Sunday, May 31, 2009

Posole Recipe (Pork & Hominy Stew)


5 or 6 pounds of marinated pork butt or wild hog fresh hams and backstraps (marinade in yogurt for 6 hours or more, see food history and tips)
2 yellow onions quartered
6 to 8 whole peeled garlic cloves
12 tomatillos washed and quartered
2 cups of fresh chopped cilantro
2 quarts of chicken stock
2 cans of Rotel
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 roasted poblano peppers (roasted, de-seeded and sliced thin)
2 dried red chilies (whole)
2 tablespoons of green chili powder(preferable) or red if not available
1 tablespoon cumin
2 large cans of white hominy
12 green onions (whole with just the tips cut off on each end)
2 avocados
white Mexican queso fresco (grated)

Preheat oven to 250 or 280 (if needed to speed up cooking time). Place quartered onions and garlic in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Place meat on top. Cover and cook until meat can be pulled apart with a fork or cut into 1 inch pieces (this step can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours).
Reserve the juice, carmelized onion and garlic (but skim off all visible fat with a spoon). Add the pork meat back in to the pan. Place tomatillos and cilantro in food processor and chop finely (it will liquefy). This is the base of your broth. You may have to do this in several batches depending on the size of the processor. Add the liquefied mixture to the pan. Add tomatoes, Rotel, poblano peppers, chili powder and cumin. Allow to simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to layer. Add chicken stock, green onions, hominy and dried red peppers. Allow to simmer until green onions are soft and bright green.
Serve with fresh cut avocado and queso blanco on top.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Peeps Love Posole !

Many of my friends have requested this hominy and pork stew recipe and I have written it out so many times, I thought I would share it here for easy access. I like to serve Posole when camping because it can be made at home, reheats wonderfully and is a welcome change from the obligatory chili around the campfire. I make mine with wild hog meat but regular pork butt works fine too.

I grew up traveling to Mexico and one of my favorite street foods was Posole. There is nothing like it late night if you are a little tipsy and starving to death. There are areas in Mexico that have a designated Posole day at their permanent restaurants or temporary street booths. In the big cities, it is traditionally served on the weekends. Here in Texas, you will find it on many taqueria menus. It is also a popular on special occasions such as New Year's Eve (thought to bring luck and prosperity just like black eyed peas).

Posole gets its name from a variety of large kerneled corn soaked in lime to remove the tough skin. Here in Texas, hominy, is substituted. There are three different colors of broth red, white and green derived from the chilies used. My broth has a lovely green tint not necessarily from the chilies but for the tomatillo and cilantro broth that I like to cook down.

The most important technique for Posole is to layer the flavors. You can't be in a hurry, so plan to do this on a day off. The roasting of the meat is another key to success.

Cooking tip:I use yogurt to tenderize the pork meat (in my case, wild hog meat). Indian Tandori meat is always so tender and moist because of its yogurt based marinade. Unlike other acidic marinades (wine, citrus, vinegar etc.) yogurt tenderizes without changing the texture of the meat. I like to rub all the meat down with a combination of chili powders and a bit of sea salt. After seasoning the meat, slather it with yogurt and marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 6 to 24 hours.

Cooking tip: If you are planning to use a pork butt, I like to slow roast the meat in a very heavy Dutch oven. Place 2 quartered yellow onions in bottom of pan and then place 8 to 10 peeled garlic cloves on onions. Layer the meat over the top and cook covered on low heat 250 to 280 oven until fork tender, anywhere from 4 to 6 hours.

Buen Provecho!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainbows, Ripped Tents & Real Friends

Back from a stay-cation for Memorial Weekend. Instead of traveling this year, we chose to invite everyone here. There is an 800 acre area that is very primitive and beautiful that we use for recreation. It makes for perfect camping since there are several small lakes fed by natural underground springs and surface creeks. We designate one for swimming and hillbilly spa mud bathing and one for fishing. Between the two lakes is a gently sloped hill, on top of the hill is an Indian mound that overlooks the valley and large creek below. Tent sites were set up all over the hill and down by the lakes with a huge red rock fire pit near the Indian mound and a centralized kitchen tent for cooking by campfire. It had the makings for the perfect long weekend.

We had twenty something friends and family coming and going the entire three days. There was plenty to do for all ages. The guys loved to hunt wild hog and fish while the gals and kids swam in the ice cold spring lake, did wild mud baths with the cool green mud that has to be brought up from the bottom, went hiking and did driving safaris to see deer, wildflowers and other wildlife. The kids went to help do farm chores back at the farm with me in the early evening. The chickens, miniature donkeys, cows and Guinea keets all needed attention.

