Brent’s Salmon Pizza

After meeting Cristina, I was forced to step up my food game. I was raised in a family, God bless us, where meals were store bought lasagna or salad. After graduating college, my culinary repertoire consisted of pressing start on the microwave, and following directions on the mac and cheese box. Enter Cristina, the love of my heart and stomach’s life. After mastering basics like Picadillo, Sweet Potato Enchiladas, arrays of Pastas (I now know the difference between penne, rigatoni, and farfalle), I felt comfortable stepping out from behind her tutelage and into my own.

This dish features a humble imitation of a Wolfgang Puck salmon pizza. While the concept of salmon on a pizza is the same, not much else is. The main difference is my own unique take on what pizza sauce should be. Pizza sauce is normally a boring cousin of simple marinera. To give it more spunk, I added sun dried tomato pesto, and chopped garlic. Add part skim mozzarella cheese (Cristina’s zeal for health comes through here), artichoke hearts, and salmon. Looking at my first attempt at cuisine creativity, I know that I’ve come a long way from taking rotesserie chicken out from its grocery store warmth and plastic shield. The “yumms!” coming from my foodie simpleton father and chef master wife confirmed my growth. -Brent

On the pizza stone, ready to go in the oven.

Ingredients:
Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Dough
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Salmon
Artichoke Hearts, chopped
Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:
There are no measurements with this pizza. It’s pretty simple. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough. Mix together equal parts pizza sauce and sun-dried tomato pesto. Sprinkle the sauce with the artichoke hearts. Add however much cheese you’d like, and top with salmon. Bake for 12-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pizza. If you intend on making is SUPER heavy, like Brent often prefers, consider pre-heating the dough for 2-3 minutes before adding the toppings. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Carnitas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I have been working on a developing a healthier carnitas recipe for months, trying different combinations of braising liquids, cuts of pork, spices and cooking times. After a few failed attempts, I have finally perfected the dish. I use pork tenderloin (pork loin was way too dry), half a beer (the entire beer was too watery), an orange, a few cloves of garlic and my taco seasoning as the dry rub. This dish is low maintenance, but requires planning ahead. We usually prepare carnitas on a Sunday, and have them ready to go for a quick weeknight meal. To prepare, rub the tenderloin with the taco seasoning, brown the meat, throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker, and eight hours later you’ll have delicious, tender carnitas. We use the meat to build tacos with Trader Joe’s corn & wheat tortillas, roasted tomatillo salsa (you’ll never want store bought salsa verde again), avocado and cilantro. It’s healthy, simple, delicious Mexifornian cooking. 


Carnitas
Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin, about 1.5 pounds
1 juicy orange
4 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
2 bay leaves
1/2 a beer (drink the other half while you prepare the salsa)

Directions:
Season pork with taco seasoning. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic cloves. Season pork with another tablespoon of taco seasoning.

Pour beer and the juice of 1 orange in the crockpot, add bay leaves. Place pork in slow cooker and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust spices (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Ingredients:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced

  

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.