Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tacos al Pastor

You can never have a conversation about good tacos without someone mentioning tacos al pastor, they are a staple of Mexican street food. With thinly sliced and marinated pork layered to create a huge ‘trompo’ the meat is then roasted on a spit with a fresh pineapple and a large knife is used to slice off thin pieces of caramelized meat. Here is our version, simplified for home but still with the same great flavors.



1 kg Pork Tenderloin

1 cup white vinegar

2 cups cider vinegar

2 tbsp salt

Stir together vinegars and salt to dissolve. Add whole pork and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare marinade.


2 dry pasilla chilies

2 dry ancho chilies

2 dry guajillo chilies

2 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters

1 small onion

2 unpeeled garlic cloves

1 ½ cups pineapple puree (1/4 fresh pineapple blended with 1/4 cup water)

½ tbsp cumin

3 whole cloves

1 tbsp smoked paprika

½ tsp coriander seed

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups water

juice of 1 lime


Char tomatoes and garlic over high heat in a dry pan. Add olive oil and onion, sweat over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add spices and dry chilies. Remove garlic, peel and return to pan. Add pineapple puree and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cook to re-hydrate chilies and break down tomatoes for 5 minutes. Add contents of pan to blender with lime juice and remaining cup of water. Blend until smooth. Season and cool.

Remove pork from vinegar and slice into 4 cm medallions Add pork to marinade and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Remove pork from marinade and heat pan to high. Sear medallions to caramelize all sides and finish cooking pork on a sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until pork is medium to medium-well. Let rest, then slice against the grain thinly and serve in a fresh tortilla topped with our pineapple salsa.

Pineapple Salsa

Because tacos al pastor are traditionally cooked and served with pineapple, we decided to kick it up a little with a warm caramelized pineapple and onion salsa.


1 onion

3 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters

¼ fresh pineapple

1 dry ancho chili

1 unpeeled clove of garlic

2 tsp chili piquin, lightly crushed

2 cups water

2 tbsp oliv eoil

2 tbsp lime juice

Char tomatoes and garlic clove in a hot, dry pan. Add ancho chili and toast all sides. Add water and simmer to rehydrate chili. Blend contents of pan in a blender to liquefy Season with salt and lime juice. Heat a pan to high and sautee onions and pineapple in oil over high heat until very caramelized, add chili piquin and salt then pour contents of blender into pineapple pan, simmer for 5 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Serve warm over tacos and top with fresh cilantro.


You can try using store bought but nothing really compares to a good, homemade tortilla! Try it out and see how easy it can be.


2 cups Maseca (probably the most common brand of masa harina, stand by for our fresh version)

1 ¾ to 2 cups water

½ tsp salt

By hand or in a mixer fitted with a paddle attatchment gradually work in water to masa. The key here is the consistency of the dough, you are looking for a play-dough-like texture. When handled the dough should not crack or crumble, you may need to adjust with more water.

Roll out a 2cm ball and test your dough. Between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, flatten dough ball using a tortilla press or two inverted pans. Try to get the dough as thin and even as you can. The tortilla should be smooth and easy to handle with no cracks along the edges, and should not stick to the parchment paper. Adjust with more masa or water.

Once you are sure your dough is perfect, start rolling small batches of 2cm balls. Try not to form or press more tortillas than you can fit in a pan at a time and keep your dough covered with a damp cloth at all times.

Heat a dry pan to medium, cast iron would be best, and cook tortillas on both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a tortillerro lined with a cloth, or if you don’t have wrap the tortillas in the cloth and then in aluminum foil.

To reheat tortillas repeat the same cooking process in cast iron pan, heat in 200 degree oven for 10 minutes, or microwave in a plastic bag for 30 seconds.

