What a week! What an end of the year! I personally feel like we’re circling the drain too fast on 2016; I can barely catch my breath. Are you ready for the new year? Is anybody actually ready for what’s coming in 2017? Do I even want to think about this? Why am I asking!?
So I had a few guests this past week, and the one big winner for food was a night of sandwiches — simple store-bought heroes slathered in whatever we could find in the fridge. Basically that meant cold cuts, lettuce, onion, mayo, mustard, Swiss and Colby jack, piled high. Our apartment’s leasing team held a tenant’s holiday party, and they served the most amazing tamales (they were green chile chicken and absolutely spot-on), reminding me that I have got to learn how to make them myself (holler if you hear me).
By Sunday, though, I was in the mood to really step it up a notch and cook up a storm. On Saturday, I started some carne adovada (a New Mexican recipe involving red chile and pork) marinating, and then roasted it all day Sunday. I also wanted to bake some Christmas cookies, so I went rogue and found a recipe for a new kind of glazed sugar cookie.
So without further ado, let’s talk cookie first.
ITALIAN RICOTTA COOKIES
Something about adding mascarpone or ricotta to baked goods seriously appeals to me; I feel like it makes a recipe very special, and then also, it may add a creamy taste and cake-like texture. So when I stumbled upon “Italian Ricotta Cookies” I was STOKED. I’m a bit of a cookie monster to begin with, so I love experimenting with cookie varieties.
I used this recipe and halved it because I don’t really need 48 cookies. Even if I wanted to give cookies away, I sadly only know like three people here (new town, many jobs = no social life). So I figured 24 would be enough.
My halved ingredients:
1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt
½ c unsalted butter, softened
7/8 c granulated sugar
½ tsp lemon zest
7.5 oz. ricotta, whole milk or fresh (took the container and just halved it)
½ Tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ Tbsp butter (salted or unsalted), melted
1 7/8 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or 1 1/4 tsp almond extract
2-3 Tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
Interestingly enough, this recipe was adapted from The New York Times, which mentions that this is a tried-and-true Grandma recipe, a reader selection from 2012. I wasn’t sure why it would have been chosen until I bit into the finished product – these cookies are basically like eating a cupcake. They are above and beyond sweet, cakey, and delicious. Word to the wise: go easy on the milk in the glaze. I added a little too much, and while it was still yum, it drizzled everywhere. Super mess.
For the adovada, I had purchased some red chile powder a few weeks ago and wanted to see if it was worth its weight. It’s Los Chileros Organic New Mexico Red Chile Powder and why it worked well for seasoning, I would recommend not using if you like your food hot. I was actually pretty bummed at how not spicy it turned out – it was much more like a brisket. Very tasty just the same, but I wanted it to be much, much hotter. I’m a person who feels like sour cream’s whole existence is to cool a mouth on fire, but I digress.
1 lb cubed pork (my grocery store even said “pork for posole” so that was solid)
1 Tbsp. olive oil, then 2 tbsp more
½ yellow or white onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
14 oz. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. Los Chileros powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Heating 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat, sauté your chopped onions until soft. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp and then stir in the flour, browning it slightly. Pour that chicken broth in and let it simmer, smoothing it out (about 5 minutes). Then you simply add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cook over low heat until completely blended.
From there, I put the raw pork in a heat-safe bowl and poured that steaming hot sauce all over it, let it cool, and then refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I poured the marinated carne into a cast iron skillet, put it in the oven, and roasted it for about 3 ½ hours (depends on your oven! Mine is a little shy) at 300°; you’re looking for the meat to be falling apart at this point.
When it was all done, we then piled flour tortillas high with the carne adovada, topping with shredded cheddar and a big dollop of sour cream.
What are your favorite winter festive holiday or end of the year treats? Next week I’ll be cooking with my mom, so my kitchen skills are about to get schooled.