At night we had a slow smoked wild hog feast with roasted corn and vegetable kabobs and the kids had s'mores. Everyone had pitched in and brought plenty of gourmet food to snack on throughout the weekend. We had Scrapple, cowboy coffee, bacon , eggs, fresh feta orzo pasta, really fantastic chalupas with smoked pulled wild hog, hummus, roasted red pepper and smoked jalapeno dip, beautiful fresh fruit salad, homemade almond toffee etc..etc..

Saturday night we had a blast hanging around the campfire tending to the smoking of the meats, telling VERY tall tales and just laughing till our sides hurt. There may have been some whiskey drinking involved but not too much since we are one of the few dry counties left in Texas. There is nothing better than sleeping next to the one you love under the stars, with the sounds of the night right outside the screen of your tent, the lullaby of the wind through the trees across the small valley.

Sunday, we awoke to a gorgeous day!
Everything was going along nicely until......
early evening, rainbows and heavy white clouds began to appear. Great photo opportunity....nice time to take the little ones on a photo safari, we were not really thinking about how rainbows are formed. We had a great drive around the property and as we made our way back the sky ahead of us grew heavy with menacing gray rain clouds as we crested the hill. Before we had a chance to speak, lighting struck nearby and the skies opened.

The first thing one of my friends said was "I hope the guys closed up the tents", one of my other friends said "I hope they stored all the chairs so they don't get soaked" and I blurted out "I hope they covered all the fire wood". As we got closer, we noticed that everyone left back at camp were all crammed under the kitchen tent which consisted of a solid metal frame. None of the things we wished for out loud had happened. In fact, the wind had increased to 40 MPH gusts and I watched two chairs go airborne and fly over the edge of the hill top, so much for staying dry.

I thought to myself...hhhmmmm...thunderstorm, severe lighting, top of hill, metal rods holding up the kitchen, not the safest place to wait it out. One of my guy friends had the same thought, he ran out making a mad dash for his truck. As he sprinted across the meadow, a lighting strike happened withing 20 feet of his fleeing feet. He hesitated but in the end, chose to continue to the truck. Smart man!

Another friend had made it back to her SUV with her two dogs and we could hear her horn honking wildly in the distance. Apparently she was a bit frightened and was trying to attract the attention of her guy, who was helping hold down the kitchen tent. I really did feel sorry for all of the bodies under the tent. They had decided to stay put and not risk the same fate that our friend sprinting across the meadow almost suffered.

Us women or "cougars" as we had jokingly decided were now content to hang out in the SUV with four little kids (ages 3,4, and two 6 year olds)...did I mention the two dogs who were afraid of thunder that were crammed in the car with us? We all hunkered down and decided to make the best of the situation. We were nice and dry and they were all wet and hanging on to a tent for dear life so I couldn't complain.

I don't have children, but now I know how parents can zone out and not hear the world crashing down around them. I pretty much tuned out all the chatter, noise and barking and enjoyed a nice chat with my friends. Meanwhile the kiddos were performing acrobatic feats in my back trunk. Only one casualty...the cute little three year old suffered a pretty good shiner accidentally (or so we hope) given by her six year old brother, with his foot, no less.

We stayed calm as we watched one tent collapse under the weight of the water, we watched another become a Picasso painting with all odd angles and rods sticking out everywhere. Finally, I watched my own humble pop up abode finally take on too much water and the top just sunk in. All this in less than an hour.

And then it ended as abruptly as it started. The sun came back out and the rainbows reappeared. We all pitched in to pick up the pieces. Two campsites came out o.k. and seasoned campers that they were, stayed to brave another night. One couple was supposed to go home that night after dinner and now were stuck with the task of packing loads of soggy camp gear, damaged tents and exhausted, excited kiddos. The other couple had just gotten there and now their tent resembled a cubist dream and our tent was intact but filled with at least two inches of water.

We decided that we would move the party to the farm house for the evening and have a campout in our den. We drank lovely white Sangria full of fresh fruit, dined on a friend's fresh vegetables from her garden & ate wild hog Posole that I had slow roasted and made the broth from scratch with some fresh tomatillos and cilantro from my first harvest.

Monday, we woke to another beautiful day in Central East Texas. Our bellies were full and we had slept in a dry bed and a new day was upon us. Little did I know that I was about to find out that when it rains, it pours...calves.... but that's another story!

I learned a lot this weekend. I realized how lucky I am to have a crazy cowboy artist in my life, to live on such a beautiful patch of Mother Earth, and to have such wonderful old and new friends to share great adventures with.

