Friday, November 27, 2015

An Apology

My lovely readers, I'm afraid that I have some sad news. There has been a death in my wife's family. Her grandfather had been suffering with severe dementia for quite some time, and has passed away due to complications.

I know that I have committed to a 2-3 times a week update schedule, but will simply not be possible this week. I plan to resume that schedule as soon as I can.

Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Taqueria La Michoacana

It's no secret that my wife and I love Mexican food, and luckily there are plenty of great Mexican restaurants where we live. Our favorite place for a good sit down Mexican meal is Taqueria La Michoacana in Norristown, PA.

Taqueria La Michoacana is a sit down and carry-out restaurant right on Main St in the heart of Norristown. They have a large menu with good selection of appetizers, entrées, delicious drinks, and a fantastic selection of classic Mexican favorites. Due to the wacky liquor laws in the state of PA they cannot sell alcohol, but they can give you a free margarita with the purchase of an entrée and it’s a damn good margarita.

The restaurant has plenty of seating and the walls are decorated with some traditionally styled Mexican murals depicting some Aztec myths and legends. On the ceiling as you walk in is an impressive mural of the golden eagle of Mexico. There are two TVs which usually have a futbol match or a Mexican soap opera going, it creates a nice atmosphere.

The staff is friendly and responsive and is happy to get me an extra serving of crema or sour cream if my white bread American taste buds can’t handle the spiciness.

Last time I went there I had a pambazo which is a sandwich that has had the bread simmered in a red sauce, making it extremely messy and extremely tasty. The menu offered a few choices for meat filling and I chose beef Milanese and its toppings included lettuce and queso fresco. The spice of the red guajillo sauce was present but not overwhelming and included a good smoky flavor. All in all it was a great sandwich even if it did stain my fingers up eating it.

My only critique would be that they don’t do American food very well. The French fries I have had there were not very good and had the texture and color of fries that had been fried once instead of blanched and then fried. But, I don’t go to a good ethnic restaurant looking for American food so that does not bother me.

If you are in Norristown, PA and have a hankering for good Mexican cuisine, take a quick trip to La Michoacana, you definitely won’t regret it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sausage Stir-fry

I love stir-fries, they are a great chance to use up stuff around your house, they don't take long to make, and are a great way to experiment with new flavors and combinations. This recipe takes advantage of one of the more interesting sausages the grocery store I work at sells. If you cannot get your hands on wine and cheese pork sausage, I think a mild italian sausage would substitute nicely.


2 T of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 t of salt, divided
1 lb of wine and cheese pork sausage cut into 1" pieces
⅓ C of low sodium soy sauce
3 T of honey
4 C of red swiss chard cut into ribbons
½ t of black pepper


Over medium high heat, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet, and once it shimmers, add the 2 cloves of garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add the red onion and the first teaspoon of salt. Once the onion is lightly browned, add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, reduce the heat to medium and add the soy sauce and the honey. Reduce them to a syrupy consistency and then add the chard. Steam the chard until it is tender, this took me about 3 minutes. Add the black pepper, and serve. I recommend serving over quinoa or rice.

When I say stir-fries are quick, I mean it. from prep to service, this took me about 20 minutes total, an easy recipe for when you need to whip up a quick, nutritious dinner for the family.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Loaded Nachos

Slice of nachos

Nachos have come a long way since they were invented in the '40s by Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya. The original nachos were simply fried tortilla chips, melted cheddar cheese, and sliced pickled jalapenos. Since then, nachos have become pretty integrated into Ameri-Mexican cooking and can be found on the menu of almost any bar in the U.S. of A. These nachos are piled high with traditional Mexican flavors and toppings.

Nacho prep Ingredients:

1 lb of Tortilla chips
1 lb Oaxaca cheese or low moisture mozzarella, shredded
1 lb of chorizo, cooked and broken apart
Black bean corn salsa
¼ C of pico de gallo


Where I live there are a lot of Mexican grocery stores so I have easy access to fresh, good quality ethnic cuisine. So, I can get a wide variety of Mexican cheeses. Oaxaca cheese is from Oaxaca county in Mexico, and is sort of like Mexican string cheese. It is a fresh cheese, like mozzarella, but it is stretched and folded so it has a bit less moisture than your usual fresh mozzarella. So, if you can't find Oaxaca, or if it's a bit out of your budget, I recommend regular mozzarella, but feel free to use any cheese or blend of cheeses you like best.


