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So many  of the memories and milestones we’ve experienced have happened in and around Mexico. It started on our first vacation together and venturing off the resort and into town to try some traditional Mexican cuisine. To this day I can remember the taste and feeling of that moment. We were married in Mayan Riviera a couple of  years later and then spent our honeymoon a month after that a short distance down the ocean near Tulum. We’ve been back a few times since; we love the culture, the people and the incredible food. In a way, Mexico is our second home.

I fondly recall many moments from those times together with my wife. The smell of the fresh, albeit humid air on our first journey to town and spending what seemed like hours sitting on one bar swing or another listening to local music and feeling the breeze only an ocean is capable of producing.

Porchetta

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There was that early morning we spent walking the streets of Tulum before some of the locals pointed us in the direction of the secret “hidden” beach. The very moment we exited from the cab our toes touched the white sand we knew we were in a special place. We’ve been blessed with so many wonderful memories that I keep with me.

I’ll also never forget the first time we ate in town. We ordered off the menu, ate fresh salsa and chips while we waited and drank margaritas and cervezas. There have been so many incredible food firsts while travelling in Mexico. Something about that first time I ate ceviche that has stayed with me to this day. It was fresh and vibrant and unlike anything I had experienced before. The same can be said for my first bowl of Posole, equally hearty and fulfilling and everything I thought it would be. There was fresh tamales, taquitas, mole, chicharrón and tostadas. Those game-changing tostadas.

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Tostadas changed everything for me. Not only are they incredibly versatile, but the combination of texture and flavour is hard to beat. Since that first trip I’ve made tostadas on countless occasions,  even making them for breakfast. Over the years I have alternated fish, meat, chicken and black beans. You can’t go wrong. But I have slowly figured out that this version is my favourite. I put a twist on the traditional tostada with porchetta, slaw and salsa verde. It’s my go to meal in a pinch and when I’m craving both porchetta and Mexican food!

The combination of pork shoulder, crackling, slaw, radishes, cilantro and salsa verde makes a texture-laden, creamy and luscious dinner or appetizer option. Everything works brilliantly together. This is the perfect meal in my books. It’s has freshness and crispiness and creaminess. The next time you’re craving something new or a twist on Mexican food, try this.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Michael

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Porchetta Tostadas with Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 3 pound porchetta roast
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 medium head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • sea salt & fresh pepper
  • salsa verde
  • tostada shells
  • 12 radishes, sliced, garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, garnish

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500F degrees. Begin by scoring the skin of the porchetta by making cross incisions. Make sure you only slice the skin. Season the outside liberally with coarse salt. Place the porchetta roast on a roasting rack and roast for forty minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325F degrees and roast for another hour and a half or until the meat thermometer reads 16oF degrees in the middle. Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for twenty minutes.
  2. While the roast is cooking, make your slaw. In a medium bowl, add the cabbage, radishes, carrots, red onion and cilantro and mix well. In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, rice wine vinegar, sugar, cayenne pepper, lime juice and salt & pepper to taste. Mix the two bowls together and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Place tostada shells on a plate. Top with porchetta slices, slaw and finish with radish slices and cilantro. Season lightly.

 

{ 3 comments }

Spice-Rubbed Ribs with Citrus Barbecue Sauce

by Michael on February 26, 2014 · 11 comments

Winter has been as unpleasant and relentless as any in recent memory. Weeks go by before there is any break in conditions. The one constant this season has been the speed at which the weather changes. The sun breaks through in the morning and with unseasonably warm temperatures and brings with it the promise of a better day. But within hours the wind hustles and pushes in and the snow begins to fall with regularity. For the first time in years, I can hear a chorus of people calling for mercy. Wishing for the end to come.

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 1

Although the snow outside is as deep as it’s been all winter, with snow pilled up a good four feet at the edges of the property, there have been small, noticeable changes of late that bring with it promise that the end is near. With each passing day, daylight lingers longer. In the middle of the day you can begin to feel the sun on your face, even if for a minute. And with March around the corner, the signs should only get stronger.

At the beginning of winter, when the temperature dips and the snow falls, I long for comfort food. Foods that are rich, slightly heavy and comforting. But as the season drags on I begin making foods that remind me of summer. Favourites from the grill but cooked inside and low and slow in the oven. The kind of food that acts as comfort food but has me reminiscing for warmer days and backyard get-togethers. Soon enough.

