Well its been a while since I showed up and I apologize for that but life and its various worries got in between me and you. It’s good to be back, I hope you feel the same. As some of you know my sweet little dog Schoochie (official name Shelby Lou) tore her ACL in her right knee, and had to have surgery a week and a half ago. This followed a month of a STRAINED ACL, same knee, in which we had to restrict her activity and watch her like a hawk. Apparently we didn’t do good enough, her little playmate, the attic squirrel showed up, she gave chase and pretty much annihilated that sucker. I say all this to say, she was like a newborn 45 pound baby that Keith and I had to tote about and down the steps and wake up with about 15 times a night for about a week until she got the “3 legged I can do this Mom” attitude and did it on her own. Geeze, I LOVE that Beagle dog, she is the light in my day when I can’t seem to find a glimmer of hope, there is so much to be said for unconditional love. I truly believe that our pets, especially dogs, are more that just pets. We underestimate their importance. The evidence is all around us, they are our working companions and our protectors. They are now being used to help people who are diabetic and alerting them when their blood sugar is too low. They are being trained to find cancer long before any current tests can detect it. Keith (my husband) told me about a lemon Beagle in Miami airport that was a member of the customs search team. He saw this little guy on one of his working trips to the Bahamas just as the Beagle found some illegal substance and alerted with that Beagle Bugle resounding through that vast airport, then the little guy gave a high 5 to his co-worker. Mr Lemon Beagle is now quite famous, he is often featured on a TV show about Miami Airport, I’ve seen him a number of times on that show. I kinda feel like I knew him when….
Schoochie got scramble eggs for supper last night. Yes, I cook for my dog, especially if she isn’t feeling well. I don’t really need an excuse to cook although there are times I don’t feel like it. But I had rather not eat, than eat something that tastes crappy, I am not saying I haven’t done it, I’d just rather not. If you get it in your head that you are going to feel like poop after you eat that fast food meal it keeps you from eating all that sugar and bad fat and salt. A hunk of good cheese and a banana with natural peanut butter tastes better that that. I am not a skinny person, I don’t obsess, I have spent my life needing to lose 20 pounds or 30 pounds or well, you get the idea, the numbers like age just go up from there. I just want to put good things inside of me and the people that I love. I was in the grocery store on Sunday looking for a pork shoulder to make Carnitas for my family, and this lady turned to me and asked had I ever cooked one of those pre-packaged, pre-seasoned, packed in odd looking goop, pork loins that apparently you can actually throw in the oven still IN the plastic and cook it?And did I like it? I thought she was lying. Cook it in the OVEN in the PLASTIC?
No, I have never done that. I don’t actually buy stuff that is pre-seasoned because it is usually full of sugar and salt and chemicals and God knows what else, and the idea of cooking something under actual HEAT in plastic, makes me think we have taken “get er done fast” way too far. Again, NOT in the microwave, in the OVEN! Call me old fashioned I don’t even drink out of plastic glasses, can’t stand the way it feels. So I explained to her, after she asked of course, how was I going to cook my loin (they were out of shoulders).
Take it OUT of the plastic, rinse it off, dry it off, salt and pepper it really good, sear it off on all sides until its crispy brown on the outside in a burning hot skillet with a bit of olive oil, throw in in a roaster, and roast it off at 350 until it forks apart. I didn’t even go into the whole Carnita recipe. When I said sear it off she looked confused. But I will share my Carnita recipe with you, is it authentic? probably not, but it was damn good and VERY easy, and it makes a bunch so you can have leftovers.
Start with a 6 pound pork loin, or if you are cooking for 2, cut this recipe in half. Obviously if you are cooking for 20…. I’ll let you do the math.
Do to the pork loin what I said above, put the olive oil in the skillet not on the loin, it needs to be dry, just salt and pepper, caramelize it in the skillet on ALL sides even the ends. I had to cut my roast in half. Stick it in a roaster, fat side up, like a turkey roaster with a lid, set the oven on 350 to preheat, then…
Take one onion about the size of a baseball, I used a white onion, peel it quarter it stick it in the food processor, add 3 to 4 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed,about a half cup of fresh oregano, I put the stems in also, remember this is supposed to be easy, 1/4 cup or cumin, and the orange only part of 2 large oranges, rather than zest it I peeled the skin off with a vegetable peeler and just stuck it in the food processor. Whir it up until its chopped small.
Take the naked oranges and cut them in half squeeze the juice on top of the loin. put the oranges down in the roaster with the loin, Take the good goop from the processor and pat all that good stuff on the top and sides of the pork loin in the roaster, yes it kinda falls off but try. Slice a jalapeno into little rounds and stick it on top of the loin, I used 1 but you could use 2, WARNING!!! do not put the jalapeno in the food processor unless you want really HOT pork. Roast it in the oven at 350 until fork tender about 2 1/2 to 4 hours. The smell will drive you crazy.
once its done, Cut big hunks and serve it on warm flour tortillas with sauteed peppers and onions and good salsa and fresh guacamole. Happy belated Cinco de’ mayo!