Pork Vindaloo

by Anne Maxfield on March 26, 2015

Accidental Locavore Pork VindalooOften what’s for dinner depends on what looks amusing at the market. This week, pork was on sale so the Accidental Locavore brought some home and figured it would turn into a meal. This was a recipe I found on Saveur. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but it’s mostly spices you probably already have. Serves 4.

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 peeled, 4 roughly chopped
  • 2 small red Thai chiles or 2 red jalapeños, stemmed
  • A 2”piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, halved and seeded
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


Accidental Locavore Vindaloo MarinatingIn a medium bowl, toss pork, vinegar, and salt. Cook cumin and poppy seeds, peppercorns, chiles de árbol, and cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a powder and add to pork. Put tamarind paste, turmeric, peeled garlic, red chiles, and ginger in a food processor or blender and purée into a paste and add to pork. Toss to coat; cover and chill 4 hours.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, green chiles, and onion; cook until slightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Stir in pork and its marinade; cook until paste begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Add salt and 1¼ cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar and cook until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

My verdict: Spicy (but manageable) and delicious! I used a Boston butt and the meat was really tender. Still burning from the way-too-hot chile, I seeded the chiles de árbol and used really small ones and seeded the serrano and this was spicy but under control. Having some mango chutney on the side also helped. Not having any poppy seeds, I tossed in black sesame seeds, mostly because they were small, round and black and I didn’t think a teaspoon full was going to make a huge difference. Frank liked it too and told me I could make it again (hehehe).





Chipotles in Adobo

by Anne Maxfield on September 11, 2014

Accidental Locavore Chipotles in AdoboWhen the Accidental Locavore was picking peppers the other day, Jes, one of the farmers at the PFP, suggested I take a bunch of jalapenos and make chipotles. If you’re not familiar, chipotles are smoked jalapenos. Before long we had a lot of jalapenos and I took them home and tossed them on the smoker for an afternoon, along with some tomatoes I was experimenting with. Because I use chipotles in adobo more than straight-up chipotles, I looked online and put together a couple of recipes for making your own. This made two 1 pint jars:Accidental Locavore Jalapenos for Smoking

  • 7-10 chipotle peppers, stemmed and slit lengthwise
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water

Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, on low heat until all the liquid is reduced to about a cup. This took me a little over two hours. Cool, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locaovre My ChipotlesMy verdict: Tastes great and can’t wait to use them! If I had used a broader, shallower pan, it would have reduced in a lot less time. The whole process, from smoking the jalapenos to making the adobo is a lot more time-consuming than jumping in the car and buying a couple of cans at the supermarket, but it’s not at all hard and doesn’t require much more that an occasional check on its progress. To store them, put in jars and refrigerate, or you could put in ice cube trays, freeze it and put the cubes in a freezer bag. This recipe for albondigas is one of our favorites and chipotles play a big part in it.

To make the chipotles, cut the stems off cleaned jalapenos, and cut them in half lengthwise. Place on a rack and smoke for at least 6 hours. You can then dry them out further by putting them on a rack in a low oven, 200° for a few hours until they are totally dried out.

Be careful handling jalapenos, even dried, they pack plenty of heat. Wear rubber gloves, or wash your hands thoroughly or you’ll do something stupid, like rub your eyes and regret it!



Accidental Locavore Mazatlan MarketDo you feel a trip to a new destination isn’t complete without a cruise through a hardware store? Or would you rather check out the local pulse by finding all the dive bars or hidden beaches? The Accidental Locavore wants to go to the markets. Whether I speak the language, or have the opportunity to use anything I might find at the market, I just love to go and wander, see what’s available, watch the locals bargaining and commenting on the day’s offerings. I’ve always loved the markets in Mexico, with the piles of chiles, ropes of garlic, mountains of moles and all the tropical fruit.

