Sunday, December 29, 2013

Carnitas. The white girl way. With a crock pot.

People who know me pretty well know my love for Latin food.  Every time my friends want to head out for lunch or a girl’s night dinner, my first suggestion is ALWAYS Tijuana Flats.  I end up eating a shit ton of it and busting a gut about ten minutes after devouring it and I swear I’ll never eat again.   Right.  So, I attempt to make as many Latin dishes as I can and just wait for the Hubster to say “Okay.  Let’s chill on the enchiladas.  Seven times a month is enough.”  I disagree.

Well, we haven’t had carnitas in a while, and since the pork loin roast was on sale, I figured, why the hell not.  And this small amount of meat makes enough for us to have a full meal with the six of us and leftovers the next night.  Winning!

Shit you’re gonna need:
3 to 4 pounds of pork loin roast (my package was from Smithfield and actually said “Carnitas” on it.)
1 can of petite diced tomatoes (But, if you feel that you don’t have enough spice in your life because you’re not married to a redhead like my husband is, you can add those diced tomatoes with the green chiles in them.  I think everyone pretty much refers to those as Rotel.  Generic or not – it’s Rotel.  Just like Q-tips.  It’s really a cotton swab but we all call them q-tips.  I truly believe the tomatoes (chiles or not) adds more flavor.  Just like dropping a piece of Toblerone into your hot chocolate.  Yum!)
½ tablespoon of cumin (I swear I read that with a dirty mind. Every time.)
½ tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 large pinch of onion powder

Shit you’re gonna do:
Spray down your crock pot with a little kitchen ky (non stick cooking spray) so that clean up is a bizzillion times easier.  I’ve never had luck with those disposable plastic bags.  They actually creep me out – all that melted plastic; it just doesn’t seem right.  But then again, neither does drinking an entire bottle of wine by yourself, but you don’t see me stopping that now do you?

Put your meat in the crock pot.   Mine happened to be 4-5 pieces which I appreciate because I fully believe in cutting up the meat before putting it in the crock pot.  Cooks faster and it’s easier to shred when it’s done.  So, if yours is one big hunky hunk of meat, go ahead and cut that bad boy up.  You can also trim some of the fat if you’d like.  I don’t; I just take out the fatty pieces after it cooks – I love me some fatty flavor.

Once the meat is in, dump in your tomatoes, all the seasonings, and cook on either low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  (sorry the picture below is the best I could get from the crock pot. I really believe there is absolutely no way to get a picture of cooked food in the crock pot without being staged.  This, my friends, is not staged.)

When it’s done, shred it up with two forks, which shouldn’t be too hard to do; it should really just fall apart on you.  You’ll notice it’s a little juicy from the tomatoes, so, I drain the meat with a slotted spoon when serving.  But if you like a lot more juice, go for it.  I won’t judge.

I happened to put mine on top of homemade arepas which I proudly say, I learned to make from Danielle (D2.)  She can make a mean ass arepa…be jealous.  Let’s hope she posts how she makes them here soon.  No pressure or anything, D2. 

Here's the printable recipe for you...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lazy Holiday Baking

So, it's the holidays.  You've got all these things pinned on Pinterest with hopes of your kitchen pumping out goodies that'll make the sugar plum fairies jealous.  BUT.  It's now December 21st.  The clock is flying by you like a hooker who just saw a cop.  You don't have time to compete with Martha.  You don't have time to impress your mother in law.  And you most definitely don't have time to make baked gifts for your neighbors.  You swear every year that you'll start on December 1st and you end up lying to yourself every. damn. year.   So, let's just pour a glass of wine and be honest with ourselves.  Keep it simple, ya'll.  Here's a list of what I'll be baking.  And yes, my kids will help.


Molasses cookies; my husband's favorite.  I can't share the recipe - it's an ancient Chinese secret, but I'm preeeeeeeetty sure you can google one pretty close to what I have.


Chocolate dipped pretzel sticks (a big hit every year.)  The link shows how she wraps them for gifts; I don't do that.  I just keep them in a big tupperware container.


Chocolate Pretzel Candy Buttons

This is super easy, ya'll.  If you're not able to make these, then you're the reason that there are directions on shampoo.

1. I don't use the square pretzels; I use the small twisty ones.  Only because they're a full $1.50 cheaper.
2. Hershey hugs
3. Holiday m&m's (Would you believe that I've been to two damn stores and the only flavor they have is mint?  Ugh.)
4. Bake the hershey hug on the pretzel at 200 degrees for about 4-5 minutes.  You'll see some recipes that are 350 for 2-3min but I found that it melts too fast.  Once you pull them out (heehee) slowly press the m&m into the chocolate.  Please be advised that the chocolate will be hot.  Make sure you don't burn the tips of your fingers.  (I can't believe that I actually had to put that disclaimer in there.)
5. I let them cool and then keep them in a tupperware container on the counter so that I can shovel these into my pie hole whenever I want.


