Monday, May 21, 2012

Tacos al Pastor

Have you ever tasted Tacos al Pastor? If you have not, you should! These little tacos are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and the flavor is a fun change to traditional Mexican tacos. I order them all of the time at Taco Diner. This weekend we went to a Bourbon tasting party at the house of one of Bunker's bosses. Bunker really does enjoy Bourbon, but I personally cannot stand the taste or smell! However, we both had a wonderful time because of the people, the setting and the fun atmosphere. Rather than having someone come in and cater the event with the typical catering fare, the host and hostess hired a food truck, a taco truck to be exact, that set up shop in their front drive-way. They had homemade chips and salsa, and then a huge selection of unique tacos, including, tacos al pastor! They were the tastiest I had ever had. Therefore, I was inspired to try my hand at making these little treats.

Sleepy puppies...we were at the lake this weekend and that always makes for super sleepy puppies come Sunday night!

I found this recipe on Epicurious, and I changed a few things based on personal preference and the reviews written by fellow home cooks. Do you ever look at the reviews when you are using a new recipe? You really should. I find them to be so helpful, because people share far more than if they liked the recipe or not. They share wonderful tricks, ideas and suggestions.

I love Shafer's fluffly puppy paws!

Printer Friendly Version

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into rounds or chunks (I bought a pre-cut package of pineapple, I suggest this, as cutting a pineapple is not the most fun preparation task!)
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chili powder
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons adobo sauce (you can also add a chipotle chile or two from the can, I opted not to as I didn't want it to be too I have can always add spice later...but you cannot take it out once it is added! Bunker added some heat to his tacos but I thought mine were just perfect without any additional heat)
1 1 1/2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch slices
Flour or corn tortillas

1. Gather your ingredients.

2. In a food processor, combine the orange juice, vinegar, chili powder, garlic, salt, oregano, cumin and adobo sauce. This is now your marinade.

3. Slice the pork loin into 1/2 inch slices.

4. Place the pork in a ziplock bag and add the marinade to the pork.

5. Refrigerate the pork in the marinade for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. The original recipe added pureed pineapple to the marinade, but many of the reviews complained that this addition made the pork mushy, as pineapple is rather acidic and broke the meat down as it marinated.
6. Grill or saute the pineapple chunks. You want them to be slightly charred, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

7. Chop the pineapple into 1/2 inch cubes.

8. Grill or saute the pork slices. Make sure the let the marinade stick to the sides of the pork. I also poured a little pineapple juice over the pork as it cooked. Cook about 4 minutes per side.

9. Cut the pork slices into 1 inch cubes.

10. Mix the pork and pineapple together.

11. Spoon mixture into warm flour or corn tortillas and enjoy this special treat!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Banana Crumb Muffins: A midnight snack for new parents!

First of all, these muffins have given the whole house the most delicious aroma! Second of all, these are not too difficult to put together. Third of all, they are even more delicious tasting than they are delicious smelling! So, get some bananas, put them on your counter and forget to eat them for a few days, and make these muffins!

Why...yes girls...I am obsessed with both of you!

Dallas is in the middle of the most delightful cold snap, and I am trying to soak up every moment of the cloudy and chilly (60s and 70s) weather! 

Regal Cort at her favorite lookout spot.

These muffins are destined for the tummies of a new mom and dad. The happy family welcomed their little boy late last week, and I thought these muffins would be great treats for middle of the night feedings or mid-afternoon snacks. Muffins are so handy since they come perfectly packaged and proportioned. 

Is there anyone in your life that you think could use a smile? Muffins usually do the trick!

I found this recipe (with rave reviews) at All Recipes. I added a bit more cinnamon, but otherwise, stayed true to the recipe. 

Sweet Shafer snuggled up in her favorite chair. 

Ingredients for muffins:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 over ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
Ingredients for crumb topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small cubes

Steps for Muffins:
1. Gather your ingredients, prepare your muffin pan with muffin liners, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. In your mixer, mix together the mashed bananas, white sugar, egg, and cooled melted butter. 

I actually mixed together the sugar, bananas, and egg and waited a bit to add my butter because it was still a tad warm. 

3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. 

4. Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin pan. 

5. Prepare the crumb topping by combining the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. The add the butter and "cut" the butter into the dry ingredients. I used a fork. You want a crumbly texture.

6. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the muffins. 

7. Bake for about 20 minutes. 

8. Enjoy yourself or share with someone and share a smile :)

All wrapped up and ready to go!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baked Spinach

I never thought I would want to try to make Baked Spinach. I grew up turning my nose up at cooked spinach (partially because my older sister liked it!), and as an adult, I just haven't wanted to venture down that path. However, the other night when eating dinner at our friends' house, they served baked spinach. My initial reaction was...yuck! I put some on my plate and thought I will just move it around. But, I ended up tasting a bit, and yum! It was creamy and flavorful and so comforting! So, I am trying my own hand at baked spinach tonight...and I think it will now be a new regular at our dinner table.

Best buddies!

Printer Friendly Version

One 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup of shredded cheese (I used Gouda because that is what we had in the fridge!)
Salt and pepper


1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the flour and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the milk, stirring constantly, and cook, until smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and cheese and stir to heat throughout.

5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Pour the spinach into a prepared baking dish.

7. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Happy Shafer (ready for a belly rub)!

Happy Cort (notice her tail...wagging so fast it is blurry!)!