Month: May 2010

Sesame-crusted seared albacore with maitake, asparagus and soba

I made this during a warm spell we had a week ago. It was the kind of weather we ought to be having right now, but Mother Nature is being a bit of a premenstrual dysphoric bitch right now, dumping buckets of rain and unseasonally […]

Animal Style

I recently lucked into some free beef, and I didn’t even have to buy any tires. My old friend, mentor and high school geology teacher Dick Pugh (yeah, yeah, “what a name,” but he’s like 80 so shut the fuck up) was coming over to […]

Pulled pork tacos

Yes, delicious pork tacos. But first, indulge me for a minute while I embark on some quick link-dropping and tangent-going, and don’t you dare pull a tl;dr on me. I never write any more. You’ll get to the photos soon enough.

So I was reading Peter’s blog (which I actually still do, Peter, even though I’m too busy saving myself from tendonitis to comment from my iPhone) and found out about Ruhlman’s stance that “suck it, you all have plenty of time to cook. And what.”

To borrow a phrase, I call bullshit. Now, granted, I am currently fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom (err, a work from home mom), so in theory I have plenty of time to loll around the kitchen for long, slow braises and staggeringly articulate yeast-risings – more time, in fact, than when Scott and I were a couple of blithe DINKs with weekends to burn.

To that I say, “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.”

Anyways, Peter linked to a response from Married…with dinner, and at the end of Anita’s pleasant diatribe, she vows to share time-saving tricks for home cooks on a weekly basis, and implores her readers to offer their own. So we can all eat like we have time to burn, when in reality, few of us have this luxury. And here we are.

Life as the recently-mated consists of a series of two-hour blocks. Two hours of napping (yay! do stuff!) are followed by two hours of attentive snuggling and neuron-firing playtime. Rinse and repeat. Two hours is still a lot of time, true, but did I mention I work from home? Plus, what if I just put something delicate in the oven, then have to abandon it for maternal duties? This has happened, by the way – I had to run upstairs to nurse Zeph back into submission and had to just lay there with my tit out, listening to the oven timer beeping away for 15 minutes until Scott got home from work. The food was saved this time, barely, but I know I won’t always be that lucky.

My culinarian identity has been seriously compromised for the past year or so, so as a saving throw, I have become a recent convert to pressure cooking. Yes, old timey, frighteningly sputtery and clattery pressure-cooking. I can spare enough time a couple times a month to pressure-cook poundage of beast or beans (the pressure allows the boiling temperature to exceed 212 degrees, which drastically cuts cooking time), then freeze for easy reheating at a later date. This means I can eat feijoadas from homegrown heirloom beans (dried and stored) with brisket and ham shank an hour after starting it, and again a month later in only 10 minutes. (In fact, when I cook beans these days, I only cook the whole bag and freeze the cooked legumes in 1-cup portions. This takes about 15 or 20 minutes, and saves lots of rupees, too. Canned beans are for suckers.)

So my protip of the week: get over your fear of the pressure cooker. It was good enough for grandma, it’s good enough for you.

Okay, so to the tacos already.

Another lazy-evening, time-strapped, just-put-the-baby-to-bed dinner, tacos are such an easy way to deliver protein, starch and a little veg to the sleepwalking. Particularly if one is fortuitous enough to have pressure-cooked a 5lb. pork shoulder the prior evening (which, itself, took only about 45 minutes).

All I needed was to add some cumin, Mexican oregano (actually a verbena, and not even in the same botanical family as oregano) and achiote to the leftover pork shreds. Reheated pulled pork always tastes fine as long as there is plenty of delicious grease to cushion against drying.

For authenticity (and because it is Correct), tacos should contain only meat, onion and cilantro, and be served in two corn tortillas. The second tortilla is for cobbling together a spare taco from any fallen taco flotsam. Hot sauce is encouraged, and a spritz of lime livens everything up.

Serve with an ice-cold Negro Modelo and radishes for coolness.