Tag Archives: mexican

lengua

17 Nov

beef lenguaShort days are the bane of my existence. I feel like I get fucking anxiety when the sun starts to set. And when I try to make lengua and cook it for 6 hours and I can’t manage to get it done before it’s dark so I can take pictures, then everything doubly feels like the worst. Dramatic much? Shut up. I’ve got like one month till the days start to get longer. I’ll make it. Pretty sure. At least I have the world’s best heater in my apartment. Probably illegal. A little metal box of fire.
pastured beef tongue pastured beef tongueI wanted to smoke this tongue. I told you, I need a little house to rent with a little yard that is just right for a smoker. You’re welcome to come hang out in my mythical backyard and smoke some meat with me, maybe. I hate most everyone. But needless to say, I made this the way I normally make it, which is nothing to be so sad at. But man, everything else is making me sad. Except the prospective name of my soon to happen Christmas party. Samantha is a genius. Or we just have the same stupid sense of humor. But she almost made me choke on my tea. Which isn’t too unusual when I’m messaging with her. Choking on or spitting out food or liquids is pretty much normal. My computer’s gross.
bone brothboiled slow cooked tongue There’s a place in San Antonio that my boss took me to (after making me sweat by being a damn Mexican jerk and not telling me the name for like 3 angst-ridden months) that’s a tortilla factory that also sells barbacoa and lengua. That’s it. They must have vats of cows’ heads that they then shred the meat for one option and shred the tongue for the other. I love San Antonio. I once made a cow’s head. It was glorious. The tongue inside his head was glorious. Here is just a tongue. We can dream together of the next time I can make the whole head, tongue intact.
slow cooked beef tongue lengua skinned beef tongueOnce again, I plead with you to use a good broth. Look at all the damn bones I used. Beef back ribs and pork spareribs. My apartment always smells, as do my clothes and probably my hair. Oops.

lengua

cow’s tongue
bone broth (I don’t care what kind of bones)
1 onion
head of garlic
4 bay leaves
salt

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the tongue in an ovenproof pot and mostly cover with broth. It’s okay if it’s not fully covered, plus it’ll kinda float anyway, so don’t get mad at it.

2. Cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop.

3. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and peel and smash all of the garlic cloves. Add these to the pot. Add in about a tablespoon of salt (assuming your broth isn’t salty).

4. Put the covered pot in the oven and cook for about 6 hours.

5. Remove the tongue from the broth and when it’s cool enough to not burn the crap out of your hand, peel the skin off. It’ll come right off.

6. Shred the tongue with a fork and then if you want, crisp it in a pan. I usually just shred off what I’m going to eat and leave the rest of the tongue intact. Crispy tongue is my favorite, but you certainly can just pile it in a tortilla. Salt it.

Tortillas, pickled onions, cilantro, salsa, radishes, avocado…um yes.

Maybe I need a new cat. A kitten. That’ll cure my ills, don’t you think?

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calabaza en tacha

4 Nov

calabaza en tacha I just don’t know why I made this. I hadn’t had sugar all month (Halloween included!) and now I’m WholeWhateverNumberofDaysUntilThanksgiving-ing (I started after making this, don’t you worry). Someone please remove it from my house. I didn’t even do a single thing for El Día de los Muertos, which is the holiday that made me decide to make this candied pumpkin, so I have no reason to have made it. Yeah, candied, sugary, syrupy pumpkin. Starring the world’s driest (and most absorbent?!) pumpkin that was prob sitting in some storehouse all winter and summer just waiting for some sucker like me to purchase it. I knew it felt a little light for its size… and the other one I bought feels even lighter. Fine, all the better to absorb any (clarified) butter I put on it after I roast it. Because, no I’m not going to make pumpkin pie with shortbread crust with it, like I really, really, realllllyyyyy want to. Except I’d use rice flour because it makes the shortbread all kinda grainy and I LOVE it. Okay, I’m done. No more sweets.
sugar pumpkin halved sugar pumpkin

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three chile chicken + charred summer vegetables

