Thursday, December 29, 2016

Posole by an Irish Girl who Married a Mexican Man

Posole is one of my husband's favorite meals.  I remember eating it for the first time on Christmas day several years ago.  My mother-in-law had made a big pot and it smelled fantastic.  She ladled up big bowlfuls and we added an assortment of toppings: shredded cabbage, chopped radishes, lime juice, tostadas and queso fresco.  It was like nothing I had ever tasted and I loved the crisp, cold of the cabbage with the spicy soup loaded with pork and maize blanco (hominy) offset by the tart lime and salty, crunchy tostada.

After that initial taste, I tried to make it myself and failed miserably. It tasted nothing like my mother-in-law's posole. She is one of the best cooks I know and just a natural in the kitchen.  The second try was a little better and I slowly improved.

That brings us to today.  I finally made my posole JUST RIGHT.  Not sure if it was my new, huge 9 quart Dutch oven (Christmas gift from husband) or a random recipe success....but it was pretty darn delicious.  I did deviate and use a lean tenderloin as the shoulder can be so fatty and require trimming.  I was unsure if it would lend the same flavor and not end up terribly dry, but it was ok!

Remember, I am not great at measuring exact quantities, so adjust as needed:

3-4 pounds pork tenderloin
2 onions, chopped
2 Tbs. garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1 tsp. sauce
1 Tbs. Mexican oregano
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 can tomato sauce
Big can maize blanco/hominy (108 oz)
dried chilies of your choice, stems removed
salt and pepper

Saute onion in olive oil until softened.  Add pork and turn on all sides to lightly sear.  Toss in garlic, chipotle pepper, sauce, dried chilies, tomato sauce, stock and seasonings.  Set lid on top and let cook on medium low heat for 2 hours, making sure it does not boil.  Add maize blanco and taste to adjust seasonings.  Cook on low another hour.

Serve with shredded cabbage, chopped radishes, oregano, tostadas, cilantro, queso fresco and fresh lime wedges.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Anisette Knot Cookies

To be truthful, I am posting this recipe mostly for myself.  After tweaking a couple recipes this afternoon, I baked a tasty batch of anisette cookies and know how I often forget my changes.

Thes are delicious!   Not too sweet,  perfect with hot coffee.  Even better the next day as the anise flavor is more pronounced.  Enjoy!

Anisette Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Scant Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons anise seed

2 cups powdered sugar
Anise extract

In heavy enamel skillet or pan, toast anise seeds until fragrant, shaking pan often so they do not burn.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend.  Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Using mortal and pestle, tap and lightly grind anise seed.  Add all dry ingredients and anise seed to mixer and blend until it forms a ball.  Do not over beat.  Pop in fridge for a few minutes while you prep oven.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lay parchment on baking sheets.  Make thin icing glaze with powdered sugar, extracts and some water.

Roll out teaspoon sized amount and form into knots.  Bake about 8-10 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned.  Remove and slide parchment off hot baking sheet so bottoms don't keep browning.

Dip tops of hot cookie in icing.  Sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils.  Let cool and store in airtight containers as they tend to dry out.  Even better the next day or two!