Monday, November 9, 2009

Fiesta with Friends

Recently, the Husband and I threw a dinner party in the middle of the week.

The theme was Mexican meets Phillies lose to the Yankees in the World Series.

Thanks to the mac daddy slow cooker that my Aunt Lorraine gave me a few Christmases ago, I was able to cook a pork roast all day long while teaching my fab piano students. Then, I shredded the pork and we made awesome tacos out of them.

My friend Tom insists they were burritos.

Here’s what the reliable (sarcasm) source Wikipedia had to say about the matter:

A taco (pronounced /ˈtɑːkoʊ/) is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. A taco is generally eaten without utensils and is often accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, onions and lettuce.

A burrito (pronounced /bəˈriːdoʊ/ in the US but actually correctly pronounced /buˈriːtoʊ/), or taco de harina, is a type of food found in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It consists of a flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans, Mexican rice, or meat are usually the only fillings and the tortilla is smaller in size. In the United States, however, fillings generally include a combination of ingredients such as Mexican rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, meat, avocado, cheese, and sour cream.

I’m no expert. All I know is the taco/burrito concoctions were delish.

My guests made their own taco/burritos. My toppings included salsa, cheese, shredded lettuce, scallions, diced red pepper and sour cream.

And Tom needed a bottle of freakin’ taco sauce. He’s lucky I let him in the house. He’s a Yankees fan. Need I say more?

Suprisingly, I actually had a bottle of taco sauce. It’s probably from 2004 or something. Tom is still alive so I guess it was OK.

Despite the Phillies’ loss, my peeps had a great time. I think. I hope. Well, I don’t really know, but usually if you’re hangin’ at Casa di Leiser you’re having fun. It’s part of the house rules.

I do have to say I’m proud of myself for staying so chill regarding the mid-week dinner party. I usually don’t host in the middle of week, because, well my husband and I work until like 9 p.m. every night. I mean, who wants to go to a dinner party at 9 p.m.?

No one, that’s who.

In addition, I am a bit Monica Gellar when throwing a soiree. I make a lot of lists; I cook way too much food; I clean my house about 20 times; I set everything up in advance; I make sure to empty the dishwasher; I lie awake at night making mental checklists. And, then I just drink a bottle of wine and leave the fun my guests surely will have up to Fate or God or whatever you believe in.

Below are some photos as well as my recipes for fresh salsa and Mexican pulled pork. The salsa recipe is from my sister, Michele. She makes awesome salsa. It is best to make the salsa in the middle of the summer when Jersey tomatoes rock and you can lounge by a pool with a cocktail, but I made due with the tomatoes I can get in November. They’re probably from Chile or Florida or a hothouse. I’m sure the slow cooking movement is judging me right now. Oh well.

And maybe you’ll get ’em next year, Philadelphia!

Yumminess on a plate: A pulled pork burrito with black beans.

The Jersey Girl's Husband Mark took it upon himself to handle party decor.

Matt and Nancy. So cute!

Tom and Lisa. Super cute and parents-to-be. Yay!

The Husband is full of optimism, Mexican food and beer.

The Cooking and Style Goddess, moi,
with my trusty slow cooker. Do not compare me
to Sandra Lee. Shudder.

The taco fixins.

The salsa was a hit.

Charlie Manuel looking pensive. Maybe he's contemplating
what to say at the press conference.

2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
½ sweet or red onion, diced
4-5 scallions, sliced
3 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 2 to 4 limes
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve with your fav tortilla chips or with meat or chicken. Salsa also tastes great with eggs or on a burger.

Mexican Pulled Pork
1 6-pound boneless pork shoulder blade roast
12 big cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper
2 cups beef broth

To serve: Tortillas, shredded lettuce, scallions, red peppers, cheese, sour cream, salsa.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl to make a rub. Mix well. Once combined, rub mixture all over the roast.

Place roast in slow cooker.

Pour broth over roast. Put lid on slow cooker

Cook on high-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours.

Black Beans
1 1 lb., 13 oz. can of Goya black beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime, optional

In a pan over medium heat, add oil. Once oil is heated, add jalapeno, garlic and onion. Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add beans, cumin, hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper. Cook for about five more minutes. Add cilantro and lime juice. Cook for another minute.


  1. The burrito-tacos were simply fabulous! And the salsa was awesome, too! We had a blast!

  2. I just discovered making pulled pork in a slow cooker only a month or so ago. I used very little broth, but I like your garlic touch. I'll try your recipe next.

    Don't ever lose your sense of humor. It's infectious, especially reading your posts early in the morning.

  3. Thanks for the props, Matt.

    ES - Thank you for checking out my blog and your comments. Too sweet.

    Have a fab day!


  4. I'm a little late here... but yes, we DID have a great time, and the food was fabulous, as always!