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Mexican Cooking Project #8


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cristina, is the amount of vinegar in the encurdito meant to reduce risk of death by habanero? how is mexican oregano different from regular oregano?

In my experience, Mexican oregano (not a 'true' oregano) is spicier/more pungent than regular oregano. It works really well with cumin.

 

Here's some info.

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I invited friends to dinner for Friday night, without a clue of what I might cook. Last evening, I found myself in front of the meat case at my local groceria, trawling for ideas, when what to my wond

What an absolutely lovely table, a delicious feast. Your guests are so fortunate!   And thanks for the invitation. I'll be briefly in Vermont in late March, all other things being equal. Maybe we

Follow-up...   Dinner was quite tasty. I had way too much liquid. That's okay because it tasted great. I simply ladled off a bunch of the cooking liquid six hours later and in a cast-iron skillet,

cristina, is the amount of vinegar in the encurdito meant to reduce risk of death by habanero? how is mexican oregano different from regular oregano?

What Squeat said, about the oregano.

 

Yep, if you don't use enough vinegar you will die of habanero poisoning. Even if you do use enough vinegar, you might.*

 

Habaneros have been known to cause a good bit of distress...hiccups due to irritation of the phrenic nerve, bigtime swelling of the lips (think poofed out to HERE, post-collagen poof), etc. Plus *ahem* distress on Day Two, and Day Three.

 

And psst, it's encurtido.

 

*Not really.

 

___________________________________

 

GG: from a can? Here's a quick picker-upper: slice a chile serrano from the tip almost to the stem end and sauté in the lard for the beans till the chile is nearly black. Leave the chile in the lard and make the beans as you usually do, mashing the chile along with the beans. Sprinkle liberally with queso cotija and serve. Delicioso.

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Mm. Process of elimination, if you know what I mean – and I think you do.

 

I made the encurtido before going to bed last night; scooped some over fried eggs this morning. Whoa. Very good. Not blistering, but happily picante.

 

I'm afraid I was a victim of carnitas interruptus – never quite got the liquid cooked off yesterday (but sampled amply of the pork anyway, and it's delicious). No biggie, it's on the stove now (I've never done this much meat at once – doesn't work in the oven after all).

 

Since I need to keep this all simple, I thought I might serve ice cream for dessert – coffee, with dulce de leche (Argentinian, I know, I know, but it's homemade and it's good and it's close enough to cajeta, no?).

 

I guess I might actually have to take some pictures.

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But some of the limited palates I entertain at my table insist on seeing this as a burrito opportunity, and cram everything on offer into one tortilla. I guess it's none of my damn business, but aren't they then sort of missing the point of the carnitas? I think my not-so-inner control freak is showing.

What's the correct way to eat carnitas?

 

Why not cut or tear the tortilla into halves or quarters before serving, and then people can't make burritos even if they want to?

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Carnitas are usually eaten in a taco, but without glopping them up with beans, guacamole, etc. Just the warm tortilla, purely delicious and sweetly tender carnitas with some encurtido or other salsa, a spritz of lime, a sprinkle of coarse salt, and bingo, there's your taco.

 

 

Wish I had one right now. GG, got room at the table?

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The carnitas are completas, but all that long cooking left me with pork shreds rather than cubes. The good news is that all those big slabs of fat I tossed in disappeared completely. :wub:

 

Crisitina, there's plenty of room – can you make it here by 7? I like the idea of the serrano in the beans, but I'm going to skip it...a late invite to the party is a nursing mother – I'd like there to be a few things she can eat without endangering her baby's digestive tract (right... beans cooked in lard with onions and garlic? Fat chance). I'm going easy on the guacamole and the salsa, too. I did get poblanos, and they're on the hot side.

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The carnitas are completas, but all that long cooking left me with pork shreds rather than cubes. The good news is that all those big slabs of fat I tossed in disappeared completely. :wub:

 

Crisitina, there's plenty of room – can you make it here by 7? I like the idea of the serrano in the beans, but I'm going to skip it...a late invite to the party is a nursing mother – I'd like there to be a few things she can eat without endangering her baby's digestive tract (right... beans cooked in lard with onions and garlic? Fat chance). I'm going easy on the guacamole and the salsa, too. I did get poblanos, and they're on the hot side.

GG, how were they?

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Oh, god, they were delicious! And even though I fed 8 of us very well, I had plenty left over, even enough to freeze!

 

Some pics:

 

The encurtidos, which we've been putting on eggs in the morning; unbelieveably good with a runny yolk.

encurtidos2tj.jpg

 

Salsa cruda; I used canned San Marzano tomatoes, white onion, garlic, serrano pepper, cilantro, lime juice, salt.

salsa4zw.jpg

 

Gaucamole; just a little crushed garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and because the avocados were what I call “false ripe” – soft to the touch, but when peeled, a little watery, I used an old trick of adding a little bit of mayonnaise to boost the unctuousness factor.

guac9br.jpg

 

Rajas con crema

rajas2br.jpg

 

Frijoles; no queso to be found in these parts, so I used a little French feta, which is milder and a little less salty than most of the Greek ones available here.

beans2vg.jpg

 

Carnitas – like I said, all that long cooking left the meat in fine shreds, but it suffered not at all in flavor.

meat4er.jpg

 

The table. I used some hand made plates that I got in Portugal. Odd that there's no booze to speak of visible here; there was quite a bit of beer around – Modelo, Negra Modelo, and Pacifico.

table6cl.jpg

 

Thanks, Cristina and Omni, for your helpful suggestions.

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