Saturday, April 7, 2012

Carnitas with Houston-Style Green Salsa

My BFF sent me this cookbook that I wanted to wait until the offspring was here to make. So, in comes the son and we attack the recipes in the Homesick Texan.

First the Houston-Style Green Salsa.

Take all of this:

and put it in the Vitamix and make:

So, first peel the tomatillos.

And place them in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them up:

Also, the serrano chiles must have the seeds removed.

Since I use a Vitamix, I don't worry about chopping things up too much. This salsa takes:

3/4 lb of tomatillos
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed.
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon or so of lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
Salt to taste.

Add cayenne pepper to taste as well.

The carnitas are very easy. You need:

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven, add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to barely cover the meat.
Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Do not touch!

After two hours, it looks like this:
Turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally untill all liquid has evaporated. During this time period it looks like:

Then, the pork fat starts to render. Brown all the pork on all the sides - then it is ready. Add salt to taste. Serve with sliced avocado, the Houston-style green salsa and chopped cilantro.

This was a good Texas wine to serve with it. BE SURE TO READ ALL THE LABEL ON THE BACK!!!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gulf Coast Steamed Shrimp with Champagne Vinegar Sauce

Wanna kick? see:

Bryan Caswell is one of my favorite chefs. If you are ever in Houston, ya gotta go to his award-winning seafood restaurant, the Reef. Simply fabulous!

So, when my son arrive with one of his children, we just had to make one of Bryan's creation. My son is a great cook himself, having helped pay for the college expenses by being a line cook. We took on how to turn all of this:

into this:
A great summer meal for the patio!

So, what is needed is:

20 large shrimp, shell and vein removed and butterflied
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper

2 shallots, finely diced
3/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and place on a buttered sheet pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water around the shrimp. Steam in the oven until just pink and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Make the sauce - this is good. We guess that the sweetness must come from the champagne vinegar. This makes enough sauce for probably eight servings, or 40 shrimp.

Here's how not to hold a shallot when dicing:

Place the champagne vinegar and the diced shallots in a sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer and reduce down to 1/2 of the liquid.

Then add heavy cream and heat slightly until warm. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter a tablespoon at a time. This cools the sauce down and thickens it. Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Could also sprinkle cayenne pepper on top of the shrimp after the sauce has been spooned over them.

As seen on the plate above, serve with a salad. Bryan suggests an arugula based salad with your favorite vinaigrette. My spouse, however, prefers a salad that does not use arugula. So we make a nice summer salad that included avocado, pearl tomatoes, red pepper, raspberries, olives and feta cheese, with a raspberry-pomegranate vinaigrette. Also included some crispy shallots on top. (thinly slice the shallots and fry up until browned and crispy in olive oil and butter - drain on paper towels before putting on the salad.)

Goes great with Sister Creek's Muscat Canelli.

Enjoy! (We sure did!)