of mozzarella on a well-made margherita.

In the meantime, I'll just head down to Uncle Tony's for my fix.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Menudo

Happy New Year, everybody!

MIL made menudo for New Year's - a day of prepping and chopping, followed by a day of cooking. It's a hell of a lot of work, but so good.

She started by washing tripe and pig's feet (which she had the butcher cut into manageable pieces), then boiled each one twice to remove the yuckiness. Dried chiles had to be rehydrated and seeded, then blended with garlic and onion.

Because I didn't get to see any of it, and MIL's always rather vague when it comes to sharing recipes, I'm not sure what happened next. I know the tripe got chopped into bite-size pieces. I know 3 large cans of hominy were used. And I'm guessing the blended chile sauce was diluted with water to create the soup. Maybe she added stock cube or 2, maybe some MSG. (Yes, there's a bag of MSG in my pantry.)

Toppings were chopped and sliced - radishes, cilantro, green onion, white onion, lemon wedges. Plus oregano and chile flakes for sprinkling.

End result was a huge pot of tasty deliciousness. I even ate a pig's foot, which I had previously sworn I'd never do, because of the texture. But this was good. Damn good.