June 14, 2009

Carnitas and Margaritas

It was too hot to get out so we decided to stay in and make Carnitas and Margaritas. Oh my goodness!! I fell in love with my husband all over again. Over MEAT!! LOL This is a very simple recipe but you wouldn't think so by how good it tastes. There are a lot of dishes out there that take extra time to prepare due to so many steps in order for something to turn out perfect. This takes some time but not many steps. Put it on while you go run some errands, clean the house or just lay around and watch tv while drooling. I promise, you WILL salivate while this is cooking as the smell fills your house. It's worth the wait. The Van Doren Margarita recipe is below after the Carnita recipe.

(1) 4-5 lb bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)
kosher salt

3 c chicken broth or water
(or half of each)
1 white or yellow onion, quartered

1 tbsp dried oregano leaves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp paprika

An hour before you start cooking, remove the meat from the fridge, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Let it sit.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pork in a 5-7 quart Dutch oven and add the broth, onion, oregano, cumin and paprika. We used half broth, half water. Add generous pinch of salt. Place over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Spoon some of the hot liquid over hte top of the meat, then cover again and transfer to oven. Cook until meat is literally falling apart, about 4 hours, spooning liquid over meat once or twice during cooking.

Remove pot from oven and place on stove top. Transfer meat to a platter. With a large sppon, push meat off the bone in chunks; discard bone and any large pieces of fat. Put meat back in pot and turn on heat to medium-high heat; cook, stirring to break it up with a sppon, until liquid in pot has almost entirely evaporated and meat begins to sizzle, 5-10 minutes. Ready to serve.

We served on warm tortillas with shredded Monterrey jack cheese and dollop of sour cream. Just the meat by itself would be great on a bun. Other options: Use as filling in enchiladas or tamales or add your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on a bun.


2 c tequila
1 c sweetened lime juice
1/2 c triple sec

Pour all ingredients into a pitcher. Stir together. You can take a sip and add more of what you need to suit your taste. Serve over ice in salted margarita glasses with a lime. Makes 2 servings. Enjoy!!

June 9, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


I whipped up some strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for TifMo (friend at work). I didn't realize that I haven't actually made homemade strawberry cake or cupcakes before. The thought of fresh strawberries made my mouth water so I had to try it. I love when you try a new recipe and it turns out great the first time around. Disasters are no bueno, especially late at night when you're ready to go to bed. I've got my cream cheese frosting down. It's always delicious when I make it. Not too sweet and you can taste the cream cheesey-ness! Yum!

- makes 36 cupcakes

3 c self-rising flour
2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c pureed strawberries (I used about 2 cups or one 16 oz. container of fresh strawberries)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
red food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put cupcake liners in cupcake pans and set aside. Hull strawberries to remove stems. Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels. Then pulse in food processor until pureed. I like small chunks mine.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest and eggs. Stir all together with a wooden spoon until combined. If you wish, add red food coloring to give it a little more pink color. I added 5 drops.

Divide batter evenly in each cupcake liner. I used 2 cookie scoops of batter in each. They barely rose above the liner so I would add an extra 1/2 cookie scoop of batter in each if you like them to mound up a little.

Bake for 20 minutes and check with toothpick to see if center is done. If not, put back in and check in 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.

Put pans on wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove from pans directly onto wire rack to cool completely while you make the frosting.


8 oz pkg cream cheese frosting, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Approx 3 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar in 1 cup batches until desired sweetness. I used 2 1/4 cups for mine. Stir in vanilla.

Curry Chicken Pouches

I didn't really feel like cooking when I got home from work so I rummaged through the fridge and pantry to see what we had on hand. We normally have a menu planned out and I just wanted to be spontaneous and throw something together that was quick. I had crescent rolls on hand. Those are always good from some sort of pocket of goodness so I went with it. It doesn't take many ingredients to make something delicious. See my Greek Pocket recipe for another tasty idea.

1 can crescent rolls
1 1/2 c (1/2 of 16oz bag) frozen mixed vegetable (peas, carrots, green beans)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp butter
1 small onion
1 c chopped celery
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c milk
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 c cubed cooked chicken (roasted chicken tastes the best but you can use the cubes or strips from the deli meat section)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss vegetables with oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place in oven and cook until golden brown.

In a saute pan heat 1 tbsp of butter and sweat the onion and celery Add 2 more tbsp butter to the onion and celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry powder and cook for about a minute until flour soaks up all the remaining moisture. Whisk in the milk and broth and cook until thickened. Then add the parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the browned vegetables and chicken.

Using same sheet pan used for vegetables, place the crescent rolls in rectangles on to pan spread out from each other. There will be 4 rectangles. Push the perforations out so there aren't holes. Place about 2-3 tbsp of filling in the center of each rectangle. Fold sides over and seal ends so the filling doesn't spill out.

Bake for 10 minutes. Then increase oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 5 more minutes or until golden brown.