Monday, May 2, 2011

Arriba! Arriba!

It was an absolutely gorgeous sunny weekend here in San Francisco however I did not get to enjoy it because I was attending the annual National Association of Nutrition Professionals Conference.  This was my second year attending the conference and my first time attending as a student at Hawthorn University; as I have mentioned previously I enrolled in their Masters in Health and Nutrition Education at the beginning of the year.  The conference is a great opportunity for practicing nutrition professionals and students like myself to get together and talk all about what is going on in the nutrition world.  This years theme was Building Bridges: Integrating Nutrition and Healthcare, and although there were some good speakers I didn't think it was as interesting or exciting as the previous year.  If you are wondering what nutritionist eat at a conference, I got a quick shot of our lunch on Sunday: free range roasted chicken, grilled beets and carrots, cannellini bean cassoulet, organic mixed green salad, and berry sorbet with fresh raw whipped cream.  Not too shabby : )

I also might have walked away with a "borrowed" gift thanks to the swiftness of my favorite conference partner Danielle:

I know you are thinking "oh it's just a fork" but I've got some big plans for this little fork.

And now on to the Cinco de Mayo eats I promised in my last post, they were inspired by the upcoming holiday and the most recent issue of Saveur magazine which featured Secrets of Mexican Cooking.  The issue came with about 10 recipes, all of which I would like to try, but I settled on the Asado de Bodas (Pork in Chile Sauce) and the Arroz a la Mexicana (Mexican Rice) for my first round.  I am not usually much of a pork eater but I do have a soft spot for the tender bits of meat slow cooked in earthy sauces that I just had to give it a try and what better way to soak up all of the wonderful spicy sweet chile sauce than with some Mexican rice.

Asado de Bodas
From Saveur Magazine

8 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Guajilo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 whole cloves
2 oz Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp oil
2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1' chunks (be mindful to find good quality pork)

Heat chiles in a skillet over high heat and cook, turning, until lightly toasted (about 5 minutes), transfer to blender (only if you have a large blender that can handle 5 cups of liquid otherwise use a large pot and a hand held mixer).  Return skillet to heat and add almonds and peanuts; cook stirring often, until lightly toasted (about 3 minutes).  Transfer nuts to blender (or large pot) and raisins, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, chocolate, onion, and 5 cups of boiling water.  Season with salt and pepper, puree until smooth and set aside.  Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Season pork with salt and pepper and working in batches, cook pork until browned on all sides.  Add your pork to the sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about an hour.

I also added in a few browned skinless chicken thighs to the chile sauce at the same time as the pork for the non-pork eaters.

Arroz a la Mexicana
From Saveur Magazine

2 cups of chicken stock
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp oil
1 cup of rice (I chose to use brown rice versus the long grain white rice they suggested)
salt and pepper, to taste

Place stock, tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic, and onion in a blender and puree until smooth, set aside.  Heat oil in a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add remaining garlic and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about 6 minutes).  Stir in tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low.  Cook, covered until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes prior to serving.

This meal turned out so amazing!!!  The chile sauce is a bit of a process but the combination of chiles and the mexican chocolate with garlic and cumin create such a great multi-layered flavor it is definitely worth it.  I hope this inspires you all to spice up your Cinco de Mayo plans!

This is a very exciting week for Enjoyable Me but I'll fill you all in on that in my next post : )

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