1. I've been cooking like a madwoman lately and have lots and lots of food posts to share with you guys in the coming weeks.
2. Donuts used to be my most favorite-est food, but as a result of my pregnancy, they now give me the WORST heartburn, so they have officially been replaced by tacos.
3. More specifically, carnitas tacos.
For the most part, I enjoy going out for tacos because they're always a super easy and affordable meal to get on the go. There's no doubt that making them at home requires way more time and effort, but they're certainly worth the extra work from time to time. The great thing about carnitas tacos is that you can prep most of the components the day before, and then quickly throw everything together right before mealtime. So, I give you my version of Carnitas Tacos with a Fresh Heirloom Tomato Salsa...
2 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt (they're both the same cut of meat)
1 Large Onion, sliced
4-6 Whole Cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 Lemon, sliced
1 Bay Leaf
2 tsp. Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Roughly 1/3 Can of Coke (not diet)
Dry your pork and season it with the cumin and a good amount of salt and pepper. Line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with your sliced onion, lemon, and garlic cloves. Place your pork on top with the fatty side facing up. Add your bay leaf and Coke into the dish. Cover very tightly with foil (I like to do two layers), and bake at 275º for 3-4 hours (the pork will easily "pull" with a fork when done). Turn your oven off and leave the pork in the oven, still covered, to coast for about another hour. Once cooled, you can remove any excess fat from your pork (I just do this with my hands), and then roughly chop it into large-ish chunks. Set the cooked onions aside, and discard the lemon slices, garlic and liquid.
At this point, you can either fry the pork, or refrigerate it if you don't plan on eating it until the next day. Either way, you want to make sure you only fry the carnitas right before you plan on eating it. Heat about 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a fry pan over medium high heat (I like to use a non-stick pan so that I don't end up with super greasy carnitas). Throw in your pork chunks and quickly pan fry until the edges turn brown and start to caramelize. This would be a good time to re-season your meat if needed.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa
1 Large Heirloom Tomato, chopped
1/4 Red Onion, chopped
1 Medium Jalapeño (use only half or remove the seeds if you like less of a bite), chopped
About 2 tbsp. Cilantro, roughly chopped
Healthy Pinch of Salt
Toss all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until you get a smooth salsa. You can store this in your fridge for a few days, and the leftovers are EXCELLENT over eggs.
Alright, all that's left is assembling your tacos. Traditionally, tacos are VERY simple, and personally, that's how I prefer them. You want to start with steamed corn tortillas (here's how, DO NOT use a microwave). Depending on the heartiness of your tortilla brand, you may need to use two per taco. I like to fill my tacos with a small scoop of carnitas and top with the cooked onions, a bit of mashed avocado (I always mash it because slices tend to slip right out as soon as you take a bite), a decent amount of salsa, and a couple cilantro sprigs. Squeeze a lime wedge over everything, and that's it. Crazy delicious tacos that really aren't too much trouble. Happy Taco Monday, guys!
P.S. You should get enough carnitas for about six tacos, and enough salsa for days.