31 Jul

Hi, my name is Julie and my life is boring. I do the same exact things every week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: gym. Monday, Tuesday: MasterChef. Tuesday, Thursday: run. Wednesday: pick up CSA. Friday: pick up raw milk. Saturday and Sunday: I have no idea. I wish I’ve been backpacking every weekend. It makes me anxious that I haven’t been. Next thing I know it’s going to be winter. Terrifying. I did, however pick probably 10+ pounds of plums from some plum trees on the campus I work at. In total there were probably 60 pounds. There were four of us picking away – one had a homemade soda bottle fruit picker thing, one toted a ladder, one helped the ladder guy, and I climbed the trees. Barefoot, of course. It was perfect. We stripped those trees bare. I made cardamom lavender jam and I’ll be making pickled plums at some point soon. It sure is tricky looking for a pickle recipe online – how am I supposed to know if it’s safe for canning?! I don’t understand how people figured this stuff out. How many people died of botulism or flesh eating bacteria or whatever before they figured out how to preserve food?! I should just give up cooking. Move to the wilderness. Just scavenge with the coyotes. I’d probably die of a horrid bacterial infection doing that too. Or from the coyotes. Crap.
I have become such a caricature. Like I should be on Portlandia. I use my little reel mower. I ride my bike everywhere with my two panniers. I get all of my food from CSAs, farmers markets, and my backyard. GAG ME. At least Joe owns a gas guzzling Jeep. Sometimes we take the Jeep to pick up the raw milk and pastured meat. And then on the way there I make Joe stop at Target so I can look at all of the clothes. I bet all of those clothes are made in sweatshops. I’m not sure I feel so good about that, but I need something to balance my life out.
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roasted poblano pork burgers with pipián

11 Jun

Oh hi! Hi!! I’m back from the Southwest. What a freaking trip. I can’t believe that I was waffling on it. Yeah, 10 days was a long time; I’m such a homebody. If I could have brought my cats along I would have been 100% happy. Hiker cats. But wow was it worth it. Now, I am obsessed with ancient Puebloan Indians. And the Fremont Indians. OBSESSED. I want to start growing heritage varieties of corn. And squash. And beans. And just to diversify my Native peoples interests a bit, all manner of ancient potato varietals. And more importantly, I want to scout out ruins and petroglyphs and pottery. All off the beaten path. Bushwhacking (cactus whacking?) please. I found this woman’s blog and we followed her instructions to this one hike up the Vermillion Cliffs near Kanab, UT (not the ones in AZ). Easily the most wonderful hike I’ve ever done – it was full of petroglyphs and pictographs and dinosaur prints, not to mention gorgeous red rock cliffs. Oh yeah, and lots of mountain lion poop. EEK.
Needless to say, I’m in the mood for Southwestern-y food. Loosely defined. I kept wanting to pick cactus leaves (leaves?) and bring them back to our little condo and cook them. Instead we ate out like every night. Barf. I can not handle that. My stomach feels so terrible doing that so often. It didn’t help that one of the people we were with has megasweettooth. And if someone says “ice cream!”, I can’t help myself. So much ice cream that week. I have megasweettooth, too… Coming home means that I can get back into the swing of cooking all of my meals. God I love that. And what a welcome surprise it was to come home to all sorts of produce in my (completely overgrown with weeds) garden! Arugula, mesclun greens, baby swiss chard (too big to be microgreens), radishes and their greens. So wonderful. I’m concerned about all the peppers I planted… I have a bad feeling I may have picked any little seedlings when I’ve weeded. I think the dirt I got from the fix and flip house two doors down was completely full of weeds. Duh, I guess. So the garden has been absolutely ridden with weeds and I’ve been trying to pull them all to give the little veggie seedlings a fighting chance, but I’m afraid I may have picked the pepper seedlings, since they’re kind of indistinguishable. Not sure. They do take a long time to sprout, but ugh. I’ll probably have to buy plants.
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carne asada brava + cumin caramelized onions

5 Mar

Things I really, really, really want for my kitchen but can’t seem to get it together to get: a mandoline and an old-fashioned citrus juicer. Not a new age-y juicer for carrots and greens and like 18 apples per tall glass of raw food cleansing juice…those things are ridiculous. It’s not that squeezing a half of a lime is hard, it’s that I’m OBSESSED with getting every.last.bit.of.juice. out of the damn thing. So I squeeze and I scrape and I moosh around until I’m convinced that there isn’t a single drop left. I just think a citrus juicer might do a speedier job and be just as thorough. Then again… would a new age-y juicer do the best job?!? Doesn’t matter. I can’t back down on my initial position now.
The night before, I made basically the same thing as this, except without the marinade, and using hanger steak. I really wish I’d saved that steak for this blog post. It’s a more interesting cut, and more typical for carne asada. I rode my bike to the grocery store the next morning, hoping I’d find some, but no luck – it’s not usually there anyway. An on-sale strip steak did just fine. Speaking of that grocery store, the past week they had avocados on sale for 3 for $1. I got so many. I think I had like 20 at one point. Or 21, which I guess is more likely. I would think up excuses to go there just to be like “oh, well I’m here, I might as well get some more avocados!…” I made guacamole with I think like 5 or 6 of them for dinner and it was gone by the next afternoon. Mostly singlehandedly. That’s a lot of avocados to eat in the span of less than a day. I impress myself sometimes. And again, woulda been nice to have that citrus juicer.
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tinga de pollo y chorizo

