Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Taco Party: Slow Cooker Carnitas redux, plus Fabulous Coleslaw

A little while ago Mr. Tarte Tatin asked if we'd cater a party in celebration of the Pajama Queen's graduation-- something fun that would go with margaritas. Tacos, do-it-yourself tacos, looked like the answer, especially since we expected to feed 50 people or so The Evite had terrifying said 150 people, but Mr TT assured us that only a third of them would show up. Better hope so, or everyone is only getting half a taco.

We've been honing the Carnitas recipe that I first tried about a month ago.

We made it much the same way as the recipe, but I have a secret. After cooking the meat seemed like it was drying out, so when we reheated it in the electric skillet (which we left on low for serving) we incorporated the pork "jello," the leftover juices that separated from the lard. When it coold it gelatinizes and it is unbelievably flavorful. So rather than waste it, we mixed it back into the shreeded pork and it is FAN-freaking-tastic.

With it, we got a box of fresh tortillas, made by hand and utterly scrumptious, from La Palma Mexicatessen, and to complete the "do-it-yourself" taco bar, there were bowls of crema, chopped onions, cilantro, shredded cheese and three kinds of salsa. Oh baby...

After the food, a rousing round of pinata fun.

Does it say something about the Pajama Queen's determination that she beheaded the poor thing on her first wild swing?

Do not get between her and dessert.

Along with the tacos we served a Cumin Lime coleslaw which was pretty yummy. This recipe started out life on Epicurious, but we made a few changes based on the helpful reciews people left and our own tastes.

Cumin Lime Coleslaw

3 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
6 cups shredded green cabbage (from 1 small head)
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup olive oil

Drain. Cool completely. Transfer carrots to large bowl. Add cabbage, bell pepper, onion and cilantro.

Whisk lime juice, cumin, garlic and hot pepper sauce in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. (Cabbage mixture and dressing can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover separately; chill. Rewhisk dressing before continuing.)

Toss salad with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper; serve.

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