18 November 2008

Quesadillas

To celebrate a couple of birthdays, my friends and I decided to have some sort of a cookout last Saturday. I say 'some sort' because there actually wasn't very much cooking involved. One of my friends, having studied in US for 4 years, suggested Mexican or at least the American idea of Mexican food - Tex Mex.

We ended up with a rather simple menu of 2 types of Quesadillas, Guacamole and Salsa served with tortilla chips.

All recipes were forwarded to me by a friend who enjoys cooking as much as (if not more than) I do. They were all taken off the Cook’s Illustrated website which, after this experience, I will definitely be visiting more often. We had a simple Ham and (Gruyere + Mozzarella) Cheese Quesadilla/Cubano Quesadilla where everyone had fun, or at least I choose to think so, toasting their own Quesadillas in a hot non-stick pan. Once we all had a go at making our own, we moved to the dining table.




There was an array of chopped pickles, small purple onions, green peppers, sliced lettuce, plenty of plain tortilla wraps and – the star of the show – Mexican Pulled Pork / Carnitas. A whole kilogram of pork was braised in a concoction of orange juice, cinnamon, onion, bay leaves, and cumin for 2 hours in a heavy Dutch oven pot, then pulled apart and grilled till slightly brown and crisp at the edges.

Everyone could then add any combination of ingredients – ALL pork for the ridiculous carnivores, or a little of each for a more balanced diet – to the tortilla wrap before devouring it as daintily and neatly as possible. Of course, that was almost impossible what with guacamole and bits of chopped onion spilling out over the sides.

But it was such a delicious meal. We all ‘cooked’ together to Mexican music and made our Mexican popiahs together.



MEXICAN PULLED PORK, or, CARNITAS
(From The Cook's Illustrated)

In addition to the traditional garnishes listed below, you can serve the pork with fresh guacamole and salsa.

Ingredients

Pork 1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless pork butt , fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
Table salt and ground black pepper

1teaspoon ground cumin
1small onion , peeled and halved
2bay leaves
1teaspoon dried oregano
2tablespoons juice from 1 lime
2cups water
1medium orange , halved

Tortillas and Garnishes
18(6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed
Lime wedges
Minced white or red onion
Fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced radishes
Sour cream


Method

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot.

Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.

Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid).

Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.

Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.

2 comments:

me said...

Ok this is a desparate cry for help. I cant seem to find a way to email/poke/post u discreetly and directly so ive decided to resort to this.

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I need Bak Chor Mee. Im in London and Ive this massive craving. I need it so badly.

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n both failed to bring me anywhere. It said Link Dead or something.

It might as well put up a face of a laughing jester.

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Pls save me.

I need bak chor mee.

I need recipe.

pls.

help.

G

Foodista said...

First time to drop by here, I really like your site. Love the layout and the content, really looking forward to more great posts from you. Oh, and if you have time will you drop by at Foodista ? We are building an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia which we will be launching soon and you can also check out our recipes on the site as well :) Cheers!