7 Nov

I’m so ethnic. Fresh off some tacos de buche from Friday night, I was still in the mood for Mexican the next couple days. Since I don’t know where to get pig stomach, I settled for making the lowly chicken thigh. Kind of a sorry follow up. Fortunately, this dish turned out really good and if I do decide to venture down Federal Boulevard someday to find some pigs’ stomachs in some terrifying meat market, I think they will work well with this tinga.
This dish is also for my lovely friend Rachel, who was looking for some one-pot chicken dishes. I used two, but you could do it with one…and a bowl. She also wanted vegetables in it, and there aren’t a ton in here (sorry I’m falling short), but you could add green or red peppers, summer squash, winter squash, or whatever. I probably should have used pumpkin instead of potatoes because I have two sugar pumpkins sitting on my kitchen table, one of which is looking like it wants to get squishy kind of soon. I also have a Cinderella pumpkin on my front porch that I bought on super sale from Whole Foods that I should try roasting. It’s really, really big so it might be stringy? I don’t know, has anyone eaten one before?? What are they like?
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roast chicken with smoky salsa + kabocha squash

25 Sep

Well, really, the chicken is an afterthought. More like, “roasted kabocha squash with toasted cumin salt and pimentón de la vera. Oh, and roast chicken with smoky salsa”. I don’t know, it was all really good. And believe me, I thought loonnnggg and hard before making a winter squash. I even called my mom about it. She said, “Come on Jule, it’s past the middle of September.” Sold. But now, there’s no turning back! Winter squash is on its way to dominating my kitchen counters. Despite how I hate peeling and cutting them (yet I will continue to, because cubed and roasted is my favorite way to eat them), they’re an absolute fixture in my winter meals.
I have to say, this meal is kind of a pain. I felt like I was working on it all day. That’s partially because I kept doing things in between steps. Ran an errand, went to the gym, got sucked into Cat Vortex… but to be on the safe side, I’d relegate this to a weekend meal. A nice, crisp fall weekend preferably. The oven is on a lot. It’s fun to have the oven heat up the kitchen and have the windows open blowing in cool air. Since the squash and the chicken are roasted at different temperatures, most people will have to cook them one after the other. I have that second range in the basement (that has two ovens) so I can use three ovens at different temperatures at the same time. That’s pretty spoiling. Do the squash first, put some aluminum foil over it to keep it at least semi-warm while the chicken cooks. You can always chuck it back in the oven the last ten minutes or so of the chicken’s cooking time. The salsa requires broiling time, yet another oven temperature. I’d do this first, just to get it out of the way. If you have a kitchen helper, someone can work on the salsa while the other preps the squash.
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carnitas

8 Aug

Here I go again posting another traditional, iconic recipe. It’s a little nerve-wracking because with recipes like these, opinions run strong, traditions muster up emotions and memories, and you can look like a fool for trying. But I’m pretty obsessed with authentic, uninterpreted ethnic cuisine. I’m so utterly bored with fusion cuisine, modern interpretations of traditional dishes, and recipes simplified for the home cook. I want the real, time-honored recipe. Even if it takes me all day to cook it, that’s what I want to eat. It’s why I have been eyeing making a proper mole for like 5 years, but have yet to make it (yellow mole aside, which I have made and is much simpler by nature). And it’s why I spent a whole week sourcing and rendering enough lard to make carnitas. I’ve made slow-roasted pork before, and it’s wonderful. But it’s not carnitas and I’m not going to call it such. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a-okay with simple recipes. It’s the bulk of what I make. And on a weeknight I’ll make simple versions of complex recipes. They’re weeknight meals. I just want to eat. But I get exceedingly excited about recipes like carnitas, that are slow-cooked in a vat of lard with a host of spices and aromatics and have been perfected by countless Mexican cooks for decades and decades.
Aaaand, after saying all of this, I have to admit, I modified. I just couldn’t render enough lard by the time I absolutely needed to cook the pork shoulder I bought. So defeated. I oven cooked it. Tightly packing a casserole dish was the only way I could cover the pork with the amount of lard I had. But I still cooked it in lard! And that was my goal when making carnitas. It sounds gross, like the lard will permeate the meat and make it super greasy. This isn’t the case at all. If you’re into nerding it up, you can read this fun article on the science of cooking carnitas.
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oaxacan yellow mole

5 May

I’ve been pining to make a proper, working in the kitchen all day kind of mole for a long, long time now. But it’s just so damn daunting! It’d be one thing if yeah, the ingredient list is as long as my arm at 10 point font, but you just put it all in a blender and away you go. But no, there are also enough steps to make you cross-eyed. Yellow mole is a simpler mole. Coupled with the fact that this is adapted from my always go-to Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican, it’s also a totally doable and delicious mole.

