Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Inspired by Midge's search for the perfect taco (she'll start a blog on that soon), I decided to try to make carnitas tacos for the first time. It went okay, as you'll see.

First, I bought a pork roast, and chopped it into manageable chunks. I coated the chunks in rough sea salt.

Then I browned the pork chunks in a skillet, over medium-high heat.

After the meat chunks were browned, I put them in a pan with the braising liquid. I used orange juice, with chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. Then I put it in the oven for 3 hours at 250 degrees.

Now, I had three hours to wait while the pork cooked. We would be eating a late dinner, so I made pico de gallo with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lemon juice.

Once that was ready, I was able to make the guacamole. I mashed 2 avocados in a bowl, then added a big scoop of pico, lemon juice, and salt. It was really good.

After snacking for a while and thoroughly enjoying the Civil War, The pork was just about ready. I took it out, drained the juice and shredded the meat with a couple of forks. I put the meat in the pan, drenched it in lemon juice, and put it back in the oven at 350 degrees. The idea is to crisp the outside of the meat and leave the inside moist. I didn't leave it in quite long enough, and I also forgot to take pictures of this step. I also pan-fried my tortillas, with almost no oil.

Then I assemled the tacos. I put a healthy portion of pork, some shredded monterey jack cheese, and some of that pico de gallo on the tortillas.

The tacos were really good. Next time I'd use a little less cinnamon, I'd start earlier so I could braise the meat longer, and I'd leave it in the oven at the end longer so it would be crispier. But I can't complain. It was a good first effort. I give these tacos eight slow-cooked bites of satisfaction.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Songs

I'm pleased to announce I finished 2 new songs, and cleaned up the song I started earlier. You should go listen to them. They're the top 3 songs on my myspace page and my soundclick page. They're called "Getting Started," "Static," and "Boy Meets Girl."

Monday, November 10, 2008

What a Weekend!

I was supposed to have a low-key weekend by myself. Midge went to the beach with her college roommates, so I was thinking I'd play a little NBA Live, finish Band of Brothers (which I began watching AGAIN), and work on some music. But it didn't quite work out that way.

It's my little sister's birthday, so obviously, we have to hang out. I play basketball after work against the douchey teenagers at the gym, then drop something off at a friend's house. I then realize that I'm really late, so I pick up my sister, still all grimey from the gym. I'm supposed to take her out to dinner before we meet her friends at Angelo's for drinks at 8. I pick her up at 7:10. What a good brother. I change back into normal clothes in my car, while she gets us our table at Thai Thai (least creative name ever!) . The food is greasy and bland, but the sister liked it, so eh... We meet her friends at Angelo's, where I run into a friend. We talk for awhile, while sister hangs out with her friends. Then we head over to Sewickly's Addition, and get a drink. It was nice; two people bought me shots because I'm the birthday girl's brother. Then her douchebag ex-boyfriend shows up, with flowers and a kiss on the top of the head. I'm so fucking angry I can barely focus on the people I'm talking to. I simply want to pierce his skull with my eyeballs. I leave shortly after, just in time to witness a spectacular end to the Blazers game:

I meet Mike after work for more basketball against the teenagers. We go over to Chuck's house for a "kegger." I put "kegger" in quotes because although he has a keg, there are only like 10 people there, and two of them are his parents. They're getting ready for Montana's game against PSU. His father is the loudest man on the face of the earth. It was fun, overall, and we stayed a while.

I wake up at 1:30, and the day disappears. The sister comes over and we take a really, really long walk, ending with burritos from the cart near the house. Then I watched the Blazers beat the Timberwolves, and head over to the neighbor's house for his 32nd birthday party. They had the biggest selection of liquor I've ever seen at a house party. Who needs beer when there's more booze than 30 people could ever drink? I again stayed up late, and eventually my sister came back and hung out, too. The first 3 hours I was there, I only knew my neighbors, which was weird. I generally am not the kind of guy who makes new friends at a party, but I did okay after about 45 minutes of awkwardly standing by myself.

Sunday was not too exciting, so I'll not talk about it. Anyway, so long to my dream of doing nothing for three straight days. I give my weekend 5 out of 10 points. What I did was fun, but it wasn't quite what I wanted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Update

Hey guys, it's been a couple weeks since I was able to post anything. I had to do a 6-day work-week last week, and I've been pretty busy lately. Anyhow, you missed a lot, and I'll try to update you.

- My car was smashed by a hit-and-run driver last Friday. Midge and I went out for dinner after I picked her up for work, at a restaurant about 20 blocks from our house. When we returned to our car, we found the rear bumper sitting on the sidewalk next to the car. A cranky old guy who lives across the street was moderately helpful. He spoke to the driver after the crash, writing down the license plate number. He also shamed the guy into leaving a note. The problems? He wrote down the plate wrong, and the driver left a fake phone number. The police came out and took a report, but without a good plate number, nobody's on the hook. If you see an old converted ambulance in Southeast Portland with damage on the front-driver's side bumper, possibly with Crater Lake plates, he's our guy. The rear bumper was entirely ripped off, and now the car is driving kind of wobbly. The initial estimate was $1,300, but I'm taking it in for another look today. My insurance will cover most of it, but I still have a $300 deductable. Hooray!

- The hillbillies had another episode, this time a medical problem. We were watching TV late Saturday night, when a fire truck and an ambulance showed up. The younger hillbilly's girlfriend came teetering out of the house with the help of the EMTs, and was carted off. We believe it was an O.D. But that's pure speculation.

- Halloween was fun. Midge dressed up as a space alien, with a giant purple beehive wig, a futuristic silver dress, purple fishnets, black boots, and a ray gun (loaded with real earth water!). She wanted us to match somehow, so I dressed like a cosmonaut. We found an odd white jumpsuit at Goodwill, and Midge had some old felt samples. So I hot glue gunned the letters "CCCP" on the back, with a big Soviet flag on the back, and a smaller one on the left breast. I also put hammer and sickle insignias on the shoulders. It was sweet. I also had a gold chain, a medal on a red ribbon, and a burly black mustache. We went out with some friends, hitting several places in our neighborhood. We wound up on Belmont, and wandered home at about 3am. It was a long night.

I was briefly abducted by an alien.

"Am first man from village to walk on moon."

I don't know how CCCP=Soviet Union. Don't these people speak English?

"Have medal for bravery. Am national hero!"

- My class is going okay. I don't yet feel like I'm an expert or anything, but I'm making progress.

- Finally, the election is tomorrow, and it's going to be a long day for me. I have to produce a special 3pm newscast, go home, then come back to help produce our election coverage. I am in charge of the interactive map that our anchor will use to show which states the candidates for president have won . I will also need to prepare information on big races across the nation, for the Senate and also ballot measures. It's going to be stressful, but it should be fun.