Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Carnitas

When I originally posted this, I was too busy fighting The Diva for the last tortilla to grab the camera. This has now been corrected. This is one of our favorite Sunday night dinners and it turns out perfect every time. Actually, after guac, this might be my favorite mexican food, ever.

Carnitas are slow-cooked pork pieces that have been pan-fried to a crisp. You can make it with pork butt - which is actually pork shoulder. Feeds 5.

2lbs boneless fatty pork butt, cut into 2-inch pieces
a few tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 orange, cut into quarters
1 small white onion thinly sliced, plus extra for garnish
4 garlic cloves peeled
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 package 6-inch tortillas
a handful washed chopped cilantro

Put all the ingredients except tortillas, extra onions and cilantro in a wide 6-7 quart heavy pot (don't worry if pork is not completely covered) and bring to a boil, skimming surface as necessary to get rid of the foam that rises to the top.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender and the liquid has completely evaporated, about 1-1/2 hours.

Discard the orange and bay leaves. Lower the heat and continue frying the pork in the fat left in the pan, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve on corn tortillas; top with white onion and cilantro.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hellllllooooo, Summer Vacation!

So I'm off work all of this week. The Children of the Corn and I have been looking forward to my daycare's annual summer vacation for a month. Last year I spent it trying to move into a house and close up an apartment, it was stressful and busy. This year, while we're still busy this week, we also have plenty of downtime. So far our schedule has looked like this:

     Friday 29 June: After the longest day at work EVER, picked up The CofC, grabbed a quick supper at home before heading to Farley Fest to listen to some music and watch fireworks. It was, in the words of The Diva, "Totally Awesome!"
     Saturday 30 June: Tried to accomplish a few things around the house before we made the 90 mile (round trip) trekk to my niece's birthday party. We grilled out at home, enjoyed ice cream on the deck before putting CofC to bed and The Boyfriend and I enjoyed a few cocktails and conversation into the wee hours of the morning.
     Sunday 1 July: Happy Housavesary to me! Went to church and saw a lot of old friends who were home visiting their parents for the weekend. After church went out to the in-laws for lunch. Went to the parade to score a couple grocery bags full of candy. Came home completely drenched in sweat (Hello, Summer!), turned on the central air for the first time this year (I am so cheap...), and packed everyone up for the lake to hang out with two of The Sistahs. 4-1/2 hours later, everyone was exhausted and starving. I kid you not... I made half a bag of chicken nuggets, fish sticks and french fries and The CofC were still looking for food twenty minutes later. In honor of summer vacation, and it being damn hot upstairs, I let everyone sleep downstairs.

And the next few days look like this:

     Monday 2 July: Today's plan is housework and misc stuff in the morning, lunch, waiting for the washer repairman (aka my dad), and then heading to the lake until who knows when.
     Tuesday 3 July: We have a little bit more on the schedule for today as The Spawn has a counselor's appointment in town in the afternoon. We'll also hit up the firework stand and maybe pick up a friend for a sleepover. We may also make an appearance at the neighbor's yard party. I think this is the night we'll tackle glow in the dark bubbles.
     Wednesday 4 July: Today we're hanging home to blow up some stuff - er, I mean fireworks. In the afternoon The Sistahs and Mom will be coming for a swim and grill out party for another niece's birthday. And then more blowing up stuff.
     Thursday 5 July: Today's plan will be mostly at the lake. The Diva and I have haircuts scheduled at 5, we'll have supper out before we drop The Spawn off at his dad's for a few days.
     Friday 6 July: Another lake day for The Diva and I. The Boyfriend has a gig that night, so likely won't see him until mid-afternoon on Saturday.
     Saturday 7 July: Last minute shopping and packing The Spawn for camp. Possibly a meltdown about sending my baby out into the world. If the rain hasn't started by then, we'll be at the lake. Firework show in the neighboring town.
     Sunday 8 July: The Spawn should arrive from his dad's in the morning. Church at the Indian Church. The Spawn leaves for camp. Probably lake time if the weather is still holding.

And then I return to work, just in time for the crazy summer conference schedule. This is really the last of my free time in July. Every day starting the 9th I have something going on, including the weekends. If I survive July, August should be fairly calm. And that's the long story why I won't be getting much reading done after the first week of July... I love summer!