Sunday, January 31, 2010

Carnitas de Puerco (Pork Confit)

Carnitas are Mexican street food at its best. Caramelized and delicious, every region has their way of making it. Using a nose to tail approach you can find ears, tail, shortribs, feet and anything in between cooked together in one HUGE barrel of pork fat, milk, orange juice and spices. The skin is sometimes also cooked in the carnitas mix to be fried and turned into chicharrones and served on top of tacos de carnitas. We have adapted a recipe to be simple enough to do at home and are thinking that a whole duck prepared in the same manner would be a great adaptation of this classic. Serve in tacos with fresh salsas and avocado.


For Pork cure:

3 lbs pork (mixed pieces are traditionally used, we chose spareribs and boneless, fatty stewing pork)
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups coarse sea salt
1 tbsp corriander seed
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and cover whole pieces of pork with cure. Leave covered on a tray in fridge for 3-6 hours. Rinse and allow pork to dry uncovered in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

For Carnitas:

4 tbsp fresh pork lard (substitute: duck fat or vegetable shortening)
3 lbs. cured pork meat cut into 3 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp dry oregano
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
250 ml milk
1 orange juiced, then cut into 8 pieces
10 crushed peppercorns

Sear cubes of pork in lard over medium-high heat until very well browned. About 15-20 minutes.

Remove pork from pan, lower heat and add onion. Sweat onion until translucent and browned, but not too dark. Add orange juice and scrape brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add pork back into pan with orange pieces then add milk and aromatics.

Bring to a low boil and cover and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Pieces should be tender, well cooked but still firm and holding their shape.
Remove lid and turn up heat to medium-high to reduce the liquids. Turn pieces frequently to caramelize evenly and to avoid over browning. Cook until all liquids have caramelized and only meat and fat is left in pan.
Drain off excess fat and serve pieces whole on a platter with tortillas, fresh salsas, avocado, coriander and finely diced white onion.

Salsa Oaxaqueña

This very simple salsa found all around the Oaxaca region of Mexico is packed with flavor from the pasilla chilies. Great for any kind of tacos the subtle spiciness should be easy enough for anyone to handle.

1/2 lb ( 225 g, about 11 medium) fresh tomatillo or one 11 oz. can of tomatillo
3 smal pasilla chilies
1/2 head garlic, cloves separated left unpeeled
Salt to taste

Sear garlic in a hot, dry pan until skin is blackened and clove has become soft inside. Peel and add into the blender. In the same pan sear chilies until blistered and blacked on outside, about 2 minutes. Rinse chilies under cold water briefly and then chop and add to blender.

If using fresh tomatillo: clean, and put in a sauce pan with water about half way up tomatillos. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes or until softened. Cool, drain, reserving cooking liquid and add to blender.

If using canned tomatillo: drain, rinse and add to blender whole.

Blend all ingredients with about 125 ml water or reserved cooking liquid until smooth. Season to taste.

Source: Diana Kenedy

Salsa x-ni-pek

This salsa from the Yucatan, which translates to 'hot as a dog's nose', has the perfect freshness to cut the salty/fatty properties of delicious carnitas. The balance for the heat of the habanero pepper comes from the sweet citrus flavors which also mirror the fruitiness of the pepper itself. So simple and delicious this salsa would also be a great accompaniment for fresh grilled fish and seafood.


250 ml finely chopped, unpeeled tomatoes
125 ml finely diced red onion
125 ml roughly chopped cilantro
1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely sliced
125 ml bitter orange juice (see substitute)
sea salt to taste

Substitute for bitter orange juice:
makes 125 ml

1 tsp grapefruit or green Meyer lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh grapefruit or ripe Meyer lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
4 tbsp fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive (glass, plastic or china) bowl. Season to taste and allow at least 30 mins. before serving to give time for the flavors to come together.

source: Diana Kenedy

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jamaica Margarita (Hibiscus)

Back home in any taqueria or street restaurant you find Agua de Jamaica , this refreshing cooler is a delicious drink made out of hibiscus flowers and its perfect with lots of ice for a warm day. I like giving it a little punch with some good tequila, here is an easy recipe for it enjoy!!!!


  • 2 shots of chilled Agua de Jamaica (recipe below)
  • 1 shot *Tequila (list of recommendations below)
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • lime wedge for garnish


  1. Pour the Agua de Jamaica, tequila and lime juice into a chilled cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus):

  • 2 cups (2 oz) jamaica flowers
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (more if desired)
  • 6 cups water
  1. Bring the water to a boil.

2-Add the flowers and sugar and stir continuously while the mixture boils for one minute.

