“Homesick Texan” Carnitas and Slaw

Within the past few years, a really great grocery service has opened here in Charlottesville (and now serving Richmond and Northern Virginia, too!). Relay Foods sources their groceries from local vendors, including farms and bakeries as well as bigger grocery stores. You order online, and pick up at locations around town (or pay more for delivery).

I have known about and deeply respected Relay for a while now, but I had not ordered from them until last week, when I remembered that Relay makes it possible to get produce and meat from local farms when the City Market is not in session.

Carnitas taco with cabbage slaw

Carnitas taco with cabbage slaw

Perusing the Relay site for my first order, I was inspired by the wide selection of local pork, and decided to make carnitas, my husband’s favorite Tex-mex meat. Carnitas means “little meats” and is basically just slow-cooked chunks of pork that are often shredded once they finish cooking.

I turned to The Homesick Texan Cookbook for inspiration and direction on both the carnitas and a cabbage slaw.

Hokmesick Texan cookbook

After a year and a half in Charlottesville, we have developed a little “crew” of friends, made up of two other young married couples. It’s been so nice to have a got-to group for casual dinners, drinks after work, game nights, and TV show viewings. Since I ordered more than enough pork for two, my husband and I invited a few friends over for a lovely Saturday dinner to help us enjoy our feast! I set up a taco bar and let everyone assemble their own plates.

taco bar

You can find my recipe for both carnitas and the cabbage slaw over on Cotter Crunch today, where I helped Lindsay out with a guest post.

Enjoy!

-L

Massaged Kale Salad with Carrots, Raisins, and Walnuts

Back home in Charlottesville, but not yet back to work, I took advantage of my afternoon at home and planned a lovely lunch recipe to share.

Love my kale!

Love my kale!

This simple salad featured kale, carrots, walnuts, and raisins. The dressing included (among other things) turmeric and Himalayan pink sea salt. As part of my New Year’s resolution to really learn about the foods I eat, today I decided to focus on walnuts, turmeric, and salt.

I perused The New Food Lover’s Companion for basic information on each of these ingredients, and then turned to Google for additional information.

pink salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements (including magnesium, calcium and potassium). “It is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from abundant salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in certain geologic pockets around the earth.” (Source)

Ground Turmeric

Ground Turmeric

Turmeric comes from a tropical root that is similar to ginger. Ayurvedic science hails this spice for its natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and blood cleansing properties. It is used to give American-style mustard its distinctive yellow color.

Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are the fruit of the walnut tree. Among all nuts, walnuts pack significantly higher amount omega-3 fatty acids, and are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E (Source). Black walnuts and American walnuts are the most common varieties. Once shelled, walnuts keep best in the refrigerator, for up to 6 months.

These ingredients gave my salad a lovely flavor, as well as added nutrition.

Yum!

Yum!

Massaged Kale Salad with Carrot, Raisins, and Walnuts

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ~5 leaves of curly kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Method

Combine kale and carrot in a large bowl; set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Massage about 3 Tablespoons of the dressing into the  kale and carrot, until the kale leaves soften and turn a darker green, about 2 minutes. Add more dressing if desired. Top with raisins and walnuts.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

The tanginess of the dressing is off-set but the sweet raisins, and the walnuts provide a nice “crunch”. While I enjoyed this salad for lunch with some pita chips, it would also be great as a side dish for dinner, perhaps with some grilled chicken (I’m making myself hungry just imagining this meal…).

Enjoy!

-L

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Mixing in the seasonings and milk

Mixing in the seasonings

It has been cold and gross in San Francisco lately!  I’ve needed my umbrella almost everyday!  Perhaps my Texas upbringing is to blame, but I do not do well with cold, rainy weather.

The combination of lousy weather and busy rehearsals has made me want one thing… Soup!

I threw this big batch of soup together in between teaching and rehearsals today.  I decided it would be nice to have some on hand during this performance week!  Luckily it tastes good, so I’m excited to enjoy it over the next few days.

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup milk (I used a non-dairy substitute)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Monochromatic pot of veggies

Monochromatic pot of veggies

Method

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over low heat until butter is melted.  Add the onions and saute 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened.  Add the celery and onion and cook 2 additional minutes.  Add the carrots and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent vegetables from sticking to the pan.

Carrots joined the mix

Carrots joined the mix

Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the ground coriander and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.  Set aside.

Simmering the broth and veggies

Simmering the broth and veggies

Puree the vegetable and broth mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Return to saucepan, and stir in the milk, coriander and butter, cilantro, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with additional cilantro leaves.

Blending until smooth

Blending until smooth

This is an excellent soup for a cold, busy day.  It was filling, but didn’t feel heavy (when I’m dancing, this is a big concern!).  I loved the coriander and cilantro, and am excited to make this again with other spices.

Ready to enjoy!

Ready to enjoy!

If you have not yet entered our Awesome Bar Taster Pack Giveaway, it’s not too late!

Happy Eating!

-C