It’s that day again, National Colorado Day. Comes around every year on April 12. This year it just happens to take a back seat to Easter. Still, I did not want to overlook the 38th state of the Union.
In our house, Tuesdays are Tijuana Night – anything with a Mexican influence goes. So recently I decided to get a little creative with my Instant Pot. I’ll be honest, didn’t have a clue as to how these chops would fair. One word – delicious!
Today is National California Day. I know when most people think California Cuisine, they picture thin-crust pizzas with artichokes and a white sauce or sprouts on a whole-grain sandwich.
I know, it’s past Christmas and Tamales are something usually eaten after Midnight Mass for many Mexican-American families. However; it’s not too late to enjoy your tamales during the “Christmas Season”, which actually doesn’t end until January 6. In our house, we keep the decorations up until then.
One beautiful Saturday afternoon, while strolling down the meat section of my local market, I saw the most awesome thick cut pork chops I had ever seen. These babies had to be nearly 2 inches thick, with a nicely trimmed fat edge on one side and a bone on the other. There were three of these beautiful chops in a package, market for “special” pricing. I can only surmise that a customer had ordered the extra-thick pork chops and then for whatever reason, decided against the purchase after the meat was cut.
My hubby has the strangest sense of humor. Recently as we sat down to a fine, all from scratch Mexican supper, I made the comment that it was nice to spend time putter about in the kitchen. He smiled and replied “So that’s why you’re so good at miniature golf.” A silly man making a silly play on the word “puttering”.
As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Northern Italian-French cooking. Anything that calls for a few pounds of butter mixed with a gallon or so of heavy cream and I am there! My heart might not agree, but the rest of me gets excited at the very thought. The thing that I like about Italian-French cuisine (aside from all the creamy sauces) is the use of wine. Sip, cook, taste, sip some more. Yeah, that makes for a happy cook in the kitchen.
For a few months now I’ve been cooking up some yummy dishes from Mexico. An extension on the whole Taco Tuesday craze if you will. We’ve done so many delicious Mexican inspired dishes.
This is one of those times when canned ingredients are the only way to go. After all, unless you are growing your own jalapeño peppers, have a means to smoke-dry those peppers, you won’t find whole chipotle chilies in the produce aisle of your grocery store. A chipotle is not a type of chili pepper but rather a smoke-dried jalapeño. Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field many times, picking the unripe, green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season, jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. In Mexico and the United States, there is a market for ripe red jalapeños. They are kept on the bush as long as possible. When they are deep red and have lost much of their moisture, they are picked to be made into chipotles.
The first time I made this dish, I was a bit apprehensive. Chipotle and maple syrup together? Really? Yes, really! There’s just enough kick from the chipotle that you know it’s there, yet the maple syrup is your savior, taking the edge off just a bit. An added bonus is that sweet-salty sensation these beautiful chops impart.
I know summer seems to linger. I know, cooking spicy food when it’s still warm outside is seriously crazy, but this recipe from kevinandamanda.com has been on my menu for a while. Life just kept getting in the way – you know, those mundane things like laundry, cleaning the house, and keeping the hardwood floors looking sharp. Excuses, excuses!
Yesterday evening Hubby and I puttered together in the garden at the end of our day. For me, it’s a special time, the highlight of my day. I look forward to just the two of us talking as we putter. We chat about future plans, world events or whatever happens to pop into our heads.
There is nothing like coming home to a wonderful meal, all cooked up in a slow-cooker, just waiting for the final touches. These Shredded Pork Tacos are absolutely delicious. The pork can be started in the crock pot while still frozen, perfect for forgetful cooks or last-minute decision makers – no need to defrost ahead of time. The slow-cooked pork is then finished in a large skillet, adding all the “taco” seasonings at the end. There will be plenty of meat left over for a second meal or to use as a filler to make pork enchiladas. The flavors are mild, lending easily to other creations.
Sometimes I get on a kick – spending several nights “dining” in the same country before moving on to another part of the world. Lately, I seem to be fixating on Mexico. It began with the notion of Taco Tuesday a while back. But let’s face it, Tacos are such a small part of the culinary delights of a country that is as diverse as Mexico. It would be like saying America is all about hamburgers and hot dogs. I’ve expanded the Taco Tuesday thing to be Mexican Tuesday.