Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Taco Wednesday!

If you're like me, you're muddling through the mad dash leading up to the last day of school. With all the last minute programs, art shows, ceremonies, etc., it can be hard to plan for dinner. At times like these, I crave my favorite comfort food - tacos! I got this recipe, which I've slightly adapted, for "Grilled Cumin-Lime Pork Tenderloin Tacos" from hellonatural.co. These tacos are super simple, cheap, and pretty darn delicious! They consist of tender grilled pork, smokey poblanos and onions, all dressed with seductive chipotle cream. Yum!

Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts to cook. It cooks quickly and with the exception of removing any silver skin, requires little attention. At a minimum, it only needs to marinate for 30 minutes, although if you do it the night before, it really is a snap to put together. In addition, why not mix together the chipotle cream the night before as well. It will save you time the next day and allow you to catch your breath while enjoying a meal with a little south-of-the-border flair. Oh, and a margarita wouldn't hurt either!


Grilled Cumin-Lime Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Serves 8 (I halve the recipe for my family of four.)

Ingredients:
For the Marinade
Juice of 1-2 fresh limes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Tacos
2, 1-pound pork tenderloins, silver skin removed
3 poblano peppers
1 large onion, thickly sliced (1/4-inch slices)
12-16 corn tortillas

For the Chipotle Cream (Even if I halve the recipe, I still make the full recipe of the chipotle cream because it's delicious!)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use Mexican crema.)
1-2 tablespoons milk (If you use crema, you don't need to add any milk.)
1-2 tablespoons chipotle puree, according to taste (I use 1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo, seeds and all.)

Directions:
Marinating the Pork
Place the pork tenderloin(s) in an appropriately sized freezer bag or nonreactive dish. Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour over the pork tenderloin(s). Marinate on the counter for at least 30 minutes, or place in the refrigerator if marinating longer or overnight. Let tenderloin come to room temperature before grilling.

Make the Chipotle Cream
While the pork marinates, mix together the chipotle cream. (I use my immersion blender.) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grilling the Tacos
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place the poblanos over the hottest part of the grill, turning every few minutes, allowing the skin to blister. They may pop and sputter a bit. When blistered and blackened, remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.

Place the tenderloin(s) over the hottest part of the grill, and sear on all sides. Move to a cooler side of the grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer reaches 140 degrees in the center, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the grill to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing.


While the tenderloin is cooking, brush the onions with some oil and sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the onions on the grill, turning occasionally until tender but not mushy, approximately 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a cutting board.


Heat the Tortillas
Clean the grill briefly. Place tortillas on the grill, turning after 30-60 seconds, being careful not the let them fall between the grates. Wrap the stacked tortillas in foil to keep them warm. 

To serve
Uncover the poblanos and remove the outer skins, seeds, and cut into thin strips. Roughly chop the onions. Cut the pork tenderloin(s) into thin slices on the diagonal, against the grain. (I actually slice as needed to help keep it warm.) Place a few slices each of the tenderloin, poblanos, and onions onto the tortillas and drizzle with some chipotle cream. 

*To make this a fiesta, serve with Robin's Tex-Mex Rice, Drunken Pintos and/or Mexican Crazy Corn or Texas Sunshine Salad

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mexico's Crazy Corn!

When I was a kid, I remember when my Mom and Dad returned from a vacation in Veracruz, Mexico. My Mom told us that they put mayonnaise on corn on the cob, and we thought that sounded extremely gross! "Elote Asado" (Mexican Grilled Corn) is perhaps the most popular street food in Mexico. Sweet ears of corn are grilled until tender, slathered with mayonnaise, Mexican crema, or a mixture of both, then rolled in cotija cheese, dusted with chili powder, and served with a wedge of lime. I know it sounds crazy, but it is quite delicious!

I recommend starting with the freshest, sweetest corn you can find. I also recommend seeking out authentic Mexican crema, as opposed to using sour cream. In addition, I have to admit that I don't care for the squeeze of lime. I know...dumb gringo! (FYI: If you serve this to anyone with facial hair, have plenty of napkins available! It's pretty funny to watch!) Anyway, this is a fun and authentic recipe to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Try it and let me know what you think! Happy Cinco!


Elote Asado (Mexican Grilled Corn with Crema, Cheese, and Chili)

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup Mexican crema
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup grated cotija cheese
Chili powder
4 lime wedges, for garnish

Directions:
Pull the husks down the corn, but leave some attached to make a handle. (I like to tear a husk or two to tie the husks together.) Grill the corn on a hot grill, turning occasionally until tender and slightly charred, approximately 8-10 minutes. Mix the mayonnaise, crema, and cilantro together in a small bowl. Spread the cotija cheese on a plate to allow easy rolling. When the corn is done, slather it liberally with the mayo/crema/cilantro mixture. Roll it in the cotija cheese. Sprinkle with chili powder, to taste. Serve with lime wedges.