*As soon as i get the grain mill kitchen aid attachment i will upload a recipe to make them from scratch.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hot sauces ☠

All of these hot sauces are variations on the same basic technique, so once you feel comfortable with the process of charring your chilies, fruit/vegetables you can get creative with different combinations of flavors. The possibilities are endless, think seasonal and fresh and you will be well on your way. Just remember the most important thing is a good balance of spice, acidity, sweetness, and salt. With oyster season just starting to be great, and all the vegetables in the market hitting the end of their summer season why not crack some beers, practice your shucking skills and heat it up!

This sauce would be great served with a steak or any grilled meats.

6 dry Chipotle peppers
1 clove Garlic, unpeeled
1/4 large Onion, cut into large chunks
1 large Tomato, cut in quarters (we used kumato, but any dark variety of tomato, or a good ripe field tomato would be equally successful)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Red Mole paste
1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
juice of 1 Lime
2 tbsp White Vinegar

Heat a dry pan over medium-high heat. Dry roast, chipotle peppers, onion, garlic and tomato until charred, turning to cook all sides evenly. Add olive oil, sauté over medium heat. Add smoked paprika and cook 1 minute more

De-glaze with 2 cups water. Work in mole paste. Simmer over medium heat to re-hydrate chilies. Pour into blender and add lime juice and vinegar. Blend until smooth, season. Pass mixture through a fine strainer, cool and serve.

Hot Oaxaca
This sauce would be great served with fish, shellfish or even pork.

8 dry Guerro Oaxaqueno chilies
1 Red pepper, diced
3 Habañero peppers
1 Orange
1/4 cup Dried Mango
1 Plum Tomato, quartered
1/2 large Onion, diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp chopped Ginger
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1 tsp Fennel Seed
juice of 2 Limes

Heat a dry pan to medium, add dry chilies, habañeros, red pepper and tomato to pan. Dry roast for 2 minutes turning frequently to cook all sides evenly. Add olive oil then onion, fennel seed and put in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Half way through cooking add ginger and a 2 cm piece of orange zest to pan. remove from oven to medium burner and de-glaze with the juice from one orange, reduce, and then add 2 cups of water. Add dried mango and simmer to re-hydrate.

Pour into blender, add vinegar and lime juice and blend to liquify. Season, strain, cool and serve.

Mulatto Plum
This sauce would be great for duck or any wild/ game meats.

5 dry Mulato Chilies
3 Plums, cut into quarters
4 fresh Thai Chilies
2 Tomatoes, cut into quarters (we used kumato, but any good, ripe tomato would be good)
1 tsp Honey
juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 tsp Coriander seed
1/2 tsp Cumin seed
2 Allspice berries
6 branches Lemon Thyme
2 tbsp White Vinegar

Heat a dry pan to medium and add dry mulato chilies, turning to toast all sides for about 5 minutes. Add plums, thai chilies, tomatoes and thyme. Remove from heat and add olive oil. Put into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes turning frequently to roast all sides evenly.

Remove from oven and put all items into blender except dry chilies. Add dry spices to pan with chilies and heat to medium, deglaze pan with 2 cups of water and simmer to re-hydrate chilies. Pour into blender adding vinegar, honey and lemon juice to blender as well.

Blend to liquify, then season, strain, cool and serve.

This salsa would be great for fish, seafood and even for chicken.

3 dry Guajillo Chilies
1/2 medium Onion, cut into large pieces
juice of 1 Lime
2 cm Ginger, chopped
1/2 cup dry Pineapple
5 fresh Yellow Caribe Chilies
1 tbsp Coriander Seed
1 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp White Vinegar

Heat a pan over medium heat, dry roast guajillo and yellow caribe chilies for 8 minutes turning often to roast evenly. Add olive oil and put into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes turning peppers frequently to roast evenly. Remove from oven and add yellow caribe chilies to blender. meanwhile to pan add coriander seed, onions and ginger sauté for 10 seconds then de-glaze with 2 cups water. Add dry pineapple and simmer to re-hydrate. Add to blender along with vinegar, lime juice and honey.

Blend to liquify. Season, strain, cool and serve.