Ok. Last month I wrote to you about making home cooked meals for a woman and her family at church for a year. Well, I’m happy to report that last month’s meal (the first of 12) was received quite well. Although, I was informed to cook with more meat. And I am totally fine with doing that. I love the way my house smells when I cook meat, and the meal is usually received a lot better than my vegan meals (and that’s actually hard for me because I love my veggie meals, but I also know that not everyone eats the way I do and serving others is about them, right??).
Anyhow, this past weekend I served the family meal number two. I was really excited about this meal because it was a signature of mine. Everyone has their “go to” meals they break out at certain times of the year. Game food, holiday food, I’m trying to impress you food, laid back but actually cooked for hours food, you know what I mean. Well, Mexican comfort food is my forte. I love it. And for me, that usually translates to rice and beans, but when I cook for others, that means …pulled pork tacos with sweet chili slaw and cilantro lime sour cream. Not cashew cream, real sour cream. I knew I was going to make this meal for this family this month even before we set the date, and was really looking forward to it.
August Meal Menu:
- Chips and Homemade Salsa
- Pulled Pork Tacos with Sweet Chili Slaw, Cilantro Lime Sour Cream and Cojita Cheese
- Spicy Mushroom Rice
- Mini Raw Chocolate Cream Cakes
But, it wasn’t as well executed as I have done in the past. This time…well, there were hurdles. Now, I’m a planner. I plan my days, a lot of the time down to the hour if elaborate cooking or numerous activities are involved. That’s how I get thru my life. But, pulled pork tacos are not an elaborate meal to make, because I cook them on low in my crockpot all day long. After that, all that’s left is prepping a few toppings and sauces and bam, I’m done. Well, this time it wasn’t that simple.
I went shopping for my ingredients on Friday, and I was to drop the meal off Sunday. I was able to find everything I needed, except cilantro. The crop wasn’t good, so I casually thought I could pick some up the next day (Saturday). Well, Saturday turned out to be busier than I had anticipated so I planned on grabbing cilantro after church Sunday. I needed it for my salsa and the cilantro lime sour cream. I really should have known this wasn’t going to be simple when I was so leisure about the cilantro. It’s never a good sign when you have to go back to the store once you’ve already gone. It’s one of the most frustrating things about cooking.
Sunday came and I started my pork on time at 8am, right before I left for church. I found out about an hour later that the woman was going to have 2 extra guests for dinner. I thought to myself “great!”. I made my desserts the night before and the batch makes 12 mini cakes so I had more than enough of that (and in my mind chocolate trumps all). But I then realized I wasn’t confident in the amount of pork I had to feed 7 people. I was trying to figure out how I was going to get to the store and get the pork cooked in time, as I had to be in church, then head to Noah’s school BBQ right after. It would be 2pm before I was even home. I was running different ideas and scenarios by my husband, he just looked at me like I was crazy. I started to worry a little bit, because I want these meals to be perfect for her (no pressure from her at all for them to be perfect, just me…). So I dropped Levi and the kids off at the BBQ, ran to the store, grabbed another slab of pork and the cilantro I needed, and extra tortillas. I was thinking this was going so smoothly, nothing to worry about. But they didn’t have the same “special super top secret liquid” I cook the pork in. So, again, I had to improvise. Grabbed a similar kind of liquid and went with it. I sped home, thru the pork in the crockpot on high (at this point it was 130) and prayed it would get done in time.
I cruised back to the BBQ thinking I had nothing to worry about, smooth sailing now, but as I pulled into the parking lot Levi was coming towards me with a wet Abagail….she had an accident. Oh well, these things happen. We wound up going home and put the kiddos down for naps. My house was filled with the aroma of the pulled pork. Totally cooking heaven, the smell anyway. I started prepping the rest of the meal, while peaking in on the recently cooking pork…still praying. I began first with the cilantro lime sour cream.
Now, it took me messing up twice and sending Levi back to the store for me to realize, that I couldn’t make this sauce in my vitamix. Not sure if you know this already or not, but a vitamix can break a sauce, frosting (have had this happen to me more than once), cream etc, very easily and pretty quickly, as it’s motor is so powerful it actually heats up the contents. Well, I turned the sour cream into liquid twice and I was getting pretty frustrated. See, my food processor is broken but have this idea that the vitamix can do anything, so I haven’t bought a new one. Maybe I should look into that…
I wound up making a lime sour cream and left it at that. I needed the rest of the cilantro for my salsa. And I wasn’t going back to the store…
Speaking of salsa, that may be the sunshine of this meal. I can’t go wrong with salsa. It’s the staple of Mexican comfort food. Nummmm.
Now, the title of this blog involves a vicious jalapeno…let me tell you what that means. I started making the spicy mushroom rice and I didn’t like how one of my packages of mushrooms looked (if you haven’t picked up on it, I have a slight, very real fear of food and that it will make me sick…that fear comes from being sick for so long…) I throw away a lot of food, and I know it’s not a good thing. Anyway, frustrated about not having enough mushrooms for this dish, I began to brown them in a pan.
While the mushrooms are cooking, I’m slicing and dicing onions and jalapeno. I was supposed to have a shallot but….well let’s not go there shall we?
Not thinking, I wipe off the juice from the jalapeno on to my apron and my towel without washing my hands. The juice was then rubbed into my skin, under my fingernails….see where I’m going with this?? It took a while for me realize that my hands and face (because I had since then touched my face) were slowly, no, quickly burning. Oh. My . Gosh. Such a rookie mistake. Just to speed thru the horror, my skin would be infested with said jalepeno juice for the rest of the evening. I would touch anything and it burned like jalepeno. I scratched my eye 3 hours after chopping and vigorously washing my hands and my eye watered and burned and I couldn’t open it. That was one vicious jalepeno..and one rookie mistake made by me. BUT, I did like the way the rice turned out, even if I was short on mushrooms.
Despite the hurdles I jumped thru to get this meal prepared, it was slowly coming together. I was getting everything packed up to take to the family, and it was time to check the pork. The first slab, the one that had been cooking since 8am, was perfectly tender, fall off the fork ready. The second slab, well, was done temp wise (phew!) but not nearly as tender as it needed to be. But, I was relieved. I shred it the best I could and topped it with the super tender pork. I was taking it in the crockpot anyway, so why not let it continue to cook at the family’s house?? I was praying for a miracle, a hail mary into the end zone, that this meal came out like I wanted it to. And God gave it to me. I heard from the family the next day that the meal turned out splendidly. The pork was perfect and tender and the chocolate…well, the chocolate was the star. She also told me that her and her family gathered around the table, eating, laughing and enjoying the moment. She said she was able to say goodbye to a dear friend, that was moving away. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a meal together.
Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart. Ecc 9:7
Until next time…
Have a fabulous day!