It was such perfect trip, and ultimately we did not have to go anywhere at all! There IS no place like HOME!

We plan to make this an annual or even bi-annual event. In honor of the campout, I am going to post my Posole recipe that so many of you loved!

Friday, May 15, 2009

CCSI (Chicken Coop Scene Investigation)

A serial killer is on the loose at Feed Me Farms. Our thirteen chicks had been moved to their chicken condo a little over a week ago when they outgrew their brooder. They were getting used to having the run of the garden during the day and were already trained to roost in their coop at sunset. I had actually begun an evening ritual of sitting outside their shelter and was mesmerized by their antics. I had also gotten in the habit of doing a head count before closing up the coop.
The serial killer struck in the dead of night and left plenty of DNA (of our poor chickens that is). My cowboy found them in their enclosed coop in the morning. Four of my poor feathered friends went down although not without a fight. We think the deceased were three roosters and one hen. My favorite black & white rooster with the giant mohawk was apparently the first to go, there was nothing left but his feet. In fact the chicks that had the most white feathers were all killed.
There is an old wives tale that white chickens get preyed upon more than colored chickens, I now believe it may be true. It might have something to do with their visibility at night.
The origin of chickens can be traced to Red Jungle Fowl from Southeast Asia where their domestication began thousands of years ago. Today, there is an estimated twenty four billion chickens or so in the world. That means there are roughly four chickens to every person on earth! Wrap your wing around that for a minute...
We have narrowed our culprits down to three possibilities: raccoon, feral cat or possum.
Chicken stories are like bad pregnancy stories....almost everyone has one and they love to tell you the gory details. One of our distant neighbors likes to tell the story of his chicken coop which he affectionately named "chicken death camp". Another friend relayed the story of beheaded chickens in her parents coop three days in a row. My cowboy told me when we got them, "Chickens are always looking for a way to die".
I want to think my chickens will be different. We have now added multiple boards to to the coop and are now wiring the door shut at night. We have set a live catch & release trap every night since (the killer seems to have caught on, as he has avoided the trap even though it is set with nice stinky canned cat food.)
My cowboy's mom found out that one of my cowboy's cousins had just hatched a gaggle of Guinea fowl three days ago and ordered 12 of them for us.
Maybe we will have better luck with these twelve than we did with the original thirteen. HHmmmm in Blackjack, we would have beat the dealer with a perfect twenty one!
In honor of my fallen feathery friends, I am posting my favorite Southeast Asian chicken recipe.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup)

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 quart of chicken stock
2 cups water
2 boneless chicken breasts (sliced extremely thin)
1 pound of sliced shitake mushrooms
2 stalks of thick lemon grass (slightly beaten to release juice)
1/4 cup sliver sliced fresh ginger or if available galangal (Thai)
1 onion halved & quartered
1 bunch green onions with just the ends removed (leave intact)
2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
8 leaves thinly sliced Thai basil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Kafir lime leaf (if available)
1 lime (fresh squeeze juice)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
*Sambal to taste (for heat factor)
2 bunches of Asian greens (cleaned and stems removed)
Sesame oil & Chile oil

Place chicken breasts in freezer for at least a half hour before slicing. If the breasts are slightly frozen, they are much easier to slice. Heat large stock pot. Add the curry and the cumin and allow to become fragrant. Add about a tablespoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of chili oil to pan. Add the sliced yellow onions, cook till translucent. Add chicken slices,ginger,lemon grass,lime leaf, garlic and saute till chicken is no longer pink.
Stir in coconut milk, chicken stock, green onions & water. For heat add Sambal to taste. Once simmering add cilantro, basil and Asian greens until wilted.

Serve over fragrant Jasmine rice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Like Talking to the Cat!

Have you ever felt like chucking your computer out the window and returning to the dark ages of pen and paper? It happened to me over the last 10 days. I made the decision to purchase my own domain, at the time I thought it was a simple endeavor.
That is when I discovered that trying to resolve a domain issue can be akin to "talking to the cat". At least for me.
Next time I will do more research before jumping in but here is the brief synopsis of my cyber experience.
1) Purchased my domain at
2) Followed instructions given by to re-direct the blog (or so I thought)
3) Found out that if I had bought domain through, they would have set this all up without such a struggle (note to self: research more next time)
4) blog site was not accessible for 48 hours but as per instructions, did not panic.
5) Could not access blog, attempted to contact Found out that contacting them directly was harder than contacting President Obama
6) Contacted, they have a great customer service group available 24/7.
7) Explained my situation, their geek patrol took a look and enacted some changes.
8) Day 6 & 7, website still says "this website is temporarily unavailable".
9) Contact again, they have done what they can and ask me to contact, they tell me exactly what to request (easier said than done)
10) Day 8 & 9, I put my trust in the hands of the Blogger Help Group (other bloggers) I begin my request with ...."Give an answer as if you are talking to your cat"
11) Some nice help group blogger responds with exactly what I need to give
12) Last contact with , sent them the info that the blogger help group gave me. Within an hour, I was up and running.
13) Lesson learned - cats make good carrier pigeons! On the upside - all this down time gave me a chance to really tackle the heirloom garden...check out the progress.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Ass Whisperer

