quick carnitas


Eating at home for the last week has been based around a really lovely pork roast. It all started Wednesday morning, when I mashed several garlic cloves in a mortar with lots of salt and pepper, then rubbed it all over a pork shoulder and let it all get friendly in the refrigerator for the rest of the day.

Jon stuck the pork in the oven before I got home, and by dinnertime it was just right: almost-pink and juicy, with the garlic just beginning to burn on the sides of the pan. We ate it in slices over some truly addictive buttermilk mashed potatoes (from Judy Rodger’s Zuni cookbook) with shredded Brussels sprouts. That was pretty good. But on Thursday, we were thinking tacos.

tacos Continue reading

Mexican food in the Bavarian Village

debris from lunch at South

There haven’t been more than a handful of restaurants that we’ve liked in Leavenworth over the past thirty years (we miss you, Österreich!), but I’m happy to say we’ve just found a new one, called South. My parents had been there for dinner recently and had a great experience, so before J and I headed home last weekend we stopped in for lunch.

What an amazing place! It’s just a Mexican restaurant, of which we have vast quantities here in Skagit Valley, but it’s not your usual rice-and-beans kind of place. We were struck immediately by the drinks list, which had an excellent selection of beers, plus some really cool cocktails (not many places offer caipirinha) and an amazing bourbon and tequila list. I wasn’t sure I was up to a cocktail yet, so I got a Leavenworth IPA (a really nice beer, much like the Boundary Bay IPA), but J went for the house margarita, and my father asked for soda with fresh lime. Both of their drinks were excellent, made with just-squeezed lime juice.

On to the food: I saw roasted green beans on the appetizer list and was instantly in love. We ordered them, and shortly received a dish full of sweet shriveled beans doused in salt and lime juice – fantastic! So few restaurants offer vegetables straight up, and these were delicious. Their only fault was that they weren’t crispy, but I didn’t really mind.

For our lunches, my mother and I each ordered the tomatillo chicken as a sandwich, my father got the carne asada as a taco, and J got the black mole enchilada with pork. All were tasty, and I was especially impressed by the chicken – it was perfectly cooked and very juicy, a real accomplishment with breast meat. The sandwiches and taco came with house-made tortilla chips, and there was a buffet of salsas available, some of which could blow the top of your head off.

Suffice to say, we’ll be coming back here! We are officially jealous that we don’t live closer to this place.

Pot roast enchiladas

Castle Rock reflections

This past weekend we helped out at my father’s twice-yearly gallery show. Our main contributions at these events tend to be opening bottles of wine and cooking dinner for anyone who happens to be around. For this one we had already decided to make a pan of enchiladas, since it feeds lots of people and is flexible for staggered servings (there are generally lots of people coming and going). The original intention was to buy some pork, roast or boil it and shred it for the filling, and cover it with a green mole sauce. However, when we arrived the night before the art show, my father had cooked up a large pot roast (with chanterelles and pasta), and we thought – we have shredded meat! And lots of it! So here’s what we did:

My mother hand shredded the leftover beef (a seven-bone roast simmered for four hours with carrots and onions) into a bowl. J cut up an assortment of mildly hot peppers that came from the local farmer’s market, and sauteed them with some small home-grown onions, then dumped it all into the meat and mixed it up a bit. Continue reading