3-Steep for 2 hours. *Note- this flower will stain so do not use a bowl that will stain

4-Strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing on the flower solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

5-Taste for strength and sweetness. If it is too potent, add water. If it is too tart, add sugar.
6-Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.

*here a list of Tequila recomendations:

The Tequila Shake- Don’t swirl, place your hand over the mouth of the glass and shake the liquid to release its aroma. Drink at room temperature to judge the products properly.


Montezuma Gold - $18. - Light golden color, Smokey, peppery, sharp & earthy.

1 - BLANCO/PLATA/SILVER/WHITE - Herradura Silver - $38. - Clear color, aged for 40 days; fresh, fruity flavor. Spearmint, sweet metallic finish. -

Tres Generaciones Plata - $46. - 100% blue Agave. Clean, tea bag, sweet wood polish, oily finish.

Hacienda del Cristero Blanco - $48. - 100% Agave, clean light color. Triple distilled, floral, pineapple nose, peppery, fiery. - Don Eduardo Silver - $38. - 100% Agave, triple distilled, briny nose that changed to a sweet nose. Cinnamon, peppery, round, full in the mouth.

2 - MEZCAL -

Monte Alban Mezcal - $25. - Caramel color, toast nose with a smoky finish. -

Talapa Mezcal Reposado - $23. - Caramel color using cane sugar; smoky sweet taste.


7 leguas gran reserva- eight months in white oak barrels,hay colored with intense yellow hues and greenish highlights: it bears the scent of aromatic wood and shows its character in its powerful flavor of intense agave and wooden notes.

El Jimador Reposado - $28. - Pale straw color. Three months in oak, mellow finish with not much character. -

Reserva 1800 Reposado - $30. - Nine months in French & American oak barrels. Honey brown color, chocolate nose, slightly sweet flavor. -

Cazadores Reposado - $33. - 100% blue Agave. Aged in Kentucky oak barrels. Light color, mint taste and rather uninteresting. -

Corazon Reposado - $48. - Pale bronze color. Citrus, not sweet, soft, smooth, easy to drink with an herbal finish. - Patron Reposado - $50. - Six months in oak barrels. Lemony, dry and very Rum-like.

Gran Centenario Reposado - $50. - Light, slightly green golden color. Six months in French oak. Musty, earthy nose. Starts out sweet, but finishes dry, with tropical fruit flavors.

4 - AÑEJO -

Corralejo Añejo - $55. - Light color, double distilled in copper stills. Forgettable. -

Reserva Antigua 1800 Añejo - $38. - 100% blue Agave with golden amber color. Soft, smooth, complex flavors of chocolate & honey.

El Jimador Añejo - $45. - Not as much character as previously tasted Anejos but ended lovely. -

Don Eduardo Añejo - $50. - 100% Agave, light color, aged in American Bourbon oak for two years. Complex, peppery and smooth. -

Tres Generaciones Añejo - $50. - 100% blue Agave; aged three years in oak barrels. Smooth and sweet on the nose and palate. - Herradura Añejo - $50. - Deep amber color. Aged two years in oak barrels. Licorice, iodine, spicy, complex. For sipping like a Cognac or Brandy. -

Espolon Añejo - $52. - Dark amber color. Aged one year in white oak barrels. Vanilla & butterscotch. -

- Gran Centenario Añejo - $55. - Dark amber color. Minimum 18 months in small French oak casks. Spicy, earthy, mineral, vanilla. -

Cabo Wabo Añejo Milenio - $68. - Light color; One year in white oak barrels. A different, yet lovely funky nose. Subtle vanilla, caramel, honey. -

Corazon Añejo - $75. - Dark amber color. Aged in American oak. Sweet, floral honeyed nose. Caramel and tea. -

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia - $110. - 5 years in 50% French & 50% American oak. Toasty, butterscotch, vanilla, honey. A long finish that reminded me of brandy or Cognac.


Agavero Tequila Liqueur - $30. - 100% blue Agave that is a blend of Reposado & Añejo. Aged in charred white oak barrels. Light color, sweet & smooth. 64 proof.

Dont drink and drive

Raw Milk Victory

Raw Milk Victory

Terra Madre dairy farmer Michael Schmidt has won a 16-year legal battle for the right to distribute unpasteurized milk products, in what supporters hope will become a precedent. Schmidt was found not guilty on 19 charges related to providing raw milk: While Canadian law allows the consumption of raw milk, its sale and distribution has been illegal in the country since 1938, authorities fearing that it could contain bacteria that may pose a risk to public health.

