It's not often that a real stroke of genius hits, but I got bopped by one just yesterday. I kind of like my hair short like it is, and I was wondering if maybe I should let my beard grow and it could be the same length as my hair and both hair and beard could be cut at once and how efficient that would be. It's not that I'm lazy or anything or that I hate to shave exactly. It just seemed like a good thing to do, helping Lesley and all.
I casually mentioned this to Lesley who gave me this look. I had seen that look before. All she said was, "NO!". I got the message.
Now this idea I had was nothing like my mom's idea about the ginger cookies. She suggested that I should make some for the visitors she is expecting later on today. She said that she would have to eat some, too, since it would make her guests feel more welcome. Hah! I know she just wanted some cookies. And I was being selfless because I could see how it would help Lesley when she cut my hair. You see....don't you? I was just thinking of others, as I always do.
Last week, we ate at Alejandro's Mexican Grill and I got Carnitas. Holey Moley!! Where has this been all my life?
4-5-pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 head of garlic, cut in half
White and black pepper to taste
Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches. Once all the pork is browned, remove the pieces from the pot and pour in about a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the tasty brown bits.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the pork back to the pan and add enough water so the pork pieces are 2/3 submerged in liquid. Add remaining ingredients. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3 hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.
Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized. It will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want the pieces to be.