Meal No. 36: Tender Shredded Pork; Mexican Corn Cakes; Red Beans with Cheese; Tequila-Soaked Lemon Sorbet (From Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home)
I was looking forward to this one, as I love Mexican/Tex-Mex food, and the photos led me to believe that lovely delights awaited me.
A tenderloin was poached in chicken broth with an onion, a jalapeno, a half bunch of cilantro, cumin, and a bay leaf. Sounds like it has potential, right? No, it was boring, just like all the other pork we have made. Even after the meat was shredded, then tossed with olive oil, butter (weird), and another onion and broiled until the edges were crispy, it had little flavor. I tried putting some unauthorized garlic powder on it before popping it in the oven, and yet, it evoked nothing but desolation and melancholy. In fact, Keats once wrote an Ode to Melancholy Pork:
Veil’d Melancholy Pork has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung
Mexican Corn Cakes:
Martha says these are gorditas, which is a bit of a stretch (and note they are not labeled as such), but they were pretty good. The cakes consisted of masa harina, flour, baking powder, salt, feta (as a substitute for cotija), and fresh corn kernels. The mixture was formed into patties and fried until crispy, then topped with the pork, tomatoes and avocado.
The patties were a bit thick, even though I made them to Martha’s specifications, and bit dry. The ones shown in the cookbook are much thinner than the recipe instructed. The corn taste was deliciously prominent; next time I would add some cayenne or chili powder to the batter. Too bad the pork on top was so blah. Also, stacking these items was problematic, as various elements kept falling off.
Mom, you need to stop reading right now, because these are refried beans made with kidney beans.
I was raised to think that using kidney beans in chili or any Tex-Mex dish was akin to breaking a commandment. I wanted to substitute pinto beans, but The Husband encouraged me to use the ones called for in the recipe. Of course, being of non-Texan descent, he prefers kidney beans, so he had a dog in that race. (I will concede that in the interest of marital harmony I sometimes make my chili with both kidney and pinto beans. That is compromise and love, my friends).
We simmered some canned kidney beans (it’s painful to even type that) in chicken stock with bay leaves, an onion, a jalapeno. and cumin. Funny how these same ingredients did nothing for the pork, yet they worked quite well with the beans. I guess that’s because it’s impossible for all these herbal things to penetrate a dense piece of meat in 20 minutes. Science!
The beans were strained, and then mashed with a bit of the liquid and some more of the feta. They turned out really well! Much better than canned; even Mr. Squeaky P liked them, and he doesn’t care for refried beans usually. I bet they would be even better if made with the proper beans.
Tequila-soaked Lemon Sorbet:
There was trouble getting the lemon sorbet. The first grocery store we went to was in a working class neighborhood, and there was no sorbet of any sort. So, we popped into the same chain located in a fancier neighborhood, and lo, there were all sorts of sorbets, so that was an unanticipated and interesting little socioeconomic experiment.
To assemble–scoop sorbet, top with tequila and lime zest.
Yum! This tasted just like a frozen margarita, and best of all, no blender to clean up!
I believe these recipes are on her website, but I really just cannot be bothered to find the link right now. What has she ever done for me?
Pork: S for sigh
Corn Cakes: B