Mom got a new pair of fleece lined slippers. She was surprised, so apparently she didn't peek. I don't remember how old I was--probably about a fifth grader, when I slipped out of bed undetected, and opened every present under the tree. Somehow I managed to get them all wrapped up again, taped back together well enough so no one suspected a thing the next morning. It must have taken great skill in stealth and small motor skills, because we lived in a small house with squeaky floors making it hard to slip anything past my folks, who seemed to be awake 24/7, with eyes in the back of their heads. The next morning wasn't any fun for me, and I have never peeked in another present since that day.
My tree skirt will be ready for next year. It was a mess up that I just didn't want to tackle until I had time. I saw something similar in a pricey catalog, and decided, "I can do that!" Just remember the points have to have the curve cut inward so it will fit the circle.
I tried my hand at a new Mexican dish called, "asado." One of my students wrote a recipe for me several years ago, and then I got another one from somewhere, so between Jacoby and the other recipe, I got it done. You start with about a 3 pound pork roast, and cube it.
One recipe called for 10 cloves of garlic. Jacoby says you need a sack of peppers, and the other recipe called for ancho peppers, but I just used the long red ones that are in nearly every grocery store. Rehydrate the peppers by soaking them in boiling water, then blend the devil out of them with a cup of hot water (or more, depending on how many pepper you use). Here is how the pepper paste looked.
You brown the meat with the crushed garlic, and other spices, then simmer the meat with the pepper paste for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Make some tortillas, salad, and if you put the beans on early you should have a nice, interesting, early supper ready to enjoy! These peppers are spicy, but not hot. If you want to heat the dish up, add the chipped red pepper or just eat some jalapeno with the dish.
So here you can see how supper looked--gringo style!
16 dried ancho chilies
10 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 pounds of pork roast cubed
3 T lard or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 C cilantro
2 tsp. Mexican oregano (or regular)
salt and pepper
METHOD OF PREPARATION
1. Take the chilies and remove stems and seeds (can reserve seeds to spice up the asado later). Place chilies in a large bowl, pour warm water over them, and then add two crushed cloves of garlic, and 1 tsp. salt. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Throw the soaking water away (it will be bitter), and blend with 1/2 C water. Puree until a thick paste is formed. It should be about 4 C thick paste.
3. In a saucepan, saute on medium heat the diced onion until they start to almost brown. Add the remaining 8 cloves of crushed garlic, and cook for one more minute. Add the chili paste, 1 C of water, the cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Cook chili sauce on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not be upset if it heaves and bubbles violently.
5. Generously salt and pepper the pork, and brown in olive oil on all sides. You may have to do it in batches.
6. Add the chili sauce, and cook on low heat (covered) for about 2 hours, adding water if necessary.
Choosing dried chilies. They should be pliable like raisins. If they are brittle and crumbly, they are old and not worth anything. Happy cooking!
My exercise program has gone out the window. Would you believe that in the past three or four days I have averaged about 3 miles a day, even though I have worked like I was fighting fire to get all the cooking done. Just goes to show that doing dishes and stirring pots doesn't take many steps!