Viva Carnitas! (aka the world’s best tasting thing I have ever made and or eaten)

Posted on January 30, 2013

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I just whipped up the most amazing symphonic creation known to man in my very own kitchen. All components made entirely from scratch.  the only scratchier it could get would be if I grew each ingredient myself. You may have seen on my Learn More About Stuff link where I have listed my new favorite cookbook, Vegan Eats World by Terry Romero. I owe this woman something.  She can pretty much name her price.

I was so excited about making this dish, which was described as being a legendary item from a famous, but now closed, eatery in California somewhere, and has lived on in blogs around the globe. Yeah, I’ll definitely take the hook, bring it!

I started gathering ingredients a little at a time as soon as I got my book, since I didn’t really have any of them on hand.ImageThe most fun acquisition was the hunt for jackfruit, which I detail here. (The quest starts around paragraph 5, if you want to skip ahead.)

So without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen…I bring you

JACKFRUIT CARNITAS!

I thought I would be really well prepared before making these, so I made the pickled onions the day before and I really intended on making the other two condiments the day before also, but did not.  Due to my poor planning (aka reading ahead) and my constant twitter pic updating with a play by play of dinner, I ended up in the kitchen for about 4 1/2 hours.  I fully expect to cut this time significantly on my next go round, allowing for the time to soak nuts and let things marinate, all the little things that sneak up on ya when you try a 20 step recipe for the first time.

The first thing I did was to take that canned, brined jackfruit and rinse it, shred it, and wring it out until it looked as pictured above. Then it was time to Jack it up.

That Jackfruit got Jacked!

That Jackfruit got Jacked!

Once that was settled, I took that Jacked up Jackfruit one step further, and added a bunch of liquid stuff, and then allowed it to marinate for an hour. (Whoopsie! An hour?) That set things back a little bit, but no problem, it turned out to be a happy mistake as I needed to make a bunch of other condiments.

Now let's add some whisk-y business

Now let’s add some whisk-y business

let's let this marinate while I make 500 other things...

let’s let this marinate while I make 500 other things…

Then I was off to make the Sikil Pak.  Thank goodness I did remember to soak the pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) for an hour first.  I scored a large food processor just that day so I could make bigger batches of hummus and stuff at the thrift store for only $4.75!  That definitely made this a dip I could tackle in one batch.

Pepitas!

Pepitas!

Sikil Pak in the making

Sikil Pak in the making

General Electric Thrift store find!

General Electric Thrift store find!

Sikil Pak complete!

Sikil Pak complete!

Now that I had finished the Sikil Pak and wiped my onion-teared eyes, I was beyond glad that I had made the pickled red onions the day before. Just look at these beauties!

Pickled Red Onions- The New Funions

Pickled Red Onions- The New Funions

On to the Cashew Yogurt sauce!  This sauce is so delicious and I have put it on everything I’ve eaten all week long.  Same goes for those pickled red onions, they are already gone!  Whoopsie! It seems another tactical error has surfaced. I forgot to soak the cashews for an hour.  Hey, no sweat. I just pulsed them in the small food processor for a few secs, then blasted them with hot water compliments of my Keurig coffeemaker. Viola! ONe hour soaked cashews in ten minutes! (Yeah, I’m crafty. It’s just my style.)

Cashew Yogurt Sauce makings

Cashew Yogurt Sauce makings

Now we are really ready to get this party started! I can hardly control my excitement when I call husband (sous chef) in to start making tortillas.

“Honey! Fire it up! We are almost ready to go!” Ah butternuts! Simmer for 45 minutes?

“Change of plans! The kids are having PB&J’s and we’ll be eating in about an hour!”

Oh well. At least I’m getting some really good pictures along the way.  I grab that Jackfruit and start to simmer it down, husband starts pressing tortillas and we start chopping garnishes while we wait.  I think now is a good time to let the pictures tell the rest of this story.

Carnita Sizzle! Cooking it Donna!

Carnita Sizzle! Cooking it Donna!

from scratch tortillas- so much better than they look. The more rustic, the better.

from scratch tortillas- so much better than they look. The more rustic, the better.

The Table Spread (with catalyst)

The Table Spread (with catalyst)

This is one freakishly heavenly bite of food. I will never feel I've missed out on anything culinary until the end of my days. This is it.

This is one freakishly heavenly bite of food. I will never feel I’ve missed out on anything culinary until the end of my days. This is it.

And that, my friends, is how the best food ever eaten in the Taylor household was made.  It was so good, my husband and I sat at that table and gorged ourselves for almost two hours. One After The Other.  They were fun to build, fun to eat; they brought us to laughter, brought us to tears, and most definitely brought us to our knees.

The best part was that all of the ingredients were so light that we suffered no food hangover whatsoever. I cut all oil in the recipes wherever I could, excepting some spray for the pan (not that there was that much to begin with) but it was not missed. This is absolute proof that eating clean can be miles form the Ice-Cold, Raw-Food, Kale-Wrapped, Densely(brick)-Packed, Eight-DollarVegan Burrito I had in a coffee shop not too long ago that tasted like dry dirt. (And I was their audience! I was willing!) Erase what you think of as “healthy food” and just try some of this massively flavorful food. Rewrite your idea of what you have to do to be healthy!

Do yourself this favor: go IMMEDIATELY, and buy this book for yourself or for a kitchen-happy loved one who can cook the stuff for you.

Any one out there trying new things? Have any favorite goto recipes or mind blowing culinary experiences? Any foods that assist in your running or training? (This is working for me!) Let me know!

Happy Running and Happy Cooking Out There!

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Posted in: Eat!, Uncategorized