Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! My 26th birthday was a low key shindig with people I really like so isn't that all you can really ask for?
Had my first Irish coffee that night and it was BOMB. Have you ever had one? It's the perfect drink for those nights you need a little pick me up in order to keep bar hopping.
And with one week down since I started the challenge, I successfully cooked 1 dish from my cookbook! The term gourmet is going to be debatable around these parts but for good measure, I'll give you the back story behind why I went with "gourmet".
Before this challenge, I typically cooked dishes that had 3-5 ingredients (and that included spices). I was daunted by any recipe list with extra garnishes or sauces. So I can make a mean chicken breast with rice or even a simple enchilada recipe but anything that had numerous or unusual ingredients were automatically ruled out. As long as I had the meat, I could virtually cook with whatever was already in my kitchen. Which is convenient but ultimately boring.
While I've always loved watching shows with Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain, my new obsessions started with MasterChef Kids. Those kids had so much talent and were half my age. From there, I became a MasterChef fan, watched anything I could get my hands on with Gordon Ramsay, now obsessed with Jacques Pepin and reading Anthony Bourdain's books. I also ordered two America's Test Kitchen cook books and have been studying up on kitchen techniques.
So after the longest intro ever, I wanted to start off my challenge simple and perhaps not even cook something "gourmet". I made pork tacos with mango salsa from ATK's The Complete Cooking for Two cookbook and cilantro lime rice.
From start to finish, this dinner took less than 1 hour to make and I was unbelievably happy with how it turned out (even if I was too rushed to take real food photos).
What I love about this recipe is that America's Test Kitchen modified all their recipes for two people so this created the perfect amount of food for Rob and I without having to eat leftovers for days. This means less food waste, which I'm always in favor of.
Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa
adapted from America's Test Kitchen The Complete Cooking for Two cookbook
2 1/2 cups of mango (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup minced cilantro
1 shallot, minced
4 teaspoons lime juice
Salt and Pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
12 ounces ground pork
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
6 corn tortillas, warmed
Optional: Sour Cream
> The canned chipotle is found in the mexican food aisle of most grocery stores. (Examples).
> I used frozen mangos and this recipe worked just fine.
* FIRST, before you start following the recipe directions, prep all of the ingredient above. Chop, mince, juice everything first. You can leave warming the tortillas until the 3rd step.*
1. Combine mangos, 4 tablespoons cilantro, half of shallot, 2 teaspoons lime juice,1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add remaining shallot, chipotle, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until shallot is soft (approx 2 min). Add pork and cook until pork is no longer pink.
3. Taking the skillet off the heat, stir in remaining cilantro, 2 teaspoons lime juice and Monterey Jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve pork with mango salsa on warmed tortillas.
For the Cilantro Lime Rice, I went with this recipe and followed it exactly.
That's it! Super simple and super tasty. Pork and mango were made to go together friends.
Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I'd love to hear about it! Sorry for the crappy food pictures, I'll try better next time!