Never thought I would be known to friends & family as "the Ass Whisperer" but I now wear the name proudly. My father had race horses in Brazil so the Jockey Club in Rio was one of my favorite "playgrounds". I was pretty tiny in high school (4'11" , 92 pounds) so my dad's horse trainer would allow me to exercise the horses. I began riding regularly at the age of five, English Hunt & Western Saddle so I have always had a love for horses. Donkeys were not my thing.
Fast forward to 2009 - ZZ Topinha our first bottle fed Brahma calf arrived January 1st, her momma BB had been a show calf for my cowboys sister and had lost her calves every year since she started having them. BB was our tamest heifer of the herd and we were sad every year about losing her calves.
BB gave birth to ZZ Topinha on New Years Day while we were away camping at Inks Lake in the Texas Hill Country. When we arrived home the next day we went out to check the herd and the strangest thing had happened.
We found this beautiful baby calf in our barn corral. She was all by herself and the gates were closed and latched. BB the show heifer was standing outside as if she wanted us to know this new little baby was hers and she wanted us to do something. We noticed that BB had a bad udder bag and could not feed her calf.
I had already received an emergency lesson on how to save a calf from our dear friend Ms. Dottie Love and she had provided me with a "baby" kit (bottle, electrolyte gel, books, milk replacer etc.)
The mystery to this day is how ZZ Topinha got in the corral by herself just in time for us to rescue her. I am convinced it was my cowboy's long dead ancestors lending a helping hand. His daddy loved these cows and being in the barns so we chalk it up to a little spectral assistance.
We decided that little ZZ needed some protection from predators such as coyotes so we decided to acquire a guard donkey. My cowboy's cousin down the road raises exotics for zoos, we knew he had some so we called him up. He said sure, he had a Jenny and two Jacks and they were a package deal. Apparently donkeys never do as well solo and are almost always a "package" deal. Oh, the Jenny is pregnant and oh, they are miniatures to boot.
He delivered them the next afternoon. We placed them on one side of the barn gated away from the calf and from there the fun began. These little guys (and girl) had grown up with just a bit of human interaction. In essence, they were as wild as wild gets! Since they were going to be living with ZZ Topinha, we named them Dusty, Billy & Frank (we have a habit of naming our barn animals after musicians & bands).
I was bound and determined to tame them and I'm now going to share the secrets of the "ass whisperer":
Step One - Donkeys have a memory like an elephant so do not get frustrated. They will never forget ill treatment. Donkeys by nature are curious and will pay attention even if they are pretending to ignore you. Walk quietly, talk softly and do not make any sudden movements. Place the donkey(s) in a semi-small secure area like a corral, barn or holding area.
Step Two - Place a chair somewhere in the area and plan to stay awhile. Arm yourself with good reading material (I chose Hobby Farms magazine with a special issue devoted to donkeys) and some really good horse treats (I have had the best luck with carrot flavored biscuits). Place the treats in a bowl at your feet so the donkeys can smell them.
Step Three - Start reading out loud in an even tone, as soothing as possible. I read the history of donkeys and they seemed to enjoy it. Do not expect immediate results, in fact do not be surprised if they join ranks and travel as if they are one, stay in the furthest spot away from you and maintain giving you the equivalent of the donkey "evil eye".
Step Four - repeat step three over and over (and over) every day until you're horse...I mean hoarse! My donkeys began getting very curious about day 5, by day 12 they were eating the treats if I threw them about three feet away and by day 21 they were following me around wanting their treats from my hand.
They are now tame enough after three months that they will greet me when they see me and come in from the pasture to have a treat or two at the barn. They allow me to pet their heads and they love it when I play with them in the pasture. They treat me like one of their own by waffling and getting as close to my face as possible for a kiss. The "ass whisperer" moniker fits me perfectly! Dusty, the female, is due any day and I cannot wait to whisper in the new baby's ears.

happy hour @ FMF

happy hour @ FMF
party till the cows come home