Accidental Locavore Customer at the MarketThere are usually places to eat in the market where you can pull up a stool and have a great, cheap bite to eat. Unlike the greenmarkets in Manhattan, where you can only sell what you produced, Mexican markets have everything. Need a spell to make that man your slave? Long before 50 Shades, Mexican botánicas had potions for anything you might desire. From souvenirs to sows ears, you can find it there.

Accidental Locavore Chiles and GarlicOn a recent press trip to Mazatlan, the one place I wanted to check out (that didn’t appear on our itinerary) was the Mercado Centrale, in the old city. On Saturday afternoon, I convinced our amazing guide Ishmael to drop me at the market for an hour. Two others from our group came along and that’s where the fun started!

Remember, when I told you Mexican markets have everything? My shopping list included a hammock, which I quickly found, so was free to wander and decide if I wanted to bring home bags of chiles or not. However, what I didn’t tell you was that one of the people accompanying me was a vegetarian. We got past the pile of chickens (and all the various parts of chickens) without incident. Then, while I was taking pictures of some interesting squash, a scream ricocheted throughout the market.

Accidental Locavore Pig's HeadL. had just encountered the pig butchers, and there, in the middle of the ribs and chops, was the (smiling) head of a pig. Initially speechless, she started jumping up and down, pointing and shouting “Oh my God, oh my God!” “It’s a pig’s head-supposed to make great pâté” I told her.  L. did have the grace to realize she might have been overreacting a little, and started laughing, realizing she was surrounded on three sides by pig heads and trotters. And on the fourth?Accidental Locavore Two Butchers The two butchers in the photo. One holding up a large beef liver and its intestines and the other laughing so hard he was almost doubled over. Which of course made all of us laugh a lot harder. It was about at this point, that I decided that perhaps bringing a vegetarian, might not have been the kindest idea, but we all did have a great laugh about it! And now, every time I relax in my new hammock, I remember where it came from and smile.



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Accidental Locavore: Mexican-Style Spare Ribs

by Anne Maxfield on March 28, 2013

Accidental Locavore Mexican Spare RibsDo you have cookbooks that you only use one recipe from? The Accidental Locavore has almost all of Rick Bayless’ books, and while I use Mexican Everyday for a lot of stuff, I usually pull out Mexican Kitchen for the spare rib recipe. Give yourself a day for this – the ribs are better marinated overnight.  Serves 4-6.

  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • ¾ teaspoon dried (Mexican) oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ½ cup beef broth (or water)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 pounds pork country-style spare ribs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro for garnish
  • White onion sliced into thin rings for garnish

Accidental Locavore Ribs MarinatingFor the marinade:

In a small frying pan over medium heat, put the unpeeled garlic and roast, turning occasionally  until black in spots and soft, about 15 minutes. When it’s cooled, peel it. Toast the chiles in the same pan, a few at a time, flattening them with a spatula for a few seconds. Flip and toast the other side. This is really just a quick toast, don’t let them burn. Put them in a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak for 30 minutes to re-hydrate. Drain the chiles.

Place the chiles, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cumin, vinegar and broth in the work bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Divide it  into two parts and set ½ aside.

Put the ribs in a large Ziploc bag and smear half of the marinade over the ribs. Seal and refrigerate overnight.

Add the honey to the other half of the marinade, mix well, cover and refrigerate.

Cooking the ribs:

Preheat the oven to 325°. Put the ribs and the marinade in a baking dish big enough to hold them in one layer. Drizzle ¼ cup of water (or beef broth) around them, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and baste the ribs with the liquid in the pan. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Carefully pour off the fat and any juices in the pan.

Raise the oven temperature to 350°. Brush the ribs with the remaining marinade (the half with the honey). Bake another 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and onion, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Made these recently for guests and gave everyone two big ribs each, it wasn’t enough! Luckily, everyone was too polite say anything. I had no idea what most of the dried chiles I had were, so decided to just use 3 each of three different kinds. It worked out well, but I did puree them a few at a time and tasted, just to make sure the marinade didn’t get too spicy for company. If it does, the sugar and honey will tone down the spice to a certain degree.  I served them with some mashed potatoes, spinach and a Caesar salad.