Tamales My Way…

Tamales My Way…

The final chapter of my nixtamal adventure begins with my family’s favorite pulled pork recipe, and I’ll tell you the story because this is how a favorite recipe morphs into a family tradition. It’s also a story about how a series of little discoveries become favorites, and fixtures in your kitchen. Before you know it, you’ve put together what looks to others, like a very complicated recipe. But you know, it’s not complicated at all. It’s just a string of treasures. The sauce was found many years ago from a Gourmet Magazine recipe called Johnson’s Spare Ribs, which I tweaked a bit by adding some dried guajillo and negra chilies (lending a wild fruity electricity). This sauce was so incredible I would make extra to use on burgers, hot dogs, anything we could think of. There’s usually a jar of it in my refrigerator. The sauce often graces our table with the pulled whey-fed pork I get from the nearby Cherry Grove Farm. Much like the spare rib recipe, I coat pork shoulder with Cajun spices (Yeah, you can buy the spice mix in bulk at Costco, but I have a favorite homemade blendalways on hand…) I slow-roast the pork until it falls off the bone. Roasting the meat leaves me with a flavorful gelatinous broth topped by a layer of spicy lard which, to be honest, is too darned expensive for me to want to throw out. (Whey-fed pork is a smart buy for a lot of reasons. But those prices really encourage one to use every bit of what is bought!) I usually freeze the lard-broth, maybe...
Fettuccine with Garlic Chicken and Balsamic Reduction

Fettuccine with Garlic Chicken and Balsamic Reduction

I love this dish because the tangy balsamic reduction lends a splash of brightness to the otherwise heavier cream sauce. The chicken is a lovely addition, but not necessary. You can also add a steamed vegetable like broccoli at the end. This is an easier way to make the cream sauce, as traditionally it is uncooked before it is added to the pasta. Ingredients: 4 chicken breasts 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons olive oil Balsamic Reduction: 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1 clove garlic, smashed 1 bay leaf 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme Alfredo Sauce: 1 pound fresh or dried fettuccine pasta (noodles) 1 cube butter (4 oz) brought to room temp. 1 clove garlic, smashed with salt ⅔ cup heavy cream 1 cup Parmesan, grated Salt and white pepper to taste Directions: Marinate the chicken: place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag or bowl with the garlic and olive oil. Close up and marinate overnight. (If you don’t have the time, cut up the breasts, toss with the oil and garlic and allow to marinate for as long as possible.) Keep refrigerated until ready to cook. Balsamic Reduction: In a small saucepan combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, by leaf and thyme. Simmer until it becomes a thickened syrup. (Be careful not to let it burn.) Remove from heat, and pick out the thyme stems or pour through a strainer. Cool and place into a squeeze bottle or gravy boat. Cook Chicken: Place chicken breasts on a grill or in a frying pan and sear. Allow this to finish in a 300°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Cream...