Wednesday, May 11, 2011

pernil al horno

Pernil al horno is a traditional Puerto Rican preparation of pork shoulder. I've used this method of preparation before with a loin roast, which was decent - but a shoulder roast has more fat running through it as well as on top of it which keeps the meat succulent.

Mmmm, porky goodness!

The method of preparation is dead simple, really. For a 5lb roast, I threw 4 big cloves of garlic, half an onion, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a food processor and let it whiz until it was a paste / liquid. The fat cap on top of the roast got scored and then the paste was evenly schmeared over the meat, into every crack and crevice! The roast was put in a pan, covered with foil and stuck in the fridge for about 5 hours, then the oven was preheated to 350 and the roast was added to it. It baked for about 3.5 hours, with the pan being rotated a half-turn every hour or so. I let it sit for about 20 minutes while I prepared my side-dishes, then it was go-time:

The side dishes are spinach sauteed with shallots in a little bit of coconut oil, and a sort of black beak succotash I made up on the fly and really enjoyed. To make the beans, I chopped up a little bit of bacon and let it render in a pot until crispy then scooped it out to drain and reserved about a teaspoon of the fat in the pot. To the hot fat I added half of a chopped yellow onion. I let the onion cook until it was softened a little, then added a can of black beans which I had previously rinsed thoroughly. The beans and onion cooked on medium high for a few minutes, then I added a can of diced tomatoes and a tiny pinch of sugar to balance out the acid. When everything was warmed through, I scooped it into a serving bowl and topped it with the crisp bits of bacon I'd rendered the fat from earlier. It was quite good for just sort of thinking it up on the fly, and while legumes aren't considered part of a "primal" or "paleo" diet, I think enjoying them every once in a while probably isn't that bad. :)

thai green curry with chicken

I picked up a little jar of green curry paste a few weeks ago and then pretty much forgot about it until yesterday afternoon when I was pondering what to make for dinner that would use up some lime I had hanging around. I'd never made green curry before, so I figured it was worth a try!

Here's the actual recipe I used:

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup sliced shallots (about 5 large)
1 3/4 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus wedges for garnish

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and curry paste. Stir until shallots soften, about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and fish sauce; bring to boil. Add chicken and bell pepper; stir until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in chopped basil and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide curry among bowls. Garnish with basil sprigs and lime wedges.

It was super yummy! Normally you would serve it over rice, but we don't eat rice so we just scooped the curry into bowls and ate it like stew.

fajita-style beef salad

Mmm, fajitas. They're one of our favorites, but what's a girl to do when she can't eat tortillas? Stick the fajita fixings on a salad, of course!

I started with some flank steak, which I cut as thinly as possible across the grain. This went into a bowl with a mixture of lime juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and marinated while I sliced up some bell peppers and some mushrooms. I cranked a frying pan up on high and seared the strips of meat in batches, then stir-fried the veggies in the same pan so they'd pick up some of the flavor of the marinade. When the veggies were done I made big beds of spring mix and dressed them with some roasted-garlic salsa, plain yogurt, sliced red onion and a little shredded cheddar cheese. The stir-fried veggies went on top, and then the meat. I topped the whole shebang with some chopped avocado and it was ready to eat. I love the combination of warm meat / veggies with cold lettuce and dressing, and it's hard to beat the tang of lime juice with beef. Yum!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

catching up

Sorry I've been gone so long! Here are some of the goodies I've made in the past few weeks. If you're interested in specific recipes for anything, drop me a line or leave a comment and I'll write it up for you and post it. I'll be back to regularly scheduled posts with recipes starting this coming week, I promise. :)

Pot Roast with carrots, onions and gravy:

Home-made almond butter:

Tzatziki burgers with kale chips:

Easter quiche - mushroom and chives:

Ham, zucchini and onion saute:

MOAR QUICHE! Ham, onion and cheddar cheese:

MOAR QUICHE! Ham, onion and cheddar cheese:

gyro salad:

pot roast with onions and carrots, parmesan-roasted asparagus:

super duper salad with salmon: