Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You love it, you want it

Alright, admittedly I have not done much interesting cooking in the last 6 months or so. I was busy. And uninspired. But sometimes you get hit simultaneously with the right combination of emotional turmoil and free-time and this creates the perfect storm for cooking something really good. Kind of like the protaganist in "Like Water for Chocolate" who channels all her emotion into her cooking when she can't be with the man she loves. Except I'm hoping that in my case nobody bursts into flames. Anyway, initially I was going to make mole because it's a really long process, but I started too late collecting the ingredients and by the time I got home I was exhausted. So I made pork in adobo sauce instead, and apple and roasted poblano salad, and avocado sauce.

Here I am taking seeds out of a pepper with one hand while I take the picture with the other, which is why the picture looks so unnatural!

Here is the finished dinner, all beautifully plated. Ta da!

Oh yeah! I also made a Tres Leches cake. Ever had it? Well you should. When I was teaching in L.A., everytime it was someone's birthday or something, we'd have one of these cakes. They were readily available in all the grocery stores near the school. I always assumed it was hard to make, but it's really, really easy. Which just tells you this: even if you can't get some particular type of food where you live, you can always make it. What are you, lazy? Callie helped me make this cake, which was fine because she actually can help me now.

So there it is. It was all delicious, if I may say so.

Now --don't you wish you were here? Because if you were, I would make this for you.


Lomitos Adobados - Pork Tenderloin in Adobo Sauce

Adobo Sauce:

2 ancho chiles, seeded, deveined, and soaked in 1 cup cold water for 30 minutes.

1 large garlic clove

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2-inch piece cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

6 whole black peppercorns

1/2 cup water

Drain the chiles, put them in the blender, then blend, baby, blend.


Rub with adobo sauce. Marinate in ziploc bag at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350.

Heat 4 Tbs oil in cast-iron skillet and sear the tenderloins over high heat for five min or

so. Then put the pan in the oven and roast for 15 min for medium. Did you know pork

does not have to be cooked to well-done anymore? Well now you do. Don't fear the


Apple-Poblano Salad

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch strips (roast them by putting them under the broiler or over an open flame until blackened, then stick in paper bag for about 10 min. Then you can just rub the skin right off)

2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes

1/4 cup hulled pumkin seeds, toasted in a dry pan

1 Tbs sugar

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

Sea salt

Mix it all together, and let the flavors blend for about 30 minutes or so.

Avocado Sauce

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

half a clove of garlic

1 cup of milk

1 cup of water

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves

Blend away.

Let the pork rest for 10 min, slice it, then plate all this up prettily.

Tres Leches Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

6 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

3 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 13-oz can evaporated milk

3 cups heavy cream

Spray bottom and sides of a 9-by-3 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Combine eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until doubled in volume, about 5 min. Reduce speed to low; add the water and 1 tsp of vanilla. Mix well. On very low speed or by hand with a long spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 min, or until cake is firm on top and has pullad away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place pan on rack to cool for 10-15 min. Turn cake out on a serving platter, put a plate over the cake, and turn it right side up. Let it cool.

While cake is colling, whisk together the sweetened condensed mile, evaporated milk, 1 cup of heavy and cream, and 2 teaspoons vanilla; set this aside. Using serrated knife, slice top of cake off. Poke the top of the cake all over with a toothpick. Pour the milk mixture over the cake in several batches so that it can completely soak. Refrigerate.

When ready to serve, whisk the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream on top of cake. Garnish with fruit, if you must.

I got all the recipes straight from a cookbook, and I really didn't change any of them because everything in this cookbook is so fabulous, you just don't want to mess with it, you know? The cookbook is from this restaurant in Austin, TX, called Fonda San Miguel, which is the best Mexican restaurant I've been to, I think. It's not tex-mex really, even though it's in Texas. It strives to be more traditional Mexican. And yes, I've been to some really good little dives that had great Mexican food, and were probably more authentic, but I don't know. It's really frickin good, what else can I say.

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