Despite the simplicity of ingredients, I still somehow managed to get thwarted at the grocery store. I feel like this always happens to me. Sometimes it’s my fault and I forget to put something on my list. Other times it’s the stupid $30/pound pine nuts (which, when I went to Whole Foods later in the week, were like $33/pound there – each grocery store kept getting more and more expensive!). This time, the store just didn’t have a trace of an ingredient. The original recipe called for chayote squash. I see it every time I go to the store and have thought to buy it a dozen times. This time I put it on the list and was going to use it in this recipe! But it seemed to have vanished. Its little spot in between the summer squash and eggplant was just filled in with more summer squash and more eggplant. Gah. I used sweet potatoes instead, and I thought they were good.

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yucatecan country style pork ribs with pickled onions

11 Apr

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to eat the night before my half marathon. Carbo load with some pasta? I was nervous to do something like that in case I ate too much or it disagreed with me or what have you. I figured that I’d just make something I would normally eat (I mean, I’d run 11 mile training runs with no real thought on food). I did up the carb content, though. I served this dish with tostones (ooh those plantains again!) and arepas. I would rather eat arepas than pasta ANY day. They’re Venezuelan corn cakes, essentially. Oh yum.

The half marathon was brutal. We were running into gusting wind the whole second half of the race. It killed me. Cars get horrible gas mileage when you’re driving into the wind. Same freakin’ thing here. So, I don’t know if I ate the right thing. Maybe pasta would have powered me through. I also don’t think I ate a big enough breakfast. Ugh, so complicated. I averaged 10 minutes per mile. So much slower than I was aiming for. I was doing about 9:30 minute miles on training runs. I was hoping that I could do low 9 minutes for the race. Darn.

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salmon with creamy roasted poblano sauce

4 Apr

This is another one of those “I can’t wait to grill!” dinners that got thwarted. I woke up on Sunday morning with a warm breeze blowing through the bedroom window. Saturday had been about 80 degrees. Sunday progressed a beautiful day until around 11:30am when the wind started howling and black clouds started rushing in from the mountains. Then it rained. Then it wintry mixed. Then it snowed. And I lost my interest in grilling. But that’s okay, because heck, baked salmon is nothing to sniff at. And even if it was, this sauce is so subtle and delicious, it wouldn’t matter.
If you’ve never roasted your own peppers before, now’s a great time to try it. It’s incredibly easy. I’m not sure it’s always cost effective – sometimes fresh red peppers are really expensive and a jar of marinated roasted red peppers might be cheaper. But you can roast all kinds of peppers! The roasted poblano peppers here make a wonderful, rich base for this creamy sauce. You can roast them a few different ways. If you have a gas stove, you can do it right on that burner flame. If, like me, you have an electric stove (something I used to think would be the death of me if I ever got stuck with one, but now am quite ambivalent about), then the broiler is the way to go. I chose to not put my oven rack in the closest position to the broiler. That way I got the peppers charred, but at a little bit slower time, so the peppers were more roasted through.

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pork chile verde + ancho chile salsa

16 Feb


I’m sorry if this dish is difficult for some of you to make. I stocked up on green chiles this summer (as everyone in Colorado does) and froze them. So I had New Mexican Hatch chiles at my disposal. If you’re not as lucky to have these covetable chiles in your freezer, you can use Anaheim, which you may not have readily available in your grocery store. A well-stocked one should, but if not, you could use jalapeños, just a bit less. You might also have trouble finding tomatillos in a smaller, less well-stocked grocery store.

Green chile is very different from what most people think of chili. It’s more of a sauce, it has no beans, and it’s always loaded with pork. It’s a big thing here – instead of talking about the place with the best pizza, people talk about the restaurant with the best green chile. You can use it as a sauce or you can eat it from a bowl, which is what I like to do.


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mint and chipotle meatballs + garlic zucchini

22 Apr

Wondering what you should do with all those extra chipotles in adobo sauce from making the Chipotle Chicken? Well here you go! I’ve been itching to use mint, as it’s kind of the unofficial (or official, maybe, I don’t know!) herb of spring. I bought myself a cute little windowsill pot of mint and I’ve been dutifully watering it in anticipation of just such a dish as this. Smoky, spicy chipotle peppers contrast with that wonderful fresh taste of mint. I didn’t exactly have the amount that the original recipe called for, because I didn’t have the heart to strip the little burgeoning plant of all of its leaves, but the amount still did the trick. Feel free to use the amount I did for any mint-phobes you might have living in your house. You can definitely taste it, but it’s subtle so you might not put your finger on it if you didn’t know it was in there.

Zucchini is a vegetable that is another great “hello, warm weather” ingredient. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and it’s so versatile. Usually, though, I just cut it in thin medallions and stir fry with a little salt and pepper. Then, when it’s grill season, I cut it in half lengthwise and grill to perfection. This recipe was a nice deviation. Little zucchini chunks simmered in a garlicky sauce.


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