Homemade Carnitas Tacos with Avocado for Cinco de Mayo

Carnitas Tacos with Avocado from MimiAvocado.com

When I think of comfort foods,  I remember coming home from school activities to a house filled with the delicious aroma of roasting pork.  As soon as the weather turned cool,  we could look forward to roast pork with apple sauce.  In those days,  roast pork meant a nice tenderloin roasted in the oven.  Now that I live in California,  I’ve learned to make a different kind of roast pork for tacos or burritos called Carnitas.

Carnitas means “little meats” and usually refers to braised pork that melts in your mouth.   Traditional Carnitas is a Mexican dish that originated in the state of Michoacan, where the pork is simmered in lard with salt, chili, cumin, oregano or Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed garlic cloves.

I’m going to share how I make Carnitas for these tacos,  seasoned  with a homemade tomatillo sauce.  You won’t believe how easy it is to do, and how tasty it turns out!  Just in time for Cinco de Mayo too! Continue reading

Book Review: Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex

 

Enchiladas cookbook

Ever since I moved to California in the late 1970’s,  I have been wanting a really good cookbook for Mexican food.  I don’t mean just a few recipes, but a reference book that explains all the key ingredients of Mexican cuisine, like tomatillos, Mexican cheeses, and  fresh and dried chilies.  Who would expect that a book named simply “Enchiladas” would fulfill all these wishes?  This one does.

Cappy Lawton and Chris Waters Dunn have teamed  with chefs from some of San Antonio’s best Mexican restaurants to produce Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex, published by Trinity University Press.

ingredients

This isn’t just a book about enchiladas,  but a primer on all the basic techniques of the Mexican cochina,  including homemade tortillas, queso fresco, crema Mexicana, and chorizo.  This definitive cookbook explores the enchilada through the history of the Mexican people over thousands of years.

fundamentals

Not only are there sixty traditional and contemporary enchilada recipes, but there are recipes for salsas, salad, and sides to accompany them.   Ever wanted to make really tender pot beans or savory refried beans?  How about perfect Mexican rice,  six different ways?   This book explains how to prepare beautiful  slow-cooked  and perfectly seasoned meat fillings,  as well as  seafood and vegetable options.  Now we can try making corn tortillas from scratch, even the colorful flavor-infused ones!

This book captures the love of Mexican food,  with expertly crafted recipes,  beautiful photographs, and historical details.  Just what I have always wanted:  a book that teaches the essentials of Mexican cooking. There is plenty of good reading material and fabulous photos that make this a great coffee-table book.  The instructions and recipes are done in  simple and easy-to-follow detail, so that home cooks like me will be able to make homemade enchiladas with all the fixings for family dinners.

As a blogger who lives on an avocado farm,   I thought this book might be something my readers would also enjoy.  I love this book, and I’m pretty sure anyone who loves  avocados (and we all do, don’t we!) will love this book.  (Wouldn’t it be the perfect gift along with a box of fresh California avocados?)

Order directly from the book’s website http://www.enchiladasbook.com, and a portion of every sale will go to Lighthouse for the Blind, San Antonio.   I’ve never been to San Antonio,  but after visiting the websites for the authors’  restaurants,  I think it’s high time for a trip!

I have permission to share a recipe from the book with you, so I chose one of my favorite enchiladas:  Enchiladas Suizas.  This is the basic recipe from the book,  but there is also a second recipe for the La Fonda Enchilada Suizas that the authors serve in their three restaurants,  La Fonda on Main, Cappy’s, and Cappyccino’s in San Antonio, Texas.  I’m thrilled to share that recipe with you here as well!

Enchiladas Suizas  (from Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex)

Yields 12 enchiladas / Serves 4-6

 Enchiladas Suizas was invented in 1950 at Sanborn’s in the historic Casa de Aulejos (House of Tiles) in Mexico City, Suizas or “Swiss,” refers to the dairy in the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) tomatillos, husks removed, cored
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, destemmed
  • ½ medium white onion, peeled, coarsely chopped, and root end removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¾ bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (237 ml) crema Mexicana
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the filling:

  • 2 cups (260 grams) poached and shredded chicken

For the assembly:

  • 12 white corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil as needed for softening tortillas
  • 2 cups (240 grams) queso asadero or queso Chihuahua, grated

For the garnish:

  • 1 cup (237 ml) crema Mexicana
  • White onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves
La Fonda Suizas

The La Fonda On Main Enchiladas Suizas is garnished with a romaine salad!

Enchiladas Suizas, La Fonda on Main

Yields 12 enchiladas / Serves 4-6

 In La Fonda’s version of this classic enchilada recipe, pepitas add a nutty flavor to the sauce, and the enchiladas are topped with Swiss cheese and garnished with a refreshing Romaine Lettuce Salad.

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (47 grams) white onion, diced
  • 2-3 cups serrano chiles, destemmed and chopped (see note)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup (65 grams) raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 pound (454 grams) tomatillos, husks removed, quartered
  • 1 cup (237 ml) crema Mexicana
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (14 grams) kosher salt, or to taste

For the filling:

  • 2 chicken breasts (approximately 1 pound, 454 grams), poached and shredded

For the assembly:

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil as needed for softening tortillas
  • 2 cups (240 grams) Swiss cheese, shredded (or substitute asadero or Chihuahua)

For the garnish:

  • Romaine Lettuce Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large leaves romaine lettuce, ribs removed and shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored, deseeded, and chopped
  • 1 small serrano chile, destemmed, deseeded, and minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Cilantro sprigs to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Toss lettuce, tomatoes, serrano chile, green onions, and cilantro sprigs together. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  • Whisk the lime juice and oil together until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  • Just before serving the enchiladas, pour the lime juice and oil dressing over salad and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Disclosure:  I’m grateful to to have received a signed complimentary copy of this book to review.

Quiche with Roasted Cipolline Onions

Roasted Onion QuicheHave you tried cooking with Cipolline onions?  These cute little onions are perfect for roasting,  caramelizing to become beautiful little orbs that add homemade flavor to stews, sauces, or salads.  Yesterday  I put together  a Roasted Onion Quiche with bacon, cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, and some sliced roasted Baby Gold potatoes.  Aren’t those little onions pretty on top?  They’re full of sweet onion flavor too. I’ll share how to make them, and the recipe for this gorgeous quiche with you now. Continue reading

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie

It has been a long time since I have made homemade pie with homemade pie crust.  Sometime between college and raising four children I got into the habit of using frozen pie crusts or just buying the pies from a favorite restaurant.  This week I was inspired to try my hand at making homemade pie from scratch like my mother used to do.   Continue reading

Pistachio-Crusted Purple Sweet Potato Patties with Blood Orange Marmalade

sweet potato patties

Have you ever tried purple sweet potatoes?  I never had even heard of them until I visited the Vista, Ca. Farmers Market and saw several varieties of purple potatoes.

blood orange marmalade with whisky

I was trying to think of something fun to make with the Blood Orange Marmalade (with whisky!) that The Golden Door sent me to try for a recipe contest they are sponsoring at Eat Write Retreat food bloggers conference.  This marmalade is tart and sweet at the same time with a hint of the whisky flavor.  I wanted to just eat it on hot biscuits, but that wouldn’t really count for a recipe contest, would it? Continue reading

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