Schmidt operates a 150-cow dairy co-operative venture, in which members own part of a cow in order to acquire raw milk. The scheme was ruled not to be a violation of public health rules as there is no selling or marketing of the product, and because Schmidt distributes only to the cow shareholders and not the general public.

During the legal case, Schmidt argued that the charges laid against him infringe on his rights and freedoms, and that government officials and food scientists cannot guarantee the safety of any food. Schmidt’s lawyer has said that after the victory, the team will now: “turn our efforts to legalizing the distribution of raw milk to other consumers who can’t or don’t wish to own shares in a cow.”

The verdict comes three years after 25 armed officers raided Schmidt’s farm in Southern Ontario, confiscating milk, cheesemaking equipment, computers and records. “In that three years, roughly 400,000 servings of safe unpasteurized milk have been consumed by about 200 defiant Cow-share families without a single incidence of illness,” stated a spokesperson for Slow Food Toronto. “By contrast, dozens of people have died due to listeriosis contamination in government-approved foods in this time”.

Advocates cite studies that show that if proper hygiene standards are observed and the animals are raised in a healthy way without antibiotics or growth hormones, not only can raw milk be consumed without any risk, but it can also provide more nutrients and a better quality taste. The pasteurization of milk is a consequence of the change in farming methods in the first half of the last century which has led to a rapid fall in the animals’ quality of life and increased the risks of spreading disease.

Minutes after being acquitted, Schmidt celebrated with a glass of his milk, telling reporters and supporters: "Trudeau said government has no business in the bedroom, and here I say the government has no business in the stomach of the people either."

The Super Green List

Connecting Human and Ocean Health
Seafood plays an important role in a balanced diet. It's often rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost immunity and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other ailments. Omega-3s are especially important for pregnant and nursing women, and young children. Unfortunately, some fish carry toxins that can become harmful when eaten frequently.

Good for You, Good for the Oceans

Combining the work of conservation and public health organizations, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has identified seafood that is "Super Green," meaning that it is good for human health and does not harm the oceans. The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch "Best Choices" (green) list, are low in environmental contaminants and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

This effort draws from experts in human health, notably scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The Monterey Bay Aquarium will continue to work with these organizations to balance the health and environmental attributes of seafood.

The Super Green list includes seafood that meets the following three criteria:
  • Low levels of contaminants (below 216 parts per billion [ppb] mercury and 11 ppb PCBs)
  • The daily minimum of omega-3s (at least 250 milligrams per day [mg/d])*
  • Classified as a Seafood Watch "Best Choice" (green)

Contaminants in Seafood

Seafood contaminants include metals (such as mercury, which affects brain function and development), industrial chemicals (PCBs and dioxins) and pesticides (DDT). These toxins usually originate on land and make their way into the smallest plants and animals at the base of the ocean food web. As smaller species are eaten by larger ones, contaminants are concentrated and accumulated. Large predatory fish—like swordfish and shark—end up with the most toxins. You can minimize risks by choosing seafood carefully. Use our Super Green list and learn more about contaminants in seafood on the EDF website.
*The Best of the Best: January 2010
  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Pink Shrimp (wild-caught, from Oregon)
  • Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
  • Spot Prawns (wild-caught, from British Columbia)

**Other Healthy "Best Choices"
  • Arctic Char (farmed)
  • Bay Scallops (farmed)
  • Crayfish (farmed, from the U.S.)
  • Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from California, Oregon or Washington)
  • Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from the U.S. Atlantic)
  • Pacific Cod (longline-caught, from Alaska)

*The "Super Green" list is based on dietary requirements for an average woman of childbearing age (18- 45, 154 pounds) eating 8 ounces of fish per week. The list also applies to men and children; children should eat age-appropriate portions to maximize their health benefits while minimizing risk. The recommendation of 250 mg of omega-3s refers to the combined level of two omega-3s of primary importance to human health: eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).

**Other Healthy "Best Choices" are low in contaminants and provide a smaller amount of omega-3s (between 100 and 250 mg/d, assuming 8 ounces of fish per week)

Contaminant data are from EDF, drawn from more than 250 government databases and peer-reviewed scientific studies on seafood contaminants.

Omega-3 data are primarily from the USDA Nutrient Database.