Preheat the broiler on your oven and place a rack of your oven in the lowest position.

In a baking dish or casserole start with a layer of tortilla chips, bean salsa, pico de gallo, chorizo, and then Oaxaca cheese. Then, add another layer of chips, beans, meat, and cheese, save the rest of the pico to serve alongside. Mine ended up being a bit piled high, so I made sure to put a piece of tin foil down to catch any spills. Depending on how much stuff you like on your nachos and the size of the baking dish you use, you might have some leftovers. I had some cheese and bean dip left over that I'll use for quesadillas or mix in with my scrambled eggs some morning.

Put your nachos on the lowest rack and broil until the cheese is nice and melted. For me this took about 7 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it as it cooks to make sure the cheese doesn't burn. Serve immediately.

I serve mine with guacamole and crema. Crema is Mexican sour cream, which is a bit runnier than sour cream, with a bit more flavor, but feel free to use sour cream.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Pulled pork on a brioche bun

My best friend mentioned making pulled pork in root beer, and I thought that sounded fascinating. I did some looking around and I decided to try making this with  Dr. Pepper instead. A lot of recipes I found added a bunch of stuff to the cooking, but I wanted to keep that part nice and simple and instead make a great sauce to go with it.


Pulled pork:

2.5-3lbs of bone in pork shoulder or pork butt
20oz of Dr. Pepper


3.5 C cooking liquid strained
1t Worcestershire sauce
1t apple cider vinegar
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t onion powder
¼ t red pepper flake
⅛ t cinnamon


Place your pork butt (don't worry it's not actually from the butt, ham comes from the butt) in your slow cooker and lightly salt the top, approx. 1t, and then pour on the soda. Slap on the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hrs.

After 7-8 hrs extract your beautiful piece of pork and place it on a cutting board (this was the hardest part for me to do because the pork was so tender it kept falling apart as I tried to lift it). Gently tent the pork with a sheet of aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 min. Remove the liquid the remains in your slow cooker, strain it, and set it aside. I wound up with 3.5 cups left over.

Now, the fun part! Use a pair of forks to pull the pork, starting in the middle and working out. Feel free to shred it as finely or as coarsely as you would like, depending on the texture you prefer. Place the pulled pork back in your slow cooker and put it on warm or the lowest heat it can provide.

Take the reserved cooking liquid and put it in a medium saucepan over medium high heat add the spices and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the sauce to 1 cup or ⅓ of the original volume. Remove from the heat and make any spice adjustments you'd like. Feel free to add a pinch of salt if the vinegar is too bitter. Once you are happy with the flavor, pour the sauce on the pulled pork and stir to combine.

Serve on a lightly toasted and buttered brioche bun and enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Black Bean Corn Salsa

Black Bean Corn Salsa

One day, I was making nachos and I wanted to make a good topping out of the black beans I had in my pantry. I had some corn in my freezer, and I love corn salsa, so I decided to add that, a few spices, and bam! I had a new salsa that makes a great dip for tortilla chips and a great topping for nachos, tacos, and many other Mexican style dishes.


1 T of olive oil
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained
1 C of frozen corn
½ t of ground cumin
¼ t of red pepper flake
¼ t of black pepper


Heat the oil in a 10" non-stick skillet and lightly saute the jalapeno. Once the chili is lightly browned, add the can of beans. As the beans saute I like to lightly crush them, it makes the salsa a little creamer and helps it stay together on the chip. Make sure to not cook all the liquid away or the salsa will not stay together and it will be harder to scoop. Once the beans have been lightly sauted add the frozen corn and heat through. Add the spices, stir to combine, and serve. This salsa goes great alongside pico de gallo and guacamole!