Easy Salted Caramel Fudge

This is seriously easy.  But since it's fudge, people will think you spent hours slaving over a copper bottom pot with a Williams Sonoma candy thermometer and used parchment paper shipped in from Germany.  You can tell them that if you want.  No judgment here.

And that's it, ya'll.  Please let me know if you try any of these or if you've decided to revaluate your holiday baking plans...

--D1 (aka, Delaina)

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to kill a vampire. With mashed potatoes.

EVERY time I'm asked to bring a side dish of sorts, I bring these roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  It's easy to control how much or how little you wanna make because depending on how many potatoes you use, you can either make a smidge or a shit ton.  (Sidebar: "smidge" and "shit ton"...those are both standard units of measurement; add those to your vocab list.)  Also, if you get to your destination and they get cold - totally easy to heat up in the microwave.  Although, I don't recommend freezing these, because when I've done that, the heating back up process results in watery, runny, potatoes.  Blech!  But they WILL last in the fridge for about a week, so you could make potato patties with the leftovers as well.

Shit you're gonna need:
2 heads of garlic (Is that what they're called, "heads?"  Like, the little things inside are called "cloves", right?  But the whole thing?  That's the head, right?)
Olive Oil  (extra virgin, extra slutty...whatever)
Aluminum Foil
6 russet potatoes (this will feed about 6 adults.  Just factor in that the average adult eats one potato.  It's not rocket science or the friggin' common core bullshit they're teaching the kids these days.)
Heavy Whipping cream (this will all depend on how creamy or dry you want your potatoes.  Could be 1/2 cup...could be 3/4.)
5 tablespoons of butter (again, this is for 6 potatoes, so any more or any'll have to do the math.)
Salt (I use kosher salt, cuz I'm half Jew)
Pepper (If you like it)

Shit you're gonna do:
Preheat your oven to 425.  You'll see here that I have three heads of garlic, but I only used two.  That's because the extra head I roasted, I kept in the fridge in case I needed it.  I use the roasted garlic to rub on bread when making grilled cheese sandwiches, or for using it as a rub down for a roasted chicken.  Roasted garlic is versatile, just like pantyhose.  You can wear them if you're rockin' the 1984 career woman look, rubbing the deodorant off the armholes of your favorite silk blouse, or you can use them to cover your head when robbing a bank.   The choice is yours.

Chop off that top thingy from the head.  (top thingy - such fancy terminology)

Then lay them on aluminum foil that's on a cookie sheet.  Or baking pan, or whatever you call it.

Loosely wrap that mutha up and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes.  Yes...your house will smell like you're trying to murder Edward Cullen's entire family.  Whiiiiiiiiich wouldn't be such a terrible thing.

Once they're done, take them out of the oven, open the aluminum foil and let them cool.  You're gonna be squeezing these bad boys like the last 1/4 inch of your toothpaste, so you don't wanna burn your fingers.

Now, wash and scrub your potatoes.  Let's be honest here.  I didn't scrub them.  I ran them over running water and just used my hands to get off any excess grime.  And don't judge; I know half of you out there reading this do the same damn thing.

Then chop them up - the size depends on how quickly you want them to cook.  So, let's use our common sense here (which isn't really common any more) and agree that the larger the cut potato, the longer it takes to cook.  The smaller the cut potato, the less time it takes to cook.

You'll also see here that I left the skins on.  Feel free to peel them before you chop - my family happens to like the skins, so I leave them on.  And because I'm seriously lazy and don't feel like skinning them.

You'll boil these until they're fork tender.  Then drain and put back in the pot.  (Sorry, I didn't have a picture of all that.  I had a friend over for dinner and I got to running my mouth and forgot.  AND we were drinking wine, sooooooo, that pretty much explains it.)

Ignore the regular table salt in the picture below.  I used kosher salt.

Once your potatoes are back in the pot, add your butter, 'bout a 1/4 cup of the whipping cream to get started, and then squeeze in your garlic.  Yes.  Your hand will get stinky.

Now, how you actually mix your potatoes is up to you.  I used to use a good 'ol fashioned hand potato masher, but I've long since forgotten my Amish ways, and use an electric mixer.  Call me crazy, but this electricity thing is really working for me!

Oh, look!  There's the Kosher salt.

Once you've mixed the potatoes to the consistency you like, this is where you start seasoning.  I add salt and pepper by the teaspoon until I get it to where I like it.  I sort of under salt because I know everyone will add more.

Feel free to top with bacon and sour cream :)  I do!

Click below to open a printable copy!