This weekend seems to be a perfect excuse to borrow some recipes from my husband Mark’s side of the culinary world.. the wonderful land of Mexico via Texas! I’m lucky enough to have learned some tricks from him, not just how to make Mexican food, but how to add flavor to food in general. A chef for nearly twenty years, he certainly has experience having worked with some of the biggest names in the food industry, but most of all, he’s just got natural born talent. Combining flavors and making food look beautiful are his strengths and passion, and he’s still my biggest culinary inspiration!
Since I didn’t want to suggest smoked salmon or meatballs for your Sunday snack, I thought it to be the perfect time to share my well kept secret recipe for Mark’s super tasty guacamole. We all love our chips and salsa, but don’t we longingly hope there is some of that creamy, wonderfully tasty avocado dip? Versatile and healthy – you can eat it as a dip or top it on your tacos, and also use it the next day as spread on your sandwich.
The key is to find that perfectly ripe avocado – and of course, they have to be from Mexico. The avocado originated in the town of Puebla, Mexico – a place I’ve been longing to go for years. I don’t find the ones from other parts of central America to be of the same quality, but then again I’m probably biased! 🙂
Should you happen to have a hard time finding ripe avocados in your local grocery store, you can always plan on buying them a few days in advance, place them in a brown paper bag and leave on your kitchen counter. The avocado should still be firm to the touch but have a slight “give’ when you squeeze them. This way, they will have that green, vibrant color and the right texture. There are of course a million different varieties of guacamole out there, I like mine to be somewhat chunky but should be soft. Of course lots of lime juice, proper seasoning of salt and a good amount of cilantro is necessary – nobody wants bland guacamole!
MARK’S SECRET GUACAMOLE
5 ripe but firm Haas avocados
1 small Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced small
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced small
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped finely
juice of 1-2 limes
kosher salt to taste
Scoop the avocados into a bowl, add the other ingredients (note: if you don’t feel like a very spicy guacamole, remove the seeds from the jalapenos). Mix everything together until you have a nice homogenous mixture, season with salt and lime juice. I like a bright tasting guacamole, so I tend to use 2 limes. This will generously serve 5-6 people.
But we can’t just live on guacamole alone on Sunday, right? One of my favorite foods in the entire world is tacos. Fate would have it that I ended up with a Mexican, and of course I am convinced it was meant to be. When I had my catering company, I used to have a stand at the local farmer market where I live, and I would whip up tacos every Sunday. I must say I finally got the hang of it after a couple of years! So simple, but incredibly flavorful and satisfying – tacos are a brilliant invention! Below I give you my recipe for our pulled pork tacos, which may seem like a lot of work but believe me – you will be glad you took the time out and you can always save the extra pulled pork for dinner the following day or you can even freeze it and make tacos next weekend too!
FORK AND GLASS PULLED PORK TACOS
1 x 10 lb pork shoulder butt (bone-in)
1 onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
salsa verde (I give the recipe below or you can use your favorite jarred brand)
Corn tortillas (I like the Guerrero brand but of course home made are the best)
To prepare pork shoulder: Rub it generously with salt, brown sugar and taco seasoning (you can also make your own), leave it overnight in fridge to let spices marinate into meat.
Place in slow cooker for 10-15 hours on low setting, until the bone falls off. Alternatively, place in the middle of oven at 275F for about 6-8 hours. Let the pork cool and pick the meat.
In a small bowl, mix the onion and cilantro and set aside. Take two corn tortillas and place on open flame if you have a gas stove, and get a nice char on both sides.
Place a handful of pork in tortilla, spoon some salsa verde over pork, sprinkle with the onion-cilantro mix and place a slice of avocado on top. Season avocado with salt and a squeeze of lime. Heaven in a bite!!
The best salsa verde is the one you make yourself, nothing compares. I like the Herdez brand when in a pinch, but I always try to make my own. Here’s an easy, fool proof recipe:
4 lbs tomatillos
2 onions, sliced into thick rings
2-3 jalapeno or serrano peppers, whole
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 2-3 limes
kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the onion slices and whole jalapenos on a sheet, drizzle with oil and season w/salt. Roast for about 30 minutes or until charred.
Meanwhile, place the tomatillos in a big bowl of water, this will help you remove the husks:
Once husks are removed, place tomatillos on foil lined baking sheet and roast in oven along with the onion and jalapenos, until charred and soft like this (about 30 min):
Alternatively place them in a pot covered with water, and boil for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain.
In a blender, add tomatillos, onion, jalapenos and a handful of cilantro in batches, season with salt and lime juice and a pinch of sugar and puree.
This should give you a good start on Superbowl Sunday – stay tuned for more Mexican recipes throughout the year – I like to mix in some spiciness from my other half along with the milder, more delicate Scandinavian flavors . Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and may your favorite team win!!