I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my goals for this blog. Not so much in terms of what I want to get out of it personally, but more in terms of what I want to bring to you. As much fun as I have picking out recipes, cooking them, eating them and sharing the results (along with a random tangent or two!), I’m beginning to question the ‘value added’ in that approach. Sure, there are a plethora of recipes out there, so in a sense I am vetting them for you. Perhaps I am sharing some that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. But I want to bring you more, to bring new ideas to the table. So over the upcoming months, my goal is to rely less on other people’s recipes and move towards my own culinary creations. By all means, I will still be sharing lots of existing recipes… I have an endless to-do list from the many talented cooks whose blogs I follow, and quite frankly it’s instrumental to my own learning process. But that is the goal, and here is a taste of things to come…
I’ve had great luck so far! We enjoyed several Messy Kitchen Originals this week. The first was for Daring Cooks. I’m starting to think that the folks over in the Daring Kitchen can read my mind… the challenges always seem perfectly timed with my goals, to-do lists and upcoming events. Case in point? This months challenge: make up your own recipe.
The April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients. We were given three lists, and required to use at least one ingredient from each list. The biggest challenge was that the ingredients on list one and two were more characteristic of savory recipes, while list three’s ingredients lent themselves more to a sweet dish. However, I immediately thought “mexican!”, so for me, list 1 was the hardest to incorporate. Can you guess what I did with these ingredients?
List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas
Parsnip Arepas with Chipotle Pulled Pork and Banana Mango Salsa
A Messy Kitchen Original
Be sure to read through the whole thing before attempting… there are a number of components and one step that involves sitting over night!
For the Pulled Pork:
- 3 pound lean pork boneless loin
- 1 Dark beer, preferably coffee flavored (I used Stockyard Oatmeal Stout: “a deliciously creamy stout…has the aroma and flavor of chocolate, roasted oats and coffee”)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adob0 sauce
- 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (you can always add more later when flavoring the sauce)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- About 3 Tbsp instant coffee
- 2-3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Salt and pepper
- Combine the yellow onion and the next 7 ingredients (through maple syrup) in a food processor. Add 1 tbsp instant coffee and puree very well.
- Trim as much of the fat as possible from the pork loin. Rub with salt, pepper, and another tablespoon instant coffee. Place pork loin in a bowl and pour puree over, rubbing to cover all surfaces. Cover and let marinate overnight.
- In the morning, remove pork and cut into several pieces. Place in pork in a slowcooker and pour beer over it. Also add any of the puree that remains in the bowl. Add final tablespoon instant coffee. It’s okay if not all pieces are submerged.
- Cook on low for approximately 8 hours. Remove and let cool.
- Now it’s time to thicken the broth to use as a juicy, delicious sauce for your pork. While the pork is cooling, transfer the beer broth to a measuring cup. For every 1 cup of liquid, you will need 1 tablespoon of corn starch. Measure your corn starch into a small bowl and add equal parts water to make a slurry. Pour broth into a sauce pan and add the corn starch slurry. Cook over medium heat stirring regularly until thickened up nicely.
- Shred the pork with a fork and return to slowcooker, set on ‘warm’. Pour thickened sauce in and mix well.
For the Parsnip Arepas:
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled
- 1.5 cup skim milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1.5 cup arepa flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- Queso fresco for topping
- Chop the parsnips. Sometimes larger parsnips have a woody core and you will need to remove this. Boil until soft and strain.
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter and milk until butter is melted.
- Put parsnips and milk mixture in a food processor and process well.
- Transfer to a stand mixer (or a bowl if you are using a hand mixer). Add the arepa flour and salt and mix until combine.
- Make patties about the size of your palm, recipe will make 4-6 depending on size.
- Brush a skillet with oil (you want a relative flavorless oil; I used vegetable). Cook four at a time over medium heat, flipping several times to prevent burning.
For the banana mango salsa:
- 2 ripe bananas, cut into pieces
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Sprinkle queso fresco over arepas. Top with heaping spoonful of pulled pork and serve with a side of banana mango salsa.