This Week’s Cooking Triumphs

So yeah, bloggery-cliché time again — the dreaded recipe post.

Hit the ball out the park twice this week, culinarily speaking. A few people saw my various Twitter mentions and asked for recipes, so here goes.

First, earlier this week, I tried my hand at making a White Castle -style burger at home. The results were pretty friggin’ good:

Beige Fortress Burgers

The ingredients:

  • 1/2 or so of cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 pounds ground chuck- (80/20)
  • teaspoon-ish of seasoned salt
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 24 small party rolls – Sarah Lee or other
  • 24 dill pickle slices

Take a 9 x 13 baking dish, and coat the bottom with dried onion flakes. Carefully spread the ground chuck over top, and then sprinkle the top of the meat with season salt.
Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Take it out of the oven, and using paper towels, de-grease the top of the meat. Then, cover the meat with 6 slices of cheddar cheese. Put it back in the oven for 2 minutes.

Slice the party rolls into tops and bottoms. Cut the meat into 24 tiny squares (6 across, 4 down). Using a spatula, lift the squares (along with the onion layer at the bottom, which has been rehydrated by meat juice — and fat, to be honest –) and place onto each bun. Top with a single dill pickle slice, and the upper bun. Serve with condiments of your choice. The taste on these is spot-on (the onions do the job), yet richer and meatier than the usual WC slider. Good stuff.

Then yesterday, I tried my hand at Tacos Al Pastor — not the easiest thing in the world, since I have no vertical rotisserie. But it totally worked.

Tacos Al Pastor

The ingredients:

4lb Pork Butt

Marinade:

  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 Chipotle chile (in adobo sauce)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbs vinegar
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Take the pork, fat side up, and cut it so that it’s like a book — 3/4″ thick slices as “pages” going to a “spine” along the left side, with the fat as the front cover.

Then, put a pot of water on the boil — add the anchos and bay leaf, boil for a few minutes and then take off the heat and let the chiles re-hydrate. Remove the stems and seeds, and put the chiles (not the bay leaf or water) in a food processor along with all of the other marinade ingredients and puree.

Note — you need fresh pineapple for this. Fresh pineapple has an enzyme which breaks down proteins. This enzyme is largely killed in the canning process.

Slather the marinade all over the pork, getting in between every “page” that you’ve cut, as well as all over the outsides. Place the pork in the fridge for no more than a hour (otherwise the pineapple will turn this into meat goo). If you have only canned pineapple, you can marinade overnight as an approximation.

Drop the pork into a roasting pan, with a bit of water at the bottom (to prevent the drippings from smoking too much). Crank your oven up to 450 and cook for 30 minutes.

Take the pork out of the oven (be sure to burn your hand, like I did, at this point) and lay fresh pineapple slices over the top of the meat (baked-ham style), here or there in the pages, etc. Lower the oven to 300 degrees, put the now-pineapple-y pork back in, and cook for at least 3 hours.

When done, rip that pork into chunks, along with chunks of the carmelized pineapple. Serve on CORN tortillas (not flour), with diced onion, cilantro, salsa verde and lime wedges for squeezing. (Laura and Maggie also busted out the sour cream, but I was a purist) NOM (as the kids say) NOM de friggin’ NOM.

Sorry — no pics this time around. I was too busy stuffing my face. I guess I lose foodie points for that.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite recipes?

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