A place for me to share my love for all things cooking, wine and Bento.  The research for this blog is going to continually be grueling my friends.... ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pazole Again...I Know...

I've written twice about Pazole (perhaps on other blogs) but guess what!?  I'm going to do it again. For two reasons (1) I cannot tell you how much I love this soup but I'm trying again.  (2) The way I made it this time was beyond perfection in my mind and my husband agreed it was the best.

The funny thing is, it's the simplest method I've used yet!  Isn't that so true of life that simple is better? I usually cook my pork (usually do a picnic roast) in a big stew pot with the chopped onion and let that cook for hours.  With working now, I don't have time to watch a pot anymore.  So, I put the pork (I think I did a boneless pork butt roast this time which was better) in the crockpot, covered it with water and seasoned it with salt, pepper and lots of powdered garlic.

When I got home from work, I pulled the meat out and put it in my dutch oven (I had to put some in a second soup pot there was so much.  I picked out the fat and then poured the broth from the crockpot in ladle by ladle through a strainer to keep the ugly bits out.  I did not add chopped onion or even cilantro to the soup like I usually do.  I just put in some oregano, chili powder, lots of cumin, pepper and salt, more garlic, and my own idea of some smoked paprika.  I add the strained Hominy  (I use the large can) and chop up the meat with a spoon in bite size pieces.  I let that come to a simmer and cook a bit and then turned it off.  I also took one lime and squeezed the juice in.

Traditional Pazole has dried Ancho peppers in it that are re-constituted in warm water, blended and then strained into the soup.  However, since I needed an easier method this time, I did the large can of red enchilada sauce.  I thought it was better.  Easier and better make a great team. If you want more from scratch though, go for it!

I chopped up the toppings of: Cabbage (some Mexican's do lettuce too), sweet white onion, cilantro, radishes, avocado and lime wedges. The lime is squeezed into the bowl before eating.  This additional lime is optional for the one eating.  I also shred cheese for the kids but it does not need it traditionally. I think the amazing difference of this soup is that the veggies are sweet and fresh and crunchy but do get nice and warm the moment they meet the soup.  It reminds me of Pho which is made by the Vietnamese.  The cilantro and onion being fresh made much better flavor per bite.  

I had never kept the basic soup so simple or cooked it on the stove so little.  I had also never had sliced avocado on top.  I served it with soft maza corn tortillas with butter (not warm because it will drip all over, instead keep it room temp and dip in the soup to melt the butter with each bite).  It was so amazing!

Some of my kids don't do anything but cheese.  I let them decide on this dish.  It is of course better with everything in it!

So here is the content list: (sorry, I don't measure. Go by taste. I probably do a teaspoon, or half of one for the seasonings)

1 Pork Roast (Boneless is easier)
1 Large can hominy (when I say large, I mean the Food For Less LARGE one)
Broth from the Pork (remember I just covered mine with water in the crockpot and that was enough for sure)
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Cumin Powder
Smoked Paprika
Juice of one Lime (I plunk it in the soup after I squeeze it to get some flavor from the zest)
1 Large Can Enchilada sauce or two 14oz cans

Onion chopped
Cilantro chopped
Sliced Limes
Shredded Cheese (optional)
Crunched Tortilla chips (optional)

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Year Of The Jar...Apparently

(This is a double posting.  I posted it at my other blog and realized perhaps that I should have posted it here. So I did both)

I was so intrigued when I saw this idea popping up on Pinterest (here is my collection of links there) .  It combines healthy, with make ahead, with appetizing.  I spent a bit of time looking up all the possibilities of jar salad combos, fruit and herb infused water, and breakfast to go in a jar.  Trust me, the ideas are amazing and endless.  I've come up with a few of my own I want to implement.  With these and Bento, lunch just got even more healthy and fun.

We are trying to get healthier in our house.  Trying to motivated the kids to move more and eat more good foods.  I'm very thankful I've been working with them since they were young to explore their palate.  They do however have their preferences and since I wanted healthy to be fun I decided to ask them all what their favorite veggies are. I realized I can be glad they have many they like. 

So, today we made our first infused water.  I did one that was all citrus.  It was orange, lemon and lime.  That seemed to be the most popular.  Second enjoyed was the raspberry lime one.  That turns a nice pink to and really holds that raspberry flavor.  The last one was cucumber which I liked but the kids did not really.  I'd like to put some watermelon or honeydew in there next time. The kids have been drinking them all evening and we had them as choices with dinner.  You can technically add a little honey or sugar but I did not mention it because I wanted them to start to gain an appreciation for the simple infused water taste.  I don't have a garden for fresh herbs but there are many combos to use those as well. As you drink these, you keep refilling the water. They can be used for many days.  It's amazing how long those flavors can seep out of the fruits.  Plus, you are getting vitamins from them.

So, our salad for tomorrows first try at this is some of the favorites they mentioned.  Dressing in the bottom (ranch for the kids, blue cheese for Rick, sundried tomato vinaigrette for me), celery and carrots, cucumber, radish (except for Emma), chopped boiled egg, bacon and then the fresh lettuce.  These will keep in the fridge I'm told for up to five days and still taste really fresh.  You do of course want to always keep the leaves on the top and the acids away from anything but tough veggies or cherry/pear tomatoes.

In order to eat this at school, I'm sending them with an empty container but hope to just send paper plates in the future that they can throw away.  The plastic jar lids, found cheap at Wal-Mart are easy for the kids to open and close.  The method I'm suggesting is that they open the jar, put the lettuce on their plate, close the jar, shake up to coat all else with dressing, and then dump that on top of the lettuce bed.  It will be fun to hear their report of how it goes. As Caedmon was going to bed tonight he asked to have some cucumber water in his cup he takes to bed instead of regular water.  As I opened the fridge he said "oh, those salads look good!"  Yep that's what I'm looking for, appreciation and excitement about these changes.  Made me feel encouraged. 

I'm also excited to try out the oatmeal yogurt ones the lady has on her site.  Anything healthy that is ready to go is fabulous.