Welcome to my Blog... and thanks for reading...

First... welcome! And thanks for visiting my website!

I get lots of questions when people discover that I am a cookbook author, but the most common by far is, "How did you get into the business?" I think most people wonder solely because it sounds like a fun job. And, it can be. But, with two books under my belt (Houston Classic Desserts, Pelican 2010 and Houston Classic Mexican, Pelican 2011) I have to tell you - the 'how' is not so important as the 'why'. I got into the cookbook business because I have a sincere love for food, a great support system of friends, family and fellow 'foodies', a husband that's really good with a camera and... a bit of luck.

I hope this blog will serve as inspiration to those of you with a passion for beautiful and tasty food, cooking, dining out, kitchen gadgetry, kitchen goofs and the musings of a girl that's discovering new things about herself and her passions... one delicious recipe at a time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cochinita Pibil... Makes Me Want To Squeal!!! BONUS BLOG RECIPE

In the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Johnny Depp's character is an obsessed fan of Cochinita Pibil, a dish of suckling pig, marinated in fruit juices and roasted underground in a cocoon of banana leaves. Director Robert Rodriguez even includes a recipe for the dish in the bonus features on the DVD.

My own obsession for this Yucatan-born sensation began at The Original Ninfa's, where I tasted it for the first time. It immediately became one of those dishes that I HAD to include in the Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook. Thankfully, Chef Alex Padilla was willing to share his recipe.

(And don't worry about the suckling pig - pork shoulder works great. Billy and I have been cooking our way through the freezer so the last time I made this using pork loin from Costco. It turned out beautifully and was much more lean than the shoulder. Be sure to decrease the cooking time to about 2-2 1/2 hours.)

If the celebration of Cinco de Mayo this week inspires you, I hope you'll enjoy the opportunity to prepare this amazing dish and get a glimpse into my Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook - filled with everything from appetizers to desserts to cocktails.

Comer, beber y estar bien!
Eat, drink and be well!

5 pounds pork shoulder or butt (or loin-be sure to decrease cooking time)
2 tablespoons salt
11/2 tablespoons black pepper, ground
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, whole
3 banana leaves
1/4 cup garlic cloves
1/2 cup achiote paste
11/2 grapefruits, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
3 limes, juiced
3 lemons, juiced
11/2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons oregano, dried
11/2 bay leaves
1 habanero pepper, sliced
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, sliced
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced

Slice the pork shoulder into half pound slices. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin. Grill
the whole tomatoes for just a few minutes to start the caramelization process. Grill the pork lightly for 2 minutes per side to caramelize the meat. Grill the banana leaves for just a few seconds and then place them in the bottom of a roasting pan lined with enough foil to later enclose the pork in the banana leaves. Place the meat on top of the banana leaves. In a small saute pan, lightly fry the garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil, just until they start to brown. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan immediately or they will continue to cook.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Blend the garlic, achiote paste, citrus juices, vinegar, oregano, bay leaves, and habanero. Cover the meat with the blended mixture. Slice the grilled tomat
oes. Put the fresh sliced tomatoes, the grilled tomatoes and the onions on top of the pork. Wrap in banana leaves, then double wrap in foil. Make sure it's airtight. Bake for 3 1/2 hours. Serve with pickled onions, crema fresca in soft corn or flour tortillas. Garnish with cilantro leaves.


1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 each habanero pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch black pepper
2 each red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Slice the red onions very thinly. Bring the citrus juices, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper
and sugar to a boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Toss onions and olive oil together and cover with the cooled pickling liquid.

Cover and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

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