2010 Culinary Chart of Alternatives

2010 Culinary Chart of Alternatives

Use this guide to find ocean-friendly alternatives to seafood on the Seafood Watch “Avoid” list. For more information, and to learn more about species that do not appear on this list,

AvoidBest ChoicesGood Alternatives
Caviar and Sturgeon (imported wild-caught)

Caviar and Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*
Chilean Seabass/Patagonian Toothfish*
Cobia (US farmed)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC)
Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)
Cod: Atlantic, Iceland and Northeast Arctic (trawled), and Pacific (imported)
Cobia (US farmed)

Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+)

Cod: Atlantic (Northeast Arctic and Iceland)

Cod: Pacific (U.S. trawl)
Conch: Queen
Abalone (U.S. farmed)

Crab: King (imported)
Crab: Dungeness, Stone
Crab: Blue*, King (U.S.), Snow
Crayfish (imported farmed)
Crayfish (U.S. farmed)

Spot Prawn (BC)
Spot Prawn (U.S.)
Dogfish (U.S.)*
Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+)

Cod: Pacific (U.S. trawl)

Dogfish (BC)*
Flounders, Soles (Atlantic)
Halibut: Pacific+
Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*

Turbot: Greenland
Grenadier/Pacific Roughy
Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)

Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)

Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Black Sea Bass

Mahi mahi (US longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Haddock (trawl)
Cobia (U.S. farmed)

Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+)
Haddock (hook-and-line)
Hake: White
Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Hake: Silver, Red and Offshore

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Halibut: Atlantic
Cobia (U.S. farmed)

Halibut: Pacific+

Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*

Halibut: California (hook-and-line, bottom trawl)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Lobster: Spiny (Brazil)
Lobster: Spiny (Florida)
Lobster: American/Maine
Marlin: Striped and Blue*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)

Swordfish (harpoon or handline from the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Swordfish (CA drift gillnet)

Swordfish (Harpoon or handline from the Indian Ocean, international Pacific and international Atlantic)

Swordfish (U.S. longline)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC)
Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)
Orange Roughy*
Halibut: Pacific+

Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*

Halibut: California (hook-and-line, bottom trawl)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Pompano: Florida
Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)
Black Sea Bass
Rockfish*: Pacific (trawl)
Halibut: Pacific+

Rockfish: Black* (CA, OR)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC)

Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)
Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*

Rockfish* (hook-and-line from AK, BC)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)
Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*
Arctic Char (farmed)

Salmon (wild-caught from AK)+
Salmon (wild-caught from WA)*
Halibut: Pacific+
Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*
Shrimp (imported)
Shrimp: Pink (OR)+

Spot Prawn (BC)

Freshwater Prawn (U.S. farmed)
Shrimp (U.S., Canada)

Spot Prawn (U.S.)
Scallops: Bay (farmed)
Scallops: Sea (wild-caught Atlantic, U.S. and Canada)

Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*
Snapper: Red and Vermilion (US)
Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Swordfish (imported)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)

Swordfish (harpoon or handline from the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Swordfish (CA drift gillnet)

Swordfish (Harpoon or handline from the Indian ocean, international Pacific and international Atlantic)

Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Swordfish (U.S. longline)*
Tilapia (China, Taiwan farmed)
Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Tilefish (Southeast)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)

Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)
Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Tilefish (Mid-Atlantic)*

Tuna: Albacore (Atlantic and Indian Ocean, troll/pole)
Tuna: Albacore (longline except for HI)*
Tuna: Albacore (South Pacific, U.S.+and BC troll/pole)
Tuna: Albacore (HI longline)*

Tuna: Albacore (North Atlantic, troll/pole)

Tuna: Albacore (South Atlantic, troll/pole)
Tuna: Bluefin* and Bigeye (longline)*
Tuna: Skipjack (WCPO, U.S. Eastern Pacific troll/pole)

Tuna: Yellowfin (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)
Tuna: Bigeye (troll/pole)

Tuna: Skipjack (HI longline)

Tuna: Yellowfin (Pacific and Indian Ocean troll/pole, U.S. Atlantic
Tuna: Skipjack (FAD-caught)
Tuna: Skipjack (WCPO, U.S. Eastern Pacific troll/pole, WCPO unassociated purse seine)
Tuna: Skipjack (Atlantic, Indian, and Eastern Pacific unassociated purse seine)
Tuna: Yellowfin (FAD-caught, longline except for U.S. Atlantic) *
Tuna: Yellowfin (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)
Tuna: Tongol (handline, troll/pole, Malaysia)

Tuna: Yellowfin (Pacific and Indian Ocean troll/pole, unassociated purse seine, U.S. Atlantic longline)*

* Consumption advisory from Environmental Defense Fund due to mercury or other contaminants.

+ All or portions of this fishery have been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council

British Columbia
Western & Central Pacific Ocean
New York to North Carolina
Connecticut to Maine
South Carolina to Texas
Fish caught using Fish Aggregating Devices that lead to high bycatch
A slash is used to separate different market names for the same fish.
A type of purse seine with low bycatch; also called a school set because the net is set on a free-swimming school of tuna.