Thursday, April 21, 2016

Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

I heart tacos!  And I especially heart carnitas tacos.  I used my usual carnitas recipe (linked to below), but made it in my Instant Pot using about 2 pounds of bone-in country-style pork ribs and scaling down the rest of the ingredients accordingly (this makes enough for about 3-4 people). Just add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot, hit the meat/stew button, and let the pressure come down naturally once the cycle finishes.  It will still make your house smell amazing but in about a third of the usual cooking time.  You'll need to turn on your oven to crisp up the pork at the end, but it's still a major time savings and with delicious results.  Here, the rich pork is paired with a super-tart raw tomatillo salsa, scallions, and sour cream for simple yet super-tasty tacos.  The salsa is medium spicy, so feel free to add more jalapenos or sub in a spicier pepper if you want it super hot.

Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa 

Warm tortillas
Carnitas, recipe here (or make in the Instant Pot using the "meat/stew" function to speed things up!)
Tomatillo salsa, recipe below
Sour cream
Minced scallions

Top warm tortillas with carnitas, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, and minced scallions. Fold and enjoy!

Tomatillo Salsa (adapted from Cooking Light)

4 medium tomatillos
1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 jalapeno chili, coarsely chopped (leave in or remove seeds to adjust heat)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse well under cold water.  Quarter them, and place in a blender or food processor.  Add everything except the cilantro.  Process until well blended.  Add the cilantro and process again until well blended.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cantaloupe Margarita

We have been eating a lot of Mexican food lately, which has meant I've been experimenting with fruity margaritas.  This one from the latest issue of Cooking Light looked especially tasty -- cubes of cantaloupe are pureed and strained, and then combined with the usual suspects for a margarita: lime, tequila, and orange liqueur.  I found a fun blood orange liqueur, but you can use whatever you have on hand (Cooking Light recommends Grand Marnier, which I'm sure is delicious in this recipe, but is too pricey for me).  The result is a really tasty drink -- definitely one of those that does not taste too boozy, so it's good you have to mix it yourself so you know how much you're drinking! Yum!

Cantaloupe Margarita (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

2 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2-1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce orange liqueur
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 mint leaves

Purée the cantaloupe in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to yield about 6 ounces (3/4 cup).  Combine everything but the mint in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold. Strain into two glasses over ice and garnish with the mint leaf.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ginger-Sesame Cod with Asparagus

I came up with this recipe when I wanted to try something a little different with fish and rice.  We often make this meal with paprika, lemon, and garlic, which of course is very tasty! But this twist uses Asian pantry ingredients to create great flavor.  I think of fish and rice as comfort food, and this dish definitely fits that bill -- none of the flavors are too intense, and everything feels warm and comforting.  Asparagus cooks in about the same amount of time as fish and adds green to the plate, so it's the perfect pairing.  Bonus: this dish will get dinner on the table quickly.  I start white rice in the Instant Pot first, and by the time it's cooked and the pressure has come down naturally, the fish and asparagus are finished cooking and everything is ready to combine.

Ginger-Sesame Cod with Asparagus

For the sauce:
2 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
1 T sesame seeds
1/2 T sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger 
Pinch of salt
Steamed rice, to serve

To finish:
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 small cod fillets

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Rub some of the sauce on the fish, and toss the remaining with the asparagus pieces. Arrange everything in a single layer on the baking sheet.
3. Let rest for about 10 minutes for the flavors to combine. Then roast 12 minutes on the top rack of the oven.
4. Serve over steamed rice.