Did you make some New Year's resolutions? Many do--some very formal written ones and others just promise themselves they will do whatever. Tops in resolution making are to eat better and lose weight. Did you promise yourself to do either?
Personally, I have never liked the idea of a formal, pre-planned diet made of portions someone else thought were healthy. I like the idea of keeping a mental log daily of what I have eaten, making sure I don't exceed whatever recommended calorie range is best for either weight maintenance or losing weight. (There are plenty of diet recommendations. The US Agricultural Extension Service puts out recommended diets and the calorie and nutritional counts of foodstuffs...if you would like to get a professional outlook on calorie intake.
I have always found studying and learning the values of foods and particularly of foods of the Southwest and Mexico. The Ancients in those areas of long, long ago passed down a lot of culinary wisdom. Some examples are of chiles and corn-- staples of their diets.
Chiles were revered eons ago. I always remember viewing ancient mummies in the Louvre in Paris, France and an exhibit they had at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. In both, chiles--little bitty shriveled and dried formerly red ones that were now brownish in color. These were found in both exhibits and were from items mummies were buried with for the "after-life".
Chiles have been found to aid and remedy nearly all parts of one's body. And, by the way--speaking of a reducing diet, they are very helpful with restraining over eating. In essence, chiles speed up the metabolic rate of your body called an endorphin reaction). Foods you eat when eating chiles do not create excess weight and work to reduce weight. They are amazingly healthful. When eaten on a regular basis, such as at least a generous sprinkle or about 1/2 teaspoon or more consumed at least 2/3 of the time, the incidence of heart disease or cancer are pretty much eliminated.
Some other known healthy benefits are they cauterize or help cure ulcers, aid in digestion and in keeping a clear complexion, are habit forming--aiding the desire to eat ever more and ever hotter chiles--sustaining an ever healthier life.
And...amazingly--chiles are the world's best known natural preservative. That is the secret behind the development of Carne Adobado, which the Pueblo Indans beneficently taught the Spanish, who brought hogs to the new world. The Early Spanish settlers did not know how to preserve all the meat from butchering a hog.
The Indians taught them to clean out the hide, slice the meat into large slices and slather a paste made of crushed red chilies, garlic and cumin which the Spanish had and then closing the hide and burying it deep down into the earth. The keeping quality of the chiles coupled with the coolness of being deep under the earth's surface allowed the meat to keep from spoiling for an extended period of time. If you did not keep the Carne Adobado recipe from when I ran it last fall, I am including it. The Carne keeps amazingly well in the freezer. You can use it many different ways--to make enchiladas, tostados, with eggs, burritos and so on.
Next week, I will relate the very interesting history of corn and its healthful benefits.
ALL OF OUR CLASSES ARE FULL PARTICIPATION.
We still have openings for our January classes--
On Thursday, January 12 at 5 PM, we have the ever popular Take a Tortilla and.. .. This class is almost full.
On Tuesday, January 17 at 5 PM, we have the fun, fun Taco Party
On Thursday, January 26, at 5 PM, we have the yummy and exciting Chile and Chocolate class.
We have many more one day classes scheduled, just check our website at www.janebutelcooking.com.
Our next three-day weekend class is February 10 - 12--a great sweetheart Valentine's Day class featuring traditional New Mexican recipes and our next week-long class is April 24 - 28. This class features many more recipes than the weekend class as well as additionally featuring Mexican regional favorite dishes.
The weekend and week long classes have been recognized by "Bon Appetit" magazine and Gayot.com as the "Best in the US" for non-vocational classes.
(Pork with Red Chile Sauce)
This is one of the best, if not the very best-tasting, pork creations from northern New Mexico. Traceable back to Conquistador days, this dish has somehow never gained favor outside of New Mexico. I think it is because crushed caribe chiles are hard to find outside the area. I always make a full five and one half pound recipe because I like to have lots available for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to serve over or under rice, beans or eggs.
Yield: 10-12 servings
1/2 cup crushed caribe chile
1/4 cup ground mild chile
1/4 cup ground hot chile
3 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water
5-1/2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into ½ inch thick chops (trimmed so as to keep a narrow layer of fat around the edges)
- Process all the ingredients except pork in a blender or food processor. Pour into a flat-bottomed glass baking dish. Dip each pork chop into the marinade and lay to one side of the baking dish as you coat the rest. Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature, periodically spooning chile mixture over the top and turning chops over. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The pork can be frozen for up to 3 months at this point.)
- In the morning, stir and coat each pork chop with chile sauce. Stir and coat again. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover pan with lid or foil; bake chops, covered for the first 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours longer, spooning the sauce over chops every 30 minutes. Let cool.
- Using a sharp knife, remove bones and pull meat apart with your fingers to shred the pork into about 25 cent size pieces—do not finely shred the pork. Place shredded meat back in the baking dish and stir to coat the meat pieces. If the sauce in the bottom of the dish is like thin gravy, no need to cover. If it is thick, stir in water to make a gravy and coat each piece of meat and cover Bake at least 30 minutes or longer at 250F to allow the sauce to cook into the pork. When done, the meat should be a bright rosy red color and very tender.