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 Citrus Barbecue Sauce

It’s around this time of year when I begin craving for burgers and ribs. Unlike other Canadians, I don’t spend my nights on my back deck grilling in the middle of winter. I wrap up the grill every October and open it back up in May. And right about now, when the short days and cold nights start to sing the same song everyday, I need reminders of what’s to come. Ribs and slaw and cold beer.

I tend to look for sweetness and spice with my barbecue ribs so I went down that path for this version. A good bark with a kick and a good citrus, flavourful sauce to slather it in. A balance that ties it all together.

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March is just around the corner. And it won’t be long before daylights savings kicks in and the days seem longer. Hold out hope. But until that day comes, rely on favourites to help you remember. For me, it’s these ribs.

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From my kitchen to yours,

Michael

 

Spice-Rubbed Pork Ribs

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Prep:

  1. Remove the membrane (silverskin) from the bottom side of each of the racks of ribs. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to incorporate. Place both racks in a large roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Massage the dry ingredients over both sides of the racks. Let rest at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250F degrees. Transfer the ribs to the oven and cook for 2.5 hours. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Brush the ribs with half of the sauce (reserve the rest) and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the top starts to char.
  3. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Brush with the remaining sauce and serve.
  4.  Serves 4-6.

 

Citrus Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Prep:

  1. Using a blender, purée the scallions and garlic with half the orange juice until smooth. In a mediums saucepan, combine the other half of the orange juice, orange zest, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seed, honey, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the contents from the blender and bring to a boil and cook for roughly 10 minutes, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Let cool.

{ 11 comments }

A Long Time Coming | 2014 & Pizza For Two

February 4, 2014

It’s been quite some time since I’ve graced the pages of this blog with new content. And I’m sorry about that. The truth is it’s been a combination of matters that has seen this space collect dust and fade away. Our photography business has kept us busy and this year promises to be our busiest [...]

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Autumn Crush

November 12, 2013

Another cider cocktail. It seemed fitting, now firmly entrenched as part of a new tradition. I couldn’t let the last pages of autumn turn without at least another attempt  and fresh take on a cider cocktail. Something to set it apart from all the cider cocktails that flood the scene this time of year. Every [...]

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Autumn Classics | Man-made Mac and Cheese

October 11, 2013

Autumn.  A season built on nostalgia and near-magical moments from our childhood. Family gatherings, crimson leaves floating end over end, dropping temperatures and layers of clothing, early dusk hours and comfort food. The beginning of a new normal, days that enter abruptly and end softly, bringing glorious colourful sunsets with them and evenings that have [...]

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Roasted Squash & Pear Soup

September 26, 2013

With the reemergence of some wonderful seasonal ingredients, autumn-inspired recipes have made a triumphant return in our house. An about-face is happening. Light and fresh summer recipes are being replaced with hearty, soul-quenching and satisfying meals. To ready us for the days ahead and the frequent temperature shifts synonymous with autumn. Late mornings and the [...]

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Apple Cakes with Lavender Honey

September 2, 2013

It seems fitting that my first post in a while should coincide with the onset of September. The moment when the orchards are brimming with seasonal, ripe fruits that I wait all year for. Berries, stone fruits and apples. It didn’t take me long to head to the local orchard for some apple picking and [...]

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Blueberry Mascarpone Tartlets

July 23, 2013

Don’t call it a comeback…  A few things combined to make posting near impossible. Before I knew it things mounted up and my blog took a back seat. But that’s about to end. Right now. So let’s move on and get caught up. The last few months have been busy. Good busy. Two destination wedding [...]

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Creamy Carrot and Ginger Soup

June 5, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope that’s true. It’s been weeks since I’ve left you with something here. Time has a way of slipping away, slowing falling from our grips. Sorry. Things have been lacking here lately, I hope to change that. Beginning now. Today I’m back with a comforting, spring-rich bowl of [...]

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viva la spring

May 7, 2013

The wonderment of spring is abound with the landscape a prismatic collection of pollen soaked plants and cherry blossoms. The promise of possibility has helped lure us from our home and out into the great unknown, the ever-changing horizon within our grasp. May springs eternal and carries with it an abundance of hope. Hope for new [...]

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