Monday, September 27, 2010

Mexican Salsa

At Kumud's Mexican cooking class they made two salsas. First up was;
 Tomatillo Salsa con Aquacate
1 lb. tomatillos, husked and washed
2 cups of water
4 jalapeno and/or serrano peppers washed
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1 tsp. salt
3 ripe avocados diced

Cook the tomatillos and peppers for 10 minutes in boiling water. Grind them with onion, garlic and salt in food processor (adding water as needed). Transfer to a serving bowl and add the avocados and cilantro.
Next was the;
 Salsa Macha
1/2 cup dried red chiles ( Chile di Arbol)
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. salt
1/4 dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil (safflower)

That's what the chile arbol look like in the bag when you buy them. Also pictured is the epazote used in the authentic tasting refried black beans.

 To prepare the salsa macha, toast the chiles in the heated oil in a pan until nicely roasted and fragrant.

Grind the chiles (with the oil), garlic, salt, and peanuts in a food processor until the ingredients are coarsely crushed. Slowly pour in the water and continue grinding until it's smooth.
If you don't use the water but add more oil, it will keep in the refrigerator a lot longer.
This stuff is amazing.
I finally found a tortilla press in one of our local mexican markets.
Laura Lopez rolled perfect balls of masa for the tortillas.
Then she pressed them and put them on the skillet.
If you are interested in any of Kumud's cooking classes, e-mail her at and she'll send out a notice when she's doing more classes

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pot Luck Dish

The New York Times is asking for submissions for your signature pot luck dish. The top tested dishes will be featured in NY Times magazine. I don't really have a signature dish because I'm always trying new things. But one dish that is always a crowd pleaser is this spicy pulled pork. I didn't try to pass it off as my own. They asked where you got the recipe from on the form so I immediately fessed up it was from 'Everyday food'.  I tried photographing it in my slow cooker and later realized how messy it looked with drippings all over the side.
I haphazardly made my plate and took a picture but I ended up submitting it because the pot looked so bad.
I topped it with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro. And you can see my misshapen homemade corn tortilla. Maybe they're looking for quirky.

Anyway, if you want to please a big group, make a batch of this in your slow cooker.
I usually get a bigger pork shoulder/butt so I double the other ingredients. It freezes well too.


Serves 8
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 chipotle, in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 3/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • Flour tortillas, lightly toasted, for garnish (optional)
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine onion, oregano, bay leaves, chipotle, adobo sauce, tomatoes (and purée), salt, and pepper. Add pork; toss to coat with sauce.
  2. Cover; cook on high setting until meat is pull-apart tender, about 6 hours (do not uncover while cooking).
  3. Transfer meat to a large bowl; shred with forks, discarding any gristle. Return meat to pot; toss with sauce.
  4. To serve, discard bay leaves; if desired, garnish with tortillas and cheddar or sour cream.
From Everyday Food, December 2004

Read more at Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe - 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tamales con Queso v Rajas

I had the extreme pleasure of taking another cooking class with my friend Kumud. But this time instead of her native Indian cuisine she has a friend from Mexico, Laura Lopez, who showed us her stuff! It's feels so authentic watching someone make food from the country they were born and raised in. It's one thing to watch someone on HGTV make a tamale, but watching Laura put them together you could feel the hundreds of times she's done it before.
The whole menu was amazing. I've been so inspired I'm finding reasons to go by hispanic markets all over town to peruse their shelves.
Here are the prepped ingredients for the class.
She started with sauteing the filling for the tamales.
Kumud and Laura at their demonstration table. Even Laura's daughter helped out.
Laura's experienced hand pressing the masa into the corn husk.
The tamales all go in the pot to be steamed for about an hour.
A few steps to make them, but not nearly as complicated as I imagined. Can't wait to try them. Their entire menu was vegetarian but I can't help thinking how amazing some spicy pulled pork would be in the tamales.(sorry Kumud :) )
I've already tried the Frijoles Refritos con Epazote, refried beans, and they are soooo much better than the canned. Maybe it's the epazote seasoning. I haven't found a tortilla press yet but I rolled some out and they were delicious if a bit misshapen.
More to come on my Mexican binge....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

Most of my garden is a dried up weed ridden mess, but the sweet potatoes I planted in May or June were still growing.  What a blast to dig around in the dirt and hunt for the sweet potatoes. I want to try lots of other potatoes next year.
I made a sweet potato pie with them and still have enough left to try these Stir Fried Sweet Potatoes from Mark Bittman.
I hosted a 50th birthday cocktail party for a friend recently and the cocktails were a hit.

It's hard to go wrong with these pomegranate cosmos. We make them by the pitcher in advance and keep them in the freezer. Then all you have to do is shake and serve. This makes about 6 drinks
Pomegranate Cosmos
2 cups good vodka
1 cup Cointreau
1 cup Pom pomegranate juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Combine, shake, enjoy! They go down a little too smoothly so depending how crazy you want things to get, you may want to pace your guests!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I spent Labor Day weekend in NYC , a birthday celebration/reunion with friends. I know, poor me.
Some of the dining highlights were: Libertador- Argentinean food on the upper east side. We had a very festive meal, my friend Laura goes there a lot and loves the salmon. We all shared empanadas and I had a skirt steak with chimichurri sauce.
They brought a wonderful dessert to the birthday girls.
Another day we walked over to the west side and had lunch at Cafe Frida (as in Kahlo) a yummy Mexican place. Not your typical 'taco with rice and beans' place.

I was in the mood for a salad and got this wonderful sesame crusted seared tuna on greens, with a nice spicy dressing

And for the uber trendy experience, after walking The Highline in Chelsea we went to the rooftop bar at the Standard Hotel for cocktails. Great views.

Then there was a stop for icecream at a little stand outside of Cafe Cluny in the village. It was amazing icecream and everyone went crazy for the mint chocolate chip. It was actually very similar to the bright yellow mint icecream I made and wrote about in July.

New York never lets you down when it comes to eating and always keeps me